Chris Gibbany, who lives in the Arkansas Ozarks, has a passion for motorcycles and raising awareness about narcissistic abuse, and this bike designer and mechanic has found a way to combine her two passions into one vintage piece of iron which she has dubbed, “Redemption”.
Redemption is a 1937 Harley Knucklehead she purchased and is in the process of restoring and rebuilding. “The bike was in a very sad state of existence. Yes, the bike was still capable of riding, but it had suffered years of abuse much like myself. In finding my "Redemption" and building myself back up, I am in essence also literally bringing the bike back to its full potential; giving it life again, with new parts and a completely new look.” Gibbany explains.
Gibbany began raising awareness about narcissistic abuse in 2015 so that others would be able to recognize the signs of abuse and understand the damage it causes. It took Gibbany almost 40 years to find an answer to the “why” of her childhood. “My mother was a narcissist who caused me years of pain and I never understood why. Growing up I was always the scapegoat while my brother was the golden child. I was constantly criticized, demeaned, called "crazy", and made to feel worthless even though I had perfect attendance throughout school, was an honor student, never had a boyfriend, went to college on scholarships and worked for everything I had. I was never good enough no matter what I did or how hard I tried.”
In an ironic set of circumstances, Gibbany was able to purchase Redemption with the proceeds of her mother’s estate and now is using the bike as a platform to raise awareness about narcissistic abuse. Her media connections have afforded her the opportunity to get the message out and gain the support of sponsors. “Since I never had any support growing up, being able to build this bike with so many people and companies supporting me feels amazing,” said Gibbany.
About eight years prior to her mother's death, Gibbany made the tough decision to go no contact with her mother. “Turning my back on my mother made many people question my sanity. It is just something that is not done. I always thought I would receive a letter of apology in the mail for the way she treated me. With narcissists, you are always looking for validation- and it never comes!”
Gibbany explains that her Redemption is breaking free from narcissistic abuse. Even though she can’t undo the years of neglect and abuse, Gibbany states that “choosing to live free is totally worth it and the best is yet to come.”
Gibbany and her vintage bikes have appeared in over 20 major publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, American Iron, and Easyriders Magazine. You can follow Gibbany and Redemption’s transformation on the Garage Girl’s website where she regularly shares updates.
Gibbany, one of the very few female builders, recently became the official Ambassador for motorcycle tourism for the entire state of Arkansas.