To My Self Serve Family,
It is with pride, joy, and some sadness that I write to share some big Self Serve news. This fall, I am transitioning to a part-time role at the shop as I shift my focus to earning my Master’s degree in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University.
I am so grateful to Matie and to the staff of Self Serve for helping me through this transition, and so pleased to support Matie as she becomes the sole owner of this amazing business.
We founded Self Serve eight years ago. It was a project we undertook with passion and fearlessness. There have been many obstacles along the way, and I’m proud that we overcame them all. Whether it was too much attention from zoning officials or vendors saying they wouldn’t work with ‘our kind of business,’ we persevered. The shop has won recognition for being the best LGBTQ shop in town, we’ve been named Albuquerque’s “Best Sexy Shop” by Alibi Weekly readers for seven years, and we’ve been nominated for national recognition at the XBiz Awards.
When Matie and I founded Self Serve, we were brand new to Albuquerque. We were welcomed by a community of sex-positive people who wanted to see Self Serve succeed. People rallied to fund our start-up and help put together our furniture. To this day, our community sustains us.
Self Serve continues to thrive and grow, welcoming new customers every day. Now it is Self Serve that often functions as the go-to welcome center for new Duke City residents. Every day, we smile and greet visitors young and old (all of age, of course), and answer their questions about sexuality and relationships. When Pornotopia Film Festival won its free speech battle at the State Supreme Court in 2013, friends of Self Serve congratulated us and celebrated. Self Serve has become an Albuquerque institution, and a huge part of my identity.
I am so proud that Self Serve provides a much-needed space where individuals and couples can feel safe asking questions about sex and relationships. When I started my Masters at NM Highlands, I remember learning about strengths-based approaches in mental health. I realized Self Serve and our sex-positive approach is a strengths-based resource people rarely find when it comes to sex.
The move from offering sex-positive education and resource-building to having a clinical, collaborative role in peoples’ individual journeys seems a natural next step for me. Over the next academic year I am providing mental health services as an intern at Sage Neuroscience Community Access Clinic. I enjoy incorporating all I’ve learned as an entrepreneur and as a sex educator into my career in mental health care. I have learned over and over how problems that at first seem to be about sex are often about something else, too. I am excited to provide therapy and support for people in a holistic way, incorporating sexuality into its integral part of the human existence.
In my work to gather files and organize contacts from the last eight years, I have had the pleasure of coming across old photos, to-do lists, and evidence of so many classes and events we’ve organized. I feel the work we’ve done has been magical, fun, challenging, and creative. With limited resources we have created a space unlike anything else. Self Serve is and will continue to be a hub of positive energy. It’s a place for possibility and change. I am so grateful Matie, my amazing co-workers, and the community surrounding Self Serve have supported my growth, too.