April 21, 2021

Season 2, Episode 12 (Amy Sigil)

Season 2, Episode 12 (Amy Sigil)

We were very honored to have dancer and creator of Improvisational Team Synchronization stop by to join us and tell us her story.

For more information check out http://www.sigilschool.com

Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Q Lounge Podcast. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. Join us as we discuss news stories and life situations. As they relate to the LGBTQIAPK+ experience, please visit us at theQloungepodcast.com and hit that subscribe button or listen wherever you get your podcasts while you're there. Please leave us a five star review and don't forget to tell your friends.

Eric:

Hello and welcome to The Q Lounge. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. And today we are honored to be joined by Amy Sigil. Hi, how are you?

Amy:

I'm doing so well. Thanks so much for having me.

Eric:

Thank you. Joining us. And you are quite the accomplished dancer. You've started I.T.S. Which is Improvisational Team Synchronization. Thank

Amy:

you for that. Yes. Just some to see now, one year old Improvisational Team Synchronization, as you probably know, we went through a big name change. So

Eric:

I did follow that. I'm not really in the. Dance community anymore, but I did see all of that.

Amy:

So we'll always be in the dance community.

Eric:

Thank you. And so how is life treating you right now in this COVID kind of world?

Amy:

You caught me at a good time. Good time. If you would've asked me this literally just maybe three months ago. I would probably said some things and then said, can you edit that out too? I'm doing pretty good. For a lot of reasons I was one of the ones that kind of dug my heels in artistically in the beginning. So I think a lot of artists are hitting a wall right now, but I actually am starting to feel really invigorated because my wall was like, from the very beginning, I was like, I'm going to wait it out. This is only going to be like 30 days, you know how they were saying too. They spent two weeks in the house. So I was like, Oh yeah, no, I'm just going to wait. I'm just going to wait one month, two months, three months. And then I was like, shit, I need to figure this out. So I actually am feeling pretty inspired right now. And I've been trying to work more. I think I took a long sabbatical there during, so I feel pretty rested and I feel ready to go finally.

Eric:

Oh, that's good. And you had a few, you had a few big changes during that with as far as the studio and all that

Amy:

other stuff, man. Yeah. Lost the physical space. Name changes. Looking at our dance. According to cultural appropriation racism, yeah, we, I can't even say no, we're I'm so lucky to be able to get this education. I want to say I went through the ringer, but everybody knows that I did not go through the ringer. I've just been inspired to really look inward right now and see what changes I can make in my own life and my own arch. That's going to help support these bigger ideas. I don't know if but I'm new to this town. Called Redding, California. And there's so many amazing things about it, but one thing it is not is a politically progressive. So at all. So it was weird to be here during that time, because I didn't know you couldn't, I couldn't just show up at stuff and make a presence. I couldn't show people in my art up here was so different. So I, it was cool for me in the long run, because I was like, okay what can I do it myself? With my own work as an artist. And that was important. I think if I would have been at the studio, which was literally a block from the Capitol. There's something that I love about that, but I would have been at every protest I could possibly be at, and I wouldn't have been forced to do the work on my own. So that is a good part about this. Okay. That's

Eric:

awesome. We're going to go into a little history. What was it like for you to come out? And when did you realize that you were part of the LGBTQIAPK+ community?

Amy:

I love, I actually been thinking about this for the last 24 hours and, Eric. I don't think I ever came out. Okay. I don't know if that's common, but it was such a gradual instinctive process for me that I had the girlfriend before I ever had to come out. And I think that being a queer and very pansexual person. I grew up making out with both boys and girls, but my family's really religious. My dad's a preacher. and my mom is a preacher's wife. So we actually never even talked about gay people. I didn't know any gay people growing up that were out in the little town. There was one stop sign in my whole town. You knew who was it? The pizza place by whose horse was tied up out front. Of the

Gil:

pizza place. Oh, wow. Oh my goodness.

Amy:

Even the light, you went K through eighth grade in the same school. I think I'd like, 14 people in my class. So I actually made out with my girlfriends when I was young, as kids also made out with my boyfriend and I thought that's how it happened. And then I had my first real serious girlfriend relationship when I was 17 years old and I was already out of the house by then. So I never had to go home and tell my parents. I was just like here's my girlfriend. And my parents were not happy. We're not supportive, are very loving people in so many ways, but being a preacher and especially from a very conservative side of Christianity, he has to change his own thing. His whole theology to say, this is okay. His whole life would change. So I really didn't even hold my parents to that kind of pressure. They didn't like it. I didn't care. I never cared if my parents approved of my partner or not. So it was just like, here's my new girlfriend. And then that was that. And I have this really great story. Raven, Eric, my partner now of 17 years, we're walking on K street and they call it gay on K I'm living like in the hub, gay on K and Raven. And I were holding hand down the street and these guys drive by in this car and they yell out dyke and then they keep driving and then Raven's all. Fucking assholes or whatever. And I said, Oh babe don't let it bother you. Don't let it bother you. And she says, you know that they're talking to you too. You know that they're talking to you and I'm like, no, they're not talking to me. They're talking to you look at you and look at me like your, obviously the dyke in the relationship. But I think I've been very lucky to feel so supported in my life. Even if people didn't approve that, I never felt. I never felt that I even came out really.

Eric:

We actually had a guest last season who said the same thing that he's I actually never came out. So he's I was like,

Amy:

people just I told him it was just here's my partner this time. Here's my partner that time. And I actually asked Plum my youngest daughter over here. I said, Plum, do you remember ever being like, Oh, my gosh, my mom is gay. And what did you say, babe? No. No. And I've been with Raven, like her whole entire life, except for the first six years. She's no, I never ever had that moment. And then she feels like she didn't come out either. Although she's super gay. Maximum gay.

Eric:

I think that's awesome though. We always talk about it and you see it in the media too, that like you're always coming out when you're in a new situation. And when you meet new people or it's just not normalized, but it looks like your group has just made it. Normal. And it's just like everyday life

Amy:

really wasn't. But I also think that I am very hetero presenting, especially with Oh so much of my life, I feel like I could walk down the street and straight people are just going to automatically be like, Oh, that's a straight female. So I feel like being pansexual, not being super Butch in my life that I had it easier because it wasn't like I knew everything about me was different. I didn't fit in. And I had to come out to the world. I still got to be me no matter what the sexuality was, because I still fit into the norm.

Eric:

So

Amy:

yeah, I definitely have some privilege in that for sure.

Eric:

That's interesting. So you probably didn't. Did you have any struggles, like accepting your sexuality within yourself or

Amy:

embarrassing to say Eric, but I have got some over self acceptance. Like how self-accepting I am. I was at this w this which all of UNMATA of Hotpot studios went to this like witchy wellness thing. And we passed around a stick and it was supposed to be like, stop talking bad about yourself. What are the things? And all my friends who were holding this powerful stick, and they were saying, I need to stop telling myself this. I need to stop telling myself. And through the whole thing, all I could think of is, wow. I really talk nice to myself. Like maybe overly nice to myself. Where I'm just like, whatever I do, I have this little thing over here. That's you're right. You're right? Yep. You're right. Yeah, absolutely. So it's interesting. But no, it was easy for me. It was really easy for me in that regards as well.

Eric:

Yeah. You said that your dad is a preacher and your family is pretty religious. Did you said that they had to change their way of thinking. Did you run into any more obstacles? Did they put any obstacles with you and them.

Amy:

A little religious, like it's their entire life like dances my entire life. Sometimes I feel like my dad and I do the same thing, but we're on different teams. You know what I mean? But he, his whole life is both of them is religion and teaching religion. And it took my mom. How many years to give you a hug, babe? Seven or eight years for my mom to except Raven in my life. The first few girlfriends were like a year and a half, two years, something like that. It wasn't as big of a thing when Raven and I fell in, it was like pretty much marriage and partnership. And my parents were very upset. But they're interesting because I think that they've instilled so much love and confidence in me that I really didn't care if they were upset. I still came to their house. I still brought Raven with me and I was just like, I don't care if you're mad about this is going to be fine. It didn't affect me. In that. Invisible. I need to be invisible way. It just made my horns come out and all those things. And Raven used to be like, stop touching me at my parents' house. Could you just stop? And I'm just like, what this one, what kind of bratty and rebellious in that way. But it took them a long time to accept Raven. And what's so amazing about this story is that now they're super close. Super close Raven with my parents. It's my mom wants her to call her mom, all him. Dad, DOD, Dear old dad. He likes DOD. My dad. That's wonderful. I actually have that tattooed right here for dear old dad. Oh,

Eric:

I love that. That's beautiful tattoo also.

Amy:

It's actually really sweet because they were like, this is never going to last. My dad was like, give it six months. This is never going to last 17 years, but it was around seven or eight years that my parents were like, okay. But it went to like their house for dinner. And I still continue to push the relationship on them. 100%. They never kicked me out of the house, out of the family. They just were like, that I can't get behind what you're doing. And the last time my mom and I had a discussion was just recently. I said, mom, I'm so curious, is it better that I marry the same sex or better that I live in sin? If I can't win, like which one AM I supposed to do? Am I supposed to marry because I'm living in sin or am I supposed to whatever? And my mom said, Amy, I don't want to talk about that. Which means I love you. And I don't know why I think that way. So let's just not talk about okay. So interesting. But yeah, I did have to get through my parents and it took years and years, but I think they instilled a lot of unconditional love in me. Otherwise, I would have cared more that they weren't happy.

Eric:

It sounds like they did an amazing job. So that's great.

Amy:

Yeah. Yeah. I think so. And, Oh, it took Raven also seven or eight years to get in the family Christmas letter. And she first was in, if you, with my assistant, they said, can you believe that Gil? Oh, sorry. And I had to bring that home to Raven. Cause this was like normal days. I had to be like, here's the Christmas letter. I'll just use it as Firestarter and Ravens like that Christmas letter. And it's like literally no mention of Raven seven, eight years. And then my assistant Raven turned into my friend, Raven, Amy and her friend, Raven. And then finally it was partner. So Plum this year has a new girlfriend. And they've been dating how long? Seven months, seven months. And in the Christmas letter, my mom puts Plum and her friend Dimitra, you know what else? They call it off and that they have good comradery. Oh, I love it. You're welcome because that took me 17 years. To that ground for you to have your girlfriend in the Christmas letter in the first six months as a friend?

Gil:

Yes. It's promotion. You're

Amy:

welcome.

Eric:

So how was it having two daughters and then having your girlfriends and everything

Amy:

else. It was hard in the beginning. It was really hard. I met Raven when I had been with Plum's dad for eight years. All right. And I had a child before Tangerine. My oldest is from my first ex-husband and Pablo is my second ex-husband but Tangerine had been with Pablo since she was tiny. So it was really the girl's dad. And we were together for eight years when I met Raven and everything, just turned upside down. There was no way for me not to pursue that relationship with Raven. So it was really difficult. And I don't want to ever do that again. And I hope I never have to do that again. The girls were six and eight at the time, so that was tricky too. And that's why I was asking Plum earlier today. Do you remember me going from like your dad? To Raven and like the male and female aspect and Plum was like, no, That never had anything to do with it, but it was really difficult in a lot of ways. Fortunately, plums dad is a super nice guy and a great dad. So I think we worked really well together. The three of us and not putting the kids in the middle, but we all live together. It wasn't those kinds of relationships. It would've never worked if we all lived together. Unfortunately that was what I missed out on was having the girls in my home. Permanently for, I think it was like maybe 10 years. Okay. And that was difficult, even though I stole them every chance I get one time the kids got in trouble and Pablo tried to ground them from going anywhere. Including my house. And I was like, absolutely not. No, absolutely not. You can not ground the kids, but Pablo was like, what your house is so fun. It's I ground them here and then they go to your house. And I was like, sorry.

Eric:

Yeah, I would have fought for that too. So

Amy:

kids are going to get in trouble. You can't be grounded for mom's house, but yeah, it was hard and it took a lot of years, but in the end it was all perfect.

Eric:

And then how was it for Plum? How was it for her coming out and how are you when she was? I know she said she probably come out, but yeah,

Amy:

no, I would love for you to hear Plum's, the unique animal. Truly. What was that? Oh, did you ask how it was for me?

Eric:

For you and for her? Yeah, either

Amy:

24. Yes, 24. And I knew since Plum was little, I knew since Plum was little because we were actually Raven. Was it clear gay. Person. It wasn't like me. That was all over Facebook. It wasn't like me. That was like all over the place. Raven, like nuisance, she was four years old that she was gay. You know what I mean? And so it's she does have that coming out story and what it was like to live a lie and things like that when I never had that. So for Plum, when she was little, we were riding in the car one day when Plum was like maybe seven or eight. And she said, mom, I just wanted to tell you that I'm like, Raven. And I said, yeah, cool. But then we talked later cause she was so young and I was like, what does that mean? Does that mean she likes baseball caps? Does that mean that she wants it? What's that mean? But I always knew that had a more masculine side than a feminine side and. For me, it was very easy. Of course it was very easy. I think the hardest part was trying not to assume that she was gay and then great. And then she feels weird bringing home a guy and it's like the total opposite where she's Oh my gosh, mom's going to be disappointed because I'm in a straight relationship. How, what am I going to my mother about that? I kinda grown up with such a community that embraces everything. I just assumed that everybody is free to love whoever they pleased and which is entirely true. Given people have many opinions about all that, but. It would never occur to me that coming out or specifying was something that was a big deal or given having friends and such that had coming out stories that were hard and difficult. Keyed me into that. But me, myself, I didn't feel any reason to sit down and have a conversation about it. It was just always assumed that. You get to love whoever you love and bring home to where you want to be involved with. Yeah. And I think being open to it's like, how do you even know if your gay Oh yeah. You got your whole life to try and bring it out now could change tomorrow. And I don't want Plum to feel bad. Like I said, if she ends up in a straight relationship, I want her to fit in either way. Although it'd be a really, if it was like, Yeah. If we're talking about like a hetero male, it's gotta be a pretty special yeah. It would be a unicorn of a hetero male that you would bring in. I don't really communicate with non special people to begin with. So yeah, it was easy and Tangerine actually is not straight either, but ended up in a straight male relationship. Yeah loves this guy, loves him so much. And she was going to get, she's going to get married. She got married like maybe two years ago in June. And he asked and she said, yes. And we're planning the wedding. And I'm like, how do you feel? Tan's is there anything that's like making you feel like you have cold feet or whatever. And she said, I never got to have all those gay relationships that I wanted. I'm going to marry that. I'm just going to be like seen as, Straight, like I'm going to be in a hetero relationship. That's okay, too. She's wait, so yeah. It's funny how that ends up, but

Eric:

I absolutely adore this whole script flip that's happening because I like in normal society, it's not this open or accepted in the fact that it's happening in. Your construct, just it gives me hope for future

Gil:

what we're pushing for, like in time, I'm sure. Because I don't want my kid to be, whenever I adopt some day in the future, it's going to be like, if they come out, however, which way that it's great. Granted, if they. Come out conservative in a Christian. I have a little bit of a heart attack, I still need to accept the fact that is a possibility as well. Unfortunately,

Amy:

be one generation away from this. Like my parents were not the same and Plum feels 100%. Supported no matter where she's going so much, that she can't even decide what it is, so it's cool that we really are only one generation away from that, right? Yeah.

Eric:

That's definitely a silver lining.

Gil:

Right.

Eric:

So how do you feel about representation? Like how do you think our community is represented nowadays?

Amy:

I feel so disconnected from my gay community. I have a lot of gay friends, but I am no longer on gay on K. I'm not in scene anymore. I don't know anybody up here. I've only been up here a year and a half, and I know that there is a community here, but during COVID it's been like, I can't make it. I'm not even supposed to make any new friends. So I feel so disconnected from the community right now. Okay. Yeah. I barely even feel gay.

Eric:

You gonna have to hand in your card then.

Amy:

Okay. I was talking to Raven about that, cause I was just like, yeah. I'm not in the scene anymore. It doesn't matter if it's a 17 year relationship. It doesn't matter. You looked like a boy, nobody even knows you're walking down the street with your hoodie and your baseball cap. Like I feel. Deep in a Harley and a trailer. So I feel from afar that the representation of queer society right now is a plus. I really do, but I also can over positivity things too. Sometimes whatever that word is, so I'm not in it. So what do I know? But I feel like there's more queer movies. I'm 48. There are more queer movies. There are more queer movements. There are more queer everything than I have ever seen in my entire life.

Eric:

Yeah. I would agree with

Gil:

that. Yeah.

Amy:

Yeah. Yeah. So I feel like, yeah, this is going really well in representation right now. And we are, like I said, one generation away from this being different.

Gil:

Yeah. That's true. That's very true. I will say, especially with the gen Z and the get the new alpha generation. It's good to transition it out completely. Is that the new generation name? Yeah. Alpha because they're the first generation completely born in the new century. Yeah. So the generation I'm part of the old one

Amy:

and now millennials are old.

Gil:

Yeah, no, we're old.

Amy:

That's my

Gil:

parents.

Amy:

You're a millennial,

Eric:

but I think people still like to say those damn millennials and you're like

Gil:

late thirties. Okay,

Amy:

true. Huh? Okay. Jen a

Gil:

yes, here we

Amy:

go. Talking my grandbabies Pony and Basil. Would be both Gen A when

Gil:

she showed up. Oh my God.

Amy:

Oh, I wish you could interview Pony. She was dropping some wisdom. She's insane. Oh, I love that. She's had some good ones. I actually wrote down a couple that were really great, but she said this recently, she said you can't wait, you can't boss. Your judge.

Gil:

Oh, wow.

Eric:

Geez. Wow. That's pretty deep.

Gil:

The young generation is more woke than we are that's for sure.

Eric:

Yeah, for sure. I'm still sleeping

Gil:

well when Quarantine ends in theory, probably another year or so. Are you planning any or how would you like to give back to the community or get back into the community? Yes.

Amy:

Yes. And yes. And I want to do all the things I want to go back to work. I want to find new friends in Redding. I want to throw down some roots and I'd like to meet the community here that isn't flying a Trump flag. Thanks babe neighbor across the street, put up a Trump flag after the election. Oh, the whole thing was called and everything. He put up the flag and I was just like, Oh my gosh. I actually got really, I was out of control and I wasn't even allowed to go outside the week of the election here for other people's safety. I just stopped all my food ahead of time and stored it. And I was like, no way, you're not allowed that it's not going to happen. But yeah, I would like to get back into the community. And for me, it's all about movement. Okay. And it's all about embodying strength and competence through movement. So that's where my focus is and what I love to find queer community up here and dance our ass off. Yes. And I got the second COVID shot two weeks ago. Congratulations came out of nowhere. I'm hoping that this shit works. I got it out of peer pressure. Cause I don't know anything about this shit. So I'm hoping that it's good. And I'm hoping that I can start moving forward.

Eric:

Yeah, I just, I got my second one about, it'll be three weeks tomorrow. So from your second one, No. I had more side effects than I did the first time, but the side effects I had the second time besides the sore arm for a day and a half was I had lethargy. Like I went to bed early that night and I slept for nine or 10 hours, which is completely out of my norm. And I had a metallic taste in my mouth the day of and cotton mouth the day of, but then the next morning it was all gone. Oh, and the only thing I had from the first vaccine is I had a mild headache the rest of the day. And then I had a sore arm for a day and a half. So those were all my side effects.

Gil:

Yeah, that's good. I'm waiting for my shot because I signed it for, cause I work in San Francisco. So they said anyone who works there or you know of the certain age could sign up. So I'm just waiting to get my call back and be like, Hey, come in and join.

Amy:

Oh, that's so great. I hope it happens to be for you. Yes. Yes, soon. And I want to know what's the Eric and Gil story.

Eric:

Oh we've been friends for 16 years. He was, yeah. One of my students when I taught yoga at a community college here. And we just actually, I don't know exactly. He was just in my class. He was new to New Mexico. Yeah.

Gil:

I left the Bay for cheaper education, higher education. So I went to New Mexico. I had some family out there. And then Eric saw through my 49 or apparel. He was like, Oh, there was a queer right here.

Eric:

He's actually, I have I have the worst gaydar in the world and he is like the first guy who's ever beeped on it.

Gil:

Yes.

Amy:

Oh, that's awesome. We've been working together for

Eric:

a long time. Yeah. And so we just, we became friends and once he was no longer my student, cause I couldn't hang out with students. Cause that was against school policies and stuff like that. I think he found me on MySpace. Oh, God. Yeah, it was my space. And he started reading my blog,

Gil:

which now he's an author just

Eric:

released the poetry book and now I'm all embarrassed. He I think, I don't know what happened. He decided he wanted to go out one night or something and we like hung out. And then he went to a couple of my dance performances and

Gil:

Wise Fool. I think it was the first one in Santa Fe. Yeah. When I get to set up that very interesting performance, you did great.

Eric:

And then. He had, he broke up with him and his first boyfriend broke up and he was heartbroken. So he went back to the Bay for a few months just to collect himself and everything else. I had helped him move and then it was his 21st birthday. And I was like, you can't just celebrate, turn 21 and not have a celebration. So I actually flew to the Bay for just that weekend. Yes. And then, so we went out and then when he came back, I was like, we're going out like every weekend. And I made him go clubbing like four times a week, because that was my thing. I love to go clubbing. And I went three or four times a week. So we went, I think at least once or twice a week, almost every week. It wasn't fine. Three times a week, unless it was finals. And he's Hey, really? Can't go. And I'd be like, come on.

Gil:

No. Then it went down to two. Yeah. But we know we had a great time. It's I can't believe it's been 16 years. It's it just feels like yesterday. And I was

Eric:

the, I was the best man in his wedding or one of the best men in his life.

Amy:

Did you ever come up to Faces?

Eric:

I love

Gil:

faces. I love faces. Oh yeah. That was my second. My very first gay club ever when I was 18 and went to, it was 21 off of 21st street.

Amy:

Yeah, absolutely. It's on K it's on gay on K. Oh yeah. I lived three blocks from Faces for a decade. Oh, I

Gil:

love

Eric:

it. Yeah. He that same trip for his 21st birthday. Cause I flew in and out of Sacramento. So like the night before he's let's just go to Sacramento. And then we, so we went to faces and that to this day is still like one of my favorite clubs I've been to.

Gil:

It's so fun.

Amy:

Literally the only one in Northern California for decades and decades, probably 30, 30, 40 years. But Yeah, it's pretty special. Yeah.

Eric:

That's great. Yeah. And I

Amy:

actually moving from gay on Kao is so fun. Yeah. Oh,

Eric:

that sounds like the dream. And then I actually am the reason why Gil and his husband, met. So yes.

Amy:

Oh, that's so special. So he was a friend of yours?

Eric:

No, actually, it's you, it's actually weird because he was friends with. A girl that I used to dance with because she was really good friends with his sister and his cousin was also one of my students, but I didn't know that they were cousins until they were getting engaged, but my friend was like, Oh, we need to introduce Gil to Chris. And that's his husband's name? And I was like, okay. So then I started talking to Gil about it and I was talking to my friend about it. And so I was like the middleman in between it. And then it just

Amy:

oh, that's so special. And how long have you and Chris, when did this happen?

Gil:

12 years

Amy:

ago now. Oh, you're rolling. Right?

Gil:

I know now I'm like, Oh, how long has it been? Yes. Yes. It's been that. It's funny because like, when you're talking about how long it took for them to call your Partner or even just to get to partner. It took my dad up until what, the first six years to finally, Oh, his friend before that it was just, Oh, Gil and Chris, it would, there was no, even, but after six years that it was like, Oh, his friend. And then now, finally I think there's a slight acknowledgement of husband, even though he helped,

Amy:

Hey, what happened to me? Raven was part of the family, part of the family. Just want to let you know. Yes. We don't know why you're here. It started out as well. I started out as assistant, but when it was introductions, it was like, this is Amy and this is

Gil:

yeah. Dot.

Amy:

And now my parents are in. As soon as they meet someone who's gay my daughter is gay. Oh,

Eric:

That's nice. Yeah, the progress.

Amy:

Nice. Yeah. It's like how I, when I read my mom's letter Christmas letter this year with Plum and Dimitra and I'm like, I think some people, that's not good enough. But for us, it's that's my mom's love language. Yeah. Yeah. She's that's a huge, that, that same Plum we accept you. And so that was so special.

Eric:

And then he said, do you know the history and the fact that's a lot of progress from where she was like with your situation? Yeah. My parents

Amy:

are deeply rooted. So as much as I coming from the church have an aversion to Christianity and I'm working on that. I need to heal a lot. I think I have healed a lot of that, but my parents would have to change everything to accept this. And I think I realized as an adult, how hard that would be for them to have to look at everything in their life that they believe in. And put that to a side, especially as a preacher. So I don't really need to put that kind of pressure. All my parents. I love them very much. I know they love me. They don't have to say the same, but my dad will marry strangers. He will marry. If there is a penis and a vagina, he will marry strangers as a preacher. You just hire him for however many dollars and he will marry, he requires one counseling session and he will marry strangers. and he will not marry Raven. And I after 17 years, Oh, wow. I'm like I told them, I said, I'm going to try not to take that personally. Dad, I'm going to try to just trust you that this is what you have to do, but you will literally marry strangers. I know how you feel about Raven. And I I know that you know what she does for me in my life. I know that you love her. So I actually have to just push that off the table because that just is insane.

Gil:

Yeah. Yeah.

Eric:

If you don't mind me, how did, how do you deal with that? I don't

Amy:

know. Yeah. I just know that these are my parents and that's who they are and you get to pick them and maybe I would pick them now. I think we're in a really healthy place, but I think what I had to realize was that this is everything that my parents have. Created as their story, this book, this Christian book, it's a really about the Bible. And I think that if they were to say that this is okay, it might destroy their faith.

Eric:

I can see that's easy

Amy:

for them, either their faith and that's not easy for anybody. And I don't require that I, in my own individual that way. Yeah, it's fine. But sometimes at first it was like, we would never go to your wedding. We would never, we couldn't do that. We would never go to your room and I'm like, Cool. They voted no on gay marriage when PROP 8 was up, they voted. No. And I had been with Raven for 10 years, eight, nine, 10 years. And they literally voted no in breathing before we went to the house was during the election time and whatever. And Raven was like, don't ask him, don't ask him, don't ask him. And I'm like, I'm not going to ask them again. They're like, so what are you voting on PROP 8? Yeah. And my parents were like we're voting. No we're voting. No. And I'm like, I can't believe that you would look at the two of us. We're having dinner tonight in your house. We're spending the night in the same bedroom and you're going to vote. No, and my mom is the one don't call it marriage. Don't call it marriage. It can be domestic partnership, but it's not a marriage. Marriage is God, whatever. And it means one man, one woman. That's how it is. So you can be partners with Raven, but you're not married and you're never getting married and it's not marriage, but now it's, I will go to the wedding, but I will not perform the wedding is what it is right now. And now I think my mom. I know my mom would go to the wedding. They said they would go to the wedding. And I think that they would approve of that, but he still won't do it and he'll marry strangers. Wow. How could I even be mad, Mike and Gail Steiner really?

Eric:

Wow.

Amy:

Yeah, I think that's it. It's amazing that it's that absurd. That helps. Yeah. No.

Eric:

I wanted to change subjects a little bit. You do have a history with addiction, right? And can you talk to us a little bit about that? What was the start of it? Was there any triggers?

Amy:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think it started small town usually starts alcoholic the river bottoms, pick up trucks, guns. And alcohol at the river bottoms is what is, so I actually was thinking about drugs when I was looking over some of the sample questions that you may ask me. I was telling Raven, I was like it was really when I was at this first party and I smoked my first joint and Raven was like, we need to stop saying that marijuana or go back to the first drug. That's usually cigarettes or alcohol. And that's what we need to like approach first. And I was like, Oh yeah, that's interesting that I automatically want to talk about weed first. And that's because of my own brainwashing and my own training for my family on what's in it. What's a drug and what's not a drug, so yeah, alcohol was the first but alcohol, even though I went into alcohol a little bit, it really wasn't where I feel like. I can base some of my addiction stories. That was much later I started smoking weed, just like a normal person. And it really wasn't until I was 18 and growing up in California. Drugs, they say were made in California. You know what I mean? So that's what you did for breakfast. So sometimes when you've been talking about this, my stories, I'm just like, these aren't even drugs. It's like when the kid goes to rehab for marijuana and we're just like, you're here for weed. That's ridiculous. But it's that's how commonplace it was. So I didn't start doing meth until I was 17, 18. Years old. And for me, that sounds really old. And even when I say I was like, Oh, I didn't start smoking meth. And that meth until I was like 18 and some people are like, Ooh, wow. Oh, I didn't start to way late in the game. But where I was living, I was super into sports. Basketball volleyball track, like hardcore, as soon as I could play to my senior year in high school. So I drank a lot during high school, but I really wasn't into drugs because I really wanted to play ball. That's all I wanted. And then once I got out of high school, I really didn't have that team comradery. I didn't go to college, so I couldn't play college sports. So then I started looking around for what are people doing? And then I started hanging out more. And then I started doing drugs and really, it was methamphetamines first. That was the first, time where I didn't give a shit about anything else. Okay. And since then, I've pretty much, as they said, switched seats on the Titanic. I was all about meth for like years. And then I was like, I need to quit. Smoking meth. So then I went to blow and I did cocaine for like ever, and then I switched from cocaine to Adderall and then I did Adderall forever. And so it, it was all uppers. Okay. Maybe it's cause I don't count some of the other things too. I don't know.

Gil:

Yeah. I smoke

Eric:

a lot of weed. I don't count weed either.

Amy:

Yeah, it was mostly just started around eight, 17, 18, and definitely the amphetamines.

Eric:

Okay. And what was your low lowest point with

Amy:

that? My lowest point was losing my eldest daughter for about six months. And even though it sounds like a short amount of time, it feels still. Like it was a big loss at the moment and I missed her first steps. I caught Plum's, so that was special, but I lost it. I sit there for a little while I was living in an apartment that had no utilities, no running water, smoking meth all day with a tiny six month old baby. And I was high, like so high. I wasn't, we were having a great time. I can't say that I ever. I felt like I was emotionally neglecting her, but I was physically neglecting her. And it was a joint decision that I wasn't fit to be a parent. And my parents also didn't think that I was fit to be a parent. So they took Tangerine. I ran away from California, actually went to Tucson, took me about six months to get my shit together. And I thought, for sure, my parents were going to say, you're going to have to prove yourself to me. And I called him and I said, I can do it. I can do it. And they said, come get your baby. I was huge. That could have changed. That could have changed. Everything fought me for custody of Tangerine, but they didn't. They said they should, she should be with you and come get her. So I actually drove 20 hours to pick her up and drove back to Tucson and was just looking at, she was one year at the time. And I hadn't really even seen her for six months and just looking at her like, it's you and me, kiddo. And I don't got no idea if I can do this or not. We're not going to be around my parents. And. Man, but that was probably the lowest everything else. You lose friends, you lose shit, people steal shit, you steal shit, all that stuff just didn't seem to matter.

Eric:

And what was the catalyst that made you decide to stop or put a halt on all of that?

Amy:

I am not a sober person. I even stumbled. I'm not a sober person. I practice a lot of sobriety skills. Okay. But I'm doing the best I've ever done since I was 17, 18 years old. And I consider myself pretty sober, but some other people would not maybe consider me sober. I smoke weed every day. I love hallucinogenics. I love to do mushrooms. Like these are all fun things to me. I like drugs and I have to be careful, which ruined my life. Make me care about nothing and which I can do. I think it's a constant gray area for me most of the time. It looks

Eric:

like you now establish like a relationship where it's not one controlling the other or taking control. Like you can actually step into it if you want to, or when you want to, but also step away from it. If you decide you want to or need to at the moment. So I think that's also probably a healthy place. I, we've had a few people in the past that have talked about 12 steps and everything else, but also acknowledged that. It's 12 steps isn't for everybody either.

Amy:

So yeah, and I don't even know if I want to be a sober person, so I don't know. So I do, I want to be on the upswing of it. I do. I want to feel like I got away with it. Harm reduction, Raven. My partner is a harm reduction specialist. That's what she teaches and has for the last 20 years. And actually she's helped so much with my sobriety, which is so interesting because there were so many times that I just. It was when I was trying to quit cocaine, I think I had went 90 days without doing cocaine. I was so proud of myself and dance is a huge trigger for me. Huge. I love to do drugs and make choreography love it. So trying to get sober in the middle of the height of my career was also really difficult, but it was about 90 days in. I was doing so good. And then, and I was on tour. So that was helping cause it's hard to get drugs from strangers. So then, and you don't want your host to know and all that stuff go. I came home, I went to a UNMATA rehearsal who. Is my trigger, even the word I want to do drugs. And I ended up doing three lines that night during rehearsal and I came home and I was so disappointed. I was like, I'm never going to succeed, babe. I'm never going to make this. I'm never going to be the person. And she said, okay, You did three lines in three months, that's the best you've ever done. You've never done that before. This is a huge celebration for you, that you can do it enough other 90 days. And I never had any partner or parent in my life that has ever said, congratulations, you only did three lines in 30 days, 90 days, never. And that was huge for me. And then I was like, Oh, yeah. I was just about to literally throw away and also call myself not sober, call myself. I'm still this, I'm still this, I'm still this. And it's it's not it's not helpful, but it's also not reality. Yeah. I did three lines in 90 days. You've talked to somebody who's a cokehead and that would be ridiculous. You can't brag about that. Yeah. That's not a problem. Now, what do you do the next day might be a problem? No, but three lines. And that's where I was ready to throw it away and just be like, Oh yeah, but no three lines and 30 in 90 days, it's not a problem. My body can handle that. Absolutely. So then so she's actually been really helpful for me. And also we can be really honest about drugs and that's helpful because I think that if I had to lie about drugs, I would do more. I would be accountable. I actually just tried a new drug, maybe six months ago. It's calledhoppe. It's really super strong mixture of roots from Brazil. Okay. It's like snuff. It's like really strong snuff. I guess it's a special kind of green tobacco. And I haven't tried a new drug in a long time. I was going to this ritual with my friend. We were on the top of the mountain and she was like, I do this drug before ritual. Do you want to try it? They blow it up your nose and they do it for you. So it's this shit is beautiful antler. And you like. Put the hoppe, it's spelled R a P E, but because it's from Brazil, they pronounce it hoppy. And then the other person, you put it on your nose and then the other person blows it up your nose. So she's it's going to be really physical and intense for you for about 15 minutes and you're going to be okay. And I'm like, are you going to be right here? So I Google it, which is amazing now that you can Google drugs. So I Google it and it's this is really all organic. And they do use it for ritual and I was like, I want to try it. So she blows it up my nose, it burned so bad for them. I'm here to hear my eyes just start watering. And I'm just immediately melting into the ground who was like, So intense for me, it was just a head high. No, just a body high. I'd my head. I knew exactly where I was at and what was going on. And then after I come to was a little strong for me personally, I didn't have a tolerance to it. I don't do tobacco at all either. So I think my body was just like wow. She says, we're going to have to do the other side because that's the feminine side. And now you're going to do the masculine side for ritual. And I said, no, I'm not doing. The other side, I don't think I want to do. And she said, I really suggest you do the other side for ritual. You're going to be very imbalanced. And I was like I think I'll just go in imbalance. Like it wasn't for me. So that was interesting. Cause I hadn't done anything new in a long time and it was too strong for me and I didn't want to do it again, but it was cool that I got to go home to my partner and say, Hey, I try to do a new drug today. And it wasn't even like I had to call her first, not even that kind of there's just that amazing trust between us where I can come home, whether she thinks that was a smart idea or not, doesn't matter, I can come home and be like, Hey, I tried this new thing, but I actually didn't like it.

Gil:

Yeah.

Eric:

I was saying earlier that also speaks to how your relationship has changed.

Amy:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Eric:

And I think it's great that you have a partner that's so supportive of you regardless.

Gil:

So the transparency as well, that goes a long ways.

Amy:

Yeah. And without judgment, I think sometimes people, especially the I'm speaking as a CIS woman right now, but especially males over-protective males in your life can see it as Oh my gosh, my woman's going crazy. And it's not about the experience at all. It's about what does that mean for the future here? She is doing drugs with other people and not me, it's scary thing for them because they feel like they're willing might be wild going rogue, but this isn't the case. There wasn't the judgment of why on earth would you be doing that? Why didn't you tell me? You don't know anything? It wasn't that it was like, Oh, are you okay? Did you like it?

Eric:

So I have a quick question, I guess just for my own personal is UNMATA is still like a thing. Are you guys still an entity and together? Yeah.

Amy:

So we've pretty much decided we will never retire. But we are not performing as much. We're saving the UNMATA container for the four of us. It's been the four of us for 14 years, without any additions or subtractions, literally Shelly, Carrie, Amy, and Sarah for 14 years that we have all officially decided that is our container. And you will always be UNMATA and will perform when we want to perform. Then we won't. And we're not even going to talk about like the reunion show or we're just going to do it and we want to do it. So right now there's not a lot of reason. We're not rehearsing. I don't even live in the same town as UNMATA. Although I'm only two and a half hours away. Totally doable. So I'm hoping that I do have more opportunities to choreograph for UNMATA. I miss those big fucking tribal Fest sets. I miss him so bad. I miss him the 15 minute Epic, long UNMATA story I miss. And I want to do that again, but right now there's no reason. So we are not rehearsing, but we are definitely not burying her. Good.

I'm

Eric:

glad to hear that your group was always an inspiration. I love your pieces, like you said, are Epic. So

Amy:

for me, the best works of my life with UNMATA. That's great. And made me be a better person,

Eric:

if you had to give any advice to a younger, you, what would that be?

Amy:

Oh, yes. I would say exactly what I told you. That little thing says right there. You're right. You're right. You're doing you're on the right path. There's a couple of parties that I would tell myself not to go to. I would change a lot of things. And there's a couple animals in my life that I would choose to do that path differently, but I think I would just I would just tell myself to trust my instinct in that you're absolutely right. And I think I would also tell myself to have a fucking blast.

Eric:

I think that's some good advice.

Amy:

Yeah.

Eric:

Where do you find your strength and solace to just keep going and stay motivated. And

Amy:

if it's a 50 50 mixture Nope. It's a 30 weight. What do you do when you're in threes?

Eric:

33.33333 30 (330)

Amy:

330-3333, three, family. For sure like this, and you can tell we're so tight. I are so tied. Like these are my best friends Raven, my best friend, my family, for sure. Nature nature. I'm the outdoorsy type and motorcycles. I've got a big motorcycle. Love. And so sometimes when on my bike Raven and said, you better get on your bike a few days ago. Cause I haven't, it's been cold. So she was like, you better get it running your battery's not, your battery's going to die. So I get on the bike and every time on the bike, I'm just like, see ya. That's great. Yeah. I feel a lot of my motorcycle. I really love my motorcycle. I really love jeeping. Nor Cal seriously, nor Cal pickup trucks. Jeeps. Off-roading motorcycles, dogs. What'd you say, babe? The river rivers, nice river. We observed best rivers. I'm not an ocean person. I love the ocean, but I'm about a hot clean water river rafting day.

Gil:

It's awesome. We go down the American or go down to Russian it's. Wonderful. It's very freeing. I don't know what suddenly I'm like, I'm not in a city. It's so wonderful.

Amy:

You have a special Creek up here called clear Creek. That is my favorite thing about Redding. It's only a couple of miles from my house and this Creek is just stunning, but that brings me joy.

Gil:

I'm curious. Do you have a music diva?

Amy:

Do I have a music diva? Yeah.

Gil:

So like Eric he kinda likes Janet Jackson, supposedly I'm a gigantic Annie Lennox fan. I always, I'm always curious what, w who, every time we interview somebody, who do they listen to? Is that the signature artists? That's Oh my God, that's my,

Amy:

yeah. I have to, because of. Of course I don't listen to this person every day because it's out, but I have to say Tori Amos

Gil:

yeah.

Amy:

That's an album that I don't even care. I'm such a fan. Of her and her evolution. I don't even care if I liked the music. Sometimes you just buy the new Apple, a nation AWOL nation. I mentioned. Yeah, I'm huge into AWOL nation.

Eric:

I have a lot of their stuff because of you.

Amy:

Yeah. When Joe passed away one of the brothers in our family he. He was the first one to play the Sail song. And it was before it was popular and he came over to the studio and he brought me the Sail song. And he said, I want you to make something to this song. And I said, no, I would never dance to this song. UNMATA would never dance to this song. Absolutely not no way. And then he died within like literally three days of throwing this CD on my floor. And then it became super fucking famous and it played from every car and every like literally everywhere, it was the Sail song. And I was just like, Holy shit, I'm going to choreograph this fucking song. So then AWOL nation, after this song becomes like the Anthem of Joe's death, then a whole nation comes through Sacramento. My friend, Sarah writes them and said, could you. Joe's sister is going to be in the audience. And could you please have a moment of silence for Joe before the Sail song plays? No response of course, superstars. And then we're in the arena and what's the guy's name? Aaron Bruno fucking Aaron Bruno shuts the whole fucking show down and says that this one is for Joe. Joe. Let's take a moment of silence. And I was like, that's it. I love the guy. Wow. That's awesome.

Gil:

That's

Amy:

beautiful. Awesome. So I, and he's just, it's just Epic. So I say Epic music for sure. Tori Amos and Aaron Bruno.

Eric:

Awesome. Nice. And I still remember your 15 minute warmup to what is nights of,

Amy:

Oh, I still can barely be played that at hotpot on the closing day it's circulation together. That 15 minute warm up for the last time in hot pot to that song. And it was just like, Oh, geez.

Eric:

Yeah. So what other things do you have going on or coming up or,

Amy:

The biggest thing for me is this new I.T.S. Launch. This format that I've written is. 18 years old. And we are now just putting the level one online. So this is exciting. It's been a long time in the works without the COVID. There is no way I would have been home to film this shit. So I'm super stoked because I'm that you can do the level one, I.T.S. Level one online.

Eric:

That's awesome.

Amy:

Yeah. So I started new schools, sigilschool.com and. I plan on putting a lot of work up there, mostly I.T.S. To document my life's work, but it's exciting and I, would've never done that.

Eric:

It's sigilschool.com. We'll make sure that we include that into the show notes and stuff. And how many levels are there?

Amy:

Five levels in I.T.S. Right now. Okay. And they're all pretty chunky levels. Pretty big. I'm super happy with the new, I've done a lot of work in the pandemic too. I call it the pandemic series, but it's really of fun, but I also, haven't done a lot of work on I.T.S. In years and it was interesting that. She was the one to just step in and give me the plan for the year. So that's cool.

Eric:

That's great. I'm glad to see that it's still flourishing. I know it's super popular. Your method is very popular and I think that's great. I've always enjoyed watching you perform so. Thank you so much. I'm glad it's still going. And I just want to say thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us and yeah. Answering our questions and just sharing your life. I think that's really beautiful. Yeah.

Amy:

About this opportunity. One, like I said, because I want to do things right now. Really not that much rolling in. So this is exciting. And also, I don't feel gay right now and I don't want lounge to be like, do you want to talk about this? I'm like, yeah.

Gil:

Yay.

Eric:

I'm glad we were able to make that happen then. Yes.

Amy:

Yeah. So at least from four to 5:00 PM Pacific time on whatever day, this is Queer community. Yes,

Eric:

so great. I'm so happy to hear it. I'm happy that we could do that. And it was so good to reconnect with you. Cause I haven't talked to you in a minute

Gil:

and

Amy:

now you're now yes. You're back in the Bay. We're closer than

Gil:

you paying. Yes, we are.

Eric:

I will eventually, at some point I have to get to the Bay. Eric, come on,

Amy:

come up here. I've got lovely guestrooms and I've got a beautiful river. And like I said, I got a fun Jeep. With nothing on it. Doors, no roof, no nothing. Let's go.

Eric:

That's awesome. Thank you so much. And thank you everyone for listening and we will chat with you next time in the Q lounge. Thank you.

Gil:

thank you for listening to us. We hope you enjoyed your time in The Q Lounge. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions on topics, or if you would like to be a guest or contributor, please email us info.TheQlounge@gmail.Com or through our contact page at theqloungepodcast.com. Don't forget to subscribe to continue listening wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to be our sugar, daddy hit that donation button.

Eric:

Until next time live in your authenticity.