New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT New Wave Zine is a student publication at X University, committed to empowering voices and honouring the stories of its students and community. X University, formerly known as Ryerson University, is undergoing a renaming process to halt the perpetuation of its namesake’s racism and contribution to cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada. We must understand and acknowledge the historical racism and cultural oppression of Egerton Ryerson, to pave the way for truth and reconciliation. At New Wave Zine, we are committed to honouring and respecting the land where we create; to uplift the words and art of First Nations, Métis and Inuit folks. Our home of creation and inspiration, Toronto, operates in the “Dish With One Spoon,” and New Wave is proud and thankful to reside in this Territory.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
LETTERS FROM the editors EDITORIAL
Editor-in-Chief Dorsa Rahbar Editor-in-Chief Sara Romano Managing Editor of Features Camilla Bains Managing Editor of Creatives Stephanie Davoli Features Editor Sama Nemat Allah Features Editor Samreen Maqsood Creatives Editor Julia Sacco Creatives Editor Negin Khodayari Head of Copy and Fact-Checking Yasmeen Aslam Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Alyssa Monique N Cornelio Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Amanda Noor Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Chiara Greco Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Kristyn Landry Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Logan Donoghue Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Natalie Raffa Copy Editor and Fact-Checker Saskia Wodarczak Head of Layout and Design Breanna Schnurr Head of Layout and Design Sam Cass Illustration and Layout Designer Natalie Gregor Equity Director Equity Director
Amna Asif Kareena Aranha
Head of Social Media Katie Shier Social Media Manager Megan Mullen
Akcinya Kootchin, Alessandra Capistrano, Annemarie Cutruzolla, Asha Swann, Laviza Syed, Madeline Liao, Natalie Gregor, Subhanghi Anandarajah, Taylor Webb.
firstname.lastname@example.org newwavezine.com @newwavezine
I’ve always yearned to be part of something big and special. To be able to feel creative, lead and learn. Over the past few years, I found solace at New Wave. I was beyond ecstatic to have the opportunity to be co-editor-in-chief with a wonderful group of creators and innovators. As I wrap up my journey at X University, I feel complete in my responsibilities, hopes and goals. In your hand you hold a piece of New Wave; a light and rarity. These stories are so unique to us, they are us, tailored to perfection. Thank you to the storytellers who continue to bring us sanity and the readers who indulge in them; you make the world go around.
Dorsa Rahbar EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
When I was younger, I always thought that to be a journalist meant to bury yourself, your feelings, your creativity. You had to take off your humanity cap and replace it with that of a neutral reporter (a fedora, because somehow that feels the most fitting). But over the last few years, New Wave has rewritten what storytelling is to me. It can be raw, it can be passionate, it can be stanzas full of the most beautiful words you could possibly think of. More than that, it can be uplifting and collaborative. Working with this amazing team has undoubtedly been one of the most special things I’ve ever done. To our incredible masthead, thank you for devoting your precious time to creating something so unique and wonderful — I’ll forever be grateful to you. To our contributors, you’ve all shared the most wonderful stories and beautiful art with us. And to you, reader, we’re so beyond happy that you can finally hold our zine in your hands again. We know you’ll love it as much as we do.
Sara Romano EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
continued I’ve always loved crafting stories; being able to help people share their most important moments with the world and see the words flow from my head to my hands to the page. What I soon discovered is that although I knew I quickly found a sense of purpose in the world of journalism and politics, what I enjoyed most was guiding other young writers, helping them find their voices, and developing their stories. As journalism continues to evolve and grow with the times, there will still always be something special about getting to hold a physical paper in my hands and see my name printed across it. To physically see the stories that my writers spent so much time and effort crafting. The New Wave team is so near and dear to my heart. A team of amazing women that push each other to reach for the stars and fulfill their potential. As I graduate this spring, I will always carry this experience with me — a truly invaluable time in my life. Although the pandemic forced us to remain at home, connecting through screens, the New Wave team allowed us to pursue our editorial passions, creating a little family along the way. To those of you who had a hand in editing, writing and even to you reading this, all I have left to say is a heartfelt thank you.
CONTENTS My Revenge Body Has Stretch Marks
My Double-Sided Childhood: Growing Up Mixed
Swingin’ Into The Future
Her Interviewee Comeback
Do You Want To Listen While You Read?
From Instagram to TikTok: The Way Social Media Influenced Our Lives
All The Stars Reveal Themselves
Home Is Where the Heart Is, But Where Is the Heart?
The Resurgence of Indigenous Fashion Through Decolonial Love
Don’t Know What to Read Next? Find Out Here!
How Do We Nurture Our Creativity?
Camilla Bains MANAGING EDITOR OF FEATURES
I’ve been absolutely infatuated with magazines for as long as I can remember. To physically hold a body of work, a collection of stories and art, is just so special to me — a feeling that has only grown stronger as countless print publications have been forced to fold in recent years. That’s why part of me still can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to help create one, especially for a publication as wonderful as New Wave. When I started J-school, I remember struggling to find a place where my love for longer-form storytelling, the kind that doesn’t always have a traditional “news” angle, was represented. That was until I found New Wave. As an incredibly unique publication and safe space to talk about almost anything, our zine encapsulates everything that I love about storytelling. This feeling extends to my admiration for this issue, a beautiful collection of passionate, thoughtful work. I can’t thank everyone who helped bring this issue to life enough. From the writers who kindly and bravely shared their stories with us, to our talented editors, layout team, to its readers and everyone in between — thank you, thank you, thank you! To Sara and Dorsa, thank you so much for trusting me with this role and allowing my dream of editing a magazine to become a reality. I can’t believe that I’ll soon be holding this issue with my own hands and I know that I’ll cherish it forever.
Stephanie Davoli MANAGING EDITOR OF CREATIVES
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | My Revenge Body Has Stretch Marks
Tigers don’t earn their stripes: they are born with the markings unique to them, just like a fingerprint.
MY REVENGE BODY has STRETCH MARKS Revenge is a dish best served with spicy peanut noodles — and it tastes like a lot of self-love.
Asha Swann Sam Cass
CW: This story contains mentions of diet culture and body image. Body hair is the ever-present reminder that humans did not rise into existence through a glass condo elevator. I often find myself wondering if the early homosapien species roaming the Earth six million years ago bullied other apes because their body hair stuck out wrong. When I was 12, I learned that girls were “supposed to shave” for the first time. A middle school gym class is a cruel place to be when you didn’t even know they made razors for women. As the only girl with bushy legs, I couldn’t help but wonder, at what point did everyone get the memo? Why and how was I somehow left out? I had never seen a woman with hairless legs before. A pool party that summer taught me that yes, it must be kind of freaky how my mom was the only one with hair under her arms and on her legs. Varicose veins? Cellulite and stretch marks? How was it possible that my mother was the only parent at the pool that day who didn’t care?
My mom’s body positivity was not an active one. She was not making a feminist statement, burning her bra, standing atop my middle school playground like the modern-day equivalent of Liberty Leading the People. When I asked why she never shaved, she plainly told me, “I just don’t want to,” as if I had asked her to name groceries rather than save me from middle school humiliation. When I begged her to buy me a razor, she said “You just don’t need one.” That was the summer I stole a men’s razor from the dollar store. I did not have the courage to use it until September. It took me years to become grateful for this act of passive rebellion. When I finally learned to hate my body, it was because no one else’s mom was like mine. The days I wished my thighs didn’t touch are the moments I regret the most. There are too many girls like me, who quit swimming lessons because they would rather vomit than be allowed to take up space in the world.
The summer I quit swim lessons was when I learned that my thighs would ruin every pair of jean shorts. A friend told me when we were sitting at the beach that she was Ex-Lax basically four times a week to get a thigh gap by August. Triangle bikinis were all the rage that summer, and anyone willing to drop $125 on a bikini knew they didn’t come in size fat (a.k.a. pants size 6). I asked her what Ex-Lax was. She said it’s like a cleanse. Her mom always keeps it around. The diet aisle in the drugstore is deceptive. Skinny blonde women holding up XXL pants with bewilderment — how could one woman look so small so fast? I walked down the rows of supplements in secret. There were too many options that a teenager should never have to think about. I had an hour to kill before I would be expected home from swimming lessons, but I frequently ran out of time and left the store empty handed. If you see a teenage girl pacing up and down the diet aisle of a Walmart and see her approach your cash register with a single bottle of Slimfast, you don’t have to let her buy it. Maybe she’ll read the warning label and get too scared to take it, keeping it in a dark corner of her closet until the inevitable stench of expired milk reeks in the August heat. Maybe she’ll drink the whole bottle on the bus home.
Body hair is the ever-present reminder that humans did not rise into existence through a glass condo elevator. I had two worst nightmares in high school: the first was gaining weight. The second was being flat-chested forever. No moment was more humiliating than asking my mom to sew straps onto a strapless dress, and yet I still wondered how many calories were in toothpaste. How do we know when diet culture has gone too far? Is it when teenage girls compete to lose weight? Are we going too far by telling girls that they should wear corsets at the gym? Is it when a girl starves herself for five days to fit into a dress on a Friday night?
I wasn’t surprised to see Khloe Kardashian hosting a new show called Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian. Even if you’ve never kept up with the Kardashians, you’ll likely still know the horrific jokes she’s often subject to through the internet, or worse, her sisters. Somehow, everyone in the world is convinced she is the fat, ugly sister. Funnily enough, the joke is on all of you; she’s about to get revenge on her haters, her toxic exes, her internet critics, just by getting skinny. Is it really an act of revenge if someone is getting exactly what they want?
The days I wished my thighs didn’t touch are the moments I regret the most. I take revenge on my teenage self by eating a bagel with extra jam. I take revenge on the multi-billion dollar diet industry by actually enjoying my time at the gym. Revenge is a dish best served with spicy peanut noodles. Body shame has turned into body ambivalence. I don’t have to love my dark red stretch marks, but I can be okay with the fact that they show I have grown. My skin has stretched beyond that of a prepubescent girl at the pool because I’m 24. I’m entitled to growth. I’m required to exist more than I used to because I want to. I’m proud to be more like my mother every day. I spent the last two summers with hairy legs and forgot to notice a single stare. Tigers don’t earn their stripes; they are born with the markings unique to them, just like a fingerprint. Just like a stretch mark, no two tigers have the exact same lines. Then again, when women spend millions to hate themselves into a hairless, wrinkleless body, maybe it’s worth celebrating the rejections. Maybe shrugging off the idea that our stretch marks should be covered is more meaningful than pretending to love them.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | My Double-Sided Childhood: Growing Up Mixed
MY DOUBLE-SIDED CHILDHOOD growing up mixed
Too Indian for the Caucasian people and too Caucasian for the Indian people. WORDS ILLUSTRATION
Saskia Wodarczak Breanna Schnurr
Growing up in and of itself is quite the process, full of new changes and obstacles, judgments and scrutiny. Especially if you’re growing up as a person who could easily be described as someone leading a double life, there is a lot of scrutiny towards not just you, but also your family (which is a real double hit). While that is absolutely fabulous and all, it personally took me more years than I’d care to admit to figure out how confusing and questioned it was, at the time, to be mixed. I’m German-Fijian and yes, it is true, a lot of people call a combination like that, “exotic.” Trust me; I’ve gotten that a lot, even in university, and it gets really old really quickly. Don’t get me wrong, growing up mixed race is not some great disadvantage. On the contrary, I think I got the best features from both my maternal and paternal side, though granted, I’d have loved to have my Oma’s blue eyes. What really struck me, however, is how lonely you feel, which I never realized throughout school. For a bit of context, I grew up in a western Canadian city that is predominantly Caucasian with a large variety of Asian populations, so there was always a major diversity. I was talking to my mum about this, and she told me that when I started both preschool and then elementary school, she would go out of her way to befriend the only other Indian mum that there was so that she wouldn’t feel lonely, which shows that you don’t just have to be mixed race to feel like an outsider in a giant community.
I’m German-Fijian and yes, it is true, a lot of people call a combination like that, “exotic.” Trust me; I’ve gotten that a lot, even in university, and it gets really old really quickly. Circling back, mixed kids get to lead a life with two identities, which is not as glorious as that of Superman, but is perhaps one of the loneliest feelings I’ve experienced. Not to be dramatic, but it is a constant battle of fitting in with each side, when you know deep down, in reality, you never can. You will constantly feel like an outsider. To be blunt, I am too Indian for the Caucasian people and too Caucasian for the Indian people. I simply do not fit in anywhere. It took me so long to realize that I switch my identity depending on who I am with, which leads to identity crises and overthinking. Why do I feel like an outsider? Am I good enough for this side? Could you translate that for me? Do I fit in? Well now, no I don’t, because I don’t know the language. While yes, I am a member of both sides of my family, I am one hundred per cent still separate. For example, I was not taught Hindi or German, and the language barrier was, and still is to this day, a huge one.
Growing up, I honestly thought there was something wrong with me, because I’d ping pong: dinner at my Nani’s meant that I’d have to have more Indian mannerisms and then lunch with Oma and Opa meant that I’d have to pump up the Caucasian mannerisms. It is important to note that I was never forced to or taught by my parents to be more of one than the other, it simply depended on who I was with, or where I was, what I was doing or talking about. Basically, it turned into a cycle. Even today, I’ll use more Indian mannerisms or reactions around my Indian friends, and more German mannerisms around my non-Indian friends. I’ve noticed it is easy to make friends when you have the aspect of race in common. Especially when I moved here to Toronto, I found that there were so many more people here that I could relate to since there’s a greater South Asian population, which, ironically, is the side I’m closer to because growing up, I interacted with that side of my family more. It’s funny though, people that I’ve met that are German know immediately that I’m at least part German, and most of my Indian friends in Toronto immediately knew that I am at least part Indian.
Mixed kids get to lead a life with two identities, which is not as glorious as that of Superman, but is perhaps one of the loneliest feelings I’ve experienced. Now, for my all-time favourite question: have I ever been prejudiced against or looked down upon for being mixed? The short answer: yes, absolutely. While it has always been so subtle, that little bit of prejudice is still there. It is as simple as comments about my skin tone, or that classic, “But you don’t really look Fijian/German, your features don’t really apply to either.” Even double-takes or those pinched looks at the Mandir when I’m introduced as my mother’s daughter. All of that simply screams to me that I don’t belong and that I’m an outsider. Yes, it has definitely taken me a very long time to understand that I need to buck up and accept that I won’t ever totally be part of one culture. But I have learned that I can use both to my utmost advantage; I’m incredibly cultured through the aspect of food, can so easily accept a wide range of diversity, and, as self-centred as this may seem, it is so rare that I judge someone because I understand how it feels to be on the receiving end. Growing up mixed taught me so much, and although exposed me to a lot at a young age, was one of the factors that really taught me that race is not something to be looked down upon for and that it is essential to practice acceptance, in any form, to make it in the world. newwavezine.com
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | Swingin’ Into the Future
SWINGIN’ INTO the future How this Calgary-born jazz artist is making her mark on the timeless genre (spoiler: it includes TikTok) The first time Caity Gyorgy took the stage was at her elementary school talent show. In front of an audience of her peers and parents, she crooned a Joni Mitchell song — perfectly in tune, which is something she remembers as being the only real indicator of a good singer when you’re a kid. When the song was over, one of the parents seated in the audience turned to Gyorgy’s mom and expressed her surprise that she could sing like that. “I didn’t either,” said her mom. Gyorgy’s musical intrigue slowly snowballed after her debut performance, churning from singing lessons (her repertoire showcased an affinity for Lady Gaga’s Poker Face) to joining every vocal ensemble in high school to falling head over heels for jazz. “The switch that flipped was hearing improvisation from a singer and thinking, ‘Well, saxophones and trumpets do this, but so can voice,” she says. “There’s no limit to that.” Gyorgy, 23, is bringing the best qualities of old jazz into the present, reinvigorating the genre with her witty lyrics and connecting with fans in innovative ways. To celebrate the release of her song Postage Due last year, the Montréalbased singer sent handwritten notes to anyone who presaved the song. She has also grown her TikTok to over 1.4 million likes, a fanbase that she attributes to her invitation to “join [her] on this journey of music.” Last month, she was nominated for a Juno award for her first album, No Bound. To learn more about her achievements, New Wave sat down with Gyorgy to talk about old movies, sexism in the industry and how she’s bringing the Great American Songbook into the present. What are your childhood memories of music? I think I’ve just always sort of had this affinity for music, and just a love and a passion for it. Some of my earliest memories are of listening to people like Willie Nelson — definitely not jazz artists. I distinctly remember the song “London Bridge” by Fergie coming on the car, and absolutely loving it. I could always sing the melody, and I would just mess around figure out what the notes were based on what I was hearing in my head.
Sara Romano Natalie Gregor
My dad showed me a lot [of music]. He showed me the Eagles and Emmylou Harris, a lot of country stuff. I was very fortunate to have had music around growing up. I talked to some of my friends who went to jazz school, and some of their parents would play them jazz records from a young age, and I didn’t have that. But I’m grateful for the upbringing that I did have and the loads of music that was a part of it.
Being a jazz singer today, I think it’s an interesting balance of respecting what came before you while also carving a way for yourself to go into the future, because so much of the music and so much of a jazz singer’s repertoire is the Great American Songbook. Do you think listening to those different styles of music in your childhood inadvertently shaped the way that you approach music now? I always wonder about that, because my dad was always playing really great songwriters like Willie Nelson and Leonard Cohen, and all these different people that were just incredible songwriters. And so I grew up really loving these songs. I consider myself a songwriter now, and I’m such a huge fan of writing lyrics and making sure that lyrics are interesting and captivating. But still, you know, there’s a little bit of humor in them. I think my love for those songs that my dad played me growing up has influenced my taste in music going forward. You know, there’s all these jazz standards that have incredible lyrics that are so cheeky and so clever. I think my love for those lyrics has influenced my writing, and so I think that definitely began at a young age based on what I was hearing.
How would you describe your style of music? I am obsessed with Bebop. I would say that my style is sort of like Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra, like the timeless singers of the ‘40s and ‘50s and ‘60s, mixed with more modern sounds. My style is very much inspired by the straight ahead, swing era, but I am still very much a ‘90s baby — and I do love my avocado toast. What’s it like being a modern-day jazz singer? Being a jazz singer today, I think it’s an interesting balance of respecting what came before you while also carving a way for yourself to go into the future, because so much of the music and so much of a jazz singer’s repertoire is the Great American Songbook. That’s such a huge part of the music is to sing the same songs, but interpret them in your own way. So I think modern day jazz singers are still using those elements of the Great American Songbook of the ‘40s and ‘50s and making them our own. When you’re writing music, do you think about how you might be a part of a variation of the Great American Songbook one day? When I write, I write for myself, and I write in a way that I think is true to myself while also being true to my genre. The genre has captivated me, like I’m completely in my element. I don’t think I could really write a pop song. To be honest, I could write a pop song from the ‘40s, but not from 2022. I find it challenging to make things modern, because I love using language that is from past eras. What I’ll do is I’ll watch old movies, and I’ll write down phrases that I think are kind of interesting. I’ll try to use those in a song to make things seem like they could have been written in the ‘50s or the ‘40s. I just hope that when I write, I’m writing to last and that the songs are timeless no matter what genre they’re in.
When I write, I write for myself, and I write in a way that I think is true to myself while also being true to my genre. And the genre has captivated me, like I’m completely in my element. What was the jazz scene in Toronto like before the pandemic and how did the pandemic affect your work? Oh my god, it was amazing. I was exhausted, but it was fun. It was like a good exhaustion where you’re like, ‘Okay, well, this is exactly what I want to do.’ Performing for people live is just one of the most rewarding things, especially when they connect with you and your lyricism. Like there’s nothing more rewarding than looking into the audience and seeing that you have people in the palm of your hand and the way
that you’re phrasing and telling the stories is touching them. I really miss being able to do that on a regular basis. I guess the biggest part was how live performance just got taken away. Jamming was really difficult; I felt so out of practice. When I finally did get to play with people again, it was really really challenging. The music that I sing is such a social music, like there’s a whole scene around jam sessions and going up to play with new people and meeting new people on the bandstand and playing with different people. That whole element of the music, which is such an important part of the music and its history, got taken away within like a day. What’s something you wish more people knew about jazz? There’s like so many incredible women and non-binary folks that play this music. If you take the time to go search for those people and listen to their music, I think you’re going to really like it. It’s just so important to support women and non-binary folks that are in this industry, and have the support of the listener who is listening to people that might not be the norm of what the genre used to look like.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Creatives | Her Interviewee Comeback
HER INTERVIEWEE comeback “...just attempt the interview. That will be your achievement.” WORDS ILLUSTRATION
Subhanghi Anandarajah Breanna Schnurr & Kate Shier
Charumathi’s friends lovingly teased her for moving more sluggish than a seahorse. She consecutively completed her meals last. In public, they needed to routinely glance all over to ensure she was nearby. So it was no shock that as she perused and then reread each characteristic of the several memberships Costco offered, she distractedly swung her legs.
Unemployment had accompanied Charumathi for four years now. Once she turned 18, she started her first job at the A&W in her hometown, Richmond Hill. After her first three months there, a manager told her she needed to improve her agility and proficiency when handling unfamiliar responsibilities in order to remain there. Considering Charumathi would flee whenever her father chopped meat and she didn’t count on herself to operate any heated cookware appliances at home, she floundered when preparing burgers. Regardless, she quit two weeks following that revelation since her work consistently influenced her panic attacks. Blending her terribly inadequate cooking practice and her apprehensiveness of settings where she wasn’t shining, Charumathi dreaded curbing the team’s abilities, exhausted from persistently confining herself in the bathroom as she willed her tears away. Her mother, Luxmi, didn’t appreciate that Charumathi hadn’t brought up her decision to quit before she handed in her apron. Anyhow, since then, Luxmi only reminded her to apply for available roles. Last Wednesday, Charumathi had been seeking positions on job boards when she came across the cashier posting for a Richmond Hill Costco. Her mother had fulfilled the exact job there for six years. Each of Luxmi’s visits back ensured presents for their family from her coworkers. Coincidentally, Luxmi’s peers had brought a few potential cashier roles to her attention that day. So here was Charumathi, agonizing over details about the corporation, including their widespread stocks and where she would need to direct customers based on the location’s layout. She had succeeded on the applicant test and was readying herself for her interview the next day. “Charumathi!” Her mother shrieked as she slammed Charumathi’s door. Seeing Charumathi jolt and take a deep breath, her mother chuckled. “Sorry.” Luxmi sat down and passed her a packed, plum folder. “Charumathi, make sure you read these.” “Wait, what are these?” she questioned her mother, her breath growing quicker by the second. “Every time your sister and I have gone through an interview, we write down all the questions we can remember. Read through all these so you’re not caught off guard by any questions you didn’t predict.”
She clasped her hands and pressed them against her chest. Her right foot was thumping. She needed to devour chocolate. Charumathi withdrew 10 pages with questions and suggestions printed down on them. There were even a few stray pages recapping guidance for interviews. She clasped her hands and pressed them against her chest. Her right foot was thumping. She needed to devour chocolate. Charumathi then began sobbing. “Amma!” she wheezed. Astonished, Luxmi shut Charumathi’s bedroom door and embraced her. “Why are you weeping like this? Is the interview terrifying you?”
The morning of, Charumathi donned the white lace dress shirt her mother had purchased the same day she filed her application. Once she had readied herself and prepared for the interview one final time, her sister Divya drove her to Costco since their mother was at work. “All the best, Charumathi. Don’t panic about the interview, and show them your terrific answers,” Divya told her while showing the peace sign. Charumathi walked over to customer service, where she was notified that they were carrying out interviews at the back. She sat down, and after a few minutes, Norbert spotted her. Well, of course, she didn’t realize it was him until he reached out for a handshake and offered his name.
Charumathi gripped her mother closer. “Please, can I just miss the interview? Let me have some more time to read through all these papers and the online interview recommendations I made notes for, and I’ll go to the next interview for sure. Amma please, I can’t prepare myself in time for tomorrow.” Luxmi gazed at her and pinched her cheek lightly. “Charumathi, I don’t need you to get the job. What I wish is that you just attempt the interview. That will be your achievement.” Luxmi wiped her tears and Charumathi rested her head on her mom’s lap, practicing the questions together. At 10 p.m., Luxmi suggested that Charumathi go to sleep so she wouldn’t struggle to wake up early.
Norbert had been her mother’s manager and Luxmi often talked about him with the family after her shifts. They had become cherished friends, yet, thankfully, he’d never met Charumathi. She didn’t want her mother to have any influence on her getting this job. The interview commenced once he put her application in front of them. “Charumathi, what are a few of the tasks a cashier fulfills at Costco?” Norbert began. “They carry out financial transactions for customers, pack the goods they buy, maintain their registers, and deal with memberships, among other tasks,” she said, doing her best to show how earnest she was as a candidate.
Creatives | Her Interviewee Comeback
DO YOU WANT TO LISTEN WHILE YOU READ?
“Well done!” Norbert grinned, looking impressed. He stared closely for a few seconds before glimpsing at her application and then her. “Charumathi, are you Luxmi Sathiyendran’s daughter?” She smiled with reluctance. “Yes, I am.” “Oh wow, I didn’t realize you were her daughter. I’ve listened to her go on about you and your sister, but for once, I’m finally meeting you.” With an enormous smile, he asked, “So did your mom brief you on everything?”
The New Wave team has taken the time to curate a playlist of their 2000’s favourites for your listening pleasure! Please feel free to listen along while reading through this zine, reminiscing about your favourite Mean Girls moment, or working the elliptical like Elle Woods! Enjoy.
She fixed her posture. “No, I thoroughly reviewed all the cashier details. I researched on my own about the job so I wouldn’t depend on my mom.” Leaning back, Norbert nodded.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
— The New Wave Team “No Charumathi, you already got the job.” She chuckled softly and swiped away tears as she gratefully thanked Norbert, who also laughed and shook her hand again.
“Sounds good.” The interview lasted another 30 minutes. Since she hadn’t been employed for quite a while, whenever questions about her work experiences came up — such as how she resolved errors without a supervisor nearby — she discussed her present situation as a volunteer at one of the city libraries. Norbert would also outline his profession and the occurrences he faced at Costco when she asked about the atmosphere and his duties. “Alright Charumathi, any last questions you want to bring up?” She pondered about how to express her question for a moment.
After wrapping up the specifics of when the offer would appear, she power-walked to her sister’s car in the store parking lot. “How was it?” Divya asked apprehensively. “First, take me to Amma’s workplace!” Glancing at her little sister’s immense smile, Divya joyfully hurried to their mom’s work. When she entered, Charumathi noticed her mom speaking with someone else and lingered until Luxmi noticed her. “Charumathi, how did you get here? What happened to the interview?” “Amma, I got the job!”
“Well Norbert, when would Costco reach out to me if I get the position? He beamed. “Charumthi, you succeeded in this interview.” “Oh, thank you, Norbert! So, will I have a second interview?”
Scan the Spotify Code in-app to listen to the playlist.
Her mother’s face illuminated with ridges as she beamed and presented Charumathi with a thumbs up.
Her mother’s face illuminated with ridges as she beamed and presented Charumathi with a thumbs up. “Congrats! I knew you would receive this job with your brilliance!” Luxmi hugged her and they swayed side to side. “I’ll see you both at home after my shift, and we’ll head out for dinner!” Pinching Charumathi’s cheeks, her mom embraced her once more. As soon as the sisters were back home, Charumathi screenshotted the interview email as a remembrance of her triumph. A reminder that she always had the potential to surpass her own hopes — but what mattered most was that she tried.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | From Instagram to TikTok: The Way Social Media Influenced Our Lives
FROM INSTAGRAM TO TIKTOK
If you were born between the years 1997 and 2003, it’s safe to say you’ve been part of the generation that grew up with social media, technology and watched these advancements come to life, experiencing each phase at a new point in your own life. Many of us saw the rise and fall of MySpace, the use of Facebook, which soon transitioned to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. As we grew older, however, the ways in which we utilized social media became less about staying in contact with friends and staying updated on everyone’s lives and became more about building a brand and staying up to date with current trends. In the early days of Facebook, people would use the app to post life updates about their family, a school dance or Thanksgiving dinner, and were only in contact with classmates or those they had a direct link with. Slowly, what was once a way of receiving updates turned into a social monster revolving around body image and self-esteem. As our generation grew into our teen years, the shift from Facebook to Instagram began slowly. Instagram’s entire purpose when it was first released was to be a photo sharing app. However, using it as teenagers, the majority of kids would only post photos of themselves and sometimes their friends. This is when a cultural shift began to occur — social platforms became less about connection and more about content. Instagram launched filters in 2010 and stories in 2016. These changes not only affected the platform, but the way users interacted with it. Introducing face-altering filters to adolescents was the starting point of cultivating a generation that exhibits body image and esteem issues. The most prevalent example of this today can be seen through TikTok. TikTok stands out from other social media apps because its existence functions on a different playing field. TikToks are able to retain the audience’s limited attention spans by providing new and fascinating information in less than 60 seconds, while creating an elite online society with app-wide inside jokes. The culture on the app creates an environment where niche communities are formed and everyone has the same chance to go viral. Though, the problem that this creates on the app is a lack of social boundaries and the creation of trends that exemplify insecurities. A term that has been coined on the platform recently has been “new insecurity unlocked,” which refers to the sheer rapidity of ways to pick apart your body and face. A current example of this can be seen through the “scalp check” trend. This trend involves users lifting their cameras above their heads to film their scalps in order to see if their hair is balding or thinning.
THE WAY SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCED OUR LIVES How screens made of tiny words and complex algorithms deepened the cuts of our teenage insecurities. 20
Laviza Syed Breanna Schnurr
Another example is the new eyebrow trend, which uses a built-in TikTok filter that maps premade lines and proportions onto the user’s face to see if their eyebrows are properly placed on their faces. Many have called this the “perfect eyebrow” filter. In line with the eyebrow filter, another commonly used filter is used to check face proportions, to see if the user’s features line up with what the “ideal” face looks like.
But, these so-called flaws now have a broader reach. Younger kids have increased access to technology, and with limited supervision, they can be exposed to too much too early, and allow themselves to be profited off of at ages as young as six or seven. Not only has TikTok created more insecurities within teens and young adults, but it has also created an ideal type of “girl.” An entire genre of TikToks now consist of people trying too hard to achieve a perfect, ideal lifestyle — going to the gym every day, eating three balanced meals, being productive, having a social life, getting eight hours of sleep — fostering a fixation on hyper-productivity rather than valuing a healthy balance of rest and work.
Not only has TikTok created more insecurities within teens and young adults, but it has also created an ideal type of ‘girl.’ Behind the facade of this extremely put-together individual lies the reason behind this change in the way we use social media — platforms have become less about staying in contact and more about being a content creator. Algorithms and engagement on apps like TikTok and Instagram have created a global demographic. Now, posting something at the right time could connect you with audiences around the world, placing more emphasis on using these platforms to increase your following, rather than remaining up to date with friends and family. People can spend up to 20 minutes perfecting the placement of objects and people to post a story that will hold followers’ attention for no more than 10 seconds because they are no longer posting for their friends; they are posting to increase their brand and broaden their reach. It isn’t all bad. Social media has many positive aspects as well. TikTok and Twitter have allowed people to be introduced to new aesthetics, food styles and curate their personalities. It has led people to try new foods they otherwise wouldn’t have, as well as learn about other cultures more in-depth. It has also allowed people to hear the lived experiences of those they would never have connected with, if not for the reach of algorithms widening their perspectives. It is possible, though, that this level of openness and instant gratification has created a sense of identity loss from being exposed to so many ways of life. People now don’t know which chronically online “style” they want to experience life in. With rapidly advancing means of technology and the constant creation of social platforms, we never know when the next TikTok or Instagram will be launched, or how deeply invested in it we’ll be. But the creation of insecurities will be a consistent factor, exposing users to the ideal body type to compare themselves to unrealistic expectations to create profit. Maybe the way to fix the problem is to forget aesthetics and branding, and go back to posting unflattering family photos?
Since everything is done behind the safety of a screen, social media platforms have removed a sense of boundaries, as now people think it’s acceptable to point out flaws in others, coupled with filters and trends that can go on for ages. Face symmetry, hip dips, dark circles, big noses, stretch marks, body hair and acne are just a few examples.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Creatives | All the Stars Reveal Themselves
In that moment under the midnight starlight, with the love and acceptance of my dad, I finally felt peace.
We had just received the firepit we ordered for our backyard — it was an unexpected surprise that broke up the monotony of my long days in lockdown that summer. Looking back, that firepit provided me with many wonderful memories; around it, I tried my first smore. It also brought my family closer together. Every week, we would sit quietly in each other’s company and appreciate the beauty in doing absolutely nothing. While I look back quite fondly at those moments, there is one that will always remain a little more vivid than the rest. Because, beyond merely marking a moment in my history, this memory defined it — a milestone that truly set me free. I looked up at the sky. It could have been pitch black if not for the scattered collection of stars lighting up the night. I thought about how wonderful it is to be alive. “Existential nihilism,” I recall once reading. The realization that one’s existence on this earth is insignificant compared to the magnitude of the universe. The stars above reminded me of this.
I spent years suppressing my feelings and convincing myself that what I was experiencing was merely a phase. But deep down inside, I knew the truth — and that terrified me.
ALL THE STARS REVEAL THEMSELVES How acceptance and love validated my truth.
I drew my attention back to the crackling fire before me. It added an extra touch of comfort to the refreshing late August breeze. It looked so alive. My dad told me he loved watching the fire because it was beautiful and free. I hadn’t felt free for a long time. Growing up in a traditional Catholic family and going to Catholic school my entire life, expectations were never explicitly said; they were understood. For a long time, I felt lost, confused and panicked. Like many people with my circumstances, I felt alone. I spent years suppressing my feelings and convincing myself that what I was experiencing was merely a phase. But deep down inside, I knew the truth — and that terrified me. When I finally left high school, I became a different person. I was always angry. With the world, with myself. With every inkling of intolerance or judgment I sensed, I felt personally attacked and compelled to put an end to it. Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, in those moments, it wasn’t only acceptance from others that I was searching for,
it was also my own. Shortly after joining me and my dad around the fire, my mom turned in for the night. I looked back at her and noticed the expression on her face as she closed the slide door. She was smiling — the reassuring way only moms can — and gave me an inconspicuous thumbs up. I knew what she was telling me. My heart began to race. I wanted to do this. I needed to do this. I couldn’t bear to be plagued with this feeling any longer. I turned to my dad, staring into the fire. “Dad?” “Yeah?” “I’m gay.” The silence was loud. A moment passed and I couldn’t read his expression. I felt tears begin to swell in my eyes. I don’t usually cry, but when those words were finally out there, released into the universe, it felt like a profound mental and spiritual purging. But I knew it didn’t end there. The next words that would be said held the power to either comfort or completely ruin me. He turned to me, content, and told me that it was okay. He told me that he loses sleep over the things that matter; he wasn’t going to lose sleep over this. Whenever I find myself in moments of doubt or sadness, I think of what he said to me next, and hold onto his words tightly. “You’re still you, nothing has changed.” Relief flooded my body. A weight had been removed from my soul. Years of built-up fear, loneliness and uncertainty burned away before me. I put my head on my dad’s shoulder and sat in his embrace. In that moment under the midnight starlight, with the love and acceptance of my dad, I finally felt peace. I looked up at the stars and once again contemplated our existence. The universe is infinite and we are all such small specks in the grandeur of reality that exists. But in that moment, I decided that despite how insignificant my little existence may be, I was going to live it as fully as possible. I still had a long way to go in terms of accepting myself — there was no doubt about that. But I remember thinking despite how uncertain life will be, somehow everything was going to turn out okay. Like the crackling fire in front of me, I, too, deserved to
Alessandra Capistrano Taylor Webb
Creatives |Home Is Where the Heart Is, But Where Is the Heart?
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS but where is the heart? The word ‘foreign’ does not belong in my vocabulary. WORDS
Growing up, I always hated the word “foreigner.” I especially hated being called that in a place I considered home. As a first-generation immigrant, I have long battled with the concept of home and what the idea really means to me. I moved to Canada with my parents when I was six years old, leaving behind the rest of my family and the routines I knew as a young child in Taiwan. This chapter brought me new opportunities and experiences, but it also instilled a lot of self-doubt over the years. Spending your school years in a country different from what you and your family have known alters how people look at you. Some people fixate on your differences and build their opinion on you based on these assumptions. When we first settled in Canada, we lived in what was a predominantly white town at the time. The cultural landscape of Kelowna, B.C., has somewhat changed since then, but for many years I was the only Asian kid in my classes. I didn’t think much of it when I was young, but as I got older, I realized how it substantially influenced me and the way I felt about myself. The subtle racism, the weird looks at my school lunches, unintentional comments resembling othering (the act of treating someone as if they do not fit into societal norms) — those moments stuck to me like a leech. The worst part is, I didn’t realize the leech was there until it was almost too late.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Feelings of internal racism and self-doubt made me involuntarily lose parts of myself. I began to tear away at bits of my heritage. From speaking less Mandarin, to hating the meals we ate at home, I lost aspects of myself that I am still trying to gain back. This further dissipated the definition of home in my brain; the more I was losing my grip on my cultural identity, the less I felt like I belonged anywhere. It wasn’t until high school that I truly regretted the decisions I made as a child. Sure, I was just a kid, but those choices I made continued to affect me as I grew older. I realized that I was letting my culture and ancestry slip away from me by neglecting those parts of myself, by being afraid of sharing my heritage with others. In hopes of fitting in, I actually fell more out of touch with myself. Initially, a small part of me felt that my home was back in Taiwan, where my family was. Although I just so happened to live in Canada now, that didn’t change how strongly I believed that Taiwan would be the same, exactly as I left it in 2008. When I would go back during summer vacations, it felt like I was going back to somewhere familiar. It felt like that sense of home I had been longing for. The presence of my family, the smell of familiar spices and even the cheesy Taiwanese soap operas playing on the TV all made it seem like home. Yet that familiarity seemed to translate differently in other people’s eyes. To them, my family and strangers, I was an outsider — the foreign, English-speaking kid who was different. Although they never said it to my face, I could feel that kind of mentality from those around me. This shattered the idea of home I had so ingrained in myself and made me see the reality of it all, how I didn’t truly belong, but I didn’t understand why this was happening. I honestly still don’t fully understand why I was being viewed as different when I speak the language, am part of the culture and appreciate my heritage. Hell, I was born there. Why did people see me as a foreigner?
Various memories have stuck with me, which have implicitly shaped my self-view and identity. At times my uncle would say, “She wouldn’t understand, she’s foreign,” to my mother like I wasn’t even in the room. Or that one time in Grade 2 when my teacher used me as an example to describe the word “alien” during our weekly spelling classes. While these comments may have been lighthearted and innocent, they still stand out in my memory and make me doubt my identity, even years after they happened. Foreign, alien, waiguoren (foreigner in Mandarin); I never liked these words. They made me feel strange, unincluded, isolated. Like I didn’t belong. This feeling manifested itself into a personal crisis — an internal debate between who I am and where I fit in. Many questions have popped up throughout my life. Why am I considered different by the people I identify with? Who am I if not the same as them? Am I anyone at all? These questions have stuck with me through the majority of my upbringing and still linger to this day. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just being oversensitive, but the idea of home has become such a jumble in my head that the word itself makes little sense.
I was an outsider — the foreign, English-speaking kid who was different. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, home is “the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives.” Does this really make sense to me? It seems so simple, just a place where you live. But the feeling of home, that feeling of solace and safety, is so much more than just a place — and that feeling was what I was chasing down as it continuously slipped out of my hands. As I got older, I continued to evaluate the idea of home. This internal conflict gradually became undramatized as I matured, which allowed me to step back and look at it from a more composed perspective.
Creatives |Home Is Where the Heart Is, But Where Is the Heart?
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
I’ve learned that home is family, friends, experiences, adventures; it is all the things that reside in you. After spending my childhood in a state of selfhate, I eventually realized how important it is to hold on to your roots. Going back to Taiwan in the summers helped me stay connected to my family and culture. I took classes to better my reading and writing skills, and I continue to have conversations with my family to learn more about our history. In pandemic times, technology has definitely been a reliable friend. Staying connected through video chat and messaging has been a source of reassurance, and while it doesn’t beat actually being there, it is the next best thing.
identity can be multifaceted. In fact, it has to be, your identity is made up of all your life experiences, your ancestors’ experiences and every single thing that came before you. It is not just a box you check. This mindset is the same for the concept of home. It can be hard to find a sense of belonging as an immigrant child. The complicated labyrinth of finding yourself becomes entangled with even more questions and confusion. But while the experience can feel lonely, it is not limited to one person. It is important to understand that there are so many people who feel the same way and have had similar thoughts throughout their own unique experiences.
Meanwhile, my environment in Canada has become more diversified, especially after moving to Toronto for university. I’ve been able to find people I can connect with and feel a bit less “alien.”
I’m still trying to figure out what home means to me. But now, I am learning that this definition does not have to be set in stone, nor does it only have a single and final description. Home is widely interpreted as such a rooted word when in reality, it is a flexible concept that is different to every individual. Home doesn’t necessarily have to be a house or a place — it can be anything and everything. I’ve learned that home is family, friends, experiences, adventures; it is all the things that reside in you. The definition doesn’t have to be logical to everyone as long as it makes sense to you. So, maybe home can be two places at once.
I am extremely fortunate to have a connection with both countries and be able to physically exist in each space. I have the privilege to learn, the privilege to gain back what I threw away in my childhood and the privilege of finding a definition of home. Above all, I have to acknowledge that I am a settler of colour on unceded Indigenous land, that I have the responsibility to listen to the voices of Indigenous peoples and recognize how to reduce the harm done by colonial policies. People often feel pressured to choose an identity that they have to carry with them for the rest of their existence. What they don’t tell you is that this Madeline Liao during her first trip to Canada in February 2005. Photo courtesy of Madeline Liao.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | The Resurgence of Indigenous Fashion Through Decolonial Love
THE RESURGENCE OF INDIGENOUS FASHION THROUGH decolonial love Justine Woods on reclaiming her Aabitaawikwe identity through her relationship with land, life and love. WORDS
For many Indigenous artists, it’s nearly impossible to create — and to simply live — authentically and truthfully without acknowledging the realities of colonization. “I wanted to look at relationships of love that exist between my body and the land, my body and non-human nations (like plants and animals), as well as the practices I was engaging in through the making, designing and wearing of these garments.” The creation of the collection involved countless hours of research, pattern drafting, stitching and sewing, as well as deep introspection into why she was creating each garment. “Everything was connected in relationship to one another to support my body as an Indigenous person, as I was engaging in cultural practices, in relation to the land where I come from,” said Woods. “Every choice that I made in the design process was intentional and had a function.” The functionality element Woods describes can be seen in the ice fishing bib pants from her collection (pictured below). This piece in particular reminded Woods of fishing trips with her father and the love she has for her homeland.
SUSTAINABILITY AND SPIRITUALITY The garment, sewn in double-faced wool and vegetable tanned deer hide, while lined with seed beads, also emphasizes Woods’ commitment to sustainable fashion design. “The majority of the materials I prefer to use in my work are land based. A lot of my pieces feature raw hide, deer skin, moose hide…” said Woods. “Supporting the economic resurgence of other creators is also very important to me, which is why I always try to support Indigenous, independent bead sellers.” Sustainable garment creation is a natural practice for many Indigenous designers, according to a CBC article from last summer. Many scholars also point to Indigenous sustainable design practices as a guiding light for the future to combat the ever-worsening climate crisis. “The importance of connections to our land, and thinking about our impact, those values really inspire a different relationship and meaning
For many Indigenous artists, it’s nearly impossible to create — and to simply live — authentically and truthfully without acknowledging the realities of colonization. This is the case for Justine Woods, an Aabitaawikwe designer, garment artist, and creative scholar. Woods is a 2018 fashion design graduate from X University and has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary art, media and design from OCAD University. She is presently back at X University where she’s a PhD candidate in media and design innovation with a focus on Indigenous fashion practices. As a member of the Georgian Bay Métis community, and someone with a strong passion for art and design, Woods has spent countless hours examining the connection between her adoration for fashion and her Indigenous roots. A LOVE FOR HER HOMELAND “My work and research is entirely informed by how I move and live around the world with respect to my Indigeneity,” said Woods. “Spirituality, a relationship to the land that I come from and stories are essentially what inspires my work.” This worldview influenced Woods’ 2021 thesis exhibition for her master’s degree. For this collection, Woods created several garment and beadwork constructed pieces that centered around the “praxis of decolonial love.”
A quilted duck vest from Justin Woods’ 2021 thesis collection in Tiny, Ont., photographed by Lori Woods. All the seams of the collection were stitched in a circular pattern and flipped inside out, which acts as metaphors for Indigenous relationality and the practice of engaging in decolonization, respectively. Photo courtesy of Justine Woods.
Justine Woods models her ice fishing bib pants from her 2021 thesis collection on the ice of Georgian Bay, Ont. Photography by Lori Woods. Photo courtesy of Justine Woods.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Features | The Resurgence of Indigenous Fashion Through Decolonial Love
with fashion,” said Taylor Brydges, a PhD in Canadian fashion and a current post-doctoral student at the University of Toronto Mississauga. BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH BEADING CIRCLES Woods continues to share her Aabitaawikwe culture with others through the weekly beading circle gatherings she created at X University in the beginning of 2019. Despite switching to a virtual experience due to the pandemic, the circle has only grown in popularity and has recently secured a partnership with Indigenousowned company, Manitobah Mukluks. Through the Indian Act, many Indigenous gatherings, including beading circles, were banned in Canada until 1951. Today, beading circles are a celebration of the resistance of Indigenous Peoples.
In addition to her design work, Woods is expanding her career into teaching. She is currently a graduate assistant and contract lecturer at X University where she is creating an entirely new course that began in the Winter 2022 semester titled “Indigenous Craft Practices”. Despite her many jobs, spreading the word of decolonization through the promotion of Indigenous love and values remains at the forefront of all Woods’ endeavors. She hopes that her work will one day help future generations have an easier time connecting and relating to their Indigeneity. “What makes Indigenous fashion so powerful is that it’s a visual s tance that we’re still here and our culture is still flourishing even though, you know, they tried,” says Woods with a laugh. “Going forward it’s just that — continuing to piece together teachings, knowledge, and continuing to refuse.”
“Beading circles are an act of resurgence,” said Woods. “It’s a space where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks can form reciprocal, respectful relationships that contribute towards anti-colonial futures.”
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO READ NEXT? find out here! Agree or disagree with the prompts below to receive a book recommendation! * *Please be mindful of content warnings to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe reading experience.
Reading about family relationships interests me more than reading about romantic relationships.
I enjoy plot twists.
I read from a variety of genres.
“What makes Indigenous fashion so powerful is that it’s a visual stance that we’re still here and our culture is still flourishing even though, you know, they tried,” says Woods with a laugh.
I’m a creative person who likes to read about other creatives.
I like it when a book tugs at my heartstrings; bring on the tears!
I prefer fictional narratives as opposed to non-fiction narratives.
No I love steamy romance novels.
Books are best read with a side of comfort food.
Books that I can pick up and read on the go are best for my busy schedule.
SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE Tia WIlliams
CRYING IN H MART Michelle Zauner
HOW TO PRONOUNCE KNIFE Souvankham Thammavongsa
Eva Mercy and Shane Hall first met as teenagers and spent seven days over the summer falling in love — until one distressing event pulled them apart. Fifteen years later, Eva is a single mom in Brooklyn, and author of the bestselling erotica series, Cursed, which is soon releasing its fifteenth volume and has been recently optioned for film rights. But when Shane — now an award-winning novelist himself — turns up unexpectedly at a literary panel that Eva is speaking at, the two spend the week that follows confronting their past together (and reigniting their romance!)
In this coming-of-age memoir, singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner (a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast) expands upon her New Yorker essay of the same title to dive into the story of losing her mother to cancer. Zauner is able to reconnect with the memory of her mother, and her Korean identity, through familiar recipes, such as doenjang jjigae and jatjuk. Candidly written with anecdotes about mother-daughter love, the idea of food as a way to heal grief and the life that happens in-between, this is a book to laugh and cry along to.
A collection of 14 short stories, Thammavongsa’s debut fiction brings together nuanced portrayals of Lao immigrants navigating the Western world and finding their place in it. In the titular story How to Pronounce Knife, a young girl turns to her father for help pronouncing an unfamiliar word in her school book. In Paris, a woman employed at a chicken processing plant observes beauty standards and hierarchies playing out in the workplace. Each individual story in this collection offers a brief, yet impactful, glimpse into the everyday lives of the respective characters.
Justine Woods and others take part in a beading circle at X University. Photography by Alia Youssef. Photo courtesy of X University.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
Creatives | How Do We Nurture Our Creativity?
Creativity makes life joyful; community makes creativity possible. WORDS
When I was young, creativity was a state of being. I loved art class, wrote short stories and danced. Yet as the years went on, I found myself dismissing my creativity. I didn’t think I was great at anything, so did I deserve to create anything at all? However, as my creativity waned, I was simultaneously making these amazing friends, all of whom were undeniably creative. So, when in the midst of a pandemic, school, work and endless responsibilities, my once inescapable creativity now seemed unattainable — but I knew where to look for inspiration.
HOW DO WE NURTURE OUR CREATIVITY? 32
I don’t want to talk about creativity the way we do in school. What does creativity mean? How do you manage it? How do you make money? No disrespect; I am grateful for my education. But, what I want to know is how does creating make you feel like you’re alive? What inspires you? How do you move forward when it feels impossible? So I asked. And I’m going to tell you what I heard. First, let me introduce you to some friends of mine. Julia (she/ her) is a musician who also finds creativity in painting, cooking and hair and makeup. Ifiok (she/her) is a writer, a selfdescribed “amateur” photographer and decorator. Imani (she/ her) is a painter, curator, writer, graphic designer, and recently she took up dancing. Before you get imposter syndrome (like me), let’s remember that I’m trying to move outside the capitalistic narrative of creativity. All these titles after their names? They aren’t all things they do for profit, or even their primary mediums. They’re for joy, release and play. Today, we’ll be giving them all equal weight as we discuss creativity. What does creativity mean to you? When asked to define creativity, everyone called it some version of their “authentic expression.” Imani talked about the importance of reflecting on your experiences and your culture. Julia spoke about rooting creativity in your authentic self. And Ifiok? Ifiok reminded me that maybe “creativity is not as complex as society makes it to be.” How was her laptop made? Redesigning her apartment? Dressing for the day? She sees creativity in all that, and that’s important. Because if you see creativity that way, then there isn’t so much pressure on how you choose to express yourself.
Creatives | How Do We Nurture Our Creativity?
When do you feel the most creative?
How important is community to sustaining your creative practice?
There’s this story Julia told me. One time, she was creating music, and was in a really good place. You know when you just feel like everything is flowing? When you can look up and suddenly five hours have gone by, and you’re better for it, and you’ve created something.
Ifiok’s creativity primarily exists in her inner world. But for Julia and Imani, community is integral to their creative practice. For Julia, her stories revolve around how soliciting others’ feedback pushes and grows her music.
Everyone I talked to said they found they were most creative during that flow of time. But in this instance, Julia was flowing along, and then she hit a wall. She felt stuck. She realised that the sounds she was creating, and the direction the song was going in was new territory. She was scared to push herself. Because what would come out of her? What if it was a part of her she had never met before? But she took a breath and permitted herself to fail. And in doing so, she was able to push forward and create one of her favourite songs she’s ever written. It’s called “No Warning,” and will be released in summer 2022. What inspires you?
For Imani, community is “the most important thing.” She talked about how the curatorial and the creative world is rife with gatekeeping and creates barriers to access for many marginalised communities. Imani wants to “help break those barriers down and increase access to those spaces so that [communities are] represented within the art displayed in these spaces,” and so “people feel comfortable going into those spaces and engaging with the work, in a way that feels representative, or [that] they just feel comfortable, regardless of what’s being shown.” This goal is rooted in community. Imani also shared how being involved with activism and organizing in the city is inspiring. Particularly, seeing how activists and organizers connect with artistic practices. Like she told me — “everything is connected.”
Parents, strangers, friends, coworkers — inspiration has a human face. As a curator, Imani works to help increase the representation of queer, trans and BIPOC people in the arts industries. It is her community, and how her creativity can benefit her community, that inspires her.
Art is about capturing the human experience — not just her experience.
Ifiok told me about her relationship with her dad — one of her biggest inspirations. Like any human relationship, she told me, theirs has gone through phases, and each phase of their relationship has inspired a new wave of creativity. Julia told me that when she got bored of writing about her life, she turned outward. She started going on intentional walks and observing the world around her. This inspired her to find new ways of storytelling. Like she told me, art is about capturing the human experience — not just her experience. How do you sustain your creative practice? Softly. Everyone I talked to sustains their creative practice with great care and self-compassion. They go for walks, they take breaks when they need to, they rest when they’re tired. The women I spoke with showed great trust that their creativity would wait. Ifiok’s solution to burnout is to take part in “little acts of creativity.” When she isn’t writing, she brings creativity into her life through journaling, organizing, or taking photos. Julia practises “showing up for her creativity.” Like Ifiok, if she doesn’t want to make music, that’s fine. Yet last summer, when she lost her inspiration, she filled up an entire sketchbook instead. When I asked Imani this question, she talked about self-care, and sustaining yourself beyond your practice. But what surprised me was so simple. She told me that she trusts that her ideas are good. It is through that self-trust that she gets out of her own way, and allows her creative self to practice.
It is through that self-trust that she gets out of her own way, and allows her creative self to practice.
What do you do when you feel unmotivated?
To summarize, when asked what they feel when they are unmotivated, their responses were very similar — cry, rest, spend time alone, talk to people, walk, run. You either do the work or you don’t. But regardless, you need to be kind to yourself and trust that the motivation will return when you (or it) is ready. What are your thoughts on hustle culture? I’m not going to lie — a vein of hypocrisy entered our conversations here. No one I talked to enjoys hustle culture. Imani talked about how capitalistic hustle culture drains people and degrades collaboration. Julia spoke about how she doesn’t believe that “art, acceptance, love, [or] play” exist in a rushed, standardised world. Yet, both of them were quick to admit they still fall into the trap of hustling. It was only Ifiok who could admit that she doesn’t overwork herself. Something, she says, she has grown to appreciate. Regardless, all our conversations on hustle culture boiled down to this idea that, yes, motivation and hard work are good, but is the framework that validates those traits one we should perpetuate? MY FINAL THOUGHTS So now, it’s a cold Tuesday, the sky is grey and I am trying to summarize how I feel. I’d love to say that writing this provided me with divine inspiration, but that isn’t true. What happened was that writing this article proved I could write an article. While I sat, and asked insightful questions, and had deep conversations, I had already taken the most important step — I had started creating. And that’s what I would like to leave you with, reader. I would like to tell you (from the depths of my fears and insecurities) that all you need to do is start. Because I believe that anything — any misshapen, colour-clashing, discordant thing that we create — makes the world a warmer place. If you get stuck, you can always remember this list of tips to nurture your creativity:
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
You are a creative person (believe in yourself). Be curious and make a conscious effort to see the world as a beautiful place. Find the silver linings. Be compassionate (people are harsh on themselves even when they’re doing great work). Embrace uncertainty. Let yourself learn and grow from bad situations. The little acts of creativity are just as important as the big ones. (Re)connect with yourself (remember what your inner child loved doing). If your creativity feels stagnant, it’s because you’re not nurturing it. You are allowed to fail.
New Wave Zine | Issue Seven
I’m the girl who was ecstatic that her first job was at the ice cream shop downtown, but who also found herself having her most therapeutic cries over a half litre in her kitchen at night.
BITTER sticky SWEET WORDS ILLUSTRATION
Annemarie Cutruzzola Sam Cass
Dripping with melancholy and a delectable craving, ice cream is the treat that’s more than mindlessly sweet.
I find it oddly fascinating that ice cream is inherently a sad food and a happy food at the same time. In the three summers I worked at an ice cream shop, I saw it all. Of course, there are plenty of happy families, overjoyed children and way too many cute couples. I’ll never forget the one couple who took their engagement photos right in our shop. What you didn’t see in the Instagram post is how they moved all the tables around to get the perfect backdrop, and how the lavender flavour looks a lot better than it tastes. But there are also the strict parents who don’t let their kids get any of the fun toppings. There are the couples who physically fight to stop the other from paying, once to the point of ripping a bill, sweet on the surface but prideful underneath. There’s the family who came in after a funeral, their black clothes and sombre faces a stark contrast against our pink and white walls advertising flavours like birthday bonanza. Ice cream is the go-to prop in any rom-com with a breakup. The heartbroken girl is always sobbing her eyes out over a 36
bucket of the stuff, her friends probably on their way over with more. But it’s also the first place parents take their kids when they win a soccer tournament or get straight B’s on their report cards. I’m the girl who was ecstatic that her first job was at the ice cream shop downtown, but who also finds herself having her most therapeutic cries over a half litre in her kitchen at night. I realized that it wasn’t only the customers — I had my share of bittersweet moments fuelled by ice cream.
Happy or sad, heartbroken or in love, ice cream is comfort and always will be for me. It was the night after one of my first shifts, and I had tennis elbow from repeatedly trying to scoop a particularly troublesome batch of ice cream. I was also starving from not having eaten for eight hours. So there I was, sitting alone in my kitchen close to midnight, balancing ice packs on my
aching arms while trying to spoon cereal into my mouth. You can imagine how ridiculous that looked, and I just burst out laugh-crying at my own pathetic misery — all because of that damn birthday cake ice cream that was way too frozen to scoop but everyone ordered anyway.
are emptied. The details of our conversation have melted away, but I remember the enveloping feeling of comfort at a time when I needed it most.
While seemingly universally loved, if you look back on your own ice cream memories, maybe they weren’t as saccharine as you recall. Maybe it started with the freezer-burned taste of vanilla grocery store ice cream you’ll always remember, the kind that comes in a two-litre plastic tub that your mom always had to jam into the freezer.
The years ahead would have their ice cream moments too. There was the first pandemic summer when an outing to the McDonald’s drive-thru was the highlight of my week, finding one perfect little moment of bliss with my vanilla cone and my feet up on the dashboard. There was the celebratory post-vaccine ice cream. And of course, when everything got to be too much, crying over a half litre in my kitchen at night.
Then there was the first boy you went on a date with. You were too slow to offer to pay when you got to the cash register. He’s kissing you, but you’re thinking you’d rather be tasting the $9 of cookies and cream that’s melting in the cup, forming a moat around the tiny spoon. You should’ve known it wouldn’t work out the moment he ordered mint chocolate chip. There’s the last day of ninth grade with your friend, the heat of a new season sinking in with the rest of high school looming on the horizon. You got a special cone with sprinkles on it and a stamp card that promises your eighth order free. Amidst the laughter and gossip, you can’t help but wonder if she’ll still want to hang out with you in the fall. You never get your free ice cream. You didn’t want to go alone. My most bittersweet ice cream moment happened the day after everything changed. Predictable crisis: I was heartbroken after breaking my first heart. Unpredictable crisis: a global pandemic was just declared, and the world as I knew it was shutting down around me as I licked cheesecake ice cream off a spoon three storeys above the city. Nothing had sunk in yet, but I knew my life was going to be very different, very suddenly. So I clung to the familiar that day, leading my best friend to the pink and white walls that stuck out from the rest of the eerily empty food court. I ordered all the same toppings I loved at work. I could tell I didn’t make it, but this ice cream was familiar, quite possibly the only thing that wasn’t changing. We talk for hours, long after our cups
Happy or sad, heartbroken or in love, ice cream is comfort, and always will be for me.
Now, when I pass by the ice cream shop I used to work at, there’s hardly any line, nevermind the one winding around the block that I used to tackle most weekends. Large plexiglass screens separate customers and employees, and the three perpetually sticky tables in the seating area are gone. It’s unsettling to think how much has changed in the few years since I worked there. On one hand, I like making minimum wage at home in sweatpants more than making minimum wage in a pink hat and apron. But I miss the constant surprise — something that’s incredibly rare to find surrounded by the same four walls amidst the monotony of Zoom meetings. When the heavy glass door opened, I’d never know what to expect. In our five-minute interactions, I witnessed fleeting, one-note tableaus of our customers. I saw their curiosity and excitement to try a new flavour, but they were already out the door by the time their face scrunched up. I heard the snide comments when someone ordered a large size, but I didn’t live with those remarks echoing for weeks in the minds of those they were carelessly lobbed at. Maybe I’m overanalyzing the complexities of this dessert, but I really think it’s the most twofaced treat. It’s pleasure and pity to eat, craved by insatiable sweet tooths and lonely hearts alike. It’s messy and sticky as much as it is s weet, just like me.