Thursday, September 15, 2016

Vulnerability Vigil for Keith, Sun, Sept 18, 3-4 pm, Government&Wharf Sts, Victoria

Keith Jenkins at a Vulnerability Vigil, December 2015
Vulnerability Vigil for Keith
Sunday, September 18
3-4 pm
Government and Wharf Streets--where Keith often dances
Victoria

Keith Jenkins is in the Royal Jubilee Hospital about to undergo open heart surgery. He was on his way to work out when his doctor phoned him to say he needed to admit himself immediately. They told him they didn't know why he hadn't already keeled over kaput!

Thanks to the pressing of his girlfriend, Emilie, he had gone in for an electrocardiogram earlier. He hadn't felt too bad, just a little dizziness and shortness of breath. For the workout, he was planning to do "75%." Only Keith!

Over the years, hundreds of people have participated in Human Body Project performances and Vulnerability Vigils on the street. But there is no one who embodies the spirit of the project more than Keith Jenkins. I could summarize the project is to say everybody should be like Keith.

Keith is part Cree and grew up in an orphanage. One way I explain to myself how Keith is Keithlike is that maybe he was let be enough to raise himself as himself without the various expectations that hinder most of us. I have never met a person so untainted by the ego regulations of this culture.

Maybe you know Keith as THE artist model of Victoria. The man in thousands of drawings and paintings. Or maybe you've seen Keith downtown in one his costumes, dancing in the street. This is a guy who will make every day a festival. Or maybe you've seen him joining me for Vulnerability Vigils. Then you know he is a man of great heart.

On Sunday, I'm holding a Vulnerability Vigil to honour and send healing energy to that great heart.

Keith won't be able to work for a while after his surgery. Besides himself, Keith also has two sons in their 20s whom he helps support. A funding page is in the works (created by another friend), so stay tuned. We will collect money at the vigil, as well.

Please join me to honour and support Keith Jenkins:

Vulnerability Vigil for Keith
Sunday, September 18
3-4 pm
Government and Wharf Streets--where Keith often dances
Victoria

What is a Vulnerability Vigil?



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cancerversary Vulnerability Vigil

Cancerversary Vulnerability Vigil
Friday, August 26, 2016
5-6 pm
Government + Yates St.
Victoria, BC

Everybody welcome. Dressed or not.

Last year, on August 26, I was admitted to hospital because it looked like I had a malignant tumour in my left ovary or thereabouts. A few days later I learned I did indeed have stage 4 ovarian cancer. Dang. Bad prognosis.

I was due for a breakdown. The paradigm I believe in and try to live is about healing. But I had been working in an environment where healing is not part of the vocabulary and most of the words are pretty lies, like "community," "support," "transformative," etc.

I had made the mistake of being honest and caring too much. I didn't have the necessary boundaries. It hurt me. I found my job as a university instructor deeply rewarding and extremely painful.

Pain has been everpresent. I am extremely sensitive. For most of my life I had NO IDEA what it was or how to deal with it, except to feel ashamed.

I can honestly say I don't want to be here, living on this earth in the culture we have created. I don't have the necessary boundaries. I have suffered immense emotional pain. Unconsciously, which looked like boozery, promiscuity, irony, etc., and then consciously, caused by motherhood, mostly.

A great thing about my cancer is that I realized that if I was going to survive, and I do want to survive because I have 9- and 14-year-old kids, I needed to stop fantasizing about dying. So I took another stab at trusting Western pharmaceutical hooha and, what do you know?! I find Cymbalta very helpful. I never think hopeful thoughts about dying anymore. 

I would never have started the Human Body Project on Cymbalta, that's for sure!


Last month's Vulnerability Vigil in Toronto at Yonge and Bloor.
What is the Human Body Project? It's me intersecting my culture, a culture that really does not work for me... even though I am undeniably privileged. I have never felt safe here. 

So in this work, whether I do it on the streets or in performance, as my public self, or even private self, I am always working with my state of vulnerability, which, interestingly, mirrors the vulnerability of humanity at this unfortunate juncture.

Our culture does not understand or respect vulnerability. Our way of dealing with vulnerability is learned in a pre-verbal state. We don't have words to help us. By we, I mean especially us Western humans, who have created a weirdly visible situation: Syria! Yemen! Global climate change! Rape rape rape! Debt debt debt!

Which is also a weirdly invisible situation: far away or on a screen or she asked for it or, the worst, this is how it's all set up so what are ya gonna do?

IT'S A FUCKING DISASTER.

So anyway, at least once a month I do this thing I call a Vulnerability Vigil where I stand on the street naked. I hold a sign in front of my body because, God forbid the good people creating the 6th extinction should see a naked lady whose body is not selling something. This month I will probably hold the extinction symbol, as I have often done.
Back when I had more hair
My 54-year-old, baby-producing, cancer-surviving, naked female body is there to honour, share and express vulnerability. I work within the spacious form of performance art to present a non-violent, non-rhetorical, feminine, indigenist, healing response to an insane world. I am white and very privileged. This is also about showing up and using my privilege.

A Vulnerability Vigil is a ritual; it's about being the change; it's about being an ally; it's art. Holding vigils (and performing the Human Body Project) continues to be the only sane response I can come up with.

Please consider joining me this Friday. My friend and longtime Vigil partner, Keith Jenkins, will be out of town and I'll be extra-vulnerable without that dear man.

Cancerversary update: Chemo is done but it hurt my joints pretty bad, especially my knees, and either the chemo or the Cymbalta has caused my brain to process less sharply. I need a lot of sleep and rest. That bliss stage I went through for a while last year... I LOVED everyone! It was like being permanently in the early stages of a nice drunk... went away. 

My digestion is good, though. I taught a painting class. We had a great family trip to Ontario. I've been swimming in lakes almost every day this summer. I'm part of the group creating and performing the William Head on Stage play this year at William Head prison. And I'm happy to say my kids are driving me crazy. 

I don't think about the statistics.

Please, when you think of me, say: it's gone, Tasha, and it's not coming back.

humanbodyproject.org 
vulnerabilityvigils.org
Link to Facebook event

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

First Vulnerability Vigil in Toronto! Fri, July 15, 2016, Yonge+Bloor, 4:30

I am thrilled to announce that I'll be holding the First Vulnerability Vigil in Toronto!
Friday, July 15, 2016
4:30-5:30 pm
Yonge and Bloor
Everybody welcome, dressed or not.

Please share with Toronto friends!

Maybe you understand or have an inkling that our old structures are not working. This includes cultural ways of being (the water we swim in), which are pretty much invisible to most of us.

I have been using the spacious form of performance art for more than 10 years to present a non-violent, non-rhetorical, feminine, indigenist, healing response to an insane world.

I use my 54-year-old, baby-producing, cancer-surviving, naked female body to honour, share and express vulnerability. 

I am white and very privileged. This is also about showing up and using my privilege.

A Vulnerability Vigil is a ritual; it's about being the change; it's about being an ally; it's art. Holding vigils (and performing the Human Body Project) continues to be the only sane response I have.

Yes, it's small. It could be big. Consider holding a companion vigil. Consider joining me. (I'm the only one committed to being naked; it's completely optional.)


June 2016 Vulnerability Vigil in Victoria.