Photograph taken by Ayesha Jones (Self Portrait)
Photograph taken by Paul Ward
My body was in revolt and I had no idea why! Nor did the doctors, it seemed.
The doctor bent me forward, to show me what my back would eventually look like if I decided against the surgery he was offering me. I was only 13. He told me that I would grow up to be a "pretty girl with an ugly back" if i disobeyed. I sheepishly argued back, saying, "no, it won't be ugly, it will just be different.”
IMPerfection is a body of self portrait work that explores my journey as a young woman living with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, Idiopathic meaning “no known cause.” My spine curves in an 'S' shape and also rotates, causing a rib hump and an asymmetrical appearance of the torso. Scoliosis is 10 times more likely to effect girls than boys and there is still no known cause.
I explore the notion of beauty, female sexuality and body image and the way colonial systems have aided in their distortion. I expose my hidden "disability" from all angles as I learn to find the beauty in life's imperfections.
We are taught to block out pain and avoid struggles, this means we miss a valuable opportunity to heal ourselves and to deal with issues at their core. I address social issues from the inside out. I embark on a photographic journey that takes me to the root of my pain.
These images are a preview of the images that will appear in my photo-book.
"SIT UP STRAIGHT"
"YOU'RE JUST SKIN AND BONES"
"YOU COULD DO WITH SOME MORE MEAT ON YOU"
"EWWW ARE THEY YOUR BONES?"
"DO YOU EAT? YOU'RE SO THIN"
"I STILL FANCY YOU, EVEN WITH THAT BACK THING"
"WHAT DO GUYS SAY ABOUT IT?"
"OMG! LOOK AT HER LEGS!?"
"OMG! ARE YOU OK? WHY ARE YOUR RIBS POKING OUT LIKE THAT?"
"LOOK WHAT IT'S DONE TO HER SHOULDER"
"WHAT A SYMMETRICAL FACE!"
"YOU'RE SO BRAVE TO WEAR A DRESS LIKE THAT, CONSIDERING YOUR BACK"
"ARE YOU ANOREXIC?"
"YOU SHOULD BE A MODEL"
Photography credits from left to right; Bartlomiej Staszowski, Self Portrait, Paul Jones, Self Portrait, UCLAN Fashion Promotion team, Self Portrait.
Yellow Bikini photograph by Paul Jones. Red/Brown hair photograph by Bartlomiej Staszowski. Black and white photographs by Ayesha Jones (Self Portraits)
"You will grow up to be a pretty girl with an ugly back"
Women are the back bone of a healthy society she said.
My back bone has been weak for a while.
"It's just the way it is"
No known cause
That's what they tell you
Is it nature?
Is it me?
We've been exposed to too much. Too many lies.
It's just a little weird.
My favourite uncle.
Moms youngest brother.
Left for dead.
You made christmas!
but not this year.
Presents half wrapped.
It happened for the first time last week.
Post princess isn't what I'd been waiting for.
There was no shinny armour in sight.
I can't reach you
You're the one that told me to wait
I suppose it’s just fun!
I miss you Craig.
You're not the mom I am used to
I had no idea how to do it! Even though I had told him that I had done it before. I masked my nerves and waited patiently at the bus stop, as our friends discussed exactly how this was going to go down.
The arrangements had been made.
I was escorted over to the tree he was waiting at.
It was happening.
Our friends gathered round as he stuck his cold tongue in and out of my motionless mouth, repeatedly.
It was over.
I waited until he was out of sight before I spat his saliva out of my mouth.
Is my naked body synonymous with sex?
Is my clothed body a proposition?
I feel like a prisoner.
Sex is not a part of my experience as a human. It defines it.
Abuse disguised as affection, sneaks into my fantasies.
It convinces me, I love it.
They've got us salivating over pain.
Are you nervous yet?
Please stop. They are attacking your manhood too.
I'm in pain sometimes, I don't want to smile! I don't want to pretend it's all ok.
When does adulthood start?
When do I get to choose?
Getting my womanhood killed.
Founded on blood
Should I expect anything less?
I want to play with magic again
To be a woman.
I searched all over.
To taste something close to magic.
But all I found were trap doors.
Maybe I didn't look hard enough or maybe they've mastered hide and seek.
This body is foreign now.
No interest in the enemy.
Why my body was in revolt.
Jumped in, guns blazing.
Fused hopes and dreams.
"Stand tall Ayesha
and you'll be fine."
Not the quick fix I'd imagined.