It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post on here! If you’ re reading this, thanks in advance!
2022 – what a year! Can we get a love and gratitude for that year? Was it challenging? Yes! Was it a year filled with life lessons? Yes! There was so much good about 2022 and a lot of hard times too. But we have to have balance, right?
I am grateful that I got to spend more time with my dad, continue to do the Oddities Expos, traveling to the Grand Canyon and Peru! I’m thankful for my friends, both new ones and old ones and eternally grateful for my health even though my physical body is not as healthy as it has been, but I’m working on it.
I had a lot of wins in 2022, but also some losses and moments I’m not exactly proud of and that’s ok. Not everything can be sunshine and rainbows because then there is no real growth.
In 2023, I’m focusing on making real life connections with people via my Patreon. I’m still developing those user friendly hikes for people who feel intimidated by large group hiking. These hikes are suitable for all levels since I tailor them to fit the people who rsvp. I am also carrying on with my graveyard crawls. We go to local and near local graveyards. I’ll share some tales, some info about the residents and some hot tea. We should also have plenty of time to walk around and take photos or when allowed in warmer months do gravestone rubbings. All my events are leave no trace or leave better than we found it. I have my schedule listed below for those whose interested. Links and location only given out to members in the 10$ and up level.
I’m also going to be putting up more boundaries regarding my time and energy. My time and energy are my most precious and limited resource and are valuable. Eliminating the nouns in my life that do not align with my highest self or have my best interests at heart including a lot of (not all) social media. Social media has always been a useful tool for me, but I need to keep it as a tool, not something I turn to when I want an ego boost.
And finally paying off house and credit debts so I can not have to worry about these trivial financial things in the future. Which by the way, I bought my first house at the end of 2021. I’m thrilled to be a home owner but wasn’t expecting to have to buy a new HVAC system so soon.
I continue to practice gratitude every day. Every fucking day. I give thanks for the experiences and people in my life, the lessons I have learned and opportunities that have come my way. Grateful for my closest friends and family.
So far in 2023, I have 3 new Patreon members, I’m booked for Naughti Gras, I updated my website and am co-leading a women’s adventure retreat in Bali/ Java March 2024! How is that for manifesting?
Feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to hear what you are thankful for or what your goals for the year and ongoing are. Until next time my friends, be kind, be grateful and be your beautiful authentic self.
Hello friends! Damn, this year is just flying by! So many changes and yet everything stays the same. Summer is nearly upon us and love is in the air. I know I have been feeling rather wanderlusty lately in my travels and exploration of new places, people and landscapes. So that brings me to what I’m going to talk about today. HIKING! I’m going to talk about my favorite things in regards to hiking, products, trails and more!
Let’s start off with a brief rundown of where you can find me this month and what’s new!
June 19th I’ll be vending in Austin, TX with the Oddities and Curiosities Expo. I love Austin, this will be my third time vending there over the past decade. I’m really hoping they reopened my favorite place called The Snack Bar. I am planning on going to watch the Bats exit the bridge cave down by SoCo Bridge, I hear it is quite the show and you know how much I love my fuzzy bat friends!
Then, I have a week to play in Texas and I am debating between driving to Colorado Bend State Park for some hiking and camping or driving down to Padre Island for some Beach time and beach camping! Either way I know it will be an adventure! Last month was Little Rock and Hot springs and it was quite fun!
Next, I’ll be heading toward New Orleans and hoping to catch up with some of my friends from Stygian Collective before the NOLA Oddities Expo on 6/26. I’m excited to explore and have brunch with my friends Sara and Tim who found us a swanky Air BNB for the time we are there! I may even end up day drinking and dancing in the streets.
I am still active in my Patreon even though I have not actively promoted it lately. I guess I hit a wall and plateaued with the number of people so I am mixing it up a bit. i am still posting weekly yoga and fusion dance videos but in the coming months I will be adding LIVE workshops and once I hit 100 supporters, I’ll host LIVE weekly classes and did I mention these were at NO EXTRA CHARGE for Patreon peeps 10$ and up? YEP. So now is the time 🙂 If you want to get in on the fun sign up here!
Okay – so enough of the shameless self promotion but if I don’t promote myself, who will? After all I am a living, breathing, working artist…
Here’s some rando hiking tips, etc… that keep coming up…
Essentials for hiking:
Bug hoodie – I know it sounds crazy, but I SWEAR by these after my firend Lauren recommended I get one for our trip to India in 2019. ExOfficio makes bug repellent clothing that is lightweight so even though I am wearing long sleeves, its tolerable in the summer. These hoodies protect against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, midges, etc… They last approx 70 washes. Obviously you won’t wash them every time you hike. It’s an investment but worth it. i wore one all summer last year and NOT ONE TICK! No mosquito bites either! Here’s a link to one I got.
Good shoes! Please do not wear flip flops hiking! Also no crappy sneakers. They offer no ankle support and may be ok for flat hikes, but for real terrain you’ll want to invest in a great pair of hiking boots. Get waterproof boots and something with a grippy sole that won’t be slippery on wet rocks. I currently own 4 pairs of boots. My newest pair Sorel have good grip and are waterproof and close to a barefoot shoe, but they have not been very durable. I can already feel the leather upper start to wear down after only a few months (then again I do tromp through a LOT of mud). I also have a pair of OBOZ which are hella nice, but hella stiff around the ankles, which makes them great for rocky terrain but aren’t super comfortable. I have a pair of Keen which are much more comfortable and a great all around boot. My favorites right now are these Xero shoes hikers. Not only are they waterproof, but they are considered a barefoot shoe which is nice for me especially when I do some scrambling and climbing, they have a nice grippy sole and I can accurately feel how my foot is touching the earth without it touching the earth. I have worn these hiking in India and climbing up Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock. They are also lightwewight and have plenty of room in the toe box.
Hiking socks – worth the investment. While a good pair of smart wool socks may set you back 20$ (ouch!) they will last a long time! I STILL have the first pair I bought 15 years ago. I prefer the well cushioned socks and wool dries fast so in the event you get water in your shoes, these socks will dry much faster than a cotton sock. And provide more warmth and cushion than a regular sock.
A good fitting backpack. My L1 vertebrae has always stuck out so using a cheap back pack for me is not an option. They tend to rub so much so that I can actually get a knot on it if I use a cheap backpack for an extended period of time. I love the Osprey brand backpacks. Again, it’s an investment but if you are going to be doing 10 mile hikes, it is worth considering for many reasons. I have had mine for well over a decade, it has a waterproof rain guard, it came with a 3 liter water bladder that does not leak, unlike the camelbacks I have tried., it is fitted for a woman’s body (they also have men’s too!) and it has a fantastic vented back support system that doesn’t rub my vertebrae and allows the weight to sit on my hips.
All Trails app! Is handy to have for finding trails and reading reviews on trails.
Things I keep in my pack at all times: Food, water, baggies or jars for dead things, Little Baphi, a bandanna and banana, flashlight or headlamp, sunscreen, lighter, whistle, leatherman tool. Sometimes I don’t take a pack if it’s going to be less than a few miles. But a few miles for me is normally a drop in the bucket so use your best judgement.
Women who hike alone:
I always let someone know where I will be hiking and check in when I leave and immediately when I return.
I carry a knife or a self defense tool (mace or a kitty kat key chain).
I am aware of my surroundings, I’m not fucking around on my phone (except to take pics of xxx fungal porn) or listening to music with headphones.
My top 10 fave hikes of all time:
Tumalo Falls – Bend, Oregon
Wahkeena Falls Trail – Portland, Oregon
Delicate Arch Trail – Moab, UT
Some hike that a tour guide took us on meandering through tea plantations in Kerala, India
Bow tie arch – Moab, UT
Manitou Incline – Manitou Springs, CO
Cumberland Falls – Southeast KY
Little Grand Canyon – Southern IL
Spruce Flats Falls – Smokey Mountains, TN
Pike’s Peak – Devil’s Playground – Colorado
Id love to hear your favorite hikes. I honestly have loved just about every hike I have ever been on so it’s reall hard to narrow down to just 10 hikes. If you have anything to add, please feel free to drop it in the comments! Until next time. xoxoxox
Ami Amore' 2021
Life is fleeting
Emotions are vicious
Snowing and sleeting
A blanket of thick, wet tears fall
Quick, fast and plenty
Like wolves to nature’s call
like a murder of crows
With an appetite to stimulate
An army of them mocking and teasing
All unsuspecting passerby’s
They find this taunting quite pleasing
Thoughts slowly spreading out and creating
An intense network of feelings
Weaving a web in waiting
In a nearby field of desolate mind
Ice crystals form unmatched shapes
A fall from grace left behind
Self mirrored reflection in angry pools
Causing danger and trauma
To unprepared and brazen fools
Take a look closer only if you’re brave
The ice is sharp, secret side is dark
Will you let the pits of your mind enslave
Will your bout with this be your grave
Will you embrace the shadow self you save
Do you dare enter this cave?
Journey to the center of the mind
A never ending horror
The tunnels are haunting and unkind
Feel your way as you go deep
This arduous voyage
Will surface every dark thought you keep.
Stalagmites of memories from below
Crowding, cutting making you bleed
Providing opportunity to grow
A shadowy yet familiar figure appears
Cascading around one another
Dancing with most secret fears
This dark mirror of thy self
We tango in passionate and painful embrace
Continuing eternally liminal delf
Flesh, blood and bone
Mind, body and soul
Ongoing enlightenment to hone
Exhausting and seemingly pointless duty
Integrating our perverse, repressed and chaotic self
To find whole inner complete beauty.
A run on sentence that ran too far
The waltz of a thousand waltzes
The counting of a million stars
I first heard of shadow work a few years ago listening to a podcast and it piqued my interest. I soon began to read articles and find out as much info as I could on the subject including this book called Existential Kink by Carolyn Elliott. How the hell does this relate to my writing and dancing?
Over the course of 20 years I have kept journal after journal. Words, when written with intention, have magickal powers. They have the power to heal, to end, to create. I kept all journals as proof. Everything I have ever wanted and wrote down and day dreamed about, has happened. That’s why the prose above was so important for me to sort my thoughts, my journey with shadowwork.
In the past few years, unconsciously my dance performances have become more spiritual and healing in nature. I have used my performances to reclaim my power, work through my grief, honoring the dead, conquer injury, push through body image and self confidence issues. I could not stop dancing even if I tried to be honest. My body is my most powerful instrument for magick. And incase you didn’t figure it out by now, I am a woman who manifests her own destiny and creates this world she lives in, I am WITCH.
What did I find in the past year of doing this Shadowwork? I found that it’s scary at times, but also not scary at all. I have found acceptance and being honest with myself as the hardest part. Yeah, you’re going to realize there are things you do that you actually delight in and are comfortable to you, but are deemed unsavory by society, etc… the truth is, we all have a dark side. While we may be scared of the dark, maybe there is enlightenment there, comfort, strength. Unearth the fears and insecurities, they really only exist in our own minds.
I dug deep for this performance drawing from my experience with the pandemic in the past year. I did a lot of shadow work. Facing the parts of me that I would rather not see, leaning in to those parts I’d rather no one know about. Shadow work is based on archetype theories of Carl Jung. This piece was written, choreographed and performed by me. The editing was a collab with my dear friend Kasper Bellydance. The music Gripir by Danheim inspired me to create this piece drawing from the prose above I created on a snowy night the past winter.
Enjoy this journey in my mind and soul friends. Thanks for being here!
If you’re interested in a little more info about archetypes and the Shadow, I invite you to google Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist. Jung believed that we are made up of archetypes. I am only going to mention the 4 main archetypes of our personalities, cited from this article:
Persona – How we present ourselves to the world
Shadow – That part of ourselves which we repress. Composed of parts we’d rather not share with the world including, but not limited to- repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings.
The Self – represents the unified unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. The whole complete personality. Jung believed in order to be the youest you you can be, that we must integrate all aspects including our Shadow.
Anima/Animus – represents the “true self” rather than the image we present to others and serves as the primary source of communication with the collective unconscious.
And should the spirit move you and you want to partake in helping an artist, witch and creative dynamo out, please subscribe to my Patreon for art, yoga, dance and a whole lot more!
Happiest March everyone! For that matter happy 2021 as well! I’ve been more than lax about keeping up on my blog, but with the approach of spring and the promise she brings, I expect that change, at least until next winter! 😉
Please welcome Lunar Fusion…
This is something I have been thinking about for years and am eager to move forward with. My troupe and I have officially decided to change the name of Exotic Rhythms Belly Dance (ERBD) so that the language we use better reflects our perspectives and growth as individuals and a group as a whole. Our troupe is now Lunar Fusion; this is not an ending, but rather an opportunity to grow, shift and metamorphosize like the phases of the moon.
In time, we will be making more changes and fine tuning things (such as our website & media) to follow through and better express the evolution of our troupe and what we stand for. So please stay tuned and in the meantime, feel free to like our new page on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on events, classes, community discussions and more.
Meanwhile…over on the Patreon…
January & February I added some performances, a new full length fusion cane choreo, another full length BD A-Z class, a couple dance drills videos, a beginner yoga workshop, more metal yoga, more travel yoga and a delightful chair yoga practice! Plus we had some great zoom crafting sessions online! This month I have some more great yoga videos to share with you al levels from beginner to advanced and varying lengths plus some wonderful dance material including another full length bootcamp, some drill videos and more! In April/May, in honor of Beltane – I’ll have another coloring contest. The winner will receive a headdress!
If you haven’t joined, but have been wanting to – now is great time to do so! Most people don’t know it, but I tape yoga videos when I am out hiking in other places and then I post those here exclusively! Lots of material that people don’t get to see unless they are a subscriber, so join today for as little as 3$ a month.
Knoxville, TN Oddities Expo…
Felt great to be back in the saddle! Making money and being around people I did not know in another city! Knoxville was a success and I even got to get 3 hikes in while I was there and I had Ethiopian food (yum!). I gothome and have been quarantining since, I got drive thru Covid tested 6 days after my return and got a negative – yay! The Expo did a good job making sure everyone wore masks and social distanced it was nice!
Until then I won’t be putting a whole lot up on my ETSY except restocks and some new magickal supplies I’m introducing and trying out including some spell jars, sigils and more….
Everyday I’m HUSTLIN’…
A lot of artists and creative entrepreneurs like myself have 50 different side hustles going on at one time to make ends meet, satisfy our creative urges and just because it’s fun. I am starting up a new side hustle for fun and I know you’re going to laugh, but I’m selling feet pics and videos under the moniker Meta.Tart.Soul (ha! get it?!) on Only Fans. I have some real fun ideas for my cute feet and dexterous toes and combining that with my love of the great outdoors and my brand of humor. I know my real friends won’t be judging, so haters get out! I wouldn’t put anything online that I’d be embarrassed if my dad saw or found out (Hi Dad!)
I am thrilled to be a part of The Stygian Collectives online festival in April called Ascension! Not only will i be performing in the Saturday Gala show, but I will be teaching a doozy of an online arms workshop. I have seriously been having fun with the curriculum for this! I hope you are prepared for challenging yourself in new and exciting ways! Click the link here for registration and complete details!
Right now I’m only teaching one weekly class per week and that’s my 9 years in the running clothing optional yoga class (online ver. 2.0). You won’t find it in the search engines online anymore and now because we are a close-knit group, you must be vetted in by me! Serious nudists and naturists only, no creepers. 10-15$ donation per person payable ahead of time, Zoom link sent out day of. Contact me if you’re interested.
And on that note….
I have several creative endeavors in the works, at least in my mind, trying to find the time, energy and means to carry them out. Including a couple childrens books I want to write and illustrate. An oracle deck I have ideas for. Developing my personal yoga style and brand. My graveyard project (the weather has been way too icky lately). And so much more!
With that all being said, my friends, I bid you farewell for now and hope you may find light and creativity in these times of darkness and uncertainty.
Really, there are no words to express how I feel about 2020 and even if I found them, I am sure you could probably say many of the same things. I came back from UK in March to basically no job due to Covid shut downs and outbreaks. Since then, I moved to Paducah, KY and left Cherokee Street behind for a while so I could take some time for myself and focus on the next chapter of my life.
As is typical with me, I took this as an opportunity to change, adapt and grow. I love change, change to live/ live to change. I’m still doing dance and performance but mostly for me now. Now my path is on my spirituality, health, jewelry, art and some exciting new projects I’ll have in the works for 2021 and beyond (more about those later).
Patreon still going strong
In January 2021, I’ll be celebrating 2 years of my Patreon! I’m planning on doing some special giveaways for Patrons there and maybe some other events. I didn’t realize when I started this how much I wish to create community and a personal experience as well as providing a space for students, friends and fans of mine to learn, create and feel truly rewarded for being a patron.
Exciting plans for 2021 on Patreon include a day in the life (virtually follow me around for a day and see what i do all day everyday), a sneak peek into my graveyard project, discounted online workshops on topics TBA (headdress making, printmaking, painting with acrylic) sword choreography, double sword workshop, The Dope Show choreo, veil workshop, more crafting zoom sessions, more giveaways, more dance classes and yoga sessions.
In December on my Patreon, all members can expect another monthly zoom crafting session on December 12th another early release performance video and help me decide what charity to donate a portion of my monthly Patreon earnings to!
My 10$ and up levels can expect more dance and yoga videos (I have 3-4 dance ones including a full 90 minute bootcamp and weekly metal and more yoga videos!). 20$ and up levels can expect fanmail from me to you to show my appreciation.
My goal for 2021 is to have 100 Patrons or be making 1000$ a month after Patreon takes out their fees. I still have a way to go and sometimes I feel like I’m fighting and uphill battle, but still confident I can make this a reality. While Patrons come and go quickly and others stay for a long time, I appreciate all Patrons immensely.
I hope you will join me on my Patreon. You will find I am pretty consistent and I have a lot more exciting plans in the works for 2021 and beyond. In January, to commemorate 2 years, I’m having a few contests, releasing a full choreography, and another full bootcamp. Plus all the normal benefits of being a Patron! Also right now if you pay ahead for an annual membership, you get a discount of 10% which is like getting a month free and then some! Learn more here
Amorticious on Etsy
September 2020 was an exciting and busy month with the grand opening of my long awaited Etsy Shoppe on the new moon! It was a long time in the making and to be honest, the pandemic was just what I needed to get my ass in gear and get it together.
Currently I do monthly updates coinciding with every new moon. The December update is scheduled for December 14th. I’ll have some restocks, exciting new offerings like fancy ass hair clips and glass encased snake skin jewelry (part of a new line of jewelry I’m slowly developing).
In the coming months, people can expect to find stained glass jewelry on my site as I am teaching myself how to do stained glass. So if you’re looking for a unique last minute holiday or yule gift check out my Etsy shop and take comfort in the fact that you are helping an independent artist.
For the love of dance…
In 2020 I found a rekindled love of dance. I was quite frankly burnt out when the pandemic happened, I had been burnt out for a while. In hindsight, I should have given myself more time away when Anthony died, but I didn’t. I had time to refocus on my own dancing and have used this time to take with other instructors online maybe I couldn’t otherwise take from, connect with some amazing dancers from all over the world including Sweden, UK and South America, develop some new material, rekindle my passion for dancing and developing my craft.
Right now, I am teaching a Monday nights dance class called Manic Mondays that runs through Dec.21st and is available for replay later. This is taught through my friend Shyama who has an online studio and group I belong to called The Stygian Collective. Honestly being a part of that group has been a real blessing for me, I have been enjoying the online community of it all and the online shows I’ve performed in and especially the online festival called the Descent that I got to teach at. I felt pretty lost after the pandemic hit, but I am finding my way and making new friends! Shyama does a good job at making sure that the online things really are the next best thing to being in person!
Check out the next show I’ll be in on December 31st produced by two sirens I know Lisa and Liz, performing a special dedication piece. The Midnight Frolic I hope to virtually see you there!
More on a personal note…
I have a mere 10 hikes left to complete the 52 hike challenge. Can I do it? We’ll see. It’s been an interesting collection of fungal porn, fighting a tired back, getting lost and random meetings with deer in the woods.
I started lifting weights again and can really see a difference in my arms! I’ve been surely regaining strength in my back and doing daily yoga practice helps keep my back limber and lessens the appearance of that T12 that wants to stick out.
In 2021, I have a new project in the works I’m calling the graveyard project until I can find something more clever to call it. I don’t want to say much about it just yet, but you know me and I will make a big blah blah post when I get it figured out and get the ball rolling.
Hoping for more traveling in 2021 with business and personal, but also not holding my breath. Right now Amorticious is scheduled to vend in 13 cities including in no particular order: St. Louis, Nola, Chicago, Indy, KC, Knoxville, Richmond, Tampa, Portland, Denver, Little Rock, Columbus and Austin. If 2021 doesn’t happen, I’ll try again in 2022. Hoping to go to Thailand or Bali in late 2021 or early 2022.
That’s all I have time for this month folks, so stay tuned for the next monthly post around January 1st. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Please stay warm, stay safe and try not to isolate too much. Even the online zoom visits or a phone call can do wonders for morale and mental health.
Hey friends! Ami Amore here and I want to take a moment to talk about something I am really excited to be involved in right now with some like-minded friends.
It’s a stunning, must see variety show of Four Queens. This is no ordinary experience. Four talented women embody the four Queens of the Tarot taking you, the audience, on a spiritual journey leaving you feel empowered and invigorated with the essence of feminine badassery.
“This is a stunning, must-see variety show featuring mediumship, burlesque, bellydance, and circus arts. All woven together by the theme of the Divine Feminine.
As it is represented in the four suits of the tarot… We begin with Pentacles, separating the mystical veil between the living and the dead. Then moving through the suits with Swords, representing strength and power. Cups, the purity of compassion and empathy. Finally, we end with Wands, the fire of passion and sensuality.
This dazzling show will leave audiences breathless, feeling empowered and touched by the sacred feminine.”
Please join us for our first show debuting in our town of St. Louis. MO on Saturday, February 29th at the Monocle, 4-6pm. Tickets are 20$ (+ .91 in fees) in advance and 30$ at the door. Please see the Facebook event page here and be sure to tell all your friends. Buy your tickets on this page here because seating is limited and it will be sure to sell out ahead of time.
5 weeks ago today, I got up early and made my way to a Portland, Oregon climbing gym for a morning of climbing before a day out with Stacey.
Little did I know that I would fall while bouldering and end up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital. Bouldering, for those who don’t know, is where you climb with no harness, but you don’t go up very high (at least not in a gym), typically having a thick mat underneath to help if you fall.
Well, I’m not sure where I was mentally, but it felt like I was having an out of body experience at that moment in time. The last thing I remember is feeling confident about my right foot going on a hold and my foot slipping and the force of my foot going towards the hood with surety and falling with not enough time to completely curl and land the right way. The result? Me thinking Oh Fuck…. and yelping as I fell to the ground. I heard something in my body thud and knew it wasn’t going to be good. People from the gym came and helped me stay still and ambulance was called. I barely was able to get on the stretcher when the EMS arrived.
I wasn’t scared, but instead I wondered what plan the Universe had in store for me with this. I never was a fan of bouldering to be honest. We arrived at the hospital and I was heavily medicated and immediately taken to a room in the ER. I remember wondering what plan the Universe had for me with all this.
I used some deep breathing and visualization techniques and sent the breath and healing energy to my back where I knew I had been hurt. I asked for Anthony to help me in anyway he could and to not leave me. I lay on my side in pain feeling my tears run down the crevices of my face. I was so thankful this didn’t happen with no one around. I’m not sure if my back or ego was hurt worse. Ok, it was definitely my back, I started giving up on ego long ago. Also, when you have a nurse stick a suppository up your ass because you haven’t pooped in 5 days … you let go that ego.
Eventually found out I got a compression or “burst” fracture to my L1. The neurosurgeon was concerned because my L1 was pushed closer to my spinal cord and he was afraid it would migrate once I tried to walk. With that being said I spent the next three days in the hospital doped up on opiates, taking Xrays and trying to just walk, use the bathroom and be minimally mobile.
At one point, I had Stacey bring me my banana costume (it was close to Halloween, after all) and I walked down the hospital hallways with my red walker ) affectionately dubbed “Big Red” entertaining the hospital staff with quips like…”hey am I funny or am I just high!?” Or “Don’t mind me, I’m your friendly, neighborhood banana… ”
Laughter truly is the best medicine.
I was fortunate enough to have dear friends come and visit me in the hospital. One was an ERBD member, Chelsea and the other was my friend, Tom whom I had not seen in 20 years!!!! So much gratitude, also Chelsea brought me some voodoo donuts including one that was a huge penis with balls!!! I wish I had taken a picture but it got devoured… And of course for my dear friend Stacey, who drove my ass home and brought me stuff as I needed it at the hospital xoxoxo
I got released on Sunday and Monday morning Stacey and I made the long trek home 3- ten hour days in the car, padded by pillows and doped up. I had to use a walker when I’d walk and sitting or pulling down my pants to use the bathroom was excruciating. So, I wore the same dress three days in a row, Stacey calls it my broke back mountain dress, hahah. I managed to give myself a shower every night we stopped and I dressed myself too. My mind is too strong to allow myself to be a victim.
Within these 5 weeks, I have made HUGE improvements. I am now running at 80%, I have religiously gone to physical therapy and done every kind of movement I am allowed to do. I got cleared to go to the gym last week and do very light weights, so I have been going every damn day. I have also been teaching since I got back, even if I had dancers to demo the moves while I talk through it and correct students. I don’t take muscle relaxers and I immediately took myself off the oxy as soon as I got back.
It’s been a humbling experience for me to be injured. I don’t have my normal abundance of energy for much of anything. It took everything in me just to put on Urban Cabaret a couple weeks ago, which was a huge success by the way. I’ve also been feeling the change of the seasons, both literally and figuratively. Grief has been keeping me warm a lot of nights and last week I just finally slept a full night. I am confident I will make a full recovery.
Why am I sharing this? I’m not sure, I don’t want sympathy or anyone to ask me if I am ok or do I need anything. I am good and I have everything I need. Maybe someone needs to hear this or maybe they don’t. Maybe I’m just rambling into the darkness and getting this off my chest because people have been wondering. It’s been a lesson in kindness to myself. A lesson in patience. A lesson in keeping a positive mindset and perspective. A road paved with determination and mental strength. Keep on moving forward. Evolving into this new version of myself that I become every day.
I leave for India on Tuesday morning to go on a spiritual pilgrimage with my dear friend, Lauren. We’re visiting Dehli, Agra, Jaipur, Kerala, Goa and Mumbai. I’ll be gone for 1 month. It was a concern with the fall, but there was no way I was not going to go. I bought the best backpack and it feels great, sitting the weight only on my hips. I am also packing super light, minimal makeup, toiletries and clothing. I’m not scared or worried. I am excited and open to the possibilities.
Why India? I just have always wanted to go to India since I was a small child. Much in the same way I always knew i wanted to be a bellydancer.
Speaking of bellydance, I just updated my class schedule for 2020. I have some exciting classes bellydance and metal yoga in store for the new year so check them out!
SO… back to this trip I just took.
The trip started out as what was supposed to be a three week journey across the US, but became something much more meaningful as I reflecting back on it now.
In those three weeks, I did so much, connected with so many people in ways I never have. Authentic human connection, my friends. Again I ask…What Does It All Mean? Stay tuned to find out and hear about my adventures friends… to be continued soon…
So it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done an update on my life, career and grief journey. A lot has happened since the last update. In June, I went almost full tilt back into life. Performing, teaching weekly classes, doing art, developing new hobbies like archery and climbing, etc… It felt really good to get back to a feeling of normalcy. A routine, some sense of stability.
Honestly, it was too soon. I took on to much. I’ve had to clear my plate to make time and room for creativity to flow and more importantly keep space for my self care. I have a hard head and it’s nearly impossible for me to admit when I need help or I just can’t do something or to say ‘NO’ to someone. I hate to disappoint, but to be frank, life can be full of disappointment at times. It’s not a negative thing unless you want to look at it that way. I see it as this… If everything went exactly as planned every time, life would get boring, we would stopped being challenged in our coping and quick thinking skills, etc… My biggest disappointment was losing Anthony. But out of that came my greatest triumph thus far.
Out of this, I have worked real hard on not just picking myself up out of the darkest pits of my mind, but spreading my wings and working to reach soaring heights as a human with my personal growth and development. I’ve decided to put aside my ego as much as I can, when I can and embrace my fears. Walk up to insecurity, uncertainly see them, acknowledge them and give them a great big bear hug, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel at first. The best things in life are never easy or comfortable. And I think you all know by now that I seldom find my truth or happiness in comfort or complacency. Now that’s not to say that I am going to go and give up my bed, my coffee and delicious fur rugs, but I would halt a relationship that’s not healthy even if it does seem easier to keep it going for sake of having to end it. This. Is. Part. Of. Self Care.
I’ve tested my limits this year on many levels. I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol (for more than a week) to numb the pain of losing Anthony. Instead, after the initial few weeks passed I stopped taking Benzos and I slowly started looking at my grief. I looked as grief as if it were my conservative right wing grandmother who was generally unpleasant to me (another story for another time) and I was inviting her to a tea party. I wanted to feel it, every ounce of that pain, longing and anger. I soaked it up like a sponge, I let it consume me at times. The truth is, the grief never ends, but it also becomes part of you, something you can carry and a visitor that comes at unexpected times. Once you’ve experienced intense grief and trauma, it changes you. The truth is most times though you have a choice. I could have chose to drink and pop pills or do away with myself and truthfully, that was in the darkest pits of my mind. But I didn’t. I chose to keep going.
Just. One. More. Day.
Then one day, I had a sunnier outlook, I felt lighter. no the grief was not gone, it was something that had become a part of me, something I had learned and grew from. Something that I had channeled into my art and dancing, I channeled it into my human relationships. I credit my whirlwind trip to Santa Fe and back a few months ago as a huge part of my healing process.
Since then, I’ve drove to Virginia. It was an amazing experience, I made new connections with amazing humans and saw new things, went skydiving and roller skating neither of which I had done before. It was a beautiful part of the country and really, just what I needed to get me prepared for my many travels this fall. I had so many fun and random experiences. I have found the most fun to be in randomness and absurdity.
I have learned that I can love again, I can find beauty in the pain and “ugliness” of life. I’m dating someone and after much ado, I have learned to not feel guilty about it or feel like I am betraying Anthony. My seeing someone doesn’t make me miss him any less or demean my love for him in the least. In the throes of grief it seems impossible to go on from day to day, much less the thought of being with someone else. But it’s all about mindset and again learning to sit with and carry that grief. And these feelings surprised me to be quite honest. After three months of lighting candles every single night and bawling every day, I was not expecting love to come knocking so soon. But it did and I am glad. Not only do I have room for my love for Anthony, but I have room for this person also. My love (and kindness and forgiveness) really knows no bounds, I have for many and it’s only finite if I put limitations on it. Do I still feel grief and get sad and wish this hadn’t happened, of course. Am I looking for a replacement? Absolutely not.
Love truly is infinite. People put limitations on it all the time by saying things like I only love so and so, etc… but really if you open your mind and see, love is energy it ebbs and flows. Love is love and it can be infinite if you want it to be.
Another exciting thing with the journey of grief is “grief brain”. This is a real thing. You’ve experienced a traumatic event and your mind is doing the best it can to make sense of things. So my normally organized and well put together self will brain fart frequently. I will be explaining something in the middle of class and my brain just overheats. Things like messing up video from my shows because I’m just not functioning properly. Stuff I have taught a million times, now takes me longer to prepare and execute due to grief brain. Now I am not blaming my normal ADDness on the grief brain, I have always been a little all over the place with creative ADD and, “OOO look! Shiny thing! Squirrel!” But this is 10 times worse than that. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s embarrassing and most of the time it’s downright frustrating. Sometimes it’s saddening when I have flashbacks from the night of the murder in the middle of class, etc. I have to remember to be patient with myself and just breathe, which can be hard and is one of the lessons in this life I am working on every damn day. I am just thankful for everyone who is hanging in there with me when I do things like leave my purse on the roof of my car or fill a vase with coffee instead of water.
With all that being said I’m still forging ahead. I’m teaching a few temporarily private classes a week, still doing Cats n Mats at Tenth Life. I’ve slowly started adding bootcamps back in. I’m still adding new content to my Patreon slowly but surely. I’m also doing monthly giveaways of art and headdresses and jewelry. Here’s the link to my Patreon if you should be so inclined to support. The videos aren’t the best right now but I’m hoping to be able to hire someone to help me edit them www.patreon.com/amiamore
So with all that being said here is my schedule for this fall:
September 13th – Transcendence – The Art of Ami Amore’ and Anthony Sapone – 6-10pm at Mad Art Gallery – I’ll have new art, shadow boxes, performances, jewelry and more, it’s going to be a multi media spectacular honoring love, life and death. Honoring my beloved Anthony Sapone.
I’m sitting here looking out the window between art projects reflecting on the past few months and writing this update for anyone who is wondering and cares how I’m doing, really. My last blog post was nearly two months ago and as we know, a lot can happen in that time.
Whew! Where to start? Well, the first 6 weeks I wanted to die. I spent several days where I did nothing but lay in bed with a pain in my side, I could barely eat or drink. I’d go days without food and only sips of water. I lost over 20 pounds and took a lot of benzos and ate a lot of edibles to get by. I couldn’t shower or change clothes, I was literally wasting away. Being around most people made me feel sad, angry or depressed. If it were not for my closest friends and my community both near and far, I am not sure I’d have made it through the dark.
One day, my life slowly started coming back as I gathered the strength to pick up a pencil and start drawing. I put my feelings into lines on paper, lines that turned into sketches and sketches that will eventually be paintings. I started my first painting at the beginning of May, with each stroke of the brush, I was able to let out and convey the emotions the words could not convey. Through many tears, triumphs and interruptions, I finally finished that first painting a month after I started it.
In that time, I also tried coming back to work. My first try was at Women’s Weekend in April, it was healing to be in nature, being taken care of and teach a group of amazing women a poi basics workshop and “Sigils for the Analytical Mind”, do some fire performance with Christine and lay on the earth at night and listen to the Universe as I would ask, “what next?!?!”
The next week was teaching my Cats N Mats Yoga at Tenth Life. It felt good, it was emotional and it reminded me that even though I have this grief that I carry, I am more than that. I am a teacher, I am a warrior and I am love and compassion for humankind in general.
Around the same time, I slowly started holding rehearsals with the ERBD Gang who really is my family. At first I was going through the motions and could barely make it through our shortened practices without feeling done and disconnected. But the more I did it, the better I felt, little by little step by step. It all came together in a huge well of emotion when we performed exactly 2 months after the murder. I was reminded that I am an artist, I NEED to create. I am also a performer, it is how I convey my emotions to the masses. It never felt so liberating and fulfilling to step on the stage as it did at the Lupulin Carnival. To bare my soul and have an entire crowd at a beer festival go silent. Even if I did sleep a full 18 hours after, it was so worth it. To be reminded from a place deep inside that I am not meant to wither away in the dark. I have an innate need to be of the light. Those events started a slow build back into the land of the living.
Since then, I have made small steps like trying to reconnect with friends and make new ones, when I have the energy. I added three private classes back into my schedule and more time at Tenth Life teaching yoga and now a monthly Bellydance with Cats class. I finally started making jewelry again and even though I am still behind, I am working on getting everything where it needs to be for upcoming traveling sales. Not to mention I am still producing 3 shows this year Hard Raks Cafe on August 3rd, Transcendence on September 13th and Urban Cabaret on November 8th.
Grief makes you do odd things…like EVP recordings (I did finally stop those, just FYI), being scared to do things you used to do or at the other end being reckless and having an unsafe attitude about things or even better… driving to New Mexico to climb to the top of a mountain, scream and cry at the Universe only to climb back down, eat in a cafe in Santa Fe and head back home – all in a mere 42 hours I will add (true story). All the while, I’m going through every imaginable emotion in random order – fear, anger, guilt, sadness, love. I think I finally figured out why I needed to do that, but that is a whole other story for another time. All I can say is sometimes, you just need to drive and do something to scare yourself, like leave home or sleep in a gas station parking lot in the back of the car.
Grief has given me flexibility, strength and pain tolerance (physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally) like none I have known before, the impossible has become possible. My focus for things physical or spiritual is at an all time high. I can do splits and arm balances I could never do before after practicing for years. I have taken up rock climbing and archery, which I love. They make me want to get back to my inner wild woman and nature. I feel restless in the concrete jungle and long to be in the woods, climbing trees,learning from nature and of course, hunting for bones.
Overall, I am doing good. I of course still have moments where grief hits, but I keep moving, keep breathing and keep living. I honor and carry sadness and grief. I allow myself to marinate in those feelings when they happen rather than push them to the side.
I am much more empathetic now, than I have ever been and I am more in tune with at least right now with signs from the Universe. I’m sensitive to other energy and I have deja vu almost on a daily basis now. I see the 1:11 or 11:11 on the clock several times per week. My dreams are lucid and more vivid than ever. I find signs everywhere that tell me I’m right where I need to be. But this is all a completely different blog post for another time, or perhaps several posts.
What’s on the horizon? Well, a lot actually. I can’t really talk about it all yet. I’m just going to say that the impossible is possible if you allow your heart and mind to be open. The Universe has literally turned my world upside down this year first for worse, then with an amazing surprise. Be like water.
I have a LOT of traveling in my future with teaching workshops, Amorticious and finding my hearts desire and following my bliss. I can say I am taking hitting New Orleans in September and looking for teaching opportunities during the week leading up to the Curiosities Expo I am vending at on September 21st a three week tour of the Western US in October and am looking for paid performance gigs, teaching workshops or vending opportunities between Denver and Portland/Seattle/Tacoma areas.
I am going on a spiritual pilgrimage in December and possibly January, then in March I’ll be doing an overseas tour with some other artists and am looking for bookings for vending/ performing/ teaching. I would not be surprised if I end up relocating at some point to be closer to nature and to my heart.
I still managed to video 4 new classes for my Patreon and did a few give aways, once I get to 50 Patrons, I’m gong to do another giveaway for a painting or a headdress. TBD, but your choice of either, you can sing up for a measly 10$ a month to have full access to many videos both yoga and bellydance. even the 3$ tier gets you entered in drawings and special sneak peeks.
I’m going to close this post with an album someone wonderful introduced me to. It reminds me of love and all the possibilities and miracles life has to offer if you allow yourself to be open.
Anthony was an amazing digital CGI artist, photographer, musician and friend to many in the photography community and beyond until he had his life senselessly taken away on the fateful night of March 18th. You’ll never want to experience the feeling of seeing your loved one’s life taken away, trying to bring them back and having them take their last breath in your arms, then getting robbed of an ambulance ride to the hospital with them. It cuts deep to the root of your soul and tears your heart out. How does one live without a heart? I’m still trying to find the answer to that question.
I know we have all had different experiences with him, whether you were a family member, former classmate, roommate or lover. Even as a fellow photographer, you probably felt a sense of camaraderie and his willingness to help his fellow photographers on the many forums and events he shot at. As a model, his friendly personality would put one at ease, and he did like to go out of his way do to make each shoot he did special and make each model feel their best. I was lucky enough to witness both his camaraderie and his working with models.
He was a gentle dreamer and a man of high standards who had a great sense of humor, extreme intelligence, a unique way of solving problems and kindness to others. He never settled for anything less than what he really wanted in love and in life.
Unbeknownst to many, he was a very sensitive person who had been treated poorly by many people through out his life and often felt alone and undervalued. So he kept walls up and kept people away at arms length. To be honest, there weren’t many people he actually wanted to be friends with or get close to.
He went through a long period of darkness until he finally found himself and what he wanted through a lot of time alone and deep meditation. He was a deep thinker and spiritual person with a beautiful soul although many would or could not see the diamond in the rough.
We met in 2012, when I had taken a one year vow of celibacy and break from any relationships. Timing and circumstance would bring us together and pull us apart for years, until one night in late 2017, we talked for 3 hours in his car about everything from the masks people wear to coffee enemas (yes, I said coffee enemas). Any walls we had, came down that night. In the next few months, our friendship grew exponentially. I was moth to a flame, I could see the inner light shining and was helpless to stop it’s natural course and allow myself to be vulnerable to him.
Anthony is the love of my life, my storybook romance, the yin to my yang. I am the Universe and he is the darkness that surrounds me.
We loved each other unconditionally and fiercely for exactly one year. Our love is magical and we loved harder and did more things in that time than most couples do during an entire lifetime. He was everything I ever wanted and more in a best friend, lover and soulmate. Everything about us was serendipitous from the matching rings we have to the events that day leading right up to that terrible night. I’ll never forget my last hug and kiss from him, holding his hand as we made our way to the parking lot for what we thought would be a relaxing evening of Chinese food and one of the many Marvel movies I haven’t really seen.
I can say without any doubt we were both happier than we had ever been in our entire lives. We had found our home together. The pieces that didn’t seem to makes sense, all of a sudden, just fell into place. The first week we spent an entire weekend together camping in my studio. Just one month into our relationship, I took him to Vegas, less than 3 months later we moved in together. I had the best birthday ever with him. We celebrated Thanksgiving together and went to Austin. We had a magical holiday season together, which neither of us (especially him) had had in a long time. Two weeks before he was murdered, he showed me the engagement ring he was saving up to buy me. We made the most of every moment, even though I was busy running my business and he had to work the dreaded day job. I am grateful that I was allowed to see the true beauty inside of him and he see the inner light that shines in me. Most people don’t get that in life.
One of the many quotes from him to me in one of our many musings together that keeps me going these days: Those that refuse to look past the cover, will never know the story that is written. You have strength, intelligence, wit, drive, tenacity. Your beauty is just a bonus to the things I look for. Because in my mind, if you’re not strong enough to stand alone, then I can not stand with you.
Obviously, I wish this didn’t happen. But I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything, it was the most valuable and fulfilling time of my life. This pain, this grief, these emotions are mine and I’m owning them as the price you pay when you love someone truly with all your heart. You have to love yourself unconditionally too and Anthony was the beacon that led me to love myself in that way. He loved me as I am and I love myself as I am, grief stricken or not.
I hope that by sharing my experience with love and grief,I will encourage anyone paying attention to have integrity and never settle for less than what you really want in life and love. Don’t be complacent. The real things in life aren’t always easy because it’s all about taking that risk, that first leap whatever that it is you feel a calling for. Life is too short to be unhappy or just ok, beat yourself up or wonder about the what ifs. This requires radical honesty with yourself and listening to the Universe, for we are all connected.
Love fiercely with all your heart, but know that the more pure and fierce the love, the more it hurts when something like this happens. You’ll want to die, you’ll falter, you’ll be angry and find out who your true friends really are. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by unexpected support on your side be it from strangers or the community. I know I am thankful for my community, strangers and friends.
Your true friends will hold space for you and actually be there when you need them, but will understand that you need space to cry, scream into the darkness, punch walls or lay in bed. I am eternally grateful for the handful of true friends that are in my inner circle. Honestly, without them, I would not be here right now.
Some will be playing the regrets game and others who never gave them a second thought or seldom if ever reached out in everyday life will all of a sudden personalize your grief for any myriad of reasons. Most won’t know what to say, so then come the I’m sorrys which are in the best of intentions because really there isn’t anything to say that will bring them back.
Everyone handles death and tragedy in different ways, there is no right or wrong way to handle it, it’s individual. There are compassionate ways to handle it and other ways with ill intent. There is no timeline on grief and losing the one who meant the most to you. I can only hope that someday I will still be able to look back on these wonderful memories and this love and feel lighter than I do right now. That’s really the best one can hope for. It might never get better, but either way I will keep on my path whatever it may be.
For me everyday is a journey of emotions, from rivers of tears and sadness and longing. to mountains of anger at someone he didn’t care for personalizing the death, to the desert of pushing through and doing my taxes (yes, I did them), to tromping through mud still trying to create (because I am an artist) and go about my life because I know that the wheel of life keeps turning no matter what. Change is constant. For better or worse.
For outsiders looking in, I invite you to choose compassion and consideration for the grieving, don’t tell someone to get over it, don’t tell them that they will be ok or the deceased wants you to be happy, you got spared for a reason or that you have to let them go. Also, please don’t personalize it, unless you were actually inner circle at that time or a family member. I invite you to really consider your relationship or lack thereof with the deceased when they were alive and think about how you would have done things differently in the time leading up to that death and then take that and apply it to the people you care about who are still alive. I invite you to live your life as if every last second counts, because it does.
Time is the most valuable, unpredictable and limited commodity we have in our lives. People place a high value on money but time and memories, that is the salt of the earth.
Ask yourself…Do you want your memories based on choices out of complacency, fear or what ifs? Or do you want your memories and time spent here to be based on following your dreams, your calling, based in love not fear or ego? In the words of Jim Carey (Anthony and I were fans of his motivational speeches), I’d much rather fail trying at something I love, than something I don’t love because I’m scared.
Without further ado… here is the heartfelt memorial video I made in his honor. It’s my first attempt at something like this. So much love and intention went into creating a brief portrait of the man I know and love.Its about 20 mins long and you’ll want to listen with the sound ON. All the music is by him except one song is by Nigel Stanford (one of his favorites).