Susie Magazine • Issue 1 • P O W E R

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Two Sided Female Inverted, 2016 Karissa Breuer


a letter from the team

Strange, magical things can happen on the Internets. Sure, you can find an apartment or a date or your new favorite restaurant or buy some concert tickets that way. Or you can scheme and meet other humans that want a part in a special creative endeavor, a small personal revolution if you will. On a warm July day, Susie Magazine was born of the idea that we, as women, as non-binary folks, as people of color, as queers, need to take up more space. We were fairly tired of asking politely for that, so here is our loudest clap back; our first publication as Susie. For months, your Susie babes have been pouring over submissions rooted in the concept of power, whatever that meant to our genius, brilliant contributors. We have strived to be inclusive and balanced during a time when exclusivity seems to be the common brand. We believe that this issue that you’re holding in your hands has the power to connect and bind us to each other in the most dangerous of times. We understand that this issue is just the beginning of our adventures. We hope that you will continue with us, that you’ll find us at your favorite bookstore and share us with your favorite persons and love us the way that we love you, dear reader. Because together we truly believe that holding space for those that aren’t afforded it in the mainstream every day world is a cause that is necessary and effective. And because together we know that this power that you gave to us, that we merely tied up in a nice bow and package, is capable of rippling through others and creating the massive change we hope to hold each other accountable for. With love, Susie Magazine Team

Hair, 2016 Ivanna Besenovsky


Kristen Chiucarello*

Kristen enjoys getting lost in toocomplicated pastry recipes and is often found cuddling with her record collection. She dares anyone to challenge her to a game of rummy. On Fridays find her at Cubbyhole.

Director of Development

Olivia Jane Huffman*

Olivia Jane is a Spanish-American non-binary queer artist and activist. They spend their days making visual art, curating events for LADY ART NATION, and dancing with their cats in the kitchen.

Art Direction

Melanie Roven*

Mel is a fan of big hair, all printed ephemera, and is dying to become your local Art History professor. She is beginning to like the taste of wine, and knows it’s possible to do it all. She can’t live without oceans, humidity and seltzer. One day she will be the proprietor of a book store. Managing Editor

Ludmila Leiva*

Ludmila is a Latina writer, editor, and illustrator based in Brooklyn. She enjoys exploring diasporic identity as it intersects with gender, race, and sexuality. Her work has appeared in The New York Times’ Women in the World, Brooklyn Magazine, Wired, and more.

* photo by Carey MacArthur

Copy Editor Ashley is a multidisciplinary writer, editor, music supervisor, and adult baby who resides in Brooklyn. Her written work can be serious, but she prefers to write in a sarcastic and humorous way. She enjoys obsessively curating playlists, a good laugh, and wearing backwards baseball caps.

Ashley Rose*

Video Editor Taylor is around the Susie offices for occasional video editing, but primarily emotional support. Part feminist filmmaker, part data nerd, she’s surviving by finding the patterns in all this chaos and dancing, one Rihanna song at a time. Find her with Kristen on Fridays.

Taylor Hynes

Social Media Coordinator Clare is an internet addict, social media slut and couch surfing connoisseur. She uses the magical internet machine to share rad feminist content, and loves curating work for Susie Magazine’s Instagram. If unresponsive to email, find her on her sofa in her bathrobe under a pile o’ cats.

Clare Murphy

Film & Photography Hannah Rimm is a contributing writer and resident film lady at Susie. She can often be found marketing animated films, running an NYC-based queer community, and constantly aching for the mountains and perfectly cooked steak.

Hannah Rimm*

Photographer Carey MacArthur is a New York City based Photographer working in the tradition of documentary and fine art photography. Carey’s work explores ideas surrounding feminine empowerment and the female gaze.

Carey MacArthur

C U Next Tuesday, 2016 Emily Hoerdemann

p o w e r playlist Melanie Roven The p o w e r playlist is meant to make you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat with the windows down on a fall day, the radio’s playing every good song, and the person you’ve been pining after is holding your knee across the gear shift. 1. Betty Davis – They Say I’m Different 2. Bonnie Raitt – Mighty Tight Woman 3. Aretha Franklin – Day Dreamin’ 4. Nico – Femme Fatale 5. Kali Uchis - Call Me 6. E.S.G. – My Love for You 7.X- Adult Books 8. Kelela - Rewind 9. Le Tigre – Deceptacon 10. PTAF / Nicki Minaj – Boss Ass Bitch Remix 11. Jungle Pussy – Picky Bitch Checklist 12. Candi Staton – Young Hearts Run Free 13. Mary J. Blige – Just Fine 14. Celia Cruz – Usted Abusó 15. Beyonce – Kitty Kat 16. Monica – So Gone 17. Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long 18. Rihanna – Same Ol’ Mistakes 19. Little Dragon – Cat Rider 20. Abra- PULL UP

Untitled, 2016 Grace Yang

Today I Vote Tanika Goudeau Hochhauser Today I vote because... Someone had to die for me to have the right Today I vote because... I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe Today I vote because... Why did you shoot me? Today I vote because... I walked away and got stabbed in the back Today I vote because... Stay with me, please don’t die Today I vote because The 13th Today I vote because woman and black are not deterrents but assets Today I vote for those who have lost the ability, locked away as a modern day slaves Today I vote because I cried for help and nobody heard me Hear this, I VOTED Hear this, I VOTED

Who Wears The Pants, Gender Bender Series, 2010 Olivia Jane Huffman

Curation #1 Aleigha K. Spinks . There is nothing more true to your character than what you think when you first wake up in the morning. This morning my thought was, “She is extravagant.” Every time I leave her I think the exact same thought. She is unusual, she is pliable, she is dazzling. The curves of her calves. The flick of her eyes. The space between her lips: “She is extravagant.” She paints a pretty picture; lust is the unstoppable force I’ve known for the longest time. The image of her looping her foreign tongue around mine. The two of us falling into sweet, supple resonance. Screaming diphthongs. Caressing the cadence. I wish to explore her mind on a tugboat, dipping my hands into its depths because my hands are perpetually dry. Drink the drippings of her frayed regrets; make a patchwork quilt to wrap her wrong doings in. The style of her sternum binds me, ties me in twists so tight I fight for breath. So engaged – I’ve forgotten how to live loose, I’ve forgotten how to live alive. So strained. I’d sacrifice my rights to live under her great demand. If only she would dictate me, vindicate me, cuff me, tie me to the board. Rip me open, climb inside, and make a home for herself. To roll in her light should be a widespread privilege (I’d rather keep her to myself). My mind melts into desperate desires to lay by her side. I want her hand entwined in my hand, I want them to bind. Oh and her youth? It’s there, it’s her wisdom that’s hard to see. She carries it in her shoulders, her lower back, and her feet. The dip of her spine makes fun of me. Her scent, that neck, the swimming pools for eyes – they sing to me each night sweet lullabies. . Slow and steady. One existential crisis at a time… . “Love is blind.” Love is blind for a reason. Love took a Philips head and shoved it in both eyes; one at a time. Made sure to hit every nerve and stayed silent through the pain. Love’s intention is to not see. Its reasoning is selfish, its freedom is in injustice, its burden is in blood. Love is blind gratuitously. Crippled in candor. Love is two inches tall. It enjoys the attention without the commitment. It enjoys the help through wonton neediness. It enjoys parish. Love is lazy. Love is in losing and blind on purpose. . She kissed me on the forehead for the first time in two weeks. The air between us changed. Then somehow, like some desperate magnet, we began sitting together again. The touching began again. The flirting began again. The tension reincarnated… I don’t think about it. It happens. It’s the most natural connection I’ve ever had. I’m forging nothing.

And then today that familiar feeling of her lips on my forehead reminded me of where I’ve been. Where we’ve been. Two weeks ago, it was almost as if the idea of anything ever happening beyond fact escaped out of my ears and I felt at peace with our whatevers reversing into a friendship. But right in this moment, all I can think about is how many times her hands found my thighs in a matter of six hours. Right in this moment, I feel dehydrated again. . This is the moment we are fluent in one another. . She ignores me and I take it as privilege, knowing that the log line of my days require her to do so. The longing only thickens and my fingers grow nobler with the touch of my own skin. I wear faux turtlenecks to mimic her imaginary choke hold. I smell of a man to reel her in. My scent can’t be nearly as quenching, nor my eyes as glittering with gold. I recall playing in the wisps of her hair and her sitting in my lap. Me sitting in hers… 3 days since we’ve talked. 6 until she leaves. 21 until she returns. I’ve always had a thing for numbers, for vowels, for hand shape, for scent... When it all intertwines there is something deliciously lyrical. I want her back.

Hairy Lipstick, Gender Bender Series, 2010 Olivia Jane Huffman

Self-portrait, 2016 Ivanna Besenovsky

Don’t label me Jessica Jeevika Verma

Four weeks I remained unnamed.

The letter assigned to her – dear tradition, dear J – she was not easy.

In my Indian hometown they say the first letter of a name is auspicious.

Her mama wants her unique, tenth letter, unique.

Four weeks I remained unnamed and finally they celebrated, Jeevika, Jeevika. Now in this classroom I am one in twenty, we speak as one. One story to tell – existential crisis, the bombs, America, the unfairness of it all. I write about it like it is mine. But inside me, she: barbaric, hair tugs, tart bile, cramps under my fingernails, gory memory like butter in my frontal lobe.

The wheels on the bus go brown brown brown

And as she tugs the mantle of hair up back into a bun, the kids call her a show-off.

Yesterday, the professor asked us to turn to our muse. He calls me J. My Starbucks cup screams to him in Sharpie: Jessica.

She doesn’t speak. Her pencil tries.

Every night, she: a single strand of blonde hair determined against the water current in my bathtub.

She dyes her hair, then chops it off.

She eats her own brown skin, her upper lip, her happy trail, her unibrow.

Only 8,431 mi,

13,568 km.

Look. Listen. I am fulfilling the assignment. On this page my back is cracking open, scars livid with years of Western urgency –

Happily ever after! All aboard?

She will not leave without me. Dear tradition, dear J, we are not easy.

Untitled, 2010 Jenny Houser

Breathe, 2016 Ludmila Leiva

Self Care Teshale Nuer

How did you take care of yourself today? Because it’s depression season and it’s hard, and isolating, and not your fault. So here is a list that you can quickly come to when you are sad or tired and need some resources. After all, just looking for ways to help yourself or reach out are valid forms of self care. If you don’t feel like you’ve taken care of yourself today don’t fret or kick yourself in the butt! Instead, if you want, think about or try: - Drinking a liquid, you are not a cactus (you deserve h y d r a t i o n) - Are you hungry? Have you eaten in the past 4 hours? Grab a snack. - If that isn’t filling, try to eat a whole meal (order-in if you need to, it’s not about healthy/not healthy, its about f u e l) - Are you tired? Should you nap? - Have you moved your body or hugged yourself today? - Have you reached out to someone to talk to or thank for existing? Can they chat or come over? - Can you paint your nails, put on an outfit you love, brush your teeth, wash up or shower? - Is there a spot you could tidy for a few minutes and feel good about? II like to make my bed) - Can you book an appointment with someone that will make you feel better or give you something to look forward to? A doctor, a therapist, a massage, a manicure/pedicure, reiki, an herbalist etc. - Is there a habit you enjoy but forgot about that you can tolerate for a set amount of time? - Are there meds you forgot to take? - Can you walk around the block or look out the window? Or search for videos of your favorite baby animals? - Apps you might take a peek at: Bliss, Headspace, The Fabulous, Superbetter, Excel at Life, LifeSpan, HabitBull

Gabriette, 2016 Tory Rust

Anti Patriarchy Spell Melissa Madara For hundreds of years, witchcraft has been a tool to undercut oppression. The practice has been a means for oppressed peoples throughout the ages and across the globe to sieze back stolen power, and to affect positive, practical change in their lives. It has been a weapon disproprtionally utilized by women, with the reasons for this as obvious and numerous as the stars. In our modern America, the need for this kind of empowerment and reclaiming of rights and means is still as strong as it was when our ancestor witches practiced. We may not face the threat of being burned alive, but rape culture, a lack of vindication for victims, disproprtionate wage disbursement, violence, and murder at the hands of the sinuous and sinister patriarchy are terrors that we do not have the privilege of avoiding. Below is a step by step beginner’s instruction on how to dust off the familiar weapon of witchcraft and use it to cut the heels of oppression once more. • • • • • • • • •

White male candle 9 nails Red yarn dusted with sulphur powder (sulphur is optional) Cayenne pepper Olive oil A collection of sharp objects – broken glass, scissors, nails, broken mirrors, knives, etc Blank paper & pencil Instagram One rose with thorns

It is best to do this working on a Wednesday, the day of war.



Before you begin, take some time to get into the right headspace. I don’t mean meditate — get mad. Begin to consider why you hate the patriarchy, how it has affected you, and all your feelings surrounding its injustice. Try your best to stay present to this feeling as you continue your work. Typically in cursework, black candles are used, but I feel white is more appropriate for this working. With one of your nails, carve the word PATRIARCHY anywhere you’d like on your candle. You can also carve other words in addition, such as RAPE CULTURE, CAPITALISM, UNITED STATES OF OPPRESSION, etc. Feel free to get creative, allow your words to overlap, and use as many as you’d like. Right now you’re giving names to this effigy, so use any title you would like to attack. Rub olive oil onto the figure, and then dust it with cayenne pepper. Rub this mixture onto the candle so that your carved words are filled with pepper and burn bright red. It does not have to be perfect. On a small square of paper, copy this sigil (image one). This symbol represents my personal wishes for the patriarchy (Hint: they’re not nice). You’re free to craft your own if you’d like. On the reverse side of the paper (image two), write down the names you carved into your candle. Turn the paper 90 degrees, and across those names, write what you’d like to happen to them nine times. I used FALL TO RUIN, but feel free to choose your own words if you would prefer. In a circle around this block of jumbled text, write another declaration in cursive. I used MAY YOU FEEL WHAT WE FEEL. You should do this without ever lifting your pen from the paper. Take your red thread and dust it with sulphur powder (optional). Tie it around the arms of your figure nine times (image three). Press one of your nails into the figures feet, and the rest wherever you’d like, with the last nail in his heart. Fele free to get creative. Symbolically maim this figure in ways that are meaningful to you. For example, I would put one in either of the figured eyes, to curse him for refusing to see the damage he’s done (just an idea).



Stand this figure on top of your petition paper, sigil-side up. I would recommend doing this on a plate or on another fire-safe surface. Surround him with an unbroken circle of sharp items- sharp edges facing inward. Remove the petals from your rose and bend the stem such that it encircles him as well. You are now ready to light your candle. As you do, call upon your feelings of rage and sorrow. Below is a bit of my own thoughts that I would read as I light the candle. Feel free to use mine or write your own. When you are finished, let him burn all the way out. The rose holds tight her own secrets and we are her secretkeepers. We witches by the nature of our blood of our bones of our sisterhood powerful, cursed, and strange. We creatures who slip between sexes Between bodies between worlds - Effortlessly. We who’s divinity has been misplaced but never destroyed. We are never destroyed. Like smoke we have continued to rise from the sad ashes of eternity From the rough hands of oppression, of men, of government of laws designed to shame us, of beliefs designed to curse us, of fists and bullets designed to damn us. (anoint yourself with a bit of olive oil, on your hands, forehead, and heart)

Hail femmes. We see you and honor you. Hail outcasts We see you and honor you. Hail genderterrorists We see you and honor you. Hail femmes of color, We see you and honor you. Hail hurt and hardened We see you and honor you Hail fallen family on the long road out of hell We see you and honor you Hail surrendering too much for survival We see you and honor you Hail over educated and over knowledgeable and underpaid We see you and honor you. Hail brave and volatile creatures who dare to grab back We see you and honor you. Hail blue lidded daughters of sunset who sell their unchosen bodies for bread We see you and honor you Hail loving who you love We see you and honor you Hail loving in spite of everything We see you and honor you. Tonight I ask you meet me in love But do not meet me in mercy.

Meet me furious as you are meet me vengeful as you are meet me tired and hardened and doing your best as you are. Here we bind the hands of toxic masculinity That they never feel free to grab pussies again. Here we drive nails into the body of capitalism for ever making us think our worth can be calculated Here we make patriarchy walk across it’s own sharp thorns for a change and press our to the soft soft luxurious earth of a new design. The future is made by femmes, by witches, by outcasts, by freaks, by incredibly nasty women. We know that this world for us is a roseboth beautiful and lovely but full of thorns - But so are we. Healing each other, holding each other, in a world that would have left us for dead. On the backs of the women who have come before me, with their strength and courage and fire and love, I condemn the patriarchy to ruin. (hold the leftover rose petals in your hands and raise them above your head. Focus on your story of survival, the courage it took you to survive every day under patriarchy, and the strength it requires to continue to continue standing. This is a lovely and beautiful thing you are doing and speaks to your divine nature and your connection with all the women who have come before you. When you are ready, open your hands and let the petals rain down upon you.)

How to Leave an Abusive Relationship Hannah Rimm When I was fourteen I left a two-year emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Nine years later I have found recovery. This is how. 1. Take one year and six months too long. Be afraid. Be afraid that he will hurt you, be afraid that he will hurt your friends, be afraid that he will hurt himself. Tell yourself you don’t love him. Tell yourself everyday that this is not love. It will take eighteen months for you to believe yourself. It will take bruises and scars and forgotten birthdays and infidelity and that time in your basement with that jump rope, but you will realize that you do not love him. 2. Wait for the opportune moment. Wait until he is so far into your brain you are convinced you will implode if he leaves. Wait until you can’t sleep unless he calls you and tells you he loves you. Wait until he convinces you that you are not human without him. Wait until he wraps his fingers around your arms and pushes you full strength into a wall because you will not kiss him in front of a teacher. Wait until your head hits the plaster and you fall to the ground. Wait until you can run your fingers over the welts. Wait. Then, go home and cry every ounce of pain you’ve been holding for the past two years. When he calls, answer. Calm him down. Tell him you love him. Do not tell him that is a lie. The next day, meet him at his locker after school and say “I can’t do this anymore,” like you are a character in a teen drama and then walk away. Walk home and do not look back. You will not cry. You’ve cried too much already. 3. Keep it a secret. Do not tell your parents. Do not tell any of your high school boyfriends. Do not tell your friends until years later once you discover the sweet numb of wine. Do not tell anybody until your freshman year of college when it comes pouring out in a creative writing class. Do not tell the women that you date because you are scared that your identity is not your own. Be afraid that you love women because you had to escape the only boy you ever loved. 4. Write about it. Constantly. Obsessively. Write songs and poems and tumblr posts and articles and publish them, but not with your real name because you are scared he will find you, even after all this time.

5. Seek help. Go to therapy. For years. Give it time, it will not help at first. You will relapse. You will hurt. You will stay awake all night, staring out the window, convinced he is coming for you. Then, you will find EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a kind of therapy that is a proven treatment for trauma. It will help. You will feel strong and whole for the first time in nine years. You will cry a lot and then you will feel light. You will reclaim your experience. You will reclaim your queer identity. It will be hard, but you will survive. You have survived. Author’s note: This is not an actual how to guide. This is my story the best way I can tell it. If you are in an abusive relationship please seek help. You can call this number for the domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). I recommend EMDR therapy as a way to heal; that is what worked for me. You are worth more. Text courtesy of

T, 2016 Jenny Houser

Rot, 2016 Oil paint on wood Jesi Zinn Text right: Courtesy of Jesi Zinn

“My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was six. I could never forget the putrefying smell of her breath which accompanied each manic episode. Because of these pungent, rancid odors connected to my mother’s mental state, rotting teeth have been a symbolism of mental sickness in my life. I have agonized over nature’s cruel curse, which has robbed me of a sweet woman and rapidly poisoned her soul before my eyes. Rot is an ode to the disease nature forced my mother to marry. While this piece is a reflection of the torment of schizophrenia in a family, the painting also acts as a foundation to open conversation about the power of a mother and daughter to combat the disease in order to find a healthy, normal relationship. The ability to face torment and still continue to seek normalcy, speaks to the stamina my mother and I share.”

All The Pretty Girls Bleed, 2016 Rachel Thalia Fisher

Daddy Bug Melanie Roven

I recorded a series of thoughts on post its and note pads and phones Where I tried to go find myself but just remained perplexed That I was the lobster in the pot slowly heating up, who let you undercover love me

If we had only met in the suburbs, we’d be married by now. I scanned the ephemera for errors Looking for a reason a series of thots entered my life The first time was before the dinner I never made it to at your parents’ Instead having to call your mom in the hospital waiting room when you fell It was also every time I took your word like a it was a lozenge Up to the heights of our highs in the park Coughing, guarding against the wind So fragile that the breezes could have blown us apart Your phone pinging and my stomach dropping Across the roof where we watched fireworks You down the front of my overalls Fireworks going off while I watched fireworks in the sky But that’s all they were. Quick flashes of light Followed by long periods of total darkness Maybe it was the time with comedian on my birthday, or the times you had to work late? It didn’t matter. Cause when you’re trying to go to work and his arms won’t release you.. So I still told you all about the back story. About my Grammy’s chicken and my Grandma’s stuffed cabbage About How little time I spent looking at art in museums and mostly wondering if you’re just looking at me, looking at the art I’m sorry but I am a Jewess who has been baptized in the blood of Jesus Christ Born on mother’s day, when she wanted to go out to lunch but had me instead, born with a Frostie in her hand. Blessed with bouncy hair and feet that stand 10 and 2. I’m the one with the heavy key chain, the over stuffed bag, carrying a sweater when its 95.

I’m rambling thoughts, pre-planning, yentahing, bless your heart I am curious what it is like to be you. I try to understand the people who hurt me.

I order noodles and throw out the evidence before my roommate gets home. I am the product of diaspora, hand-me- downs, a chance meeting on an airplane. I am part flash and part scrap. I am more than the sum of any of my parts. Yes, I contain multitudes. Steady wishing I could make my outside match my inside. I realize the power I gave to you when I did not turn on my heel and leave your ass so you could truly be alone to listen to rare deconstructed noise tapes and answer your messages in peace Every day I get distracted by the living I have to do When taxis swing out just missing me as I cross the street By the disappearing culture of my grandparents storefront by storefront, big box by big box Wanting to help the woman in latex gloves rummaging through my refuse so she can have dinner “You can only save yourself” But these days I listen to my body When she says bend your elbow up Cup your ear to the wall Listen to your neighbors Hear how quiet they’ve been since she moved out I don’t look back on time wasted Or when she tells me Move your feet Across this little island where were all surviving So you can feel the earth under your soles, I do I healed up better than you could have imagined On this little island Mixed with indifference and a million options Where I watch my breath materialize in the winter Against my thin blood’s wishes Don’t you know everything that goes, goes in a circle? So now what will you do When she tells me to lift off Above the bridges where your name is written indecipherably The one we traversed the night you told me about your incurable infatuation What’s gonna happen When I finally fly over you?

Black Girl Home, 2016 Jalese-Ayana Whitehurst

Dear Nicole Nicole Espina

Dear ten-year-old Nicole, Remember that LA Lakers hat Tito Jay gave to you? You’ll wear it to school one day and it’ll feel so great to rep your team. One of your classmates will say you “look like a nigger”. You’ll be instantly deflated because of this boy’s learned hatred. Get angry with him and tell your teacher because he shouldn’t speak to other kids like that. I know you’re afraid to make a peep but you can do it. Be brave, it’s what Magic Johnson would do. Also, don’t wait twenty-two years to wear a baseball hat again. Love, Nicole

Dear twenty-one-year-old Nicole, After your semester abroad you’ll plan a quick trip to Santa Barbara to visit friends. A stranger will sexually assault you that night. He’ll introduce himself and then you’ll wake up to feel his fingers inside you. As he begins to unzip his pants you’ll ask what he is doing. He will feign surprise as if you had been the one who interrupted him. Get angry with him for violating you. Shove him off, call the cops, and scare him like he scared you. Try not to get annoyed with the well-meaning people who say you were lucky he didn’t get violent. They’re right although that doesn’t make what he did less wrong. Love, Nicole

Dear thirty-year-old Nicole, Remember Ryan and Mel’s wedding? You’ll come home with friends that night to see your boyfriend passed out with a woman, his hand up her dress and his shirt halfway off. Yes, the man you have known for ten years in the home you share on top of a woman you have gone on vacations with. You will be gutted and embarrassed. Instead of covering them up with a blanket in an attempt to put this incident out of sight and out of mind, get angry with them. Kick them both out and make a clean break instead of masochistically coming home to that tainted space for three more months. Stop lying to yourself and denying what you’ve felt in your gut. Learn to deal with your problems head-on and have the hard conversations that help personal and romantic growth. It’s imperative for your mental and emotional health to stand up for yourself and be rid of people who hurt you. Love, Nicole

Dear Nicole of last week, You’ll be commuting to work on a normal day. The A train will be crowded and a middle-aged man will rub your ass. At first you’ll think it might be someone’s bag moving with the train but it will go on a bit too long and feel too intentional to be an inanimate object. You’ll look him in the eye and whisper, “Please don’t touch me” though I wish you would knee him in the groin and yell, “Touch my ass again and I’ll break your nose, you fucking pervert.” Snaps for not ignoring it though. You’re making progress. Love, Nicole

Dear today Nicole, I’m so relieved you’ve finally discovered the power of being pissed off and the catharsis of expressing anger in a healthy way. This morning I tried to pinpoint a single event that loosened the lid of repressed anger but I don’t think there is one. I think you finally got tired of diminishing yourself for the comfort of others. I’m proud of you. Always stay intelligent about anger. Channel it for good and never keep silent against injustice. Continue to empower yourself and others to speak up and stand up. You’re a warrior. Love, me

Untitled, 2011 Julia Roven

How To Get A Man: 1. Maintain Eye Contact, 2016 Lauren Espina

How To Get A Man: 2. Get On Your Knees, 2016 Lauren Espina

How To Get A Man: 3. Worship At His Feet, 2016 Lauren Espina

How To Get A Man: 4. Light His Fire, 2016 Lauren Espina

“Is it strange that I feel more myself when I’m black and blue? This photo series follows a bicycle accident where I fractured my jaw and had it wired shut for two and a half weeks. In the past, I have collaborated with my good friends James Parker and Hillary Sproul, and this shoot was the same as usual — other than my obvious bruising. I have an invincibility complex and my accident only furthered my pre-existing belief that the body is a miraculous thing with few limits. If anything, I’m desperate to document myself when I’m black and blue because I know I will eventually heal and become stronger than I was before.”

Above: Day 5, 2016 Image courtesy of James Parker III Text Left: Courtesy of Riley Gallagher

Above: Look, 2016 Elena Mudd Left: Transcendant, 2016 Elena Mudd Forthcoming text courtesy of Maya Smith

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I do not see the person that comes out in a photograph. They almost seem to be two different people. In a mirror, I struggle to enjoy this breasted body. There is a continuous battle with this flesh and this mind. To look at one’s self as a being outside of gender and not see it in the mirror is difficult. But with a photograph, I can mask it. I can play the masculine and the feminine; no mental corruption is shielding my enjoyment of myself while looking at my body as it is in a photo. There is a strength while I’m being photographed. There are no projected conventions about the body that burdens me. There is power within these photos. I am no longer bogged down by the simple rules and ideas surrounding my body and my gender and my race. I can play whoever I want within these photos, whether that’s a boy dressing in his other’s heels, a woman completely comfortable with her body, or the soft, femme boi that I really am. I don’t have to complicate myself or alter myself much. This form of acting gives me a form of my own.”

Stance, 2016 Elena Mudd

Number one Ollie Straüs We lived six houses away, we took the same bus to school when he wasn’t suspended for doing something stupid. In youth, recklessness is what I sought out and instability is what I craved. He wore black, he shopped at Hot Topic, he listened to XXTREME RADIO. I started wearing black, I started shopping at Hot Topic, I hung out in his garage braiding his hair while listening to XXTREME RADIO. Braiding hair is sexual. Touching hair, tracing out the parts with a pointed comb, twisting it around to clip to the head, setting the bag of clear bands on his lap...near his crotch. I was 12, I knew what I wanted. I used to use markers to stretch myself and candles to practice how to insert. The girl who sat next to me in english lost her virginity at 9 years old. “The earlier you start the longer you can have sex without a condom”, she said. I thought I was far behind. My mother’s life was full of shitty men. Her father was an abusive drunk, her brother became abusive because he thought that’s how a man should behave, the man she was supposed to marry (before my father) died during a tragic motorcycle accident, my father had an affair and broke her heart, and my step father lied about being involved in a huge drug ring in detroit (#mafia) and cheated on her. That last one didn’t really break her heart, she never fully mended from the death of her true love and the major fuck over from my father. I tell you these things because I need to show you the perspective of her losing her power, her worth. I tell you these things because even though she presented herself as stone cold, tough as nails, and independent I saw how she closed herself off. I was the only one allowed to see the damage, the loss of her power, and her feeling of total despair. I saw her not leave the bed for a week, I saw her never let go of my childhood toys, I saw her eyes lost, her fake smiles of “No, really I am okay”. I never wanted to be emotionally damaged because of someone. I told myself if I was going to get fucked up like that, I would do the fucking of the up. _______ “I thought of a present you could give me” Number One’s eyes perk up, “Oh yeah, what’s that?” I reach to his crotch to pick out a rubber band to tie off a braid. “Take my virginity” Number One, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am ready. I don’t want anything special. I don’t want to hold onto this thing forever. I don’t want to lose it to someone I love. I just want it gone.” ______ Number One and I had a special relationship. I was “neighbor girl” to all the other girlfriends he brought over. I would smile sweetly to them, they would laugh at me, make fun of me, and say that I would hang around him obsessively. What they didn’t know was after she left, he would come to me. He would touch me, he would lick me, he would explain what and show me how to do it. Sometimes we were alone, sometimes a curious

friend would come over to watch. There was no one over the day he called up to take my virginity. _______ Number One, “My mom just left, want me to give you your present?” “Yeah, I’ll leave a note for my mom so she doesn’t flip.” Number One, “The front door is unlocked, just walk in. My dad is sleeping so be quiet.” _______ A thing that I do is count the cracks on the sidewalk. I say that stupid rhyme, “Step on a crack you’ll break your _____ back” I used to repeat this over and over on the walk from mine to his. The _____ would rotate between family members. As I walked up to his front door I took a deep breath. “This is it”, I thought, “I am as ready as I’ll ever be”. I shut the door quietly behind me, tiptoed up the stairs avoiding that third creaky step, and slid into his bedroom. I whispered his name, he rolled over in his futon, lifted up his blanket to show he wasn’t wearing anything and said, “Get naked”. This is the first time I had ever stripped for someone. I was not familiar with my sexual power, It was a very awkward undressing. I tried to cover parts of my body that he had already seen, but those other times were okay because it was abstracted. It was a piece here and there, not the entire body. I stood there, completely bare, staring at him, trusting him, I gave him my power. What I didn’t realize at that time was my decision to “give myself away” was my power, but his decision to “take away” was his power. We had to work together to have sex, the difference of having sex and giving away virginity is there is no experience the first time. You are entrusting this person, who may or may not be experienced to treat you how you are supposed to be treated during an intimate act. There is no handbook for what an individual is comfortable with, there was not a handbook explaining the emotions or physical feeling of being stretched. The first time isn’t talked about in detail until years and years later because the first time is traumatic. We don’t process that first time as traumatic until adulthood. I saw Number One a lot after that. We were unknowingly practicing an “open relationship”, he also introduced me to his friends. To me it was normal to be with one person most of the time, and be with their friends too. While in highschool I learned that what we did was not considered normal, I learned that I had to lie about my sexual history because our culture believes in monogamy, I had to lie about being with people of the same sex because our culture is homophobic. There was a lot of exploration that I barely remember because I forced myself to forget it happened. I ran into Number One while in college, he was standing next to his car parked in front of his house. He looked sullen, he stared deeply into my eyes and said, “I’m sorry for everything I did to you”. It was only then that I realized he held the same burden of shame, for our rocky open relationship of 3 years. He felt shame because our friends shamed us once they discovered all of the details. Our friends took our power. They took an important, consensual, exploratory period away from us. Sixteen years later, I feel very appreciative of Number One, our shared experience gave me the courage to explore parts of me that I would’ve denied if it wasn’t for him. So, thank you Number One, for sharing your power and allowing me to explore mine without judgement.

Bitter Root, 2016 Mariel Harari

Vagina Power Sarah Francois My vagina is an atheist. She doesn’t believe in the divine. Doesn’t believe in guidelines or boundaries. Just wants to give all the sticky wet liquid to anyone who wants it. Maybe she can claim this charitable act on her taxes. My vagina is a communist. She believes the good of the group outweighs the one and that everyone should receive their equal portion. My vagina is an activist. She’ll have you protesting all kinds of shit trying to get within her folds. My vagina has obsessive compulsive disorder. Ask the wipes, razors, trimming equipment, and natural at-home waxes. No matter what is done she never smells like a meadow or an open field. My vagina is a clingy bitch. She doesn’t want to let you go. She’ll call you at all hours and show up at your apartment door at 3 am for ambiguous congress. My vagina is a masochist. She aches for pinches and riding crop indentations. She will easily risk infection to stick a hair comb up her. My vagina has a mind of her own. She sways. She dances. She’ll claim you at first glance. Imprint on you at first visit. She picks and chooses the tongue to bless her. You have no bearing on her whims.

Tweet above: Menstrual Minstrel, 2016 Kristina Headrick Accompanying icon art: Jenny Lo

Self Portrait, 2016 Trinity Esola

Our Love Letter to Trinity We received dozens of thoughtful words and visuals from around the world when we put out a submission call for our inaugural issue of Susie. None touched us as much as Trinity’s piece. Looking back on all of our individual upbringings and experiences, we recognize that truly intersectional prints and resources are difficult to come by in rural, isolated, or whitewashed pockets of our country. Hearing from younger folks on their ability to love and see themselves in their truest forms tugged at our heartstrings and will only make us work harder to bring you well-balanced, curated content that serves the purpose of abolishing the mainstream perspective of the ‘woman’ monolith. We encourage all to continue fighting the good fight with art and creative work that reclaims space for you and your identity. Thank you, Trinity, for the reminder that the hard work we put into bettering ourselves serves a larger purpose of giving back to our communities. Signed, Your Editors

400N1, 2016 Jalese-Ayana Whitehurst

S p e a k up Ashley Rose On a cold day in November, you go to the doctor, 10 pounds heavier than 2 years ago It comes as no shocker. Your eyes stay glued to the floor, fingers rummage through your afro.

You tell yourself, “It’s all muscle” Your biceps, shoulders, thighs, Prepared, should you ever get into a tussle. Ready to kick, punch, feel that adrenaline high If only your voice could carry the weight that your body holds, Toned, unwavering, unequivocally held in place by dense concrete bones, No cracks, no fluctuation, operating at two tones: Screaming like a hyena, and softspoken, still in the zone.

Ivanna Besenovsky

is a film photographer based in Vancouver, Canada. In her practice, Ivanna is particularly interested in resignifying the ostensible mundanity of the everyday.

Karissa Breuer

Originally from Upstate New York, Karissa Breuer is a visual artist now based in Los Angeles. She currently works odd jobs like dog walking and video editing, but she is determined to make her passion for art into a full time career in the near future. She exhibits her work in group shows around the Los Angeles area, creates commissioned art for clients, paints local murals, draws chalkboard sign art for local businesses, and is working to open an online shop for her art.

Lauren Espina

is a visual artist and writer based in San Francisco. Through her work, she explores the dualities inside of women and the dichotomies expected of women, particularly concerning power dynamics and sexuality. Founder of Sea Witch Productions, she curates music, shows, and The Sea Witch Zine in an effort to bridge the different realms of art and foster solidarity among women and all humans. She is one of four Espina Sisters and dog mom to Charlie.

Nicole Espina

is a Filipina-American anchor baby who makes pictures, writes words, and battles depression in NYC. When not working on photography commissions she continues conceptual and fine art projects in multiple formats and historical processes.

Trinity Esola

is an eighteen-year-old artist living in Santa Cruz, California whose work explores themes of womanhood, ancestral wisdom, and a sense of place in the natural world. She works in a variety of mediums but has recently found inspiration in the both expressive and ritualistic crafts of pottery throwing and weaving.

Sarah Francois

holds an MFA in creative writing from Long Island University in Brooklyn and has been published in Downtown Brooklyn, visceral brooklyn, Brooklyn Paramount, PoeticDiversity,Vagabond City Lit, The Frisky and Ducts Magazine. She has attended the Aspen Writers’ Conferences and studied with Jessica Hagedorn, Erin Belieu, and Barbara Henning. She is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer.

Rachel Thalia Fisher

is a photographer based in New York City. She finds inspiration in simplicity- the shapes and shadows of morning light creeping through the blinds, a half remembered reflection, or a shiver of some forgotten place; and tends to create images of a world she can only dream about, but longs to go to.

Riley Gallagher

is a typical Cowboy/Magician based out of Brooklyn. Likes plants.

Tanika Goudeau Hochhauser

began writing at the age of 12 and has not stopped since. Storytelling through any medium is her life’s love.” Tanika obtained her Graduate Degree earning a Master of Science in Digital Imaging and Design at New York University. In 2008, she filmed the Documentary “ Today the World has Changed “ a reviling and insightful look into President Obama’s win as the first black president and its affect on young voters of color. Currently she is a Digital Interior Designer for Laurel & Wolf, Decorilla and Decorist while running her own design company De.psy.n.

Mariel Harari

is a multimedia artist working primarily in installation, fiber, video, sculpture, stop motion and photography. She utilizes bright, tactile materials reminiscent of childhood, employing playful splendor as a lure. She blends autobiographical and fantastical narratives to explore the relationship between societal constructs and uninhibited experience. Harari was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Kristina Headrick

is a nomadic writer, dancer and multimedia human who loves you more than words can tell. Their work focuses on raising many unasked questions with an aim at elevating consciousness - all while maintaining a sense of humor.

Emily Hoerdemann

is a Brooklyn-based artist working primarily in painting and design. Her work melds text, paint, and process in colorful collages with select pop references, slang words and catch phrases, paired with fashion or fine art cutouts. Her small-scale collages draw on her obsession with organization and as a result, each work is a delicate placing of aesthetics and color.

Jenny Houser

is an American freelance photographer, buyer and human woman living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a plant hoarder, dog lover and, like you, intrinsically flawed.

Olivia Jane Huffman*

exposes misogynistic fantasies embedded in our accepted behavioral norms and damaging propaganda. They assemble found materials with sentimental or historical context to critique social injustices. Olivia Jane is the Founder of LADY ART NYC and is based in Brooklyn, NY. They were recently featured in Bust Magazine’s column It’s Not Personal curated by Sara R Radin.

Melissa Madara

is a folk witch, poet, herbalist, burlesque performer and storyteller living in her native city of NYC. She is a co-owner of Catland Books, Brooklyn’s premiere occult boutique, and has been featured in Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Vice, and Fiddler’s Green.

Elena Mudd

is a photographer that explores the relationship between individual and social identity from a feminist (or humanistic) perspective. The intimate portrait, conceived as collaborative process with her subject, is her specialty, Her subjects range from family members to strangers she meets on the street. She works with film media, both 35mm and medium format, and with digital.

Ludmila Leiva*

is a Latina writer, editor, and illustrator based in Brooklyn. She enjoys exploring diasporic identity as it intersects with gender, race, and sexuality. Her work has appeared in The New York Times’ Women in the World, Brooklyn Magazine, Wired, and more.

Jenny Lo (SnowYellow)

is a Brooklyn based graphic designer and worshiper of femininity. She enjoys casual trap music and good fries. Across the uterus, nothing’s gonna change her world.

Teshale Nuer

is an NYC based storyteller and performance artist and quintessential good Samaritan. Proud plant parent of one small, but hearty tree named Gary, our greatest achievements include: terrible Yelp reviews, excessive usage of the royal ‘we’ as a personal pronoun and sporadic installments of ‘The Gary Show’.

Erin Rose Opperman

is a creative professional from the Bay Area who daylights as an art director and strategist. Fascinated with the art of daily content-creation, her work is clever, whimsical, and melancholy at moments. Erin is constantly pursuing new ways to see familiar things, expanding perceptions and questioning realities. She’s obsessed with Palm Springs, anything 70’s, and the color pink. If she could create her own version of Mt. Rushmore, it would include Bowie, Warhol, Kahlo, and Frances McDormand.

Hannah Rimm*

is a writer and sex educator in New York City. She spends her days marketing animated films and her nights fighting the intersectional feminist fight. She runs an NYC-based queer community and has a constant ache for the mountains and perfectly cooked steak. You can find her online at

Ashley Rose*

is a multidisciplinary writer, editor, music supervisor, and adult baby who resides in Brooklyn. Her written work can be serious, but she prefers to write in a sarcastic and humorous way, on most days. She enjoys obsessively curating playlists, a good laugh, and wearing backwards baseball caps.

Julia Rae Roven

is a 25 year old New York-based photographer and creative professional working in the fashion industry. She is originally from Houston, Texas.

Melanie Roven*

is a cofounder of Susie magazine. She is an art historian, painter, writer and classically trained ballerina living and working in New York. She is originally from Houston, Texas.

Tory Rust

is a freelance fashion photographer based in Brooklyn. Her work is bold, colorful and a bit wonky. She loves to work with off kilter angles and play with graphic elements. Tory has a slight addiction to Cool Ranch Doritos and binge watches more TV than anyone she knows. Tory is originally from Fargo - yes, like the movie.

Maya Smith

is an agender, black artist/actor/model/poet living in Philadelphia. They are continuously creating and working, making pieces or poems about their life and current emotions. Much of the work Maya is a part of, is a part of themselves. They try to show this whenever they can.

Aleigha K. Spinks

is an actress and writer located in New York City. She is the founder of multi-cultural film ensemble, Kaleidocircle Productions, and loves to spread herself across the worlds of film, theatre, dance, and music. You can find her in Steamy Award nominated web series “Disposable Teens” (Linda), “The Edge” (Calypso), and in her screenwriting debut, “BROKE” (Ruby.) Her literary essays can be found published in FROTH Magazine and Strong Young Thing Magazine. She is thrilled to be a part of Susie Magazine’s journey!

Ollie Straüs

is a gender non-conforming person living in the heart of Oklahoma. They love flash floods, taking long baths, and dancing alone naked in the house. They are developing a series documenting each sexual interaction on their journey to sexual confidence and discovery.

Jeevika Verma

has always fought the odds to unapologetically tell the truth and ask a lot of questions. Her work aims to create conversations surrounding power, art, culture and identity. Originally from India, she is currently a student, writer and editor based in Seattle, WA, set to graduate from the University of Washington in just two short weeks.

Jalese-Ayana Whitehurst

is a multi faceted creative from East Orange, New Jersey. Photography, film and music are her chosen mediums. While getting an education at Parsons School of Design she is working on a photo book, and a visual mixtape, as well as freelance creative directing. Her new body of work explores sexuality, feminism, and black culture.

Grace Yang

is currently based in Chengdu, China, Grace finds inspirations from her families in Seattle, Taipei, and Brooklyn, New York. She loves to help people tell their stories on and offline. She engages in digital strategy: from configuring websites, scheduling social media, and producing creative content. Grace loves to eat, see art, travel, and volunteer and help produce immersive/creative events.

Jesi Zinn

is an American artist who began her career in Pennsylvania, and has relocated to other places such as Europe and Central America in order to expand her world views. Throughout her journeys, Zinn has utilized scientific imagery (such as x-rays or satellite photographs) as a platform to study the increasingly complex global culture. By synthesizing images produced by science with the artistic process, Zinn allots herself the opportunity to interpret the abstract and further push the subjective into visual clarity. Zinn currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she enjoys the intense intellectual diversity which consistently challenges and informs her.

Susie Magazine is a bi-annual creative print publication that presents cutting edge interdisciplinary work. We are focused on creating an equal platform to highlight, empower, and amplify women-identified and non-binary voices that are traditionally ignored in mainstream media. We strive to be inclusive online, in print and at events. Issue 1: the P O W E R issue Spring 2017

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. Cover art: Erin Rose Opperman Printed in Canada by the Prolific Group.

Interested in contributing to our next issue? The theme is H O M E. email us at:


Two Sided Female, 2016 Karissa Breuer