Browse Category by self-love
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Free Write from Love’s Travel Stop

Wet with sweat. Love’s Travel Stop says it’s 101 degrees in Lost Hills, California.

I’ve been through the desert, the dunes, up and down mountains. Cascades, Rockies, Sierra Nevadas.

I expected the ocean to bring relief. I had been dreaming of its salty cool breeze between my thighs.

Instead I found sand. Tiny pieces of glass and shell whipped against my body again and again.

No aftercare provided. Thighs hot and raw and scratched.

And still, four more hours of driving.

“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper came on the radio and my heart became a crater.

I felt the dread of sinking but I managed to balance on the rim.

Today marks the first time this year I have heard that song and did not cry.

I listened to the end, windows unrolled, heat on every inch of my skin.

One hour down, three to go, temperatures slowly dropping with the pink setting sun.  

My crater heart fills with water, my source of life. My source of near death.

I hold still. No crashing waves. I breathe.

I push the accelerator.

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Adventure, Motorhome, Personal Blog, Podcast, Roadtrip, RV Lifestyle, self-discovery, self-love, Sex, Sex Ed Mobile, Sex Ed Teaching Tour, Sex Education, Sex Educator, Sex on the Road, Teaching Tour, Travel, Travel Blog, Uncategorized

Road Warriors: From Denver to Denton to New Orleans

The stresses and rewards of the road have been pummeling me with full force since leaving Wyoming. It certainly hasn’t all been idyllic, but the journey has been worth it and I have grown much closer to travel companions, learned more about RVs/cars, and have done tons of self-care and reflection. I feel like a lot has happened in the past week, and if you follow me on my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you may already aware of some of the struggles and triumphs. If not, the full updates are below.

Amber, Amari, and I went to Colorado after our magical night in Wyoming. We went to Boulder first, to meet up with one of Amber’s friends at a karaoke bar (yes, you are noticing a thednacoeme – we like karaoke). Driving in Boulder was a pain in the ass (the roads were confusing), but the Rocky Mountains were beautiful and brunch in Boulder reminded me of the amazing food in Portland, so that was the first time I missed home. We made the shortest drive of our road trip from Boulder to Denver last Sunday, and it was nice to not have a day that was spent completely in the RV. Especially since Edna the Sex Ed Mobile had started driving a little funny and seemed to be under the weather.

Amber had to get back to Portland, so we took her to the airport in Denver that evening. It was hard to say goodbye, but I was thankful for the time we had spent together. With just Amari and me left, we decided to spend some time getting to know Denver’s cannabis culture. We visited dispensaries and noted similarities and differences to how Portland sells/promotes legal cannabis, and I personally was very excited to check out Denver’s enormous selection of edibles. Amari and I spent much of our time in Denver at a place called iBAKE; a cannabis café that had frshoweree Wi-Fi and friendly patrons. We managed to get quite a bit of work done there on our podcasts, and we also got news that Amari’s passport, wallet, and phone had been found, so our time in Denver was rather uplifting (and not just because of the weed).

We slept in Edna in a 24 hour restaurant parking lot and took showers at a truck stop the next morning, which made us feel like real road warriors. Then we hit the road for New Mexico. We had no solid plans for New Mexico, other than driving through on our way to Texas and finding a place to camp. We had originally intended on staying at a state park near the grasslands, but we got caught in a storm and had to pull into an RV park off the highway somewhere in Union County. The lightning in the sky was pink and white, and the thunder boomed immediately after each flash. Chickpea sized hail and strong winds attacked Edna all through the night while Amari and I stayed put safely inside her shell and watched the violent sky from the RV windows. In the morning, we realized that we were camping betcapulinween a crater and volcano, which felt pretty bad ass, and then we enjoyed a picnic at the Capulin Volcano National Monument before setting off on our long journey through Texas

It was in the sweltering and sticky Texas heat that Edna really started letting us know she was sick. She was having a very hard time getting up to speed and was going through gas far too quickly. She also would occasionally shut down when put in reverse or while waiting at a stop light, and that problem was occurring with more and more frequency. So, we decided that we would go to Denton, Texas for the night since Amari has friends there, and we would get Edna fixed up while we were in town.

dentonDenton ended up being a really fun place to visit. The food was tasty, the people were very social and inclusive, and the nightlife was actually pretty hoppin’. This was a pleasant surprise to me, and it was fortunate that we enjoyed Denton, because we got stuck there for an extra day while Edna was getting repaired. It was hard being away from St. Edna, since she is more than an RV to me: she has been my home, my companion, and my literal shelter from the storm. We ended up having to sleep on a floor of a jam space on our second night in Denton, since we didn’t have the comforts of Edna, but we were in good company and Edna was in good hands. The fine folks of Ace Tech Automotive Repair Center treated Edna right and got her running on all cylinders again (and they were honest and very helpful). Thanks, Andrew and Dusty! acetech

We left Denton at night and drove through the rest of Texas and Louisiana to get to New Orleans at 5:30am. I had to pick up my sweetheart, Matias, from the airport in NOLA at 10:45am (P.S. Yay, Matias is here now!) and teach my Anal 101 class that night at DynamoA Romantic Boutique in the Deep South, so stopping to sleep somewhere wasn’t really an option. The minute we arrived at Amari’s house, we parked Edna, shuffled our exhausted feet inside, she had a happy reunion with her cats, and then we passed out. For Amari, the road trip had come to an end. For me, one chapter had just ended and another was about to begin…

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.

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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

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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.