a friend posted a photo on my facebook wall the other day, of a woman named Florence Pickner, dated 1912. no face, back to the camera- just a picture of her back. scoliosis about as pronounced as mine.
and i don't know why but the picture made me uncomfortable.
perhaps it bore too much resemblance to some of my own work. or maybe it was because, in trying to find the original source, i googled 'scoliosis' only to find dozens of images of the same vein.
faceless. spines either intact with curve or wearing scars and correction with a sort of brazen-reversing pathos.
the search led me to flickr pools of scoliosis spines, scars, befores and afters, and comment upon comment praising God, other sources of beauty, and perseverance.
why am i angry?
i am hardly the only one here. maybe i'm sort of sick of humans sometimes. her scars but still rebellious spine in one picture. her 'unaffected' face in another.
"hunny, you're still a pretty face" (blogger)
gahh. this girl...left a comment on her artsy self portrait. to the effect of:
Went to bed last night crying over everything scoliosis related. Being frustrated at the fact I can't lie flat on my back. Frustrated at the fact I still feel like a hunchback and my back feels heavy. It ached so bad, my spine felt like it was still twisting, despite being healed for just over 7 years now, and ripping out of my skin.
where's the room to be a hunchback and like it? where's the room to not cry yourself to sleep because your body is resisting the surgery you desperately wanted to correct the curve?
i am not trying to sweep over anyone else's experience here. yeah, pain. yeah, hurting. but what about the ways its not those things? what about the spaces for great?
and of course all of this got me thinking about sex and gender. how i embrace my trans friends desire to transition. how that surgery should be free. but how there is this part of me that squeaks and squirms from somewhere deep inside. for those who want to say that sometimes their body isn't home, but because of other people. how i'd like to be in between. in between the tiles.
and there's privilege there, granted. being okay with being perceived as girl because of my boobs, my height, my femininity.
i think about cultures that (before colonized with the white way of gender dichotomy) esteemed those who felt themselves to be two-spirited, pan-gendered, and differently gendered.
i get called a lesbian. i get told how i'm supposed to behave accordingly. by queers. by allies. its easier at times to interact with the 'ignorant hetero world' for this reason. because its like drag for me. i use the body i have and the garments and i play a role. it is a believable act and no one questions my authenticity. it is assumed.
but female drag in a queer event? swooning over gay boys? no no. you like pussy. you like lumberjack attire. wait- you're wearing plaid and going to go practice salsa? where is your dress. tsk tsk.
but back to backs.
my back is my back. i don't know it any other way. it curves a fuckload. and it tires me out sometime. but its mine. sure, i could try and 'correct it' too. but surgery is painful. and expensive. and it would change me. maybe i'd be happier. maybe i'd pass under the radar a little more. i'm no 'pretty face' so perhaps i could use the pretty normal points.
i've been asked when i'll move on from what i've been doing artistically. explore a different subject. and my response has always been 'when it feels finished' but i half worry that it never will in my lifetime.
i like the world at my angle.
its not inspirational. its not even that fascinating. but my back invites conversation, which sometimes inspires me and sometimes offends me. either way, my body is how i know the world, and how i've become able to assert the importance of my presence.
blah blah. so my art is provocative. its only half provocative because i'm showing people shit they don't want to see. or so they say. but they love looking. and seeing someone who isn't sad at all. its weird. its quirky. i'm fucking with you, and i know you realize that on some level.
can't a kid just being a hunchback?
i guess its tied to my appreciation for artists like Lady Gaga. sure she's just as vapid and blonde as the rest of the A-list celebs. but she likes wearing things and saying things that people feel weird about. and i like that.
today i am wearing red pants and a terracotta shirt. its yummy.