Mini Episode 11 Naomi
[00:00:00] Welcome to Out of Queeriosity, your field guide to queer pride. This is a production of Pride and Joy Foundation, and I'm your host, Elena Joy. Pronouns she, her. You have found a bonus episode. Our theme this year is your voice, your power. We are using it to pursue our mission of preventing suicide and homelessness in our LGBTQ plus community by amplifying your voice and your power.
Our bonus episodes feature the voices of the most recent graduates of our Keynote Queers program. This is our eight week online course just for LGBTQ plus participants to learn public speaking skills as well as the knowledge to build public speaking into an extra form of income. Whether our participants were pitching their own small business, or up leveling their presentation skills for their corporate career, or just learning how to effectively move audiences to take action.
Our Keynote Queers gave a hell of a graduation presentation, and we are here to share it with you. Can you even imagine squishing an entire keynote into just 10 minutes? This is considered expert level skills in the public speaking world, and it was our graduates capstone project. Check back in the summer of 2023 to hear from another keynote queer graduate.Now let's get to it.
Our next keynote queer is Naomi Mendes-Pouget. Pronouns she, they. Naomi is raw, unfiltered energy as she inspires, motivates, and coaches parents of historically marginalized communities to stop settling for scraps and to bravely activate their powerful life as a leader for their family and communities.They've been featured in CBC, Voyage MIA, and on several podcasts. A founder, CEO. Life Fulfillment and Freedom Coach, Business Coach, Preschooler Pandemic Parent, Genderqueer Woman, and Public Motivational Speaker are only some of the ways that Naomi shows up every day. So let's welcome Naomi and their talk, Something Worth Saving.
Naomi: Our family trip to Portugal is canceled. It was May 2020, staring at the screen, soul deflated, completing Air Canada's refund process with my partner. There was no other choice. Our journey as new parents in the clouded world of the pandemic only just begun. With every passing day, every sacrifice, every baby's first, the less I knew who I was, or my purpose. One night, later in 2020, as we all grew increasingly panicked, I rocked my baby to soothe her. My own floodgates opened. I'm so sorry. I'm doing my best. I wish I were a better parent. I was not okay. So much sacrificed to protect ourselves from something we barely understood.
So much was out of our control. I sought therapy. I learned coping strategies. I kept my appointments even when I had to trap my baby with me. I had to believe there was something in me worth saving. I had to believe it was worth it for my family. I was courageous.
In the fall of 2021, pandemic lockdowns and waves still cresting and crashing, I longed for travel, which had been completely taken away. See, my soul is like a bird. When my bird is caged, I suffer. It was happening again. Even if I longed to be on my own, to breathe my own breath, to remember who I was, even for a moment. Even if the place was within an hour's drive from my home, I needed that sense of wonder, curiosity, independence. Freedom. Somehow. I clicked “book now”. I didn't ask my partner if it was okay.My family was not even invited. Internalized mom guilt had me sweating. What if they need me? What if she perishes? What if we get separated by an angry mob of zombies? Obviously, I'm the world's worst mom. But something inside reminded me that I'm worth saving. I unapologetically followed my longing.
A sucker punch to the gut? No, it was my soul kicking my heart. Something inside told me that the next chapter of our lives was to be written in Portugal, when we were finally there on our vacation in June 2022. I had never even considered that before. We were happy enough with our life in Canada rather than ignore it. I trepidatiously told my partner over coffee on the patio we had just spent weeks renovating. The shock. Everything started falling into place. Before we knew it, the home we loved was sold. Our belongings Marie condoed and on a ship to Lisbon. It was so intense. Yet incredibly groundbreaking. Finally, my flight was boarding.A one way ticket in one hand, and my daughter's tiny hand in the other. This was notable.
When you live in Canada, you get used to swapping out clothing with the seasons. It was fall of 2020. I pulled down my bin of winter clothes and I opened the lid and I was mortified. Whose clothes are these? They cannot be mine. They're dull, lifeless, colorless, spiritless. At that moment, it hit me how lost I was, who I was cried to be explored, defined, and free.
There was something within me, under these clothes, worth saving. The ideals and aesthetic expectations of women in our society did not... easy, breezy, beautiful to me. That's when I learned what genderqueer means. I, through playful exploration and bold rebellion and lots of haircuts, my gender expression emerged. It feels euphoric, yet It's terrifying as a former good girl people pleaser from an immigrant family. Every day I choose my truth. Not only for me, but for my daughter and for the collective. The decision not to remove body hair out of fear still tries to keep me from fully living. Instead, I choose my truth, even if it is absolutely terrifying.
Dear patriarchy, I don't want to follow your rules anymore. I choose my own. I am transcendent.
It was the beginning of 2022. On my second solo Paris, Ontario weekend, I bought myself an early bird ticket to a conference in Puerto Rico, even though it felt outrageous. January of 2023. I flew from Lisbon to Madrid to San Juan, a much farther journey than originally anticipated. Even upon arrival, I questioned my decision as I awaited my bag.
My swollen chest ached for my baby across the ocean. It was incredibly worth it. There was a party scheduled. I strided into the party in a sexy outfit that I did not believe a parent is allowed to wear. With an unshaved body to boot. What if everyone judges me for my body hair, or my dancing, or this isn't how a parent acts anymore. You're past this now. These invisible mental shackles.
One by one I unlocked them, and I decided to be free. Upon leaving the party, I spotted it, the sparkly backdrop. I handed a friend my camera, I jumped in front of that backdrop, and I started coaching myself to pose. Out loud. Pose. Pose. Pose. What a fun way to end the night. That liberation was worth saving.
Back home, I connected with a fellow conference attendee, Maddie, and she said, I heard you, I saw you, and I needed to be your friend. We're great friends now. If nothing else, this is the most obvious sign that it is so important to be our authentic selves. With others to forge true connection. This is my why.
Despite having to cancel that trip back in 2020, we now live in Portugal. I love my true self. With every morning run or fun in the sun with my family, I remember that courageous me who rocked my baby and myself. I remember that unapologetic me who booked a hotel stay and an early bird conference ticket in another country without permission.
I think of that notable me, who was the driving force behind moving us here and selling our first family home. I think of the transcendent me who refused to be kept in a dull, lifeless box. Literally, no matter where I find myself, I think of that authentic me posing in front of that backdrop. Wherever your travels take you in life, remember, it is never about something worth saving.
It is always about someone. worth saving. Thank you so much.
I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode featuring our Keynote Queer graduates coming this fall is the companion course outright authors. This online six week course is a path to publishing class for queer authors of nonfiction books. If you're a thought leader, a business leader, or just have some amazing nonfiction words that the world needs to hear. We want you in this class. Visit outwrite authors dot com for more info. That'sOUTWRITE authors dot com. A limited number of scholarships will be available. Thank you for joining us, Pride and Joy fam. Until the next episode, be good to yourselves. I appreciate you.