Browse Category by self-love
Adventure, Career, Career Change, divorce, Life Changes, moving on, Personal Blog, Relationships, Roadtrip, RV Lifestyle, self-discovery, self-love, Separation, Sex Ed Mobile, Sex Ed Teaching Tour, Sex Education, Sex Educator, Teaching Tour, Travel, Travel Blog, Uncategorized

<3 Wyoming <3

www.CGPGrey.com

Wyoming is a beautiful state and we came across some serious magic there.

On Friday, my two travel companions (Amari and Amber) and I drove from Idaho for over seven hours, through the mountains and high desert then on unpaved roads through the dark without having any real idea where we were going. Eventually we discovered an isolated but perfectly set up campsite with wood for a fire already in a pile nearby. It felt like a gift or a prize that was waiting for us after a very difficult day where Amari lost her wallet, phone, and passport and Edna decided that she wanted to temporarily shut down when she was put in reverse. We needed a victory, and finding an empty, free campground in the middle of Wyoming after a long journey felt like we had won.

Since we were basically in the middle of nowhere, we saw the entire sky, including bright clearstar constellations and the Milky Way. Seeing our galaxy made us feel itty bitty and filled with wonder. We realized we were truly newborns on the cosmic calendar; so young compared to the age of our universe. We felt insignificant but comforted. We felt introspective and open to possibilities. I even saw two shooting stars! I took that as a sign that we were exactly where we were meant to be and I needed to allow myself to fully embrace my new life plan and let go of the things from my past that were holding me back. 

It was a new moon and I had just started bleeding. In fact, all of us were bleeding, even though two of us weren’t expecting that to happen. For whatever reason, that felt important/symbolic. Amber gave Amari a tarot reading that helped Amari find closure and shed her former self. It was so moving and empowering for her that she ended the night by shaving off all of her hair.

shaved

While that was happening, I felt called to be alone in Edna. I had my own healing to do. I stared out of the cab window at the vast night sky and felt like I was in a spaceship. It felt good to be alone. I was happy to be with me, in nature, feeling tiny yet connected. I wrapped myself in a blanket and caressed my arms for warmth. My skin was cool, smooth, and sensitive. It felt incredibly nice to be touched, and it dawned on me that I was the one doing the touching. I was doing this thing called “self-soothing” that I have struggled with for the past few years, especially when I was angry with my body over infertility and chronic pain. I continued to hug myself tightly and rub and squeeze my arms. My body felt less sore and uncomfortable than it had in a long time. I sobbed and let the grief and stress come out with it. I rested my hands on my abdomen and sent gentle energy to my uterus, which I had cursed so many times over the past three years. I breathed deeply and slowly and thought warm and compassionate thoughts, and I let my mind fill with happy memories. I imagined my lover’s embrace from afar and pictured his sweet smile, and my heart swelled with love.

Just then, Amari and Amber walked into Edna. They checked in on me and I checked in on them, and we all agreed something magical was happening there in the rolling sage grasslands of Wyoming. I rubbed Amari’s fresh and fuzzy bald head and we all expressed our love and gratitude toward each other. Amber sat down on the cushioned bench in Edna and Amari crawled into the overcab bed with me. We took all of Edna’a curtains down and turned off the lights so we could feel like we were floating through space. With no light pollution we couldn’t even see our hands in front of our faces, and we commented on how it was a darker darkness than we had ever experienced. Then some really special energy kicked in.

We stayed up for a couple hours more, laughing until we had tears streaming down our faces and our stomachs were cramping. We bonded and wrote songs and poured out all of our album ideas into Amari’s handheld recorder. We talked about how we felt like sisters, like a coven, like a little family. Amari pointed out that our coven would be complete if only we had four members, but Amber wisely noted that St. Edna was our fourth. Then we wrote a song about Edna as the fourth Beatle and fell peacefully asleep.

We woke up to a storm, heavy rain pouring down around us, and the sound of the wind and water beating against Edna’s fiberglass body. We were safe though, and the storm passed just as quickly as it had arrived. The next time we awoke was to a pink and orange sunrise, and we finally got to see the wonderful place around us that we had discovered in the dark.

wyomingcollage
Photos by Amber

We walked down to the Teton Reservoir and took a few photos then said our goodbyes. We left Wyoming that afternoon feeling revived, more creative, and closer than ever.

Adventure, Career Change, divorce, Life Changes, moving on, Personal Blog, Relationships, Roadtrip, RV Lifestyle, self-discovery, self-love, Separation, Sex Ed Mobile, Teaching Tour, Tiny House, Travel, Uncategorized

The City of Roses (and Thorns)

Ten years ago, on August 31, 2006, I moved to Portland, Oregon. I had spent the summer of 2006 heartsick, couch surfing, and working as a nanny in Indiana. I had portland-415957_960_720gotten out of a long-term relationship around February of that year, graduated from college that May, and found myself ready to move out of the state where I was born and raised. I needed a change, but I couldn’t decide where to go or what to do with myself.

I had interviewed for two very different opportunities in two very different parts of the country, and had been offered both jobs. One was to move to New York City and work with Teach for America and the other was to move to Florida and work as a camp counselor for a year. One would have required me to live in a giant city, in an assigned apartment with other teachers. The other would have required me to live in a teepee next to a lake. While they both sounded like amazing (and kind of terrifying) life adventures, neither housing option would allow me to bring my dog.

My dog, an old blind pug named Buckeye, was my best friend. That little buddy and I had been through a big breakup and homelessness together. He was with me the day I moved out of the house I shared with my co426074_636536074858_1349282714_nllege sweetheart, he was there with me when I decided to skip my college graduation ceremony and go camping, and he kept me warm by curling up at the very bottom of my sleeping bag. There was no way I could abandon him. I had to find a place where my dog was welcome, where I fit in better than I did in Indiana, and where I could get a fresh start.

I knew that place was out there, but I hadn’t yet found it. I asked my older sister, who had done quite a bit of traveling, if she had any suggestions. She suggested I visit her in Portland to think about my next steps in a new environment. Of course, as soon as I spent my first day in Portland, I fell in love with it. I think she knew that would happen when she invited me there. That tricky bitch. 😉

I could write a novel about my life in the Rose City. I have experienced a lot during my ten years there; the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life have all been in Portland. In a lot of ways, it has been a wonderful place to call home and I am grateful that I experienced the majority of my twenties there. However, I have a complicated relationship with my city now, as do many people who have lived there for a while. Oregon is a lovely state filled with natural beauty in every direction, Portland is a special city with gorgeous green parks and lots of rivers and bridges and art and rain, but it is not paradise. In fact, it has some major problems that seem to be getting worse. Portland is becoming more and more expensive by the month, gentrification and overpriced housing are pushing out long-time residents, beloved businesses and buildings that once gave the city character are being demolished and replaced with pretentious condos that most Portlanders could never afford. In many ways, the city is losing the charm and uniqueness that put it on the map in the first place. Homelessness, the rapidly rising cost of living, and a lack of jobs have already caused many people to leave, and it certainly contributed to my decision to buy an RV and convert it into my tiny house on wheels/sex ed mobile.

When grief and the end of my marriage were added to the list of things I was dealing with in Portland, it became obvious to me that I needed to get away from my city. So, it seems fitting that on the ten year anniversary of moving to Oregon, I left the state. Yesterday we crossed the border into Idaho, and today we continue heading east. We plan on visiting the Craters of the Moon, Lava Hot Springs, and having another night in the woods to think and heal and reflect.

Looking forward to the famous Wyoming night sky.

Xoxo,

Amory Jane

Adventure, Career, Career Change, Life Changes, Motorhome, moving on, RV Lifestyle, self-discovery, self-love, Sex, Sex Ed Mobile, Sex Education, Sex Educator, Travel, Uncategorized

She Bop Love

As I am getting the details worked out for my upcoming travel adventures with Edna, I am realizing that I am booking just as many learning experiences as teaching experiences. Hooray for knowledge! I can’t wait to soak it all in and use everything I learn on the road to be the best educator, partner, coach, and sex positive entertainer I can be.

shebopToday is my last day as the manager at She Bop and am having a lot of feelings about it. I love my job, I adore my coworkers, and my bosses are the best bosses I have ever had. Working for a company I believe in, who also believes in me, and who I know makes a positive difference in the world has been a fantasy of mine since I joined the labor force at age thirteen. The fact that everyone in the She Bop family also kicks ass and has similar feminist values has been amazing. Working for a small business that is active in the community, gives back, and is filled with queers and femmes and tender hearts, allows me to be myself and feel good about what I do. I don’t have to work for a big corporation. I don’t have to work for “the man.” I can be openly polyamorous and ethically slutty and it gives me street cred. Y’all, I made a patriarchy-smashing porn (with a coworker!) for HUMP! film fest and my colleagues went out and voted for it and my employers congratulated our Best in Show win with an excited and proud post on social media. There is no way any of my previous places of employment would have done anything close to that. In fact, I would have gotten fired at my last job if they found out I made a film for HUMP!

HUMP! WinnersPortland will still be my home base. I will be here often; teaching, writing, recuperating, and spending time with people I love. I will continue being the Education Coordinator for She Bop, will still present my regular classes and host events, and I will cover shifts when I am in town. I know I will always be part of the Team Bop family and will very actively be promoting She Bop on the road and on social media . Still, this work has been a big part of my identity. I have been with She Bop for over five years and was the first sales associate they hired. I’ve watched the company grow tremendously, they’ve definitely watched me grow too, and now I hope we can continue to help each other grow more and more.

This is such a huge change for me and a giant risk. It could all blow up in my face – who knows? I have to try though. I have to put myself out there, talk to people about sex and shame and emotions and relationships and life, and allow myself to pursue a dream. I have to passionately throw myself into something, and this is the best something I can imagine.

It is very hard to give up a steady job I enjoy (especially one that is pretty darn perfect for me) for something that is filled with a bunch of question marks and no guarantees. Honestly, as I type this, I am wondering if I am making the right choice. But, there is only one way to find out. I’m hitting that road and doing this thing! This baby bird is birdready to fly. I’m going to push myself and heal myself and prove to myself that I deserve this and can pull this off. I know I am a good sex educator. I have the knowledge, the experience, and the drive to always learn more. I know that I can be funny and entertaining and truly help people. I know that as much as I enjoyed my 5+ years working full time at the shop, I have an opportunity to do something new and bold but that is really a continuation/extension of the work I have already started.

The owners of She Bop gave me some lovely parting gifts this morning: a big box of wine, trail mix, gas gift cards, a first aid kit, and (my favorite part) a very kind and personal card. I may or may not have cried a little (of course I did). Working a job you love, with people you respect, in an industry you know is important, and doing work you know is meaningful? I feel like that is pretty much the Millennial Dream (you know, except without the massive student loan debt). I have been very fortunate to work here over the years and am grateful for everything I have learned and all of the opportunities I have been given. Now, I am looking forward to beginning the next stage as a national sex educator and making Team Bop proud.

Giant hugs and thanks to my She Bop family (Jeneen, Evy, Wyatt, Sid, Alyssa P, Alyssa K, Gretchen, Nicolette, Kate,  & Courtney)  and everyone who has encouraged me along the way!

Adventure, divorce, Life Changes, moving on, Personal Blog, Relationships, self-discovery, self-love, Separation, Sex Education, Travel, Uncategorized

First Fig

fig

On Sunday, I finished moving out of the house I had lived in with my husband for six years. When I showed up to get the rest of my stuff, the entire house had been rearranged. The dining room and living room furniture had been switched, my art didn’t decorate the walls, and there is now a guitar stand in the bedroom where my dresser used to be. My bed is still there because it won’t fit in my RV, but it is no longer my happy place, my sanctuary, where I am able to go for comfort. My bed- our bed -is his bed now, and it will be the bed he shares with others.

Truthfully, the house looks better than it ever has. The design is simpler, it is less crowded, less youthful, and there aren’t bottles of nail polish all over the bathroom counter and bedroom night stands. The air feels different there, and I am genuinely happy that my husband gets to have a fresh start even though he is staying in the house we had made a home together. I was worried it would be hard for him to move on when he was surrounded by so many memories, but this transition already seems like a good step forward for him. For both of us. We are finding ourselves – the selves we were before we started trying to change to accommodate each other – and we’re hopefully creating better versions of ourselves.

My new life has arrived, and while it feels somewhat familiar because I am still the main character, everything else is rapidly changing. Each day since I have been out of the house has felt like I’m writing my coming of age story, except this story isn’t about leaving youth and becoming an adult. In fact, I feel more in touch now with my younger self than I have in years. I am healing old wounds, nurturing my inner child, and becoming an adult who embraces my nature, my flaws, and my power.

Any of the ways I had tried to tone myself down – to be more likable, more passive, to be less saucy, less scrappy, or be less emotional – are now all coming back to me. Basically, I tried to be less like a rebellious teenager and less difficult to love. I knew my personality was sometimes “too big” to be liked or understood by everyone, but I thought I could tweak it enough to be a cherished wife, lover, and friend. I knew I didn’t want the classic American Dream, but I thought I could potentially have a modified version of it. Even though I tried again and again, I just never fit into being a middle class 9-5 worker. I never fit into traditional monogamy. I was too queer for the straights and too in love with men to be considered “really queer.” And after three years of infertility,  I realized that even motherhood was not an option for me like it was for so many other folks.

I’m understanding now that I’m destined for something weirder. A different kind of life and adventure. I am meant to lovingly embrace the parts of myself that I tried to change for others. I am trying to see those parts of myself as unique gifts to offer something new to the world, or at least to those who want what I have to offer.

Honestly, I don’t know if I really believe in destiny, or in the Universe or God having a plan for each of us. I don’t necessarily think everything happens for a reason, because sometimes life/the world is full of random chaos, strange coincidences, and people actively and often willfully sabotaging themselves and others. However, believing that I’m starting an epic tale, or at least a somewhat exciting journey that will be good for me and the world around me, helps me feel better about all of the changes.