Reprogramming, Redefining

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When I was growing up, I lived in a HEAVILY religious Christian home, and was homeschooled by my mom. I made plenty of friends regardless around my neighborhood and with those at church.

For years everything seemed fine. I had the “best friends in the world,” and I was “spiritually pure” because I went to church and did what everyone else was doing there.
After reaching about 12 years old, though, I began to see things and patterns I hadn’t noticed before- things that didn’t seem to match up. The way my “friends” constantly got disappointed when I didn’t agree, how they poked and prodded at me to do something I didn’t like, how they told me believable “jokes” that hurt and then laughed at me for believing, doing things behind my back, etc…. Not only that, I had been for years putting my heart and soul into my religion and took huge leaps of faith for this small bit of SOMETHING I felt was missing and empty- that I wasn’t quite connected to. Eventually most of my family broke away from the church because they started not agreeing with things. Leaving the church was not the hard part; having families with people I thought were best friends suddenly break away and stop loving us, just because we didn’t agree, absolutely baffled and broke me. On top of that, I was becoming extremely self-conscious and insecure.

At 13 I was getting depressed. Then I hit 14 and depression HARD. I didn’t know what friends were. I didn’t know “right” from “wrong.” I was soooo horribly ignorant to the world. I didn’t know what love was. I didn’t know what I was. All that trust was thrown right out the window. I had taken so many of my developing years building my being on a foundation that was not my own, and on top of other people. Once those people fell away, whatever “I” was completely crumbled.

I remember spending endless nights awake, crying my eyes out, and many nights wishing to die. I never once thought to end my life personally; there was something holding me here inside, and I was afraid to hurt my family (who, by the way, was a family of 9 now). I would frequently wish that death would just come upon me and suddenly take me away.

I never told anyone I was struggling. I remembered the one time I asked my parents for deep emotional help and they answered either babying or explaining/analyzing too much (there were also many moments my dad would not understand why we cry over mental things and told us to just stop crying). They tried their best and hoped to help me, but I felt their effort was not helping me. From that instance on, I refused to show them my struggles. No one ever knew I had depression. I was that same “happy, bright, creative redhead!” I got so used to hiding my crying that I learned to cry quietly.

At this time, I was still connected with my toxic friendships. It most definitely (and finally) hit me for sure that they did not truly care about me as they slowly stopped making an effort to keep contact with me.

A little before 16 y/o, I completely dropped them from my life.

My life, or whatever “life” was, seemed to just be spiraling down. But there was always this spark of positivity dragging me along even if I didn’t want to. There were things I found appreciation in for sure, but nothing that set a fire yet. I could have just stopped moving, but that damned, rebellious Hope in me always wanted to try new things.

And that fire came.

After 3 years with depression, I finally opened up to a couple friends about my mental health and started to really know what loyalty was. I found parkour and OCR (obstacle course racing), which pushed my wild heart even more.

After FOUR long-ass years of depression, I made my first (and only) new years resolution: to drop my depression.

The new year came in and my mentality was getting strong. I began learning more about the outside world (one, to give an idea: being religious kept me so sheltered I didn’t even KNOW about drugs until I was 16), trying new things, exploring different mindsets and really realizing how fucking ridiculous many types of boundaries were, ahaha!

I never officially “came out” as pansexual or non-binary; I, from the start, thought it was ironic that people had to specifically state that they love something, or state what they are.

“Whyyy not just be?” my mind always thought.

Two years more of mental exploration, and NOW-

Here I am. Happy. Loving (LOVING LOVING LOVING LOOOOVING) every single thing passionately. Exploring and experiencing absolutely everything. Always learning. Simply being.

I am not “pansexual”; I’m love. I am not “non-binary”; I’m human. I AM. And I could go on explaining this experience’s beliefs and personalities, but, I think you should connect with me and find out for yourself. <3

Love
~Peyton

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Story submitted by Peyton.

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