Chrissy | Montreal, QC
Images by Davina Kudish
"Most of all, I can now, at times, finally see in myself what my partner has seen in me for the last 12 years; what my kids see in me when they hug me and kiss me and tell me they love me; that no matter what my physical self may be experiencing, I matter and I am just fine how I am."
Before this project, I quite simply hated my body, for both its appearance and function. Everywhere I went I felt judged. Judged for how I looked. Judged for having let myself go physically, not that I was ever all that much to look at. Judged for having failed to give birth to my children. Judged for not having been strong enough to hold my ground through labor and ending up on display in an OR because some bully passing herself off as a doctor felt the need to impose her beliefs on my child's birth. Judged for missing the birth of my youngest child.
Judged for never fitting in, for being different and for not conforming to what others thought I should be. What I should study, how I should dress, what colours my hair shouldnt be and the tattoos and piercings I shouldn't have.
Judged for having succumb to depression, eating disorders and attempting suicide.
Regardless of my modest success in life, I've always felt like I should be better, more successful, more balanced. When I looked at myself, all I could see was a failure.
Working through the workbook was an eye opening experience for me. It helped me shift my perspective to see what I have accomplished rather than focusing on what part of the challenge lies ahead of me. To be proud of the 45 pounds I have lost in the last year rather than the 15 pounds I have left to reach my goal. To be proud of the progress that I have made, the physical strength I have gained through crossfit training instead of comparing myself to the younger, stronger and fitter women who train alongside me and lift heavier weights or run faster than I do. To realize that this journey that I started a year ago for all the wrong superficial reasons has brought me to a better place than I could have ever imagined and made me stronger not only physically which I expected but emotionally and psychologically.
To recognize that despite all the challenges I have faced, post-partum depression, perinatal assault at the hands of the physician tasked with my care during labour and delivery, c-sections, concussions, anxiety and panic attacks, that I have fought and clawed my way back up time and time again.
That I can look in the mirror and recognize the success that my hard work has created instead of just seeing my short-comings. That I can go on vacation in the tropics and just enjoy playing with my kids instead of worrying about whether or not my swimsuit is covering up enough of me or if the people around me are disgusted by my appearance.
Most of all, I can now, at times, finally see in myself what my partner has seen in me for the last 12 years; what my kids see in me when they hug me and kiss me and tell me they love me; that no matter what my physical self may be experiencing, I matter and I am just fine how I am.
Portraits of Chrissy by Davina Kudish.