my [real] story

I can’t believe I’m writing this post.

For the past 3-years, I’ve always been honest here…but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been completely transparent. That’s the beauty and the beast of the internet isn’t it? We can pick and choose which parts of our lives we want to share. We can be “open” and share struggles…but leave a few out. It’s easy. It helps your image. It makes you “more inspirational”.

Yeah, I’ve done that. And I’m done doing that.

So, this is it. This is the post that will lay it all out on the table and share exactly what I’ve gone through personally and continue to deal with. I’m done hiding the not-so-pretty parts of my life.

As many of you have probably noticed, I’ve jumped from job to job and career path to career path over the past 5 years and nothing has stuck. It has been extremely frustrating and confusing because, growing up, I thought I had my whole life figured out. Well, fate had other plans.

It has taken every minute of struggle, pain and loss to understand why nothing has ever felt “right’. The reason? I never allowed myself to just be me. I buried my flaws and poured all of my energy into fitting a mold (whatever it was at the time) and killed myself to achieve “perfection”.

But where did that begin?

In high school, I remember being happy. I’ve struggled with self-image problems for the majority of my life but the thoughts were quiet during those 4-years. I dreamed of being a famous actress and invested every ounce of energy in theatre productions, choir and the drama department at school. Did I really love it? I don’t know. I think I did…but it became more of a lifestyle than a true passion. I was the “drama kid” and, deep down, I loved being the best at something.

So, I did what any die-hard aspiring actress would do and auditioned for the Acting Conservatory of my dreams, was accepted and packed up my life [a semester] ahead of my peers and moved to Los Angeles– the city that was sure to make my dreams come true.

My desire to be the best continued. I spent 2 years giving that school everything I had. I never once missed a class, I was always prepared (except for one day in Shakespeare class which still mortifies me) and came out with a 4.0 and the ranking of ‘top student’ in my class. I was proud of that. Once again, I was able to work hard enough to be “the best”.

Unfortunately, another issue began to arise during those two years. I gained a little weight at the start of college (as most do) which made me uncomfortable. Was I unhealthy? No. Just average…and, sadly, that doesn’t cut it in the entertainment industry. So in an attempt to lose the extra pounds, I took on a bet proposed by a very influential person in my life– who could lose 15lbs the fastest. 

That was all it took. In yet another attempt to be the best, I became obsessed. I went from eating normally to cutting out “unhealthy” foods left and right. My long-time vegetarian diet became a strict, mostly-raw vegan one. The more pounds that fell off, the more praise I received and the more determined I felt to be just a “little bit better”. I began skipping out on social events that included food and rarely (if ever) ate out. I prepped every, single freakin’ meal with this meticulous precision that makes me sick to think about now. I had to have my food laid out certain ways, on certain plates and consumed in certain areas of my apartment. I exercised excessively. I would literally get to the gym at 5am, run on the treadmill for 2 miles, take a 60-min conditioning class and then do abs and the stairmaster…then go BACK in the afternoon for round 2. What the f*ck? My OCD habits skyrocketed and I would freak out at the drop of a hat over nothing. Everyone annoyed me. And as disgusting as it sounds, I thought it was because I was better than them because I “had control” and they didn’t.

Looking back, I can’t believe that person was me.

I lost friendships. I pushed people away. I stopped caring about anything except food and exercise.

As you would expect, my weight plummeted and my normal, beautiful body became a skeleton.

I didn’t understand. I was doing everything “right”. I was following all of the diet and exercise rules and even going above-and-beyond and I still wasn’t happy. I was trying to be a fitness blogger and a food blogger (on my old domain) and preaching balance without taking my own advice and living it. I knew I needed change or I was going to deal with lifelong consequences…if I didn’t kill myself first. But I was terrified. Terrified of what losing control would feel like.

I can’t exactly pin-point when the shift happened because I don’t remember a good portion of this time in my life; partially because I was so severely underweight and partially because I chose to block out the darkest days. But at some point, I finally decided I had had enough. When my family life back home began to crumble, things started to finally come back to perspective. Starving myself wasn’t going to fix anything– especially not my family– and I had missed out on the last few years of my family being together because I was too pre-occupied with my body and maintaining control.

IMG_7482So, I started the process of recovery. I didn’t go to treatment or work with a therapist. I just did it.

It was hard as hell.

I have no words for how much I struggled. It was just hard. But I told myself every day that it was going to be worth it. That one day I wouldn’t have to think obsessively about every morsel of food I put in my mouth and every minute spent at the gym. I believed in my strength, more than I ever had, and I pushed through even when I desperately wanted to recoil into my life of comfort and control.

The stream of tears has been non-stop since I started writing this post…

Nearly 3 years after I hit rock bottom, I’m finally beginning to taste freedom. True freedom. Not the “freedom” I talked about in posts 2 years ago when I was obviously still in the heart of the struggle. At long last, I’m free enough to open up and allow all of my cracks and crevices to surface. To share how and why I lost all control in my desperate attempt to achieve it. To reach out and hope that my journey can help someone, anyone, get through theirs.

For the first time in my life, I’m learning to love myself…and that’s not something I could have honestly said 3-months ago. Sure, I was physically recovered by that point but, mentally and emotionally, I was still in pain. Depression has hit me hard time and time again and I’m here to admit that it’s something I’ll probably always battle. But I’m learning to love my laugh and my smile and my curves and my weird+sarcastic personality and my flat-as-hell hair and my social awkwardness and working out because I want to not because it’s part of my ‘image’. All of the things I spent years trying to hide are the very traits that make me, me. Imperfection really is beauty. 

This post has nothing to do with being preachy or saying “look what I did, guys”…no. I still have bad days. I still feel ashamed of the past and I still fear the future. I still have walls built up that I’m, slowly but surely, chipping away at. I still have problems that I deal with every. damn. day.

But I’m real.

No metaphors or super positive, inspirational quotes or forced-smile selfies or whatever else…

This is Emily.

IMG_7282Of all the different paths I’ve taken, I finally feel like I may have found the right one.

I want to share my story in hopes that someone won’t have to feel another day of pain. Life is hard. Being vulnerable, letting go of control…it just doesn’t come naturally sometimes. Life can feel completely hopeless and tomorrow can look even darker than yesterday. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to tell you that you can smile. Whatever demons haunt the darkest corners of your brain can be destroyed by the light within you. Surrender your facade to the person buried underneath it and joy will begin to surface…a joy that you absolutely deserve. We all do.

You are not alone.

If you want to talk, vent, ask a question, reach out for support…anything…email me. Whether you’re struggling with an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, self-hatred, ocd…I’ve been there.

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @ missemmmysue

38 comments
  1. You’re beautiful and your story is absolutely beautiful. Truly inspiring. Your post means a lot and I relate in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much. I’m so sorry to hear that you can relate but knowing we’re not alone is such an amazing feeling. If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out. ❤

  2. Lisa said:

    I can relate 110% to your story. Thanks for sharing. I know I don’t comment lots anymore, or hardly even read blogs since it’s been BUSY but I just happened to come across your post today. I guess life is weird like that and commend you for sharing this honest post. Literally this was exactly me, your post gave me goosebumps because I was that same exact person only a few short years ago. Miss you!xo

    • Emily said:

      Lisa! Oh my goodness…I was just thinking about you the other day. The universe works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it? It sounds like you’re doing so well though which makes me really happy. We should definitely catch up soon– I’d love to hear about where life has taken you over the past few years. 🙂

  3. Em. As if I couldn’t love you enough as it is. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for sharing this. You’ve always been a huge inspiration to me, but your honesty and candor in this post only makes that more of a reality. You have accomplished so much and the fact that you did it ON YOUR OWN with your own will power and motivation is AMAZING. You are one incredible human being Miss Emmy Sue. I am so honored to know you and call you a friend. You give me hope every hour of every day.

    • Emily said:

      Ahh…Kaila, you know I love you so, so much. Thank you for all of your continuous support throughout my journey and for being a constant source of positivity for me. You can do this too. I know you can…and one day you’ll be able to look back and see just how strong you really were. Can’t wait for what’s to come next year! ❤

  4. Alex said:

    I honestly couldn’t stop crying like a baby as I read this heartfelt, passionate, and beautiful story. You are incredible. It takes SO much bravery and strength to share your journey with us and I’m amazed at all you’ve accomplished. This is only the beginning!!! I am so excited to see what the future holds for your beautiful life!! ❤ 🙂

    • Emily said:

      omg, i love you Alex. Thank you so much. Your beautiful smile and radiating light have been such a big part of my journey and knowing that you’ve been able to overcome so much as well is beyond inspiring. Even though we haven’t talked too much or ever met in person, I feel like you’ve become one of my closest friends and I hope I’ll be able to meet you one day! This is only the beginning for you too and I can’t wait to see where life takes us 🙂

  5. So proud of you Emily<3 I've struggled/am struggling with the said things above so I really have been there and if you ever need to talk I'm here<3

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much, love. I know our journeys have been parallel in so many ways and, while I hate that you’ve dealt with these demons too, I love knowing that we’re not alone. The same goes for you– if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to email me. ❤

  6. P said:

    You have no idea how similar your struggles were to mine! I know how dark those days can be, and I feel for anyone who has gone through them. You are amazing girl 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Thank you, girly. Watching your journey has always felt like watching my own so I know we’ve been through a lot of similar struggles. But you seem to be doing better and better every day and it has brought me so much joy to watch. YOU are amazing. ❤

  7. Floey said:

    You don’t know how much I can relate to this post. Unfortunately, I’m still in the process of climbing out of that dark web that we weave ourselves in sometime. Thank you for sharing. You are so brave and a wonderful example.

    • Emily said:

      You can do this, love. I know you can. You have already come so, so far and I hope you can recognize that and are proud of yourself. It’s just a matter of taking one day at a time and always challenging yourself to do something out of your comfort zone– no matter how insignificant it may seem. Sending you the biggest virtual hug. ❤

      • Floey said:

        You’re so sweet! Thanks Emily! xoxo

  8. Your story is one that will make readers smile and cry within a paragraph. Thanks for sharing. Your words parallel mine in so many ways. Thank you

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much. ❤ So happy you found my blog and I hope to get to know you more in the future! If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out. 🙂

  9. You are AMAZING, sweetheart, and I hope you truly understand how much I LOVE YOU! Like, I freaking love you and couldn’t be more proud of you for 1) sharing your story and 2) getting to where you are today. YOU KNOW I KNOW the darkness, the struggle, and everything that comes with it, but you did it girl and I couldn’t be more proud.

    Also, this quote – Whatever demons haunt the darkest corners of your brain can be destroyed by the light within you.

    Yeah, I loved that.

    • Emily said:

      Um YOU are amazing. It’s so crazy that we became blogging friends 3 (4?) years ago when we were both in those very dark places…Watching you grow and flourish has been absolutely amazing and I am beyond proud of you. I can’t wait for what’s to come. ❤ PS: that trip I was talking to you about maaay be happening next year! 🙂

  10. Hannah said:

    I feel as if I already knew about everything you posted about, mainly because i’ve been following your blog/social media for a while and as someone who’s suffered from major body image issues and an eating disorder, I could see it. Not only in your fail state of health, but in your eyes and face. It’s something you can always recognize in another when you yourself battle the same things. Despite that, I want to say how proud I am of you for sharing. Accepting and sharing my struggles and story is something I still struggle with every single day, even though it’s been a major part of my life for the past 7 years. I still try to hide it and deny that it’s a part of my story. I think shame, as well both the fear of being judged and the fear of being treated differently are what hold me back. I love that you have chosen to share and bring strength and awareness to the topic. You’re truly a beautiful person and I love following your story and absorbing all your positive energy!

    • Emily said:

      You are so, so right. I’ve always been able to detect it in other people– just from there eyes. It’s kind of unbelievable. I know that your journey has been far from easy but you have already come such a long way. You are such a light and have SO much to offer– never forget that. Connecting with you via instagram has been absolutely amazing and I hope we can get to know each other more in the future. ❤

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I can only begin to imagine how much your heartfelt words will help others who read this. While reading this I can feel your emotion behind it and have to commend you for sharing such raw and real stuff, in an eloquent and relatable way none the less. I can tell just by reading your blog, you are such a strong person who has big things in her future! I hope every morning of everyday you wake up and tell yourself just how kick-ass-awesome you are. Seriously, you have achieved so much and are an inspiration to many… you totally rock! Selfishly I am so happy to have found your blog, it gives me motivation to keep going on this never ending journey to constantly build our bliss in life. Sending countless good vibes your way!

    • Emily said:

      Oh my goodness…this comment brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so, so much. I’m so thankful that you found my blog as well and that I’ll be able to follow your journey via your blog now also. ❤ I hope you wake up and tell yourself just how kick-ass you are every day as well! Thanks again, girl 🙂

  12. Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest. I can honestly relate to a lot of what you’ve gone through/are going through. I’m going to shoot an email your way at some point in the next day or so. For now, just know that you aren’t alone and. for lack of a better phrase, the struggle is real. Keep maintaining your wonderful perspective – I am slowly, but surely getting there too. ❤

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much, Diane. And thank you for all of your continued support over the past few years. It has meant so much. Looking forward to your email ❤

  13. Peggy said:

    You speak louder and more real to me than you will ever know, I’m sure I’m not alone. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been going through something very similar. My eating disorder started years ago for ballet. Now I’m grown and long since left that, the eating disorders never left. I’ve gone through all of them. Been as low as 90 lbs and as high as 300 lbs., and back to 90 lbs. I’m at my stopping point too. I wish you health and peace. Thank you again.

    • Emily said:

      You are so welcome. Thank you for taking the time to comment and open up about your own struggles– it’s so hard to do. Eating disorders do everything in their power to hold on as long as possible…and they manifest themselves in different ways to do so. But I know you can overcome it. You have control- those thoughts do not. Sending you love, health and peace as well. ❤

  14. Reblogged this on Bring My Dreams and commented:
    This post on BuildMyBliss.com really touched me and I think so many can relate. Everyone has different struggles but knowing that we are not alone brings comfort. Thank you, Emily, for sharing this very personal story with us all. You are so right, the joy is there and will shine through when the need for control is given up.

  15. Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey. Your joy is touching so many more than you will ever know in this lifetime. I have shared this on BringMyDreams.com because I believe so many can relate and will find comfort in your story. With Gratitude, April.

    • Emily said:

      Oh my goodness…Thank you so much, April. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing and taking the time to leave such a sweet comment. I can’t wait to follow your thoughts and discoveries over on Bring My Dreams. ❤

  16. Ashleigh Jayroe said:

    I found this post through my aunt who shared it and I cannot begin to express how happy I am to have read it. Thank you for posting this. I think it was something I really needed to read today. You are amazing!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much, Ashleigh! Comments like this mean more to me than you can ever imagine. ❤ It's amazing how things can come into our lives just when we need them, isn't it? It happens to me all the time! I hope to get to know you more through future posts…and if you ever want/need to talk, please feel free to email me ❤

  17. Emily said:

    The number of similarities between our stories is shocking!
    1) I “controlled” my life through eating and exercise
    2) I was very underweight
    3) I am finally in a better place and feel the true “freedom” you talk about (yay!)
    4) I too am baffled at how I was able to be so obsessive! Feels like a totally different person.
    5) …my name is Emily too! : )

    Glad you’re strong enough to share your story. I struggled the same way you did in college, yet I’ve since learned to love and appreciate my body. I went from making myself run x-number of miles a week and eliminating all “bad” foods to learning to embrace and love so many other forms of exercise and incorporating all foods back into my diet (I use the word diet not in a losing weight sense, just a general reference to eating). I now don’t need to spend x-number of hours at the gym, but can be okay with simply a 20 minute workout if that’s all I have the time for! I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am, and to feel “good enough” in my own skin.

    Good luck on your journey! Always remember: you are good enough, just how you are. A little piece of advice- I would sometimes find it hard to look at pictures of when I was underweight. Try to steer clear of those, as they can be “triggering” or upsetting (at least they were and still can be for me!). If and when you do dwell on your past, think about how happy you are now, and how your weight/looks don’t determine your happiness. You can still be extremely happy whether you’re a size 00, 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24… you get the picture! Happiness is a state of mind, not a certain body weight. Continue to be happy, and you will continue to inspire others through your blog and your happiness : )

  18. Cassidy Kipp said:

    Emily, this is awesome. I’m reading this post at my desk and am crying because I can relate to every word. Thanks for opening yourself like this – I know from my own experience that it is still one of the hardest things to talk about, even to the people I love and trust the most, let alone publicly. Now excuse me while I go buy some more tissues…

    • Emily said:

      Aw. This comment brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much, Cassidy. Opening up is one of the hardest things ever…but I’ve found that it’s also one of the biggest steps you can take towards recovery. Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and, the more you hold them in, the more they control you. Wishing you all the best in your journey. If you ever want to talk or vent, please please feel free to email me. ❤ ❤ ❤

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