@HEARDinLONDON #blog

Jackie and her back

Jackie hurt her back a few years ago to the point of not being able to walk or move. After a huge amount of work and effort and dedication she is back in the air again. Injuring any part of the body is everyone’s nightmare, but for aerialists and circus artists it is especially frightening - though the probability may be low, the possibility is there. I know six people who have broken their backs or necks. Sometimes I think people think the risks in circus are all mitigated and the stuff people do with their bodies cannot be that dangerous. The fact remains, however skilled you are: the risk is very real.

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Jackie came to me because she told me how much she disliked her back. She told me she was sad she did not look “strong enough”. This was one of the pictures we created together.

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The way we view our bodies is twisted and manipulated by all sorts of things, but often it is a toxic mix of comparison and capitalism: “I’m not as good as them / buy this thing to be worthy of love”. If we can take anything from this wild year, perhaps it could be the fact that we all come in different packaging - but my goodness, aren’t these bodies of ours keeping us so very alive?