This project reveals the relationship between body and self.

Sabbina / Toronto / 02.03.16

Sabbina / Toronto / 02.03.16

photo by caroline brassard

This Body ….

            … it has been a long journey with a long way to go still. Frankly I don't know where to start, so this may seem a little incoherent at times, which I think is also an accurate way of describing my relationship with my ‘body’.

            I loved my body as a child and always felt connected to it. It felt free, unencumbered by expectations and completely unaware of judgement. This is really where things began to unravel and my relationship with myself became ‘complicated’ …

           abuse, manipulation, coercion, deceit, panic attacks, blame, isolation, alienation, disassociation, fear, self-hate, confusion, self-destruction, rock bottom, lockdown.

            In short a long history of not knowing how to cope with the reality and confusion of being used and coerced that grew into a monster. Fuelled by the rejection coming from my ‘support’ to my peers. My experience for years was that of detachment, but somewhere around the age of twelve and not long after my grandmothers passing, there was a shift.

            After immigrating to Canada and an increasing exposure to a diversity of bodies and identities I discovered that there was something out there that resonated with my soul. Throughout my early years I knew I was very different. Not different because of what my interests may have been or because I was simply an introvert, but because of something very deep down in my core. An identity that did not fit with the boys and one that wasn’t accepted by the girls. Just different. I was not good at being a boy nor was I really allowed to be a girl. Naturally I felt like I fit nowhere. This void was filled by one of the strongest women I knew, my grandmother, who before her passing was one of the only people in my life that ‘allowed’ me to be myself. This is why I chose to take her name, in memory of the support and love I got from her.

            Years of struggling on my own, and not having much of a relationship with my body at all, I was lucky enough to have a few figures in my life that saw beneath my skin and urged me to pursue the deeper issues that were holding me back.

            I finally began to move forward in my life and came to terms with the fact that my body and my identity needed to be reconciled. As I saw it, there were only two options for me;

            a. continue to go down the same road I have been going down for years and honestly just die from the self-neglect and disassociation;

            or option b. to do ‘this’, to be ‘me’, my-‘self’. Something I haven’t been able to be since my childhood.

            And so the next ‘volume’ of my life began.

            I approached this with one thought in my mind, ‘I owe this to myself’, and this still rings true to this day. Through all this I found my strength in fitness. Loosing 85 lbs and still working towards some long term goals, the same mantra is what drives me and has given me the strength to be ‘myself’.

            And this is where I guess it’s time for me to be clear and say yes, I am transgender, a trans-woman, and a woman. My life in many ways is just beginning and equally so is my relationship with my body. There are still plenty of days where throwing in the towel feels like the only option. But the days, or even moments where the feeling of content and happiness floods in, are absolutely priceless. Here again I will say ‘I owe it to myself’ to see whats around the corner, to see whats on the next ‘page’, and so does every other soul on this earth.


Sabbina Gibson

Craig / Toronto / 02.03.16

Craig / Toronto / 02.03.16

Hal / Toronto / 02.03.16

Hal / Toronto / 02.03.16