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Editor’s Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Playlist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Mikee De Guzman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Robyn Nichol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Coming Of Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Death To Birth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Adventures Of Anthony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Bittersweet Beginnings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Summers Farewell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Deeply There. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Did You Bake The Cake Yourself? . . . . . . . . . . 37 Daisy Days. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 In Malmö. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Beginning To Love Yourself. . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Over The Rainbow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Dear readers, I’ve been taking my time because I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut. September is when people start school in a new year, or a new place; it’s when the first breath of cold air gives way to cosy promises of sweater weather and not being so disgustingly sweaty all the time; September is when so much is new so it feels like I’m doing something wrong if I’m not going anywhere at all. This is where I get stuck. Nothing new is happening so I get down and don’t do anything new (I have to stop coinciding my life crises with these issue themes). But not all new beginnings have to do with going to school or starting a job or moving house, sometimes it’s the little new beginnings that are exciting too and it’s important not to forget them. Little things like cooking something you’ve never made before, or using a new medium to create art, or buying a new pair of cool Halloween socks. A transitional season like autumn is a good time to turn over a new leaf (I’ve been waiting to use that pun and it was worth it) and pull yourself out of that lazy summer nothingness. So even though nothing majorly new might be happening now, in the future there will be new jobs, new people and new places and you’ll get that really nice feeling of being at the beginning of something, with this brand new fresh thing in your life that’s exciting just because it’s new. So I feel like this issue is about embracing the new things that autumn brings, even if this does entail a bittersweet goodbye to summer.

P.S. October is mental health month, so now is as good a time as any to start treating yourself better and stop being so hard on yourself. P.P.S. Here’s a playlist full of autumnal vibes.








These works I am submitting are collages, photographs, and a painting, all made rather recently, while I was pregnant, and lost my best friend and mother. I took pictures from my birthday, while pregnant, as well as made many collages and paintings that dealt with my grief and loss over my mother, while learning to be a mother for the first time, myself. Death to celebration, birthdays to the birth of my son, all of these works are about my own new beginnings.


Walking along the pavement is much easier than it used to be. It is now that I indulge in the pleasure of receiving only my fair share of abuse - the kind that comes from existing as any individual does in this city. In a testosterone-fuelled year, a loud shout out of a car window about my body has somehow withered into a quick jibe at the colour in my hair.

I used to have a lot of problems with my chest. When puberty came, the nightmare began––but even nightmares can seem normal once you've settled into them for long enough. My chest became something I no longer cried about, but instead endured.

Some part of me still thinks, however, that being wheeled under the knife would be the same as being pushed back down into our "Hair dye is for women, unless, of course, society's box of what it is to be male. I mean you are gay!" are the words that spit from surely if I'm having this operation to be the chapped lips of a grizzly face. Without seen as male I'm giving in to the idea that allowing me the time to reply, he backs into men cannot have boobs, right? But, I'm not. Nero - not really the kind of place I would I'm doing this because my ribs ache from expect to find a dickwad of his specific na- the binder I wear too many hours a day, ture, but, then again, who am I to general- because each time I look at my own naked ise and force stereotypes? After all, a place reflection my pecs seem to just . . . stop, beto hide from an angry queer's response is a cause a flat chest is something I once had, place to hide from an angry queer's reand lost. I don't have a desire to be cis. I sponse. But this angry queer couldn't give have a desire to be myself, in a body that I any less of a shit about such a remarkable can possess and inhabit, from the space befailure of an insult. What this angry queer tween every rib in my check to the gooey is angry about, is how "gay" is still somestuff between each and every cell wall in thing I'm supposed to be offended at being my tissues. Granting myself a flat chest will called, and how men have to stay away not make me less female, in the same way from anything feminine in order to not be that keeping my breasts will make me less used as target practise. male. Femininity is not weak, in the same way Anatomy. does not. possess. a gender. A that masculinity is not valuable - I know it, gender possesses a body. and I'm sure you know it, yet I am sitting here expecting to have to explain to 99% of the people at college that my operation this December is going to be on my ribs and not on my breasts. I am transgender in hiding - not out of choice but the choice of mainstream society to refuse to educate themselves about myself and my community. I am sacrificing my own visibility and my own head in the headcount (one performed by yet another shaky transgender teen in the search for vague hope that they may not be alone) for my own stability at college.

Anthony Fox likes to take photos and long naps. Particularly, long naps on tube to college. He's a willowy figure with a full green head of hair to match the adjective - and he lives a relatively normal life (if normality were a thing that exists); he has a girlfriend who's too good for him, a roof under his head and three meals a day. He writes. Sometimes about the world at large, and sometimes about the world as it stands in metres around him, twisting a sliding between the gooey layers of his eyeballs, shooting up from those particularly fine nerves at the back of the retina into his mind, where it coagulates into a sort of mess that ends up blotched onto paper. This mess is his diary, and his diary is yours to read. He's also transgender.



deeply there

I ball up the warm flannel, pressed into my cheek, like my bed is his closet surrounded by his lovely warm scent. It hung from his thin frame, his body white like powder, warm, mostly when I’m near, sometimes rather cold when I’m not. He gave me back my flannel sweet smelling, like he’s here, curled small in my chest, fitting into me. I sleep, dream cloudy things, his voice soft like powder in my head, and when I wake his voice is there, to call me awake. He’s here and we walk, sharing the flannel, saying sweets, passing by streams and by towering green mountain. We walk through trees and our tiny lungs don’t say anything but warm breath on cold ears. We hear the sky, the far-off bird and the nodding trees, wind bowing them into deep understanding. Follow the off-trail up high, inclined, pathways wind away from us, and he lays down the flannel. We are wrapped between two trees, mouths exchanging lovely lung air, powder clouds passing when they do leaving light stains on the earth. We feel a growing warm hum, but it isn’t heard, not through our ears, through the non-space between us and inside our frames. He is long like me, we are two small things like young trees, reaching for one another, suddenly growing, growing into the same skin.

The wolves are playing. I feel a deep pain, past the sighing trees and away from the mountain somewhere I haven’t been. The


pain of a woman, of every woman, I can feel their pain and it is deep, long, and silent, and little tears run down the side of my face into the damp flannel pressed into the silent earth. I look up through the foggy crystal that is spreading over my eyes and there is light, sweet and dappled, through the trees, light pinning us down in our unseen spot. We are not hidden, they could see us, the odd traveler pushing through the muddy path but they don’t see us, up here, on an earthen cloud. The pain is ancient, unending, it was always there I just needed someone to show it to me, to shine light into me so bright and hot it burns, it burns to see myself, and this light like starlight so ancient burns way back, through every woman, every red pain, crystal tears, unmoving body, beating heart. I am silent because I want, I do, he is so beautiful moving through the dappled light. He looks at me and sees crystal and I know he can’t feel the red, not where I do, and the wolves silently play on above us, we rock in our feral cage, made of us.

Words by Rachael, photo by Connie




Every second of summer is precious. It is one of the most important times of the year. It is the time, when you go on adventures, experience new things and are free. Meeting old friends, making new ones, being outside a lot, being inspired and lazy at the same time. Though, I am looking forward to autumn, to the beginning of coziness, leaves falling down, earthy colours, the rain, reading and drinking tea and watching movies like "Ginger and Rosa" and "Submarine". Summer is over now and these are some pictures showing one of my last small summer adventures with some of the last summer flowers of this year. Do you still feel the tingling and prickling in your tummy? Are you as excited of the beginning of autumn, too?


Beginning to love yourself is difficult. It might even be one of The Most Difficult Things. A year ago I would not have felt at all qualified to write this, but in the past few months I have taken baby steps towards the all elusive selflove. There are times when even accepting yourself can be a challenge, and liking yourself one of colossal proportions. It makes complete sense for loving yourself to be arduous. When a couple moves in together it tests their love for each other, but even the most devoted and inseparable people have some alone time, even if it is only when they go to the bathroom. We cannot choose whether or not we move in with ourselves. We already have, and we never truly escape. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we are never truly absent from ourselves. This means that being critical and getting easily annoyed at


yourself is an easy routine to fall into, but allowing yourself to become truly embroiled in such troubles––which we are all guilty of doing every now and then––is quite a waste of time when you could be spending those same minutes, hours, days noticing the great things about yourself.

The first step to loving myself came from being kinder to myself and praising myself for little things. I wrote something today? Great. I found time to watch my favourite film? Awesome. Instead of dismissing the things that I liked to do, I started to view them as important, because they are important. They are important in making me who I am, and it’s wonderful that I have such a strong sense of individuality. Next I looked for some people to look up to who are big on promoting self-love. Obviously, there’s Kanye West (“I Am A God” is my anthem when I want to feel on top of the world). Internet famous

By Sophie Joanna Kuchta is also fabulous. Of course one of the perks of being famous is all of the external gratification you receive. When everyone else is telling you how fantastic you are, it is much easier to believe it. However, with fame comes a lot of criticism as well as praise. Other people’s voices can therefore battle in the same way that our internal thoughts about ourselves do. So it’s not like Kanye and Joanna are aliens who we can never understand. Even if you do delude yourself a little bit and post online as if you have millions of fans, you’re not harming anyone by doing this. Be proud of the 10, 20, 30 likes your Instagram photos get, but remember that online gratification does not necessarily translate into real life.

ed above pretty much all else, but I would rather be a little bit on the conceited side than go back to hating myself. Furthermore, I have found that being around people who perhaps are verging on the egotistical is more positive than surrounding myself with those who dislike themselves. People who do love themselves most of the time tend to be a lot more positive all round. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend that you and the people you are with are better than everyone else, as long as it’s not in an openly spiteful way.

There are no terms and conditions for self love. Don’t just love yourself after going on a 5K run or receiving a compliment; love yourself after eating a donut; love yourself when you’re dancing Another obstacle in loving your- alone to your favourite song. self (on top of the inevitable self- There is no one size fits all formuinflicted ones) is society’s attitude la for happiness; we’re all just dotowards those who do so. Coming ing our best. across as conceited or egotistical is seen as something to be avoid-




The sixth issue of Cherry, a feminist/art/photography/everything zine