This project reveals the relationship between body and self.

Nikki / Toronto /  01.18.16

Nikki / Toronto / 01.18.16

photo by kayla rocca

Growing up, I was a scrawny kid with a case of mistaken identity. I viewed myself as the action heroine of my own big Hollywood movie who looked good in a cat suit as she kicked bad guy ass and parkoured herself into world domination. As luck would have it, none of this worked out. I could not catch a ball and I could not lift anything heavier than a pencil. I was always the shortest in the class, and I was picked last for every team. I specifically recall an instance where I heard some kids whisper “Don’t pick Nikki” for their team, because of course, I sucked.  Even worse than this, were the adults who didn’t care how upset I was. My gym teacher even went as far as to call me a ‘bad sport’. Hell yeah I’m a bad sport, no one believes in me!

People expected me, a tiny cute girl, to have one function, which is to be a tiny, cute girl. It was a very ‘don’t you worry your little head about it sweetie’ attitude, which is ridiculous and quite frankly, extremely sexist. Of course I shouldn’t do anything, I should just aim to be pleasant and pretty because someday a nice young man would come along and take care of me. Screw that! I have yet to meet said nice young man and when I do, he’s gonna be hella surprised that I can take care of myself.

When I finally grew up into a scrawny adult, I realized that my body has a function beyond being decoration. So I decided to do what I always do and punch fate in the face and start taking martial arts lessons. I’ve been doing it a year now and I love it. I’ve surprised my instructor and classmates when we spar with how strong I am, which is a far cry from being a ‘bad sport’. I’ve learned that I can somehow be tiny and tough and pretty as hell, with emphasis on the hell. And that case of mistaken identity? All cleared up. I’m on my way to being the action heroine I’ve always wanted to be. Next stop: world domination. 

Amy / Toronto / 02.10.16

Amy / Toronto / 02.10.16

Madison / Toronto / 11.23.15

Madison / Toronto / 11.23.15