This project reveals the relationship between body and self.

Michelle / Toronto / 05.13.16

Michelle / Toronto / 05.13.16

 photo by caroline brassard

photo by caroline brassard

My body is a kaleidoscope. 
Of functions. Of security. Of freedom. 
My body holds me tight. 

There are soft sections. Like the belly of a porcupine. Like the skin of my inner thigh.
My body is my playground and my war zone. 
My body is home. 
A place at times I have left. Abandoned.

In the past couple of years I have returned home. 
I wipe my feet before I enter. 

I have been learning to come home. 
To make home in the present moment and be grateful for the gifts my body gives me. 
To move (mostly) without pain. To digest with ease. To read my beloved books. Taste the woman I crave. Listen to music which beckons me to dance. 
My home is where I stand. 

I have learned to keep tidy. To clean out the cobwebs in the corners. 
To shine light on the dark room filled with rage. 
Open the curtains to all the places that hurt. Open the windows and breathe. 
There is no time to waste. 

As a child I spent a lot of time naked. Naked and free.

My body became a war zone in the 80’s. A time when I was obsessed with working out, diets. 

I would follow my mother to the Church on the corner of Curzon & Westminster in Montreal for the Weight Watchers weigh ins. Learn in a room filled with women at war with themselves the art of sabotage and cruelty. My mother is still trying to lose weight on her diabetic precipice. 

I do not believe in scales. I eat to nourish myself. To gather as much energy as I can. 

Trauma struck in that decade and I planted a seed of destruction. Drugs and alcohol became friends of mine and I put my body in many dangerous situations. 

By theatre school in the 90’s I tried my hand at eating disorders. Diet coke and cigarettes. 

There is a video of me post university vacuuming my loft space naked. It is a 20 minute video taken by my boyfriend at the time. 

My 20 year old self in retrospect is strong. Breasts suspended by an invisible bra. Body tight. Young. Beautiful. I was flooded with self criticism at the time.

In my 30’s I revisited the video and realized how gorgeous I was and had NO clue! Why not embrace ourselves now!

I work in my body. My body is my work. 

I bought into the “they”. To the machine. To what he said. To what she said…

I recall being cornered at the age of 16 by my mom and her mom in the kitchen. They proceeded to tell me the nose on my face was “bulbous” and something should be done. 

I left my nose alone.

This body gave birth to a son and a daughter. Big babies. 8 pounds 8 ounces, 9 pounds, 4 ounces.
I made 2 gardens. My breasts transformed before my eyes from the ornamental to the miraculous. 

A champion nurser. 
I could lie in the bath tub with my leg extended and hit my foot with a spray of my milk. The rich creamy spray would fill my bath water. My milk nourished my babes for the first several months of their lives and for many moons thereafter. 

In my body are clues to bloodlines. My skin goes cinnamon in the sun. 
My body holds stories. My tender and bruised heart lives in my body. Thawing, softening, healing... 

Virtue lives in my body. Shadows too. Gifts. Talents. Desires…

I have fallen in love with myself recently. 
I have fallen in love with her recently. 
I have an appetite. 
My sexuality was reawakened in my 40’s. A glorious awakening. 

In my body lives the word…more.

I was born as Michelle. 
I am so grateful. 

The truth of the matter is my body is me. 
There is no separation. 
We are one, journeying on this path of unfolding. 
I am showing others by walking my talk that we are each precious and must be treated with respect and most of all love. 

Anonymous / 06.27.16

Anonymous / 06.27.16

Chief Lady Bird / Toronto / 05.13.16

Chief Lady Bird / Toronto / 05.13.16