Growing up, I lived in a Christian home. I was raised to be kind, considerate, wise, etc., etc., but there was always something missing for me. As the years passed on, I continued going to church, church camps, groups, and all that. Church was my only social life (as I was homeschooled) at that time, so I clung to it hard, despite the fact that there was still something not right. Over time, I came to the realization that I personally never found a connection with this “God” that I was always being taught about, no matter how hard I strived and devoted myself. From my devotion, I had also never truly found who I was as a human, because I was constantly creating an image on a foundation I had never even “seen.” So when I was around 12, my family left the church (for their personal reasons which I feel is not my place to share), and I had very few hesitations.

At 6 years old, I had met some of the neighbors my age. These kids had very quickly become my best friends. Of course, there were plenty of times I was misguided as a little kid by them, but such was my naive mind at that age. Growing up, out bond seemed to strengthen, and I constantly wanted to keep up with them and do everything they did. Of course, as I yearned for their attention and love, I became blinded to any misguidances they led, and so so quickly forgave them everytime they wronged me (even though they rarely apologized). Years went on, and I started to act a little differently from them. As this continued, they didn’t seem to enjoy my presence unless I did everything they wanted. It was at this time that I began to notice the lies I had been growing in; they didn’t truly accept me, they never made an effort to keep in contact or keep up with me, and they only enjoyed me for what they could use me for. After about 9 long years, I decided that these were not really my friends, and let go of any connection with them that was still there. Now don’t get me wrong, they were pretty kind people for the most part, but not good friends to me, and that is where the line was drawn.

These events tore me apart. I lost my social life, my trust- in myself and others, my image(s), and my friends- from both churches I went to, and my neighborhood. I was completely blank. I fell into depression at 13. There were major anxieties, and I always bottled it up and wore a mask because I hated the idea of telling my family. I felt that I’d be a burden on them, and that they’d find me as weak for feeling the way I did. Several nights were spent lying in bed, crying my eyes out, and fearing being completely alone in this world. I’d whisper-scream (so no one could hear me) “I WANT TO DIE,” “PLEASE, JUST DIE,” “I WANNA BE DEAD,” “I HAVE NO POINT IN BEING HERE,” some nights. It was too quiet, yet so loud all at the same time through this struggle. My parents never had a clue, and I kept being the “happy, smiling, artistic red-head” that they loved.

In 2016, I began taking parkour at a gym near my home with my brother and dad. I was still struggling with depression, but continued hiding it from anyone I met. However, this was where I found my first real friends. All the people I hung out with were so supportive, funny, kind, and helpful to me, and they never minded who I decided to be, as long as I was kind and considerate to others. This was also where I began to become stronger, not just physically, but mentally as well, and without them realizing, the parkour community was helping me through depression.
Before, I had said that I become blank, but you know what that means to an artist? A new beginning. A clean slate to create WHATEVER I wish. So, I began creating my own image on MY OWN foundation. With the help of my bestest friend who’s stuck with me through ALL of this, and a newer best friend who always listens to me, I started to open up about my struggles; no more mask (although I had always remained as truly positive as possible), and no more bottling things up. I immediately started feeling freer and stronger, and at the end of 2017, I’m proud to say I put my depression behind me.

Now, here I am. Seventeen years old, and my social life now consists of parkour, ninja, and OCR (obstacle course racing), plus the social media connection of Only Human; I am an artist and also love making music; I am not reliant or dependent on others to make me happier, because I’ve found peace in myself and no longer fear being alone; I open my mind to always trying and hearing new things; I have established a strive to make sure I build on nothing but what works best for me; I’ve made sure I’m strong enough myself so I can reach out to others and help them as well; and above all, I’ve accepted myself and my humanity. I’ve taken the morals my church life taught me, developed empathy through my own struggles, and found new eyes for the world around me.

I hope to inspire everyone around me to be positive, determined, kind, willing, understanding and empathetic, independent, and accepting (of others and of any struggles they face) because that’s part of what being a good human means to me.
My name is Peyton Saige McElvy- Saige meaning wise, and Peyton meaning warrior. Through these experiences I’ve found and grown to be the Wise Warrior I wish to be. My life is far from over, but I am so excited to take on and learn everything this world has to offer.

Keep pressing forward, my amazing humans?✌

Story Submitted by Peyton