When I first heard about this project, I found it intriguing. I have modelled on a few photoshoots for other people and this was an opportunity to tell my story..........the person behind the pictures as an Indigenous woman. I think there is value placed in intercultural opportunities like this one, it allows society to know that beauty is not only found on the surface but within. Each model has a story that emphasizes her strength, beauty and courage that allowed her to become the women that everyone sees. Even when the stories are not always good ones it allows a true version of herself to come out and be seen not only as a pretty picture but a strong woman that had overcome her own struggles in life.
But the most defining moment that I would have to say that really challenged me was my younger brother's suicide. Dealing with his suicide was one of the most difficult things that I had to deal with. I not only had to deal with my own grieving, but also the grief that was felt by my younger brothers and sister because I was the eldest grandchild. I had to numb my own grief so I could be the strong one in the family. My family didn't know how I felt because I would cry when nobody was around and I had nobody to tell how I truly felt. I dealt with his suicide by myself......I felt the denial, anger, hurt, unbearable pain of losing him and finally, I couldn't feel no more.
I wish I had someone to talk to or someone to just let me cry or let me hit something because they knew that's what I needed. Going through a loved ones suicide is something that you can't go through alone, but I did and because I did, I was able to overcome anything and everything from that moment on with strength, courage and most of all tenacity. Tenacity because I learned from that difficult time on how precious life is and how important it is to make healthier choices in life. From this experience, I quit doing drugs a couple months after his death and showed more love towards the children that entered my life whether it be my nieces and nephews or my friends children.
From there, I learned that I had my own inner strength. Then I met my best friend, Marylou, who showed me that I could show feelings and share my thoughts on anything that bothered me. I now can go to her with anything and everything that has me thrown up against the wall and even when shit hits the fan.
I am a mother of 3 handsome boys, a nursing student but most importantly I am someone who learned to love myself. My name is Terri Favel.
Throughout my life there has been many challenges, struggles and bad choices that have become defining moments in my life that had lasting impacts that shaped who I was and where I was going. Not all my paths I traveled were positive ones, but if I hadn't chosen those negative paths I wouldn't have become the woman I am today.
When facing difficult situations I usually deal with them by myself. I don't involve anybody unless they really need to be consulted. I have strong women in my family and I know that every woman has their own struggles, but I never seen any of the women in my family show or share their thoughts and feelings about anything.
I'd like to tell a younger version of myself, that's it's okay to cry!