Tasha Diamant

is creating Performance Art and Activism

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About

I've always been a hurtling earthling. In the sense of being on an incomprehensible, careening trajectory. For example, I was 15 when I slipped on a rock edge at Johnston Canyon, AB, and found myself, yes, hurtling down a treacherous waterfall. I remember grabbing a rock which came away from the edge and surrendering to a realization that I would die. I don't know how, but I landed in an eddy, unlike, I heard, others before me who also slid in. (There is a fence there now!)

In the sense of being a hurt-ling earthling: pain, extreme emotional pain, has been a constant in my life since adolescence.

An unattributed social media post says: "People who are spiritually minded tend to suffer more. Because their eyes are open to a world that is in need of repair. They have an increased ability to feel the emotions around them."

I've known for a very long time that I feel trauma on behalf of others. But that's not a "thing" in our culture so I've had to muddle through almost completely on my own.

Motherhood sent me into the using the pain phase, the ongoing performance and activism work of the Human Body Project.

In a nutshell, I use my naked (or semi-naked) self and body to express and create space for vulnerability. (I'm doing more than one thing, of course, by showing up as I do. There are endless layers and tangents. Cultural criticism. Experimental art. Facilitation. Solidarity. Decolonization. Social justice. Indigenism. Feminism. Body image junk. Autoethnography. etc.) I've done about 100 performances since 2006. And in 2012 I started monthly actions (also known as Vulnerability Vigils) on the street. So about 100 actions, as well.

I'm using my privilege. I am a white, non-immigrant, educated, homed, straight, safely-married, well-fed, financially-stable Canadian woman who is able to do this kind of work without serious fear of abuse or incarceration. (I am frequently questioned by police but, although I have been put in handcuffs, I have never been arrested and the majority of my interactions with police and the public have been respectful.)

It is and has been very challenging. By embracing vulnerability (and, for me, its accompaniment, pain) as a concept and a reality in my art/activism I have generated more pain for myself. For me, the pain is about both living in a culture that denies its brutality and as a person revealing it--not nice! The intensifying emotional pain I've experienced (not to mention ongoing physical issues such as chronic fatigue syndrome and Stage 4 cancer) through doing the work of the last 13+ years has mostly been around diving into my culturally-embedded shame. Deep shame for feeling and acknowledging pain and vulnerability.

And it has been gratifying and empowering.

It's a paradox and it's heavy and not everyone "gets it" because we are genetically and culturally programmed to bypass any understanding of the depth of brutality and trauma we feel AND cause.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. I am four years into a prognosis that says I have a 50-70% chance of not being alive at the end of five years.

I am on CPP disability. As a longtime artist and contract instructor at post-secondary institutions, I have no disability funds from a job. The Canadian government thinks just over $10,000 a year should sustain me. So I am very lucky to have a supportive and securely-employed husband.

Over the years, doing the work of the Human Body Project has cost me and my family thousands of dollars, as well as mental and physical debilitation.

At this time, I am asking for your support to bring in an extra $500 a month for myself and my family.

If you got this far, thank you so much for reading and considering my request!

PS I've only started using the words "pain" and "trauma." Thirteen years ago I started using the concept of "vulnerability" (four years before Brené Brown's viral TEDTalk) because people would look at me blankly when I said my work emerged from pain. Now Pink's "Beautiful Trauma" has come and gone and John Bellion is "sick of being human" and "ecological grief" is a term. There's always a weird mainstream dilution when concepts finally emerge. So... not sure what to think except, ya, people are in CRIPPLING and SHAME-HIDDEN pain and even though pop stars are singing about it, the SHAME of PAIN in a culture of INVISIBLE BRUTALITY is still a thing.
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 6 exclusive posts
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 6 exclusive posts
5
Images
3
Writings
1
Video

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