Pieces #7 is a quarter-sized black and white zine on belief, delusion, and love. On the realities we construct, the comforts we cling to, and finding a way to keep going when they all fall apart.
I hardly know where to start. So much happens in this zine, and I feel like my words are truly lacking when it comes to expressing how I feel. I actually started reading it a while ago, but I quickly realised that I needed to wait until I could really take all the time I needed to read and take it in.
Knowing that Nichole no longer distributes this zine along with the cover images and words left me with a somewhat wary feeling when I started reading. The feeling grew stronger with the list of words and definitions (including ‘belief’, ‘delusion’, and ‘love’) that followed the touching intro. Not wary in that it would be harmful to me – though Nichole does warn that some things may be triggering along the lines of depression, self-harm, and losing touch with reality – but rather feeling in my gut that I was about to read (and undoubtedly get invested in) something intensely personal to Nichole.
I struggle to sum up the events in this story because I keep feeling like I am somehow taking away from what this zine is and Nichole’s experience. However, for the sake of review, I’ll do my best.
Nichole writes about a personal demon created out of fear and how it became a terror-filed comfort in avoiding other fears and perpetual beliefs – even when doing so was to her detriment. She writes about how people who aren’t bad people can still be bad for each other and feed into each other’s demons. The roles we adopt, and the blurring of lines within relationships.
When all of these things escalate, they begin to crack and tear – taking Nichole’s sense of reality and autonomy right along with it.
Nichole’s honesty is breathtaking and shows such a level of self-awareness and self-understanding. She documents events without second-guessing, blaming, or softening the edges of the experience. While I imagine there are still some things not included, what she did commit to paper is intense and shows a level of vulnerability I think anyone could learn from.
“I think I wanted to lose” she writes at one point. A point at which I had to pause for a moment because I’ve felt that way, too, but never seen or heard it expressed before. Not in that way. Not in such an experience. Even if I didn’t identify with that specific situation, I think a lot of people can identify with the hell you know being better than the heaven you don’t.
As cliché as I am about to sound, it’s the depths being so dark and painful that make it a truly beautiful relief when Nichole does reach out to get help – and writes about continuing to work on things.
I’ve never been so emotionally invested in a perzine. Partly because I identify with some of Nichole’s experiences in more ways than I care to share in this review. Partly because I know it must have taken so, so much for Nichole to put this down on paper – let alone turn it into a zine.
As I mentioned, Nichole no longer distributes this zine, so I can’t say as to whether you’ll ever have the chance to read it. If you do, give yourself time and the space to read it, as it is an intense read – and one I’m honoured that Nichole chose to share with me.