Day 3: I drove 407 miles from Salt Lake City to a gorgeous campsite in Eastern Wyoming. It was called Vedauwoo located in Medicine Bow National Forest. The air smelled like desert sage and pine. I collected wood and built myself a nice little fire, cooked food, and wrote by firelight until it was too dark to see. Then I climbed onto the roof of my van and looked at the stars. I felt alone, but calm and powerful. I felt present. I felt like I was enough.
My mind, body, and spirit feel a hundred times better when I am doing things like this and surrounded by nature. The constant stress of capitalism and needing to be connected to social media and always trying to promote myself is not only exhausting, but it’s actively unhealthy for me. My time in Wyoming made me realize that If I didn’t have a mission as a sex educator and need to be near a major city to do my work, I would love to hide away for a bit to live somewhere quieter and write a book.
Day 4: Another long drive – 473 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska. Everything became much flatter once I left Wyoming, and there was tons of construction on I-80, so it wasn’t an especially pleasant drive. I decided to get a cheap motel room for the free HBO so I could watch the Game of Thrones premiere though. 😛
I have added two more videos to my Patreon page of me giving updates and singing from my car. Day 2’s song was “Stay” by Lisa Loeb and Day 3’s song was by the Dixie Chicks. Those are viewable to Patrons only, so if you want to check them out, please sign up and support my journey. Just $5 gets you videos, extra updates, and late night vulnerability posts (and higher amounts allow you to request songs and get access to a few soon-to-be-released secret podcast episodes and sex ed classes)!
Tomorrow I am going to Iowa where I’ll be staying with someone I’ve never met but who is a friend of a friend. They’re even going to make me a home cooked meal. Can’t wait! Loving the road but eating well isn’t easy.
I did something WAY outside of my comfort zone and recorded a video of myself in the car yesterday while I was driving to John Day. It’s a little over 5 minutes of unedited dorky footage and I end it with singing a Rilo Kiley song a capella.
I always get really nervous about posting videos, which means I never do, but I decided I needed to get over that if I’m going to start “building my brand” more. So, I just said ‘fuck it’ and hit record even though I was sweaty and driving and not wearing makeup.
It’s on my Patreon right now for all to view, but future videos will be for Patrons only as a way of earning gas money to get me to Ohio to teach at the Central Ohio Perversion Excursion. A one time $5 contribution will get you daily videos along with other fun things (or for $10 you can make song suggestions and for $20 I’ll sing whatever you want and dedicate it to you).
Episode 15: The One Where Everyone Masturbates – The title of this one is a pretty good summary. Amory Jane, Intern Courtney, and nine other Portland babes get together to talk about masturbation, watch porn, and playfully touch themselves and each other. This episode is full of personal stories, vibrator sounds, moans, laughs, and multiple real orgasms. If you loved Episode 9: Live from the Femme Sex Party, you’ll definitely want to check out The One Where Everyone Masturbates.
My birthday was this week, and what I wanted for my birthday was for my sex-positive variety show + afterparty to go well. That meant a night the audience would enjoy and remember and, for me, high enough ticket sales so I could finally fix my sex ed mobile and get back out on the road to teach sex workshops and attend conferences.
The show was incredible (seriously, the performers were amazing) and I kicked ass at my standup comedy debut, but we fell short of our ticket sale goals. We had a Sunday night show the night after the World Naked Bike Ride, there were record high heats, and it was just Pride Weekend – not easy to compete with those things. So, while I am proud of the show and everything it brought to the community, the joy of the event unfortunately didn’t last long for me because of the impact it had on my bank account. It was a major bummer, especially since I was hoping to earn some of the $700 I need for van repairs before I can leave town.
This is going to start sounding like a sob story, if it hasn’t already, but hang with me (it gets more positive eventually).
On my actual birthday, I had one of my worst days in recent memory. It started with me being admitted to the hospital with a very painful autoimmune flare-up, and continued to get comically worse, until it ended with both of my dogs puking all over the house. When it rains it pours, and this time it poured vomit.
I was pretty ready to give up. It felt like rock bottom to me after one of the worst years of my life, in which I got divorced, sold my possessions and moved into an RV to travel the country only to have the RV break down on me, was crashed into by a hit and run driver that left me with medical bills and worsened my chronic pain condition, dealt with multiple mental health crises, and had my heart broken (again).
Pushing myself forward in a career where I was always supposed to be “on” – sexy and funny and charming and self-promoting, didn’t seem feasible any longer. I told myself that as much as I love the work I do, and as important as sex and consent education and patriarchy-smashing is to the world, it was time to either become an off the grid hermit or get a “normal person job” that paid the bills more consistently. Not making enough money each month has meant chronic stress, which certainly doesn’t help pain or mental illness or healing from grief. But when I told my best friends about my fears and plans, they all told me I was full of shit. I mean, they did it in the nicest way possible, but they still refused to believe “hermit” or a 9-5 job were my only options. They begged me to never be normal, and encouraged me to try a few more things before I gave up on my dreams. Most of them agreed I should set up a Patreon, so that’s what I did.
The life of a sex educator can be exciting and hot and rewarding and ridiculous, but it can also be challenging, exhausting, and like I’m always fighting “Imposter Syndrome.” Plus, it can be really financially unpredictable, like when colleges wait two months to send a check for a safer sex workshop, or frustrating when everyone asks for sex and relationship advice and expects it for free.
However, I love my job and am very passionate about my chosen career. I’m good at it, and people tell me frequently how much it means to them that I do this work. So, I really want to be able to keep teaching, writing, interviewing, and podcasting about sex, relationships, love, and intersectional feminism. I also want to start embracing my creativity and getting more in touch with the comedian/writer/storyteller I’ve always been. I know creating and performing, and vulnerably sharing those parts of myself, will help me heal. And I hear that’s something the world needs – more healed people to help heal others.
Whenever things get to the point where I feel hopeless and helpless, I admit, I wallow in it for a day or two (#Cancer). Then I try really hard to get out of my mopey crab shell and rise from the ashes like a glorious Phoenix of Sex Wizardy (because apparently mixing a bunch of half-assed metaphors and witchy imagery is how I get inspired). That’s what this Patreon is for me – an attempt at an self-inspiring rebirth – or at least a healing new chapter.
So, please, won’t you allow yourselves to be inspired too? Join my Patreon, get exclusive access to my intimate stories/projects/comedy/podcasts/ridiculous life + sex ed videos and advice, and feel good because you are making a huge difference in the life of an educator (who can then make a difference in the lives of others).
Winners will be selected on Friday, so be sure to visit those giveaway pages soon. Even if you don’t win, tickets are available in-person at both She Bop locations (and saves you $5 in online fees) or you may purchase tickets online here.
Hope to see you there!
P.S. I will making my stand-up comedy debut at Whoopee! on Sunday. If it starts going poorly, on plan on just showing my boobs and pretending it was all a performance art piece. 😛
The monthly show I work hard on and that lights up my life – Whoopee! A Sex-Positive Variety Show – is moving to the beautiful spacious Bossanova Ballroom on June 25th! The only thing that makes me more excited than that is the fact that June’s show falls right between my birthday and the 30th birthday of my awesome stage manager, Lady Coquine.
This extra special Whoopee! Birthday Bash will be our biggest show yet – with over 10 sex-positive and body-positive acts, including burlesque, aerial, comedy, drag, fire dancing, sex-themed storytelling and more. It will also be followed by Kinky Karaoke (and probably even a karaoke dance party)!
There will be a giant raffle with free tickets for the whole audience, sex toys, free lube and prizes, plus even more perks (like $50 worth of sponsor goodies) with VIP seating.
Episode 14: Flirting – Sex on the Brain brings back two former guests to talk about flirting and modern dating. Ev’Yan Whitney of the Sexually Liberated Woman podcast and Intimacy Educator and Sex Coach Stella Harris join Amory Jane in discussing different flirting styles, pick up lines and so-called “pick up artists,” and how flirting has changed with online dating. They also share their experiences with dating non-monogamously, and offer plenty of flirting advice to listeners and each other.
Episode 13: Pegging On the thirteenth episode of Sex on the Brain, Amory Jane talks to sex educators, Reid Mihalko and Allison Moon! They dive deep into #buttstuff with a special focus on pegging, and share a lot of funny and intimate stories about their own anal experiences. This episode is extra humorous and as educational as a full pegging workshop! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about ass play, dildos, harnesses, and why the hell both Allison Moon and Amory Jane are into roleplaying as frat boys.
It is not yet a 100% done deal, but it is looking like I am going to be trading St. Edna the Sex Ed Mobile for a van. After getting multiple consultations, I’ve learned that a new engine for Edna would be $1200-1600, and I just don’t have that kind of money. As much as I don’t want to part with my baby RV, she’ll have a better life if she goes to a mechanic who knows how to get her running again and keep taking care of her. Besides, a van could be both my every day vehicle and a decent road trip mobile for when I go back out on tour (which I am hoping will happen in July).
I’m having lots of feelings about this, because getting Edna was a huge important chapter of my life and gave me freedom when I needed it most. Plus, the night she broke down was a night that has a lot of memories attached to it and marked the beginning of another chapter for me. So, saying goodbye to Edna feels more loaded than any other auto trade or sale I’ve ever done. Maybe I’m being too sentimental, but this feels like another significant marker in a year that has been filled with heartbreak, change, and learning to let go.
The sweet/good news is that the mechanic who will likely be getting Edna saw the bumper sticker on back and asked about it. So, I told him that I drove the country with Edna to teach sex education. He thought that was great, and he wants her to stay named Edna (which makes me feel a lot better about all of this, as stupid as that may sound). He also wants to leave the bumper sticker on and get a stack for his other cars, and he said it’ll help him talk to his kiddos easier about “the birds and the bees.”
About a third of my Facebook feed today is filled with #420 memes and statuses and another third is filled with people who are annoyed by people who are into weed.
For most of my life, I was in the latter group. Most stoners I knew growing up were trashy white boys who listened to Sublime, made jokes about Funyuns, and mocked me for being a straight A student. In my younger brain, I thought pretty much all stoners were lazy, and probably also smelled like skunk. However, after cannabis was legalized in Oregon, it was suggested I use some for my chronic pain, mood disorder, and nausea. So, I tried some. Sure enough, it made me feel a whole lot better.
I had been taking pills for pain, which sometimes made me feel like a zombie (and made my nausea worse). I used to drink booze multiple times a week to help with anxiety, but I’d feel terrible later, and it honestly made me way moodier overall. Discovering the healing that cannabis could offer me, and realizing I had no negative side effects the next day and I didn’t even have to smoke if I didn’t want to (hooray for edibles and oil!) was actually life-changing.
I also discovered other types of weed lovers too — high femmes, successful stoners, chronic pain warriors, cancer survivors, and everyday people who used it to help themselves feel better about their bodies, sex, stress, etc. Yes, there are still plenty of smelly slacker stoners out there, but I’ve grown to appreciate cannabis culture. I love that anywhere I go where people are smoking weed, they’ll invite me into their circle and share both their cannabis and their stories freely.
I love that when I’m high I am in love with myself and my brain and my body (which, when I am sober, I struggle to appreciate). I love that cannabis has helped me work through trauma without shutting down, helped me make new friends easily, and truly helped my career by allowing me to have less pain and anxiety so I can accomplish more. It’s also made me hear songs in brand new ways, taste foods more intensely, and helped me process two back to back heartbreaks that surely would have crushed me a few years ago.
So, yes, I recognize that this “holiday” is completely goofy and maybe even obnoxious to a bunch of folks. But for lots of us, it is a day to celebrate that we have a plant that helps us more easily handle all the bullshit life can throw our way. For me, I use cannabis not as a way to escape, but as a way to become more connected — to myself and to others. I use it to let my overactive and frequently worried mind have some moments of solace. I use it to zone in on relaxing and relieving parts of my body that are chronically tense or in pain. I use it as a social lubricant, a libido booster, and a creativity booster.
I am outraged that so many people, most especially POC, have been sent to prison (or worse) for buying, selling, or possessing weed. I am sad that cannabis is still not legal in many places where I know it would help many members of the population. I’m frustrated by restrictive laws and ridiculous punishments. I know I am lucky to live in Oregon and be able to travel easily to Washington, so that I can enjoy cannabis legally and safely. I wish and hope that one day everyone will have access if they need it. Until then, I’ll keep being a vocal and passionate supporter of cannabis rights, decriminalization, and reparations for communities that have been disproportionately affected by America’s War on Drugs.
To all who celebrate – whether you celebrate sincerely, humorously, with a heavy heart/conscious mind, or every damn day – Happy 420!