This project reveals the relationship between body and self.

Sarah / Toronto / 09.14.14

Sarah / Toronto / 09.14.14

photo by scarlet o'neill

This is one of the first photos for the project - we were doing a test shoot. As I sit here looking at this image that was taken over a year ago, I instantly feel what I wasn't even conscious of then: anger, defiance, longing, grief. All those times I said yes, when my body was telling me no. 

I didn't developed a conscious relationship with my body until I was in my twenties. It's still very much a new relationship. I didn't know what it was to be present in my own skin. I was numb and desensitized, ignorant to my own hormonal function and menstrual cycle, unable to read the cues from my body when boundaries were crossed, vainly attempting to groom my body to suit the sexist, crippling, unattainable standards placed on - well - all of us. I often find myself caught in a pendulum swing between trying to fit the mould and aggressively rejecting those toxic, oppressive conditions. 

If I listen. If I listen to this body, I can hear her begging me to pay attention. To listen. To feel. To break the silence. To wake up. To start noticing when my hands go numb to avoid a broken heart. When my throat muscles swell from omission. When my rib muscles seize to suppress rage. When my feet ache to dance. When my eyes strain with judgement. When my knees buckle with shame. When my pelvis and lower back start to spasm from my haunting memory of sexual abuse. When my shoulders collapse forward from internalized sexism. 

The only remedy for pain is to move through it - every breathtaking, unexpected wave of it - to discover the joy on the other side. I am aware of how my gender and sexual orientation intersect, and I acknowledge the privilege of what it means to be born into a healthy functioning body.

I'm sick of the comparative thought cycle that is fed to us through mainstream media. I'm bored of a consumer-driven culture that is so afraid of something so authentically human as the body. I am choosing to shatter the delusional, deeply damaging ideal of the "Porcelain Doll", the "Disney Princess", the "Ideal Woman". Growth, transformation, and change are the only certainties for me.

I know now that my body never lies. 

Rachel / Los Angeles / 03.24.15

Rachel / Los Angeles / 03.24.15

Brefny / Toronto / 11.23.15

Brefny / Toronto / 11.23.15