Different Shades Of Normal
Different Shades of Normal is a perzine created by Zippity Zinedra of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Zippity Zinedra is a Non-Binary, Queer identified zinester, writer and artist.
The first issue of Different Shades of Normal takes place over the course of many years. The timeline is somewhat scattered and it unintentionally shows the readers how memory works when the writer is on enough medication to numb their mind. The issue mainly focuses on mental illness, self-destruction, self-sabotage and self-realization.
The second issue (entitled "the friendship issue") is a split zine of Different Shades of Normal #2 and Tarantula Face #2, a perzine also created by Zippity Zinedra. The issue includes an unsent letter to a friend, being open to new friendships, self-friendship, gratitude, self-care and using different tools in order to stay off a self-destructive path. Zippity Zinedra is a firm believer in self-care and points out in the edited version of the zine, "Only through taking care, accepting, respecting, valuing and loving oneself can we begin down the path of self-friendship and friendships with others. It should be remembered there is no time limit as to when this happens. Self-care will eventually be something you automatically do and in practicing self-care, you learn to take care with others."
With the first two issues, Zippity Zinedra explores the different reasons why their self-destruction and nervous, mental breakdown happened. They are searching for answers. It is only with Issue #3 ("the rewind and fast-forward edition") that they delve a bit deeper. The issue has a timeline which runs backwards from the year 2014 to 1993. The reader is rewinded back to the central cause of Zippity's self-destruction and nervous, mental breakdown. The zine speaks briefly about bullying near the end and doesn't go into much detail from there, suggesting this is too much of a triggering topic to discuss. The perzine also talks about failed relationships, depression, self-care, etc.
Unlike the previous three issues, #4 ("Imagination Energy") lets loose Zippity Zinedra's imagination. Using short stories and poems, it touches on how lost they feel as though are going through life with nothing to look forward to but perhaps self-care and self-love could veer the writer in the right direction. There is a running dialogue with themselves which paints a very different picture of the voices they hear daily. While they are bursting with ideas and creativity, they continue to hold themselves back from what they long for: unconditional, irreplaceable love. Regardless of Zippity Zinedra's constant internal struggle, water is continuously pulled from their imagination and the ocean speaks to them while they sleep. Upon waking, it is obvious to the writer they also long for and crave to let the words flow freely from their pen.
Issue 4.5 ("A heart to heart issue") begins with a short letter to Zippity Zinedra's writing, addressing it as a love relationship that needs repairing. At certain points in the zine, the writer is searching for their heart as it seems absent in their writing. 'Where is it?' they wonder, 'Is it hiding?' The zine ends with a short story where the writer finds their heart behind a bolted door.
Zippity Zinedra's zines are typed with an electric typewriter and include cut and paste art.
Don-o, author and aritst of the zine Twlight World, had this to say in his review of Different Shades of Normal #3: "You go through their challenges of generally surviving; figuring out their identity in the midst of the mess they has trudged through. The reverse timeline might put off those looking for some human drama in a traditional sense, but if you're willing to stick your neck out like they have, you get a particular view of how much they have survived today."
There have been recent reports and studies linking bullying to mental health.