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Kimber: Today, I'll be talking. With Matea marae.
Matea is a. Non-binary composer writer and life coach for neurodivergent queers.
Matea thank you so much for agreeing to come onto my podcast today. I really appreciate it.
Can you go ahead and tell us a little, just a little bit about yourself? Give us a brief overview of who you are.
Mattia: I am a non-binary trans composer, poet, and life coach for neurodivergent queer people. So that's kind of what I do. I just moved to Philadelphia and I grew up in Seattle and I do a bunch of artsy.
Kimber: And you just seem like a cool person. We've never talked before, but everything I've seen that you've posted. I just, I like you. You're just a cool person. So I'm excited to talk today. I have never heard the term non-binary trans can you explain that to me? To us?
Mattia: , so trans is an umbrella term. So a lot of people will use the term trans to mean anything. That's not SIS. So anyone that does not a hundred percent aligned with the agenda, they were assigned at birth for whatever reason. And you don't have to physically transition to identify as trans, but part of the reason that I use the word so non-binary is just anything outside the gender bias.
I would argue that most people are outside the gender binary because the binary doesn't exist, but that's semantics. So for me non-binary means I don't really age, gender is another thing saying, like, I don't really have a lot of gender. So in my case I feel more like I don't have a lot of gender, but there are a lot other non binary people who feel like they have.
A lot of gender of all kinds and they're full of gender. So again, that's another blanket term, but I use the two together because non-binary is saying I'm not part of the binary. And then the trans part is saying, and I consider myself in a transition or I have done some physical transitions. And again, if you don't have to physically transition to be trans, but I use that to just kind of indicate I'm also kind of transmasculine.
Kimber: Interesting. Okay. I'm already learning so much in like the first 10 seconds of this podcast episode. And before we go into your story, which I'm really excited to hear I want to explain to the listeners this idea of binary versus like, would you call it a gender spectrum?
Mattia: Yeah, yeah. Or lack thereof. Right. So.
it's not just a straight line. There's, it's probably more like a graph where you could go from. More or less gender, And then whatever you consider your gender to be.
Kimber: And how would you define gender? Because I know in the past a lot of people simply describe it as like what chromosomes you have, what body parts you report with. So how do you identify or how, what is like the new gender? 2.0, like update us all. What is gender?
Mattia: Yeah. So you brought up chromosomes and genitalia, which, or, or secondary sex characteristics, which are two of the things there's also the hormones in your body and how they express in particular. And then there are other genetic factors that affect how gender comes out, biologically. So, if you were combine all of those things and all of the ways that those things can happen, there actually would be something like 16 or 17 genders.
If we were going with pure biology, because you can have a combination of any of those things. So That's why I
Kimber: so fascinating. I
Mattia: In my mind, the binary doesn't really exist. And we, you know, we didn't know all of that historically, but historically we knew that intersex people existed. So people that have that have some kind of, again, potentially biological mismatch between some of those things that like really don't let them into clearly into a category.
And intersex people have always existed and will always exist. So even if we were just to say, there are three genders, which wouldn't really make sense, there still has to be this. Category for just people who don't fit into that. So anyway, it's just funny. I was, I was thinking though, it's almost like gender is more like Myers-Briggs with like 16.
Kimber: Myers-Briggs that you are speaking my language.
Mattia: And then, so, so that's sort of the, the biological underpinning. And then on top of that, there's all of this cultural societal information, which is most of what I, I think of gender more as the social construct of it. So these, you know, ideas about who you should be and how you should act and, you know, Yeah.
Really how you should present and be in the world. And those are different. Yeah. Every culture. So I think of my gender as sort of combination of how I feel internally and then how I want to interface with those societal norms, which in my case is not very much. I don't really, I don't really identify with a lot of the gender norms.
Kimber: Okay, that's a great introduction. Let's get into it. Tell us about you. Tell us, tell us your story a little bit.
Mattia: Yes. I grew up in Seattle and my dad was a worship pastor. My mom stayed at home. I'm the oldest of seven kids. So we actually, I know you grew up Mormon and my parents joked that we had to buy houses for Mormon people because we had so many kids, we bought a big house winter. I don't know, 11 or so we finally got a house that was big enough and that was great.
But anyway, so grew up in a big family and very, very conservative politically. And most of my siblings are now out as queer in some forms. So. That's been rough for my parents, I think, but that was, that was a big part of my experience being the oldest of a big family. And also my parents had six kids in eight years.
So a lot of us just boom, boom, boom. And I , started babysitting regularly when I was like eight. So I just did a lot of childcare and then we were also homeschooled. So it was home a lot. And then it was basically just home and church for most of my childhood. And I actually knew I was queer really young, like six or seven.
I would say I was, I was aware that I identified as a girl at the time. And I knew that I liked girls in a way that I knew that I shouldn't tell anyone. So that to me, queerness was this like experience of knowing that something was. Off or that, you know, that I could get in trouble basically. But it's interesting that, that, so that kind of shaped my childhood to a large extent just cause I, I kind of knew really early.
And then I actually started talking about gender only a few years after that and started saying things like, I think I have a boy brain and stuff like this, and people just completely ignored me. So it wasn't even that that they were like, oh no, no, you know, you should love because I didn't mind wearing dresses.
Particularly I wasn't, I wasn't. A trans man. So that's another thing, you know, a lot of people who are trans, they are a clear gender and they know what it is, and I know what they want. And I did not have that experience as a kid. I was just like, huh, this seems weird. I don't know if this is completely accurate.
And I felt like a lot of gender norms that I was being told didn't make sense to me, but it was really hard to kind of piece apart. What was just the conservative. Religious aspect of that and what was actually me.
Kimber: Where are you labeled a tomboy?
Mattia: really, I actually let my mom dress me until I was like 13, like oh, and another big, big part of my identity that I actually was just diagnosed last year is that I'm autistic. And so to me, for example, with clothing, I cared so much more about whether the clothing was comfortable, then. What it looked like.
So I wouldn't wear jeans as a kid cause I hated them. I wouldn't wear turtlenecks or like tight socks or any, you know, I had all these things around what I couldn't tolerate. And so to me, being in a dress, as long as the dress was comfortable, I was like, yeah, whatever, like as you're not making me wear jeans, so I'm good. Yeah.
So anyway, so I wasn't, I wasn't particularly a tomboy in the way that I dress. I guess, But also being homeschooled. I just didn't have a lot of exposure to a lot of different people. So I mostly knew other conservative homeschooled people for the most part that were around. And then I started college really young.
So the university of Washington has a program that lets you do. Basically do high school in a year. So I did that when I was 13 and matriculated full-time when I was 14 and then moved out when I was 15, which was great. So I got out of the house really young. Um, Which was awesome since also, I mean, I, I don't want to go into a lot of detail on this, but my parents were also very abusive.
So that part of it for me was I was just like, oh, thank God I get to get out of here. And I felt bad leaving my siblings behind to some extent, but. I was also a child, so that was, that was good. And I was able to like start getting into therapy as a teenager. And start to deal with some of that trauma.
And then I took a year off transferred colleges. I was doing violin performance, my first two years of college. And then I switched to, I did music ed for like six weeks before I realized I did not actually want to be a high school teacher then switched to composition. So now I have two degrees in music composition, and that's my main.
And I do film scoring and chamber music, orchestral music, choral music. So I kind of write everything and I've done a lot of styles.
And then also other art stuff. So I grew up doing theater music.
A little bit of dance, and I always did visual art myself, just, I didn't have formal training, but I just loved it. And I taught myself how to draw and was really, really into it.
So kind of did all of the arts. And so then when I really switched over to music, even though I mostly do music, I would say I'm an interdisciplinary artist. I like to work with other. Artists who do these other things that I, you know, didn't end up going into super heavily, but that I still really enjoy.
So I really love collaborative artwork. Like I did a performance a couple of years ago with a friend who is a choreographer, so they choreographed. This piece and I was playing violin and dancing, and then we had these weird costumes and it was part of a fog installation. So it was this artist who like made fog outside with this like thing, producing water that like went into this little space where we were dancing.
So we would do the performance multiple times throughout the day, like in the fall, it was very cool. So stuff like that. So I'm always looking for like weird interdisciplinary art thing.
Kimber: That's so cool. So at what point did you come out as queer?
Mattia: So I came out, I came out as a lesbian in my late teens which did not go over well with my parents. But then as the rest of my siblings started to come out and my parents were kinda like, oh, well I guess this is, this is just happening. And I actually, so I came out as a lesbian when I was 18. And then to my parents when I was 19 and I was dating a guy at the time, it was my first like real relate. It was my first sexual relationship. I should say that the first person that I had sex with and I came out as lesbian. So I was like, okay, I'm not into you because you're a man, but then we didn't stop sleeping together.
We just kept sleeping together and it was great. And I was like, okay, so maybe I'm BI, but I. I had this real problem figuring out like my sexual identity, because I didn't understand my gender. And at the time I had a couple of binary, trans friends, so I had one MTF and one FTM friend in college.
And so I was like, okay, those are the two things. That looked like they make sense. That's the thing I'm seeing is, you know, what gender you are, you're transitioning to quote the opposite gender. I didn't know any out gender queer people. I didn't know anybody using they, them pronouns, which is what I know used.
So I just didn't even know that you could opt out and. So, because I, I knew there was something else going on and I was, again, talk kind of talking about trans stuff. I was using the word trans and I went to drag ball at my college and got like super decked out. I spent two hours looking really, really convincing, like looking like passing basically.
And even that nobody was like, oh, the bio, you really like put a lot into. So I, I, it was just funny that I felt like I was talking about it about gender and people just weren't really getting it, but also that was 2007. So now I think there's just a lot more awareness and terms and somebody would have, I feel like now somebody would just be like, oh, you are, are you non binary?
Or like, you know, like, are you, so they would ask me some useful questions and at the time I didn't really know. So I kind of kept going back and forth between like, am I a lesbian and my bisexual? And I just kind of like when then eventually I was like, oh, okay. I am attracted to queer people. I don't know if there's a word for that.
But I would say that's my sexuality now is just queer?
and I am attracted to queer people. I'm not really attracted to straight CIS men typically. So Yeah, so it's not that I'm not attracted to men, but I'm only attracted to queer men. I think pretty much.
Kimber: Yeah, I get that. I, I mean, I identify as hetero like straight, but. joked like that my sexuality is I'm attracted to gay men. And I, I, I was telling someone that I was like, what's it called? If you're attracted to gay men? And they're like, that's just straight.
Yeah. But I don't know. So I, I get that. And I wonder, is it like for you, is it like kind of a personality thing?
Kimber: Is it the authenticity of queer people that you're attracted to you think.
Mattia: Oh, that's a good question. I do think there's a part of it that if somebody has not ever really questioned their gender and sexuality, like if they're just. No, I'm going to stick with the default and I've never thought about it. There's something about that. That's unattractive to me. I'm like, oh, you've never thought about it.
Okay. And some people don't have to, and don't feel the need to, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not saying everybody needs to go through like a dark night of the soul, something it's fine. If you're straight and you know, you're straight. But that said, I think people who have really thought about that. And, and come to some kind of decision or, you know, some kind of definition for themselves. They're just always more interesting to me. And like I have, for example, I have had top surgery, so I have, I have a flat chest and I'm not interested in dating anyone who like would be weirded out by my body.
Right. So somebody who identifies as a straight man Might be okay with that, but I'm not interested in finding out basically, you know, like that's not, that's not worth my time.
Kimber: Yeah. I, as you were talking, it reminded me of a podcast episode. I listened to if we can do hard things with Glennon, Doyle and Abby Wambach and. And sister, and I brought this up in a previous episode that hasn't aired yet, but it will have aired by the time this one airs. So I, they were talking about coming, like they're coming out stories.
And the part that I found most fascinating was they were asking Amanda who's Glennon, Doyle sister. When did you know you were straight? Which is such a fascinating question, because most straight people don't. Go through that because it's the default that's handed to us. Right. And so if you feel like you can fit that box, then great.
Like you've got it figured out. You can move on with your life. But I loved Amanda was talking about how she feels a little bit cheated. Like she was handed a checklist and she was able to check off the first box. And so didn't get to. Even farther down the list. And they were talking about how Abby Clennon had gone to that immersive van Gogh experience.
Have you heard of that? They went to this and they went in, they saw the art in the wall and they just sat really nicely to look at this art that was hanging on the wall. And then they're like, okay. And they left. And later they found out that they had just sat in the little. That they hadn't actually gone in to like this immersive part of the experience.
And Amanda's like, that's kind of how I feel about this. Like I was able to check off the straight box, but what if I'm just sitting in the lobby, like, what if there's this whole experience that I'm missing out of? And they were just talking about kind of living the examined life versus the unexamined life.
And as far as my closest comparison to this is the fact that I'm I consider myself post. It's something that I had something handed to me, had a religion handed to me when I was born. I fit in it just fine. I didn't have any problems. And then, you know, things came up that forced me to examine my beliefs and I'm a very changed different.
I don't know, bigger, more expansive person because of that. So I imagine that it's kind of similar. If you get the chance to explore these, these ideas of gender and sexuality that were just handed to you at birth, would you
Mattia: Yeah. Oh, totally. And there are other, you know, going back to gender norms, there are all these gender norms about, you know, who's supposed to do the approaching. Who's supposed to initiate. So there are all of these ideas in sexuality and dating of who should be doing the approaching and who should be initiating and all of these things as well.
That I think there's like another layer on top of just who you want to date or sleep with. And I, I do, I am a sexual person. I just wanna acknowledge asexual people do exist and there are people who do date and not have sex, but I'm talking about both for myself and. All of those things. I think play into a lot of the culture, which I see on tick-tock.
I think the most, which is so odd to me, of straight women, basically just talking about how horrible men are, and I get it as a joke and joking about, you know, the patriarchy or you know, that there are some negative things that sometimes being able to blow off steam makes sense. But in my mind, the, the kind of not funny side of that is that a lot of people are just not getting their romantic and sexual needs.
You know, and I think part of that is not just who you're with. And so sometimes people are like, oh, maybe it's my sexuality. And it's like, well, yeah, maybe it's also, you know, that you want to be more aggressive than you're being, or, you know, more forward, you want to be, you know, making the first move or whatever.
And that maybe doing that with straight CIS men is difficult. If you, especially, if you live in a place where these gender norms are really strong. So you know, that that can be harder. I think, especially in a small town or a small community or a conservative community. Be able to do those things and, you know, be who you are.
So being who you are is not just about, you know, your gender and who you sleep with. It's also about how you show up and present within the relationship and ask for what you want. And I think that's a whole other side of people's dating and sexual lives as well.
Kimber: I've been taking a class from her name is Natasha Helfer. She's a sex therapist. I've been taking this group class. It's called reclaiming female sexuality. And I think. I've been, I was pulled to take that class because there's so much shame and confusion. And crazy messages surrounding sex and, and gender and all these things.
And, and I've also noticed that with this podcast, I've been very pulled and drawn toward, especially queer people. Because I think this is so much at the root of who we are and our authentic selves. And I, I view queer people as being on the forefront, fighting this battle for all of us.
This battle of just be your best self, right? This battle of authenticity and worthiness and. Being able to make decisions that feel true to you? Not that check a box off. We don't live in the black and white binary world and we've really, really part of us wants to be able to put everybody in these neat little boxes and it's exciting and also frustrating and challenging as, as globally, we're making this transition into a more rainbow world.
Does that make, am I coming across what I'd say?
Mattia: Yeah, And I mean, a lot of it's funny because you'll hear people say things like, oh, I don't like labels, right. Labels can be very helpful for people to find their community, find people who are like them. And, and get support and help for sure. And same with, you know, getting a diagnosis for example, which is a label, right?
It's like, so that you can get services or get help. And at the same time I would have loved it if I was sort of able to opt out earlier for gender and probably some social stuff as well, to just be able to say, you know, Hey, I don't need a. To figure this out or know what's happening. Exactly. I just know that this isn't working, this default is not working for me.
And I think that for a lot of people, if the narratives that they're hearing about, honestly, any of the things we've talked about, any of that, like any of these things, you're hearing a narrative, that's a dominant cultural narrative of this is how, you know, if you're supposed to start on this. And then there's the path itself of actually doing the journey, figuring out what's up with you.
But if you are looking at the entrance to the path and it doesn't sound like you like the, the story that you're hearing, the narrative that you're hearing, doesn't sound like, oh, that path is not for me, but maybe there's stuff in there that is for you. And that would be great for you to explore and discover.
And I think a lot of it is, is set out so linearly. So it's like, okay, once you're on this particular, I have to figure out this piece of your identity, then we'll give you all the rest of the pieces. And I wish that it was easier to just kind of, I don't know, in a field where all these things were just out or like a, I, dunno like a farmer's market, or we could look out to like walk around to the booths and see what's there.
And you don't have to be on this like singular journey, which for a lot of people, I think the trans experience my understanding of the trans experience was that it was this very linear specific narrative that didn't necessarily. Makes sense to me until I was 25.
Kimber: This is also new. But to me, for sure, but I think to a lot of our, our, our culture, our society, and I think not everyone, but I think a lot of people are trying to keep up and be open and be open to exploring with each other and, and with ourselves.
But I trying to envision a world we've lived in this binary. World construct for such a long time that there's a lot of pushback when people are standing up and saying, yeah, I don't fit this mold. And we don't live. Especially in the states. I feel like we don't live in a society that's up and ready to support people, exploring these parts of themselves.
Has that been your experience or have you had a different experience in that?
Mattia: Well, I grew up I've spent most of my time in cities and actually I just moved to Philadelphia and this is the farthest south I've ever lived. And I was in Boston and then Boston was the farthest south I'd ever lived. So I've never lived in or, well, not since I was two, I haven't lived in a sort of rural area.
And I think that's probably where we are a much more segregated society than we've ever been for the last. Post civil war. So post civil war we became a much more blended society in a lot of ways. Like not just racially. And now is the first time in, you know, 150 years where your neighbors all think like you, and that is very difficult.
So then if you're in a place that's conservative, it is very likely that most people there are conservative and that was never the case before. So another example. that?
I was actually thinking about. So, you know, you've probably heard people say things like, you know, if everybody that was queer or trans or, you know, outside the norm came out, not everybody would like, we would have to reckon with that as a society, because there are a lot of people who are not out, right.
That's obviously not safe. I don't, I'm not saying anybody should do that, but I think actually a good. Connection to that. And growing up very conservative as make my family cared about a lot is if everybody who has had an abortion talked about it, it would become a non-issue because it's so common.
And I actually like, to me, that's connected because. It's kind of the same people, like people who don't believe in trans people also don't want, you know, people with uteruses to have like, be able to make choices about their body and I've thought about this a lot. So anyway, I think, I think if people were able to be completely open and authentic about who they were.
Which again, I'm not saying they should, because it's not safe for some people, but if everybody was completely authentic, we would all realize we all feel like we're not enough. We all like. experiencing some whatever version of imposter syndrome, you know, you identify With,
right? Like there's just this feeling that you're especially, I think in early adulthood, this idea that we're just like stumbling along and have no idea what's going on and like barely hanging on like
my partner and I just bought our first house and we're like, we can't believe they gave us a mortgage. I can't believe they thought we were like that. That was okay. And they we're responsible people like what's happening. So anyway, stuff like that, like we're, I think we're all sort of stumbling along and trying to figure things out and having these like labels and stories that we tell about ourselves.
You know, even like for me coming out of a very traumatic childhood I identified as like a victim and a survivor for a long time. And it's not that that's not true. It's just, it's not like how I think about myself or what I lead with at this point. So, you know, we always have choices about how we. Identify and what, what words we lead with. I think about that a lot, actually like, like it, what are the, when somebody asks who you are. So if you're on the podcast and somebody says, tell us about yourself, what are the things that you lead with? Like what comes to your mind first? And even if you. Feel like, you're fine with the defaults that you've been handed, you still are picking from a bunch of different things.
So, you know, whether that's, I care more about my career or I care more about my family, right? Like a lot of people identify with their family role. Anyway, Yeah.
Kind of went on a tangent, but.
Kimber: That's so interesting to think about. I was thinking like, what do I identify as? And like, that's something like, is that what I want to identify as is that what I want to lead with? That's a super interesting. Thing to think about. And the other thing that I keep thinking about is I also interviewed someone who has bipolar disorder and they were talking about how they had to start working from home because they couldn't keep a job because, there's like certain expectations. And if you can't meet those for whatever reason, then it's hard to hold that job. And I think, I think that applies to so many things. Like there is box, there are boxes, there are boxes for everything like you name it. There's a box that you're is the default. I like that term that you, you brought up this, this default box and our, our society is built around the default.
Kimber: So moving forward. Both on the individual level and on like, you know, the societal global level, what, where do we need to be moving toward culturally to, to get away from that default and to be accepting of people that don't fit the default box, which I would argue is most of us.
Mattia: Right. Exactly. Most of us in some way. And since I work with, you know, neurodivergent people which for people who don't know that term, that's any thing that's built into your brain like that you're essentially born with. Some people actually count. stress disorder as part of because it, because it does change your brain and I have that also but ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, anything that kind of makes you function differently and that might have affected you in school.
This is one of the ways it comes up. But anyway, because I work with neurodivergent people, I see the ways in which. People are struggling to fit in. And especially I think in career. And actually I had a bipolar diagnosis for a long time with bipolar and borderline are the two most common diagnoses given to autistic people who were assigned female at birth.
So if you're not a man or a boy it's very hard to get an autism diagnosis or it's getting a little bit better, but that was the case. Certainly when I was a kid in the eighties and nineties and. Anyway. So I had a bipolar diagnosis for a long time because I was having meltdowns and which looked like, you know, panic attacks or tantrums or whatever, depending on your age.
And yeah, I, I think a lot of people struggled to keep up with this You know, really standard life of the 40 hour work week, plus your family obligations, plus your, you know, faith or, you know, community obligations, whatever those are for you for a lot of people every day. And most minutes of the day are completely spoken for.
By someone else and someone else's needs, and maybe that's especially true for women, you know, and parents like that. Somebody else is telling you where to be and what to do almost all of the time. And it's pretty easy to just follow that and not take time to think. Okay. Your own role or what you actually want and deeply what you want and what you're willing to give up, to get what you want.
Cause you might have to step outside of something to get that. And so, I mean, what we need to do on a global level, I think is embrace indigenous ways of being and not be so focused on. Consumerism and ownership. And you know, I think we need a pretty big overhaul, but in the meantime, if we all just stayed in our own lane and paid attention to our own shit and stop judging other people and like, why do you care what somebody else's labels are, you know, in any form or like a weird one I get, you know, not infrequently now is, oh, but you don't seem autistic.
And it's like, Yeah. Spent 34 years trying to seem acceptable, like to, to not lose friends and like be able to have a job, you know, and, and do stuff. So Yeah, I think if people just focused on themselves and spent that uncomfortable time asking themselves what they really want, then they wouldn't have as much time to judge other people for pursuing what they want.
Kimber: Yeah. Yeah, totally agree. Let's bring up one more thing because I think this is really, really important for people to hear. So when you and I were chatting on Facebook and working out the details I.
You asked me a question and I responded, yes. Ma'am and then you were like yeah, I'm not a ma'am, that's not how I identify not a great gender term. And I felt so embarrassed really, because I like to consider myself a relatively like aware person who tries hard to use the correct terms and not offend people.
And. So I've been spending a lot of time thinking about that. And, and luckily after interviewing Ana my transgender friend, sh it brought me some comfort to know that she's like right in the middle of her own stuff, going through this. And she was talking about someone who is non-binary and referred to them as a he during the podcast and then quickly corrected herself and said, sorry them.
And so it was nice for me yesterday to just be like, Everyone's going through this, like, this is a big change for everyone, but for both, for both people who are transitioning and for people who have loved ones are interacting with people that are transitioning to a different gender non-gender identity.
How do we, how do we navigate that with. Grace and understanding for both ourselves and for others. Cause I imagine for you, you have to set a lot of boundaries and do a lot of correcting. As people learn this new landscape they're navigating and that's gotta be exhausting. And on, on this end it's like, oh, like beating myself up because oh, I used the wrong term and it's like, yeah.
How do you navigate that with grace on both sides?
So I think there's two sides of it. One is the like practicing. So when somebody, and often when people are transitioning, they try different pronouns. So especially non binary people. Cause they're also, so they, them is sort of thing. They then is actually the default nonbinary pronoun, I would say, but there are a whole bunch of other ones that people can use.
There are so many different ones people use, and if somebody picks a pronoun that you've never heard before, and this happens to me that I have friends who they are, the only person I know that use that particular pronoun. I have to practice with that person. And I actually was thinking if somebody wants to make this, this would be great.
Somebody should make an app where you can upload a picture of your friend and their pronouns. And then it just gives them to you like flashcards that you can like go through. And, and I was talking about this with somebody a gay friend who has a lot of drag queen friends and. R S P some use different pronouns while they're in drag and some don't.
And so I was like, this would be so great. Cause then you could have a picture of your friend and drag and a picture of not a drag and then practice the pronouns with, you know, the different ways that they present, or like you know gender fluid, people who use different pronouns in different days.
Like they might tell you, and this is the other bit also just, you know, don't assume so don't assume that just because someone is presenting a particular way, that those are the pronouns they're using, you don't know. And then when you actually met. Just remember that the point is the point of pronouns.
It's like pronouncing someone's name correctly. It makes them feel good. It makes them feel like you paid attention. You listened and you like get and accept who they are. If you refuse to pronounce someone's name correctly and it's not just like, it's, it's just that you're not noticing or caring.
That's kinda what it feels like when you tell someone of pronouns over and over. They're not getting it that said when somebody misses. 1 2, 3 times, whatever. I I'm, I will just correct them and it's actually more annoying. To deal with like the other person's guilt. Like I had a situation once where I was, I was at work as a couple of years ago and somebody sent out an email where they used the wrong pronouns.
And it was a group email. And so I just responded, Hey, you know, they, them pronouns. And they were like, oh my God, I'm so sorry. But then they came to my desk and like wanted to have a conversation. And I was like, I wish this is not happening. And that's just me. So I'll, I'll say it's obviously in this entire podcast, I'm not speaking for all trans people or non binary people, but I personally would rather just like the correction or apology and just moving on and not having.
Make a big deal out of it. Cause otherwise that'd be a big chunk of my day,
Kimber: I liked that you compared it to getting someone's name.
Right. Because I thought about that too. Like my name's Kimber Kimberly's my legal name, but I go by Kimber. When people call me Kim. It just grates on me, like, and it almost makes me like, not like that person, even though I know they didn't, like, I know they didn't mean to offend me, whatever. Like I just, it just rubs me the wrong way and I just really don't like it.
And so I really respect
When people can, can just set a boundary and move on. I have a hard time setting boundaries, like I've imagined, like, what if. What if I identified as another gender and had to go through that constantly, like, that'd be hard for me when people call me Kim, oftentimes I just filed them away as like, I don't like that person.
And don't correct them, which is so unfair to them. You know, I don't know.
Mattia: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I think that that is how it feels, you said greeting feeling. That's exactly what it feels like. You know, it doesn't, it doesn't affect my sense of self, you know, I feel very comfortable with where I'm at in my transition. And I'm, I'm very happy with like my presentation. When I see myself in the mirror, I'm like, Hey, that makes sense.
And that's really all I was looking for. So like some, some amount of Congress. Feelings when I looked in the mirror pretty much. But that said, you know, I have a friend whose partner over a period of years has never consistently pronounced my name. Right. Or gotten my pronouns. Right. And I'm just like, okay, that person does not give a shit about me.
That's fine. We're not friends. Right. Like, and I would be very weirded out if this person like suddenly decided to pretend to be friends with me. Cause I'm like, you literally you've had. Five years. And you haven't learned my name or my pronouns. Like we're, we're not friends. Right? That's it, I don't I don't like, you know.
dislike them in particular.
I they've just made it very clear that this is not going to happen. And Yeah.
So, and other, like. Ways of being authentic that I was thinking about, like for me being autistic and learning that about myself and realizing, oh, I'm weird for a reason, like I've always done stimming things, which is, you know, if you see people like, like using fidget toys or just like rubbing their fingers together, they're all, all kinds of things.
People can do rocking back and forth. One thing that I started doing. This was partly because of the pandemic and because of being at home more, I was able to let myself kind of let my body do that thing. So kind of like play out the process and it's a little bit like completing a stress response.
And also I have a trauma, like I studied trauma. So that when, when your body is in a fight, you know, fight flight, freeze, Fon, Same death response, And you kind of play out the cycle and let your body get through that. That's what standing feels like to me. And that I think is a really great example of being authentic because yeah, I understand the social norm that like, can be uncomfortable for people to see someone stimming or doing this thing that's like, or, you know, like flapping hands is one of the, one of the kind of classic ones.
And I do that when I walk around sometimes because it feels good and I've just been letting myself do that over the past year. And it really was like, just like a switch. Like once I turned it on, I decided I didn't care. I was just like, oh, I feel so much better. And that in combination with feeling comfortable with my gender, like I used to look really stiff and tense and uncomfortable all of the time.
And as soon as I transitioned and then more recently started kind of letting myself stim a little bit more Everybody I know has commented that I look more comfortable and just seem happier. So I think being authentic is very uncomfortable in the transition process or whatever that means of, you know, deciding that you're just going to be who you are.
And I think setting boundaries is, is part of, you mentioned boundaries, setting boundaries, absolutely. Part of being authentic. It's saying, you know, this is who I am and what I need, and I'm going to. You know, if you do, if you do this, or if this happens, this is how I'm going to respond. And you know, then actually following through with that, I think that's a great example of being authentic, but it's uncomfortable when you start and then once you get into it, you're like, oh, how did I live before?
So uncomfortable all the time.
Kimber: And you just helped me make a connection for myself. Talking about this idea of labels labels. There are a lot more labels than maybe we have in our vocabulary, but like, you've kind of said earlier, they're really a helpful thing. As far as authenticity goes. If you can label something, then it's not just like, You're weird.
You have no place. You have no community. You, you know, not knowing how to navigate the world. Like labels really are helpful thing. And it reminded me of, I last like a year or so ago, I started painting these portraits. It's actually, if you see the cover of my podcasts, this is what they are. And I just on a whim was like, I'm selling.
I called them bad. And, and someone, someone reached out to me and was like, well, they're not actually bad. And I had to explain like, well, I know that they're not like bad, but the, the label of that helped me let go of the perfectionism. It helps me not worry that people were going to look at it. Look at me selling this art and think, well, it's not that good or it doesn't look realistic.
Like I put a label on it. That helped me define what it was, how I was going to interact with other people about it. And labels are, can be super helpful in that.
Mattia: Yeah, totally. And actually, I mean, the, so for the portraits, that's also a marketing thing and I know people have talked a lot about are, are talking a lot about authenticity in marketing and, you know, direct organic marketing and reaching out to people. And people are looking for people who. Speak to them.
And that requires some kind of labeling, you know, so even if you don't a hundred percent identify with the words or labels that you're putting on your content, when you're putting it out there, it has to be something like, and I actually I'm I'm actually launching a podcast. And a little over a week, I have a podcast coming out called the longer road.
And it actually, I think fits really nicely with what you're doing because what I'm talking, speaking to is. marginalized identities. And I don't love the word marginalized. I don't, but multiply marginalized means something right. that.
that is a very clear thing. People know what that means. And I want people to be able to talk about, you know, all the different parts of their identity.
There, you know, disability, their race, their sexuality, their gender, all these things. And not just one aspect of it that how the intersections work. And then specifically, I think hearing from people, you know, for example, if I, as a 20 year old had heard someone like me just talking about gender and autism, I would have been like, Oh, that's me.
Like I know that's me. So that's kind of, what I'm hoping to do is, is let people hear from people with company. Backgrounds and identities and kind of notice. Oh, you know, and then also just that your experience of saving autistic is very different. In my case, being white and homeschooled, versus like my friend, who's going to be on the podcast who was black and went to public school that's they had a very, very different experience to mine.
At worse I'm sure in most ways. So anyway, that's, I'm, I'm excited about that and I've already recorded the first couple episodes and I'm launching various.
Kimber: Oh, my gosh. I'm so excited. I'm definitely going to listen. Where can, where can people find you? Where's the easiest place for people to find you interact with? You make sure that they can subscribe to your podcast. All that jazz.
Mattia: Yeah. So the easiest way to find me, I'm the only in the Mattia Mauree on the internet. So I'm actually very easy to find, but I have Mattiamauree.com. So M a T T I a M a U R E e.com. The podcast is the longer road.com and that actually, by the time this goes up, it'll probably be, I have the website up, but there's not much there yet.
Cause I haven't launched officially. So I will be putting episodes of there.
Kimber: So cool. Are you on Instagram at all? Or.
Mattia: Oh, yes, I am on Instagram at puzzling move. Puzzling is a baby Puffin and a moon is the sound that they make.
Kimber: Okay, cool. Yeah, I'm going to come. I'm going to go follow you. I don't think I follow you on Instagram. So I'm going to go follow you and listen to your podcasts. Let's get to, this is always kind of the hard part of the podcast, but I'd like to leave my listeners with a takeaway. So if there's like an overarching message or something that you really want to leave the listeners with after this episode, what would that.
Mattia: You get to define your own story and you are not required to tell a story or define yourself through story. So I like that because. I we're. I think we're very storytelling creatures as humans. It's something that we do a lot and we will choose an identity and a label and, and tell and create a story around it.
We'll say I am this because blah, blah, blah happened in my past. And you don't have to define your future based on your past. You can just completely step outside of that and create a completely new story. Or just not think of yourself through story. That's something I've experimented with is just kind of stepping outside of the stories that I tell about myself and you know, how am I actually functioning?
Who do I feel like when I'm not putting all of that expectation and past and future on myself and just letting myself be in the moment. And for me, part of my autistic experience is a lot of. Experiences non-verbal so I do have thoughts, but sometimes I can get really into the moment and just be experiencing and not really experience it in a verbal way.
So for me letting myself do that and just step outside of story and language has been really helpful.
Life Coach for Neurodivergent Queers
Mattia is an interdisciplinary composer, writer, and life coach for neurodivergent queers. Their podcast, The Longer Road, offers support to people with multiple marginalized identities.