Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes
Quarantine Diaries: Le Butcherettes' Teri Gender Bender Is Watching "Little Fires Everywhere" & Reading Simone De Beauvoir
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, Teri Gender Bender of Mexican garage-punk outfit Le Butcherettes shares her Quarantine Diary.
[6:24 a.m.] As usual, the Chuco sky is a rattlesnake pink when I wake up early in the morning. It is not I that I want to wake up early but because my body needs to. My feet drag me to the bedroom bathroom. Eyes still puffy and mouth dry as a rotten cucumber as I sit my arse down on the cold toilet seat, I rest my head on the sink as the body relieves itself. After I'm finished, immediately I go to the living room bathrooms (the one with the sink that works) to wash my hands. Avoiding staring into the mirror straight ahead of me, I crouch down towards the running water and splash some onto my numb face.
[6:50 a.m.] I turn on the heater because the house is freezing but to my tepid surprise no heat comes out. Hot damn, I must have forgotten to pay the heating bill again! The goosebumps invade my thoughts so I rush back to the sink to actually wash the face with soap and brush my damn teeth with what is left of the black charcoal tooth paste. Afterwards, I floss very delicately as the water drops off my chin and hair soaking the floor on accident. It must have been this way for almost four months on repeat.
Suddenly, an apparent mind haze puts me on pause and a memory whispers... It whispers in tongues of just how one year ago, when we were out on the road, my younger brother disappeared. He had done the same thing I did when I was 17: run away and cut off completely from the family. It was awful. I remember wanting to jump off a building because of the fear, it was too much. Too much of not knowing if he was safe. It was too much to carry for my fickle ass. I snap out of it and smile softly. He is okay now. He is in Germany, hopefully?
[7:30 a.m.] We may not know exactly where my hermano is, but he is alive and I know he is studying his masters for biochemistry and I am immensely proud of him... I jibber jabber with myself as I dry my face up with a salmon-colored towel we got at a beach store in Tampa, Florida before social distancing was the norm.
I do a second pass of drying up my hands and face and immediately moisturize. I spend a lot of time trying to wake my face up in the mornings. As I walk back to the bathroom in my room, I admire the sun sneaking its way into the house. I kneel down to clean the kitty litter (it's placed right under the sink). The cats awaken and look at me curiously. They look like little puffy humanoid gnomes when they just wake up. It has been a tendency of mine to always want to humanize every living creature. I meditate for 20 minutes afterwards. The thoughts slow down... for now.
[7:50 a.m.] As I finish with the meditation, the cats stretch and jump out of bed. They land on my feet, hysterically meowing for feeding. Alas, I take their little bowls to the kitchen and I fill them up with dry food and then mix water into the batch. Before I give them the food, I lay on the living room floor just outside my room so they can run onto me and kiss my lips. As they do this, I set their bowls down and they munch happily away. I stare at them and pet them. I do this for a bit. It helps ground me.
[8:15 a.m.] I open up all the curtains in the living room. The sunshine blesses my home. I sit on the cat-mangled orange couch as the cats finish up their breakfast. I am transported back to reality. Thoughts and daydreaming fill up my head and I haven’t even had coffee yet. I head to the kitchen. I hype myself up to wash the dishes cause the kitchen looks like sh*t. The way I do it is I take all the dishes out of the sink and I organize them by type.
[9:10 a.m.] Kitchen is clean as a whistle now. I’m so... proud. A sensation of harmony is intensified. I make coffee and the cats are already laying down in front of the windows daydreaming—just how I was doing an hour or so ago. Nothing much has changed except that now I'm daydreaming as I smell the coffee brewing. I haven't looked at my phone for some days now. The reason for this must be because lately I’ve just been reading sour news. So it’s better to just live in this bubble in the middle of El Paso between Juarez and the weight of our own troubles. It sounds selfish, but I do this part well. I live in a bubble to protect myself and avoid hurting others and now it has ceased to be metaphorical. We must all live in this new bubble to protect other people's lives. It is my activism—to hide away as I let earth’s humanity leak its way into my soul.
[9:30 a.m.] I am in my home studio. Sitting down on a black cushion chair as the computer system starts to reboot, I remember that I had left that one track's loops unedited. I jot down some overall notes on my notebook of what I want to achieve on the songs and continue the morning recording process. I take a sip from my coffee and I hit the joint I had previously rolled the night before. I let the daydreaming take over again but this time without anxieties or worries. I think of my mother, my number one source of inspiration.
[11:30 a.m.] I take a break and go to the bathroom—the one with the working sink. It’s almost time for a 40-minute session of yoga. This is probably my favorite part of the day now. Exhale, downward facing dog, inhale, child’s pose, breathe in and out, chair pose, triangle then mountain pose, downward facing dog, breathe in and out, namaste. I take in the view of the El Paso Mountains from the view of my window.
[12:15 p.m.] Go back to the home office/painting room/studio—the little room next to the little kitchen just to be precise. I move forward by choosing to work on another track by the-work-in-progress-name of "torturarme"... I’m specifically only writing canciones en español. I am learning to develop my style into these songs and vice versa; the style of the songs influence my vocal takes to the feeling and mood of the arrangements I’m laying down.
[3 p.m.] Unwinding from recording, writing and occasional cleaning, I re-read some Simone de Beauvoir and I can’t help but feel like I’m a problem to womanhood by reading this because I myself have been molded into believing I was a woman, for she is created... But then I am reminded why I chose my alias "Gender Bender"... I don't want to be put in a box where my gender will disassociate me from my SOUL.
[5 p.m.] I realize I forgot to eat and have been purely fuming off of the coffee I made. But to be truthful, it's not just coffee, it’s kind of like a little meal within itself. It is made with Turmeric Ghee butter, Maca and ashyawanda powder with a hint of cinnamon, only to be blended in with oat milk. That blend can make one fast almost all day. I wash up some kale and cut up to a point where I can place them on a baking sheet and lube them up with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice and Celtic salt and set them in the oven to bake until the leaves turn brown. While that bakes, I make a zucchini spaghetti bowl with sugar-free marinera sauce. It brings wondrous types of joys and sensations to my mouth. I eat while I watch the newest episode "Little Fires Everywhere." The show makes me weep every five minutes. I burp. I dry up my face. I take a nap.
[7 p.m.–8:50 p.m] Waking up from my two-hour nap I move forward to the studio again by continuing to work on another track out of the bunch that I’ve been working on this week. I become bored and gasp in shock as I suddenly remember that I should continue working on another song, but this one is special because it is a friend's song. I think I put it off for the day because I am scared I will ruin my friend's vibe, but alas I am warmed up enough to track vocals for his song so I will unleash and send it shortly to him and await his notes! It is a rendition tribute song in honor of Violeta Parra.
[9 p.m.] Have managed to keep the whole day positive enough without retorting to my autopilot sad thoughts of missing and yearning the beloved dead and the belittled living. I permit myself to feel a bit of proud of myself, 'cause I’m loving the tracks. I'm losing count of how many there are now and can’t believe that came out of me. But I know this feeling will reset by the time we wake up tomorrow and repetition goes the cycle.
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