Tag Archives: Jessa Marie Mendez

August theme: Nourish

What feeds you? Your body, your soul.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with sandwiches lately, largely due to the fact that I have black garlic mayonnaise in my fridge. Add that to the ease and simplicity of a perfect stack of nutty Swiss cheese, salty ham and crusty french bread with a perfectly soft interior, and it’s pretty much the perfect meal. (And this is why vegetarianism is so hard for me to maintain.)

There are certain foods and drinks that just evoke comfort. An egg with a perfectly oozy yolk. My mom’s meatballs, made with a sense of ritual. A big bowl of noodles slurped with relish. A good slice of pizza. Doesn’t have to be great or spectacular. If the cheese is gooey and the crust chewy with a hint of crispiness, we are in business. A good cup of iced coffee with just a splash of soy milk or cream and a drizzle of simple syrup. A cold, refreshing beer. A steaming cup of peppermint tea. (Yes, in August!)

Then, there is music. A new journal with paper of a certain weight. Television shows that make you both reflect and breathe. A book worn from time and constant reading that you can’t help but go to again and again. Shampoo that smells like rosemary and mint. A long walk where every sound is a song.

These are just a few of the things that nourish me. What feeds you? What satiates your appetite when life leaves you depleted and starved? Go on, Kindred. Share what nourishes your body and soul.

[sic]

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The Rebirth of [sic]

What can you say about rebirth? It’s not something that happens only once. It’s a continuous process. I am the phoenix constantly bursting into flames and rising from the ashes. Life is full of little rebirths, isn’t it? Small moments that make us feel alive in the midst of chaos and pain. There are many things that brought me joy, beautiful things, little moments and treasures that helped me rise. I’ve been collecting these images all month, snapping pictures with no real purpose, but somehow, this all feels right. Connected.

Cafe jaunts. A cup of coffee here, a perfectly plush, plump, sweet vegan doughnut there. And words. Always words.

Mendez_Rebirth_CoffeeMendez_Rebirth_CafeMendez_Rebirth_Doughnut

A good meal makes me feel happy, warm. I feel alive and blessed for each bite of goodness. Spicy Thai coconut soup from a lunch with family, homemade fried egg sandwiches with potato spinach hash on fresh bread from a nearby bakery. Those egg sandwiches fed Lover Man and me well. Rich egg, hearty potato, salty spinach and crusty bread are so perfect together.

Mendez_Rebirth_SoupMendez_Rebirth_Egg

Going outside and running has made me feel whole! I love this beautiful weather. The sun peeking through branches waking from a long winter, casting my shadow on cracked pavement and feeling whole. I still remember the song I was listening to when the sun came out on that day, which had started out dreadfully overcast: “Shake Me Down” by Cage The Elephant: “I’ll keep my eyes fixed on the sun….” The universe, always sending messages in the most unusual places.

Mendez_Rebirth_TreesMendez_Rebirth_Run

New journals for jotting notes, thoughts, dreams. Tea to warm me and add a little sweetness to each night. Magazines always calm me and make me feel a bit more centered. I’ve pored over them incessantly since childhood. Something about the gloss and the language makes me come alive.

Mendez_Rebirth_Tea_BookMendez_Rebirth_Magazines

A row of prayer candles, saints on shelves soothing me on a rough, rainy day, reminding me that my prayers are heard.

Mendez_Rebirth_Candles

A beer with a message, proving that the universe also has a wicked sense of humor. Breathe, sip, repeat.

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Rise Like a Phoenix by Conchita Wurst. The studio version is glorious, but the real magic is the Conchita’s Eurovision performance. To be oneself, to be free, to be so full of joy as Conchita Wurst is during this performance. Chills every time, usually accompanied by tears. The feeling that triumph is possible. That is the goal.

Go. Be reborn.

[sic]

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[sic] New Kindred Theme: High Anxiety

Hello everyone,

It’s your friendly neighborhood [sic], here to introduce the Collective’s new theme for this month: High Anxiety. Anxiety is something that has been on my mind a great deal lately. On my mind, in my gut, running through my bloodstream. If you look through some of my past posts, you’ll see that anxiety has plagued me for some time. Now, as I learn to manage my anxiety and live a full life, I invite all my Kindreds to share their experiences with High Anxiety. Let’s talk about the darkness and the light. How do you manage anxiety? How has it affected your lives? When has anxiety hurt you? Saved you? Have you made peace with that dreaded feeling? Anxiety can be crushing and isolating, so let’s start a conversation. Readers, feel free to comment and share with us!

Cheers,

[sic]

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[sic] homecoming + playlist

Kindred_Homecoming_Collage

Dancing, searching for home.

Ashley is a sneaky genius and psychic friend. Seriously. The shift from “Home” to “Homecoming” is a slight one, but it completely changed the trajectory of this playlist. See, when I read the word, “Home”, the first song that came to mind was the epic Homecoming segment from Green Day’s American Idiot album, and I figured I would use it to end the playlist. Then, that little change. Suddenly, Homecoming became the starting point. What if you come home so changed from an experience that your notion of what home is becomes completely fucked? How do you navigate what used to be your base but is now foreign territory while grieving for the places (and people) that took up residence inside your heart?

Well, in my case, I tried to drag remnants of my new life into my old home, and it was disastrous. I was devastated, a mass of sobs and sadness. Then, I slowly woke and began to claw my way through the wilderness with bitterness and cynicism. I shoved my grief deep, deep down. I drank and danced and made a glorious mess out of my feelings. The ache was still there, of course, the longing for home, and it would make itself known, usually in the quiet hour in between the end of the party and my head hitting the pillow. I also had nightmares where I would return to my happy landscape with a palpable dread, feeling that something was off, knowing that I would wake up to a life that was at once completely suffocating and strangely hollow.

This time in my life was painful but necessary. I found my voice because I had to make my presence known in order to survive, and I started to go beyond merely existing. I started to live. It was even fun a lot of the time. I laughed and wore too much makeup. I played and had a recklessness about me that allowed me to try things I never would have had the courage to do before. I kissed strangers and partied in my pajamas. I sweated and screamed in mosh pits and chased after rock stars. I tottered around in high heels and push-up bras and short skirts. I cried a lot, too, but I kept that mostly to myself. Somehow, as I went through all of this, I managed to create meaningful friendships. Some were short-lived and some are still going strong, but they all helped me to live through hell and figure out how to make a home again. I got to try on different versions of myself, little bits seeping under my skin to help me become who I am today: a fighter, a storyteller, a marvelous weirdo who can face all the fucked-up realities of life and keep going. I built myself from the ground up. I am home.

Enjoy this sonic interpretation of my journey. I hope you all find yourself at home in your own skin.

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[sic] reminders

Reminders are all around me.

A friend’s pictures from his trip to the UK along with the lush descriptions of haunted England in the book The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield brings back tidal waves of bittersweet memories. The chill of the Northern countryside. Wandering cobblestone streets under a comforting blanket of fog. Love escaping me like those tendrils of mist. Substantial enough to be felt, but never solid enough to grasp.

A mention of baby chicks in the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender conjures a brief flash of childhood: chicks hatching in an incubator. Field trip. My mom smiles. I smile. Wonder.

Listening to Feist’s aptly title album The Reminder transports me back to a difficult year of failure, struggle and a long goodbye to my home. It also reminds me of my own resilience, my determination to do better, to be better.

A trip to the farmer’s market brings the taste of my first date with Lover Man: coconut sticky rice studded juicy, sweet mango. Vibrant. Sweetness and depth. I make a vegetable panini consisting of fresh mozzarella and just-picked zucchini and am sitting back in a cafe in Georgetown, relishing my first taste of freedom from the constraints of my everyday life.

They are everywhere, these reminders.

The most potent of them all came just yesterday. A friend from high school posted a Kickstarter campaign for her mother’s documentary Uchuraccay, a story about murder and the power of journalism, yes, but also a story about facing demons, confronting the past and creating art from pain. It reminded me that my pain and, by extension, my words, are valid. Who knows what memories we will evoke with our art. The chance to gain inner peace through the exorcism of creation. I pledged my support to Uchuraccay, as it also served as a reminder that when artists support each other, magical things happen.

TRAILER UCHURACCAY ENG from Quinoafilms on Vimeo.

[sic]

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[sic] playlist: run.

Run_Playlist

When I run, I like having a rhythm, a story. I love running to each one of these songs because of their beats. They encourage me to push myself past limitations. I love them because of their lyrics. Finding freedom, owning pain, embracing love. Run Boy Run was added at the suggestion of Laura, and it is such a perfect fit. I cannot wait to start running again so I can run to this song through tree-lined streets, humidity clinging to me like a fine silk dress. Snow Patrol is a perfect cool down. Emotional, triumphant. Gulp air, let the cool water rush down your throat, feel the delicious soreness. You are a warrior.

I hope that next time you find yourself pounding the pavement, you listen to these songs and feel free.

[sic]

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American Mary

I am super excited about our taxidermy theme! I have been fascinated by women in horror, about how our experiences and relationships with our bodies inform our perspectives on horror and gore. I am currently working on a taxidermy poem/flash fiction for this space, but I think this trailer really embodies how I view the theme: body as object. Body modification. The complexity and intelligence of women merged with sexuality and objectification. Thinking, thinking, thinking. The Soska sisters are bringing a startling, complex vision to horror films, and Katherine Isabelle (AKA Ginger from Ginger Snaps!) stars.

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by | June 8, 2013 · 12:25 pm