From a place of hardship and darkness, dealing with anorexia and depression, Tayllor Lemphers found herself caught up in the lie that she was not enough. Until one day she stopped running from the past, and started to understand her value. And today, through her jewellery business, Forget Me Knots (FMKS), she allows her journey to serve as a beacon of light to women across the world. This is her story.
How did Forget Me Knots start?
Well, like the most beautiful, valuable things in my life, Forget Me Knots was born out of hardship. It was about four years ago when a trial hit me so hard that I was winded. I had spent most of my life running from pain and hiding behind a mask of perfection and happiness. It was in this time that God met me, asking me this, “How will you know I’m your Light unless you go into the darkness with Me?” With this invitation, I started my process of learning how to acknowledge and grieve my pain, much of which was related to identity: being bullied as a child, living with anorexia, my first heartbreak. I ran so fast away from these painful things, because I was so scared that they defined me.
It was in the midst of this time that I traveled to South Africa to live with my friend. While staying with her, I attended church. As the pastor spoke, he locked eyes with me, saying, “No person or circumstance can dictate your identity or your destiny. Only God can.” That simple phrase changed everything. I started to see that who I was and where I was going was only determined by people and circumstance if I gave them permission to be, but in reality God had the final say.
Once I began to stop running from the painful things in my life, I realised that they never had the power I gave them. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with these things, and I couldn’t keep that message to myself. This story was mine to share.
What’s FMKS all about? What’s the heart of it?
Forget Me Knots is about a few core beliefs. First, it’s about identity. I believe that people are all made in the image of God with purpose, value and destiny that is untouchable. It is my hope that women discover who they really are, beyond any label. Second, it’s about encouragement. In our culture, self-empowerment can easily turn into self-absorption. But if we truly know ourselves and are secure in that, we can see who others are clearly, and help them see themselves. Lastly, FMKS is about remembrance. I know how difficult it is to remember the truth in a world that screams all sorts of lies. This past year, I battled with anxiety and depression, and all I had to hold onto was the truth, even when I didn’t feel it. We all need reminders of what is real each and every day.
People used to tie string around their finger in the shape of a bow to remind themselves of something important each time they saw it. Identity isn’t something you just discover one day, and never have to fight for; it is a constant battle to know the truth and live in it, so wearing a knot on your finger can be a tangible way to remember.
What’s your personal story?
Well, my story is one filled with much pain and much redemption. I was severely bullied by girls in elementary school, which caused me to believe the very thing I feared to be true and the very thing they told me I was: "I am not enough". After years of receiving this message, I began to internalise it as my own soundtrack, which drove me to an eating disorder, an obsession with achievement and running away from pain. And as I ran away from the hurtful memories, I didn’t realise that I also ran away from many of the things that made me, me! In attempts to protect myself, I built my life into an ideal, rather than yielding to the unique song God had placed in my heart. This past year, I fell into deep depression and anxiety; I thought I would never get out. But it was in the darkest times of my life that I learned about the Light that overcomes it all, and Who never, ever left me. I stopped running away, and faced the pain from my past that kept me hiding in fear and shame. And as I did, I found that those things I thought defined me really didn’t, and little by little I saw God show me who I really am, my true identity, both as His daughter and uniquely as Tayllor. I’m still very much in this process, but I am seeing the depth and richness and messiness that the journey of identity is.
You mention on your website that it’s all about reminding women that they are enough. When did you realise that you are enough?
Wow, that’s a great question! And to be honest, it’s a realisation that I relive and am reminded of everyday. It’s a continual discovery for me, but I think in the past year or so, it has been tested and shown itself to be more real for me. Recently, I have had many roles and activities I found my identity in removed from my life, including a relationship and being an athlete, and was left feeling very empty. Who was I, when everything I built in my life was gone? As I began to embark on the journey that followed that question, I found that without any of these roles, without any of these things I added to my life, I am enough.
How does the simple act of wearing a knotted ring change your perspective toward yourself and other women?
Wearing my knot is a humbling re-calibration; something so simple, something that is a part of my everyday life, causes me to pause and evaluate what my thoughts are toward myself and other women. It makes me see every day that my perception is something that is not fixed and needs to be checked consistently!
How has FMKS impacted the women who’ve bought the rings? What stories have you heard?
You know, whenever I doubt that I am supposed to be doing Forget Me Knots, it is the stories of the women impacted by their knots that remind me of my mission. The one the really stands out to me is from a woman I met while speaking at a conference representing Forget Me Knots. I really felt led to share about my experience with battling depression and anxiety, though it wasn't part of my original plan. As a result, a woman in the crowd came up to me and we ended up grabbing coffee after; there she shared with me her current battle with depression and severe anxiety. That time caused my heart to swell with joy as I thought that one of the darkest times of my life, which I got to share as a result of FMKS, could actually serve as a beacon of hope to someone who is in the midst of darkness now. Forget Me Knots gave me a way to connect with the story of an amazing woman who I never would've met, and allowed us the chance to encourage and uplift one another amidst a dark and scary time in her life. I'm still in awe when I think about it!
Where to from here? What’s your vision for the future?
Gosh, I've been asking myself this question more and more now that I've graduated university! I really would love to have FMKS as my full time job, with a team of people surrounding me on our mission! Seriously, being a one-woman business is a LOT of work, and I look forward to the day I can hire a rad team! I am also so excited to expand the jewellery line (hint: look out this summer for a brand new piece!) and to collaborate with more women's conferences and cool creatives. This is still such a journey for me, and each day I work with Forget Me Knots, I grow in different areas! I love how this business and the mission behind it constantly challenges me to live my own identity. I'm so excited to see where it leads!
Find your knot: http://thefmks.com
Follow FMKS on Instagram: @thefmks