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Jessica Hodges

she / her / hers
Service Project: Move For America

Based in Minneapolis, I am a communications major with a special interest in acknowledging personal experiences and the emotions that both connect and divide communities, which drew me to investigate the fellowship and its important mission. When not working, you can often find me curled up with a cozy game, buried in a fantasy/sci-fi, (bonus points if there's a queer romance,) or playing with words until poems emerge.


Fireflies by Lori McKenna

When I received this task, my mind spun wildly for several seconds. Two to three songs. What could I possibly say? Which of my favorites should I choose? However, this song sprang to mind almost immediately once I stopped to think.


Whimsey is kind of the backbone of my life. I lean on it for safety and strength when a day is difficult, use it both with and without intent in my writing, and often find my thoughts straying toward whatever stardust-strewn book or game has presently captured my attention. There was a time, however, when I thought dreaming was dangerous, that hope might be a kind of undoing. Thankfully, I've since had many good friends to remind me otherwise, but I will never forget the moment that, on a day I was feeling this mistrust of wonder particularly keenly, I stumbled onto this song. The lyrics were a punch straight to my heart, everything I was longing to believe in one beautiful package. Finding this was the first step to a healing I didn't know I needed, and now, wherever I go, I always seek to bring a little light with me--not the always smiling, everything is all sunshine kind of light, but the kind that says I believe in the hard things like life and love,  and that the faeries are worth keeping around even if their brightness illuminates a wound or a darkness that I don't know what to do with. Maybe not inside a bottle, though!

Exhale Inhale by AURORA

I have anxiety, and one of the biggest things that feeds that anxiety is the sheer bleakness of the world; the lack of safety, the instability, the disrespect and cruelty, suffering and fear. For the most part, this means I stay away from the news, but sometimes, there is something going on that I need to know about in detail. Other times, people's conversations--important conversations, mind you--make not looking directly at this darkness unavoidable. This song is what I think of in those times. 


Exhale Inhale manages to do what I struggle to do--touch the darkness and not get lost. Further, it so clearly cares for all its listeners, offering a hand, asking if we understand what is happening. It is a song of listening, of readiness, and also tenderness. Amidst the emergency and the sirens is this person who simultaneously wants to make sure people are seeing what they are and on the same page, and also checking in. I am here. Let it out and breathe. The end also feels like a rallying cry of sorts, quiet  and yet sincere, and it does not feel taxing, by the end, to join in the singer: "Take from our world--my world--no more." This feels important, both on a personal level and as I work toward real change through this work that we are embarking upon.

When You're Weary by Emily Portman

I collect lullabies, so could not think of submitting this list without having at least one here. This one is ageless--always appreciated--and I think is a beautiful reminder of both the importance of rest and the power of vulnerability. It is not easy to admit that wolves are at our door, nor allow the fraying of our smiles to be visible, but when we allow that to be seen and witnessed by not only others but our own innermost hearts, there can be a great nourishing and care for us to sink into in those moments.


Obviously, this is not an ideal world. For a multitude of reasons, it can be very hard to find the sailboat to take us to a land of wonder where we can slip away for a night. But in acknowledging a need or weariness even in a small way, and letting people in if we have safe and trusted friends, I think we truly better our souls. 

  Story Soundtrack  

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