P E Y T O N
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
I remember the first time I didn’t feel enough. I was in elementary school, and I realized that I was already a lot bigger than most of my friends, I think I was squeezing into size 10 kids size and most of them were still in 0s or 00s. From that point on, I would catch myself squeezing my hip fat, keeping tack of how far my hip bones were sticking out, and desperately wishing I could look like the girls in seventeen magazines. This comparing myself to other girls stayed with me much longer than it should have. Through failed friendships, relationships, and even a failed marriage, I couldn’t seem to find my worth. I was either too big, too weird, couldn’t find a friend group, or I would tell myself that I wasn’t pretty enough. I couldn’t see what made me special; I didn’t know where to find it. What I wish I knew then was that I have an infinite about of worth, and no one could take that away from me.
The biggest turning point for me was getting separated from my then husband. I dealt with a lot of things people shouldn’t deal with. Emotionally he had taken a toll on me, he manipulated me and treated me like crap, made me do things I didn’t want to do. He cheated on me over and over again—and I always thought I was the one with the problem. Honestly, writing about this season in my life is really hard and will always be really hard. I don’t even know how to say besides I was in so so so much pain. I found God through this pain, though. He used this pain and helped me find light in things I couldn’t have ever found light in before. Because of him, I can show people all I’ve gone through and I can tell people about the joy I’ve created for myself. Yes, created. The feelings of worth and feelings of being enough didn’t just come back to me like nothing happened. You, whoever is reading this, you have to learn that getting yourself back isn’t magic, and you have to fight for yourself every. Single. Day. You have to love yourself in every single way. The most important thing about my story isn’t that I let someone drag me around and tear up my soul. It’s that I fought for myself (who am I kidding though, God was doing more of the fighting for me), and if I can do it then you can certainly do it too. One day, when I finally had enough, I felt this feeling of confusion. Maybe I did deserve better?
This feeling was God telling me how much he loved me, that I was as beautiful as a jewel on his crown, no matter what shape I was in, and I believed him.
This domino effect started to happen. It started out with a guy who I worked with giving me more grace I had ever received in my life. I was anxious and stressed out every time we worked together, and I was constantly mad about something. I saw that love in him though, and I saw that he thought I was worthy. It wasn’t just me that he thought was worthy; it was literally every person around him. His heart little by little rubbed off on mine. God continually put great people like that in my life through out that next year. The only reason I saw how important they were was because I had been praying for these people for a long time. I was ready to have relationships that thrived off of love, grace, empathy, and compassion for one another. It's work. A lot of hard freaking work. People are only human! On days I was weak, I could still feel the inner “younger” Peyton comparing myself to the women beside me, which was never healthy for relationships. I have really attractive friends, so that will always be hard, but the second I told myself, “They are pretty, but so am I.” Things shifted. I started to follow up every comparison with, “But so am I.” I thought that the girl sitting on the other side of the coffee shop had really nice clothes? My clothes are pretty cool, too. Maybe some girl in the grocery store had seriously, the nicest bod ever. I would remind myself that I have pretty great curves and that I’m healthy, and I too have the nicest bod because I have a body! There’s a quote from a woman who works at Darling Magazine who said, “What if we said: ‘She’s beautiful but so am I,’ instead of, ‘She’s beautiful and how do I measure up to her?’” The more I started to silently, or out loud, compliment the women around me it was a lot harder for me to be negative about myself (and them!). The habit made me a better person all around so you know, why not?
Besides my friend group, another thing that helped me feel enough was speaking my worthiness into existence every single day. The second I start feeling crappy about myself I scream in my head, “STOP!! YOU ARE SO WORTHY! DON’T THINK THESE THINGS!” Some days this works better than others, but it is all about habit. Along with this… as silly as it seems… social media helped a lot with reminding myself who I really am. It’s easy to send yourself down a black hole on Instagram or Twitter or wherever but following the right people makes or breaks you. I stopped following people that made me feel down and I caught myself comparing my body or whatever to. I followed more blogs like SoWorthLoving (encouraging, encouraging, encouraging. That’s all I have to say about them.), awesome food bloggers like ShutTheKaleUp and LeeFromAmerica (they talk a lot about body love), and whoever else that just makes me feel good. Social media doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be very wonderful if you use it in the right way.
I don’t like myself sometimes, I think that there are always things in life I should be perfecting, and I’m not always kind. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. This world we live in doesn’t always make it easy, but the right people can make it worth it. So what is “worthy” exactly? Google says it’s, “having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way.” To me, it’s asking, “What if I loved myself up to the brim?” It’s also asking, “How do I feel about my favorite person in the world?” This is the feeling, but turning that feeling around on yourself. Feeling worthy is feeling peace. You are enough, I promise. If you don’t feel that you are, find someone who believes it and truly listen to his or her heart.
Saying it again for the people in the back: you are enough, I promise you.
Absolutely incredible. It cuts deep just hearing the words of Peyton come from a place of pain. But her life has been redeemed. Things have turned around for the better because, well God is good. She has found that vulnerability has opened so many doors to renewal, recognition, and worth. I love that she referenced So Worth Loving. Erin and those a part of the team there have inspired me for quite some time.
Let us not forget that our stories serve to inspire and encourage others. And Peyton's story definitely does that! Man, I need to be surrounded by people like Peyton. Hopefully this post had an uplifting effect on you. Maybe try what Peyton left us with. It's about knowing the value you possess and repeating the phrase: "YOU ARE ENOUGH." Repeat it. Tell it to those needing to hear it.
~Ben Dulay, Chief Storyteller of 777 Collective