Did you know that today, July 14th is International Non-Binary People’s Day? International Non-Binary People’s Day is observed each year on 14 July and is aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by non-binary people around the world. Today we are so excited to welcome Raia, aka Coach Carey, to the blog for a Rapid Fire Q&A-inspired blog in honour of Non-Binary Peoples Day!
How did you become passionate about helping people find inner confidence?
Ironically enough, it stemmed from my personal journey. Some of the major experiences in my life that took a toll on my confidence were bullying, racism and exclusion. Confidence was something I needed for survival. I had to remind myself that the kids in my class weren’t going anywhere, my identity wasn’t going anywhere, and my situation wasn’t going to disappear. It all boiled down to the idea that if I wanted to get through it, I needed to keep showing up as my best self, regardless of those around me. Looking back, I wish I had someone helping me through those emotions. Navigating the ebbs and flows of an inner confidence journey can be, and usually is, difficult. Over time, confidence grew into something beyond just a survival tactic. It became THE thing I was passionate about. I found a lot of love and appreciation for my own confidence journey, and eventually, it turned into my life’s work. As someone that struggled with inner confidence growing up, guiding others to reach their full potential has brought me so much joy. I’ve learned that inner confidence is the foundation of every single thing we do, and that’s what I try to relay to others.
What advice would you give someone who is struggling with confidence?
Firstly, I would say… I GET YOU. We’ve all struggled with our confidence in one way or another.
Secondly, confidence comes in waves. I know it sounds cliché, but there will never be any human that shows up with 165% confidence every single day – It’s just not possible. There are always going to be ups and downs, good days and bad days. So, it’s important to reflect and find out how you can support yourself through both changing scenarios. Getting back to the anchors that help you feel good is a game-changer. Anchors can mean different things to different people. For example, spending time with friends, incorporating movement, practicing hobbies and having alone time. The list doesn’t end there, but the point is that when you channel activities or acts of joy that help you feel better overall, it impacts your confidence. You’d be surprised how many people are unaware that finding what makes you happy is also a huge form of confidence!
When did you realize that you were non-binary?
Growing up, there weren’t as many resources, tools or identity education as there is today. When I was 9 years old, I knew the gender I was born with wasn’t the full picture. I was about to go to a birthday party, oblivious that a life shift was about to happen. My mom had picked out a pink dress for me, because that’s what all the other girls were going to wear. What I remember most is feeling so unhappy. In my mind, the dress wasn’t just a dress – it was a representation of a lot more. Shortly after, I shared with my parents that I felt a disconnect from the gendered-based hobbies I was in and that I wanted to start dressing differently. Did I know what any of that meant at the core? Not completely! But I did know that changes needed to be made to channel my true identity.
When I was on my self-identity journey, the term “hybrid” was the best I had available. Since then, I’ve always referred to myself as a hybrid. For me, it means I call in both my feminine and my masculine identities and allow them to flow naturally in my life. Now, in 2022, non-binary is the category that most people assume I fall into. In all honesty, I’m still learning to adapt to the terms that we have available, and discovering what that means for how I identify.
What does Non-Binary Peoples Day mean to you?
To me, this day means mainstream acknowledgement and awareness. Many world events are preventing a big portion of the 2SLGTBQIA+ community from having rights and being supported. To me, having an internationally-recognized day is hopefully a way to move the needle toward equal rights and equality worldwide.
You are a role model for so many; what is one goal you have (can be big or small!) for future generations that identify as non-binary?
The ultimate goal I have for future generations is that they feel safe and supported enough to live and be exactly who they are, regardless of how they identify or express themselves.
What is one obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?
It’s not a stretch to say that there are constant ups and downs in my career daily; however, one obstacle that stands out the most is being misgendered.
Unfortunately, it still happens. It even happened as recently as a few days ago during a meeting. Someone joined in late and mentioned they were really excited to hear what “he” has to say, referring to me. In the past, I felt that I didn’t have the energy, the capacity or the space to correct someone. I was constantly worried about what someone would think if I used my voice to bring attention to it. Being misgendered made me extremely sad, annoyed, frustrated and confused. It’s happened so much in both my career and my life that I became moderately desensitized to it.
Over the years, through my own self-discovery, I’ve learned to take that desensitization and move it into empowerment. Even though I still deal with this particular obstacle, my “power move” is to call people in, rather than call out, and correct them with love and respect. Treating it as a growing opportunity for both of us has made all the difference.
What is one piece of advice you could give to those looking to make an impact?
Every individual has a different advantage when it comes to impact. I think many of us have grown a harmful belief that only people with influence or power have big social followings. If you know you want to make an impact, you’re already motivated by change. That change can stem from so many different areas of your life – whether it’s from conversations with your loved ones, community volunteering, awareness outreach, etc. There’s not a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to how to create an impact because every individual is fuelled by different causes.
My advice? Stay aligned with your values and be true to who you are. Always remember the core purpose behind your actions. If you’re on a journey of discovering/figuring out who you are and what impact you want to create in the world, enjoy the process and embrace it.
Thank you so much, Raia for sharing your story with us and taking part in our rapid-fire Q&A blog in honour of Non-Binary Peoples Day. To follow along and find out what Raia has going on make sure to give them a follow on Instagram. Last but not least, if you would like to check out some of Raia’s other blogs, you can find them here.
Thanks again, Raia!