…with an e. is a US 1/4-sized black and white zine about gender stereotypes, societal expectations, anxiety, and not so healthy coping mechanisms… all wrapped up in preparations for and attendance of a wedding.
As Lynne mentions on page one, this zine does contain writing about alcohol in case that is triggering for you.
…with an e. opens with Lynne writing about how this zine was put together in 24 hours the day after Thanksgiving and how a 24-hour zine seemed to fit the bill of writing about the experience but not taking weeks or months to do so. From there we have the aforementioned trigger warning before launching into where it all started: their brother got engaged.
Lynne writes about many things, from hating dressing up, anxiety from being expected to do so at their brother’s wedding, looking for a dress, and more. Lynne’s writing style is an interesting mix of opening up with personal anxieties, thoughts, and feelings but with as sort of ‘one step back’ perspective that lets them – and the reader – take in their actions from a self-reflective sort of stance. With a flair for a sort of subtle, dry humour as well, I felt like I was reading a letter from a friend about everything that had happened.
I’m someone who likes to get dressed up and is comfortable presenting as a cis female, there was still so much in this zine I identified with. I may like to wear a dress, but I abhor clothes shopping. Trying clothes on? Horror of horrors. Lynne also writes about how their boobs suddenly got bigger after thirty. Strangely enough, I can identify with that and all the fun adjustments clothing-wise that needed to be made. Only at 35 for me.
The mythical makeup class that Lynne felt like they missed, the feeling awkward in social situations – especially when there are expectations set for behaviour, etc – and even using alcohol as a coping mechanism… I was right there with it all. Heck, music isn’t my strong suit either.
It was hard reading about the sort of silent agreement Lynne has with their family to just ‘not talk about the things’ in regards to Lynne’s queerness. But I think there is a great value in the fact that Lynne wrote about it because I imagine that a lot of people are in the same position with family: not ‘out’, possibly suspected, but they don’t talk about it to avoid any potential conflict.
I could keep going on and on about this zine, and I think that goes to show how much I enjoyed it and how it made me think about things. I love it when a zine surprises me with ‘I’m that way too!’ thoughts while I’m reading.
…with an e. is a zine about so much but, overall, about being human and trying so hard to navigate the weirdness we call life.
Check it out.