Here’s a review I wrote of my friend Nyky’s zine Skinned Heart (Quatro):
Nyky breaks the silence about a lot things in Skinned Heart Quatro: seasonal depression, emotional and sexual abuse, chronic medical problems, and estrangement from her culture of origin.
The zine starts with a short essay called Northwest State of Mind, which talks about moving from the Southwest to the Northwest: the differing physical environment, cultural norms, and lack of sunshine. Nyky goes on to detail the journey of being in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship: realizing it was abusive, gradually prying herself free, and slowly healing. (I appreciated the trigger warning for this section.)
The next story, Mi Cuerpo es Mio, describes her struggle with an ongoing medical crisis: having chronic bladder infections for unexplained reasons, eventually being diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, and being forced to adopt a healthier lifestyle (all without insurance).
The last essay, Chasing the Dream, is a reflection on the intergenerational impact of assimilation: being fourth generation Mexican-American, feeling estranged from Brown culture, and being “shown up” by white girls who speak better Spanish.
Nyky’s writing is poignant, insightful, and sharp. I love the way that she melds being earnest and vulnerable and being punk rock/cursing like a sailor so seamlessly. For example, reflecting on her time in Seattle, she says, “I’ve met some fucking awesome people and I’ve met some weird people and I’ve met some real shitheads, and I’m constantly learning how to communicate with different people different ways that are still me.” She makes it look easy to put words to the feelings so many of us identify with but struggle to articulate. For example, reflecting on her abusive relationship, she notes, “Love can cloud your perception and confuse your emotional alarms sometimes.”
Much of her reflection and analysis will resonate with anyone who has been in a shitty relationship or been involved with punk/anarchist communities. One of this zine’s greatest strengths is drawing attention to the way punk and radical feminism make women feel like they have to be tough and strong, even at the expense of their own emotional well-being. This is an important work by a great writer and well worth the three dollars.
Buy the zine directly from the author (who runs an all-POC zine distro called Brown Recluse) here.