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Tuesday, March 8, 2016


In honor of NEDA week, I'm going to share my "ED" essay.

"Ed" = eating disorder

 I wrote this essay on how and why I developed an eating disorder. I hope this brings some awareness about how an eating disorder doesn’t discriminate between men and women, black or white. 

Disclaimer: To whomever does read this, thanks for sitting through it. You are a rad soul.

I still remember the very first time I restricted my food. I was eight years old and I was on a summer swim team in Vegas. I remember just staring at myself in the mirror in my swimsuit and trying to push my hands on my stomach to flatten it and grabbing all the fat I thought I saw. I made a decision that that night I would not eat so in the morning at my swim meet I would look thinner. So that night, I didn’t eat, and the next morning my eight-year-old self would swear to you that I did in fact look thinner. And that’s when my battle with anorexia and bulimia began.

I really didn't understand how big of an impact my “ed” would have or could do until my eighth grade year. Until that point I used my “ed” to cope with bullying and some traumatic experiences that happened to me during middle school. Every time I had anxiety, I would act on eating disorder behaviors. Any time I felt disgusting, worthless, unlovable, I acted on my eating disorder. After 8th grade year I began to gain weight after swim season and saw that I wasn't fitting into my pants anymore. I tried a bunch of different ways to restrict my food since the fourth grade and this really stressed me out and it was all I thought about. I decided to do something extra to make sure I lost the weight. So one day I just tried making myself throw up. It worked. When I realized it worked and on the scale the next day I dropped a pound, I was ecstatic. It’s like I found this new way to not be worthless and to not be disgusting. I felt like I found this secret ingredient that would numb me from the bad things that happened to me and that I would finally be worthy of love.

Then a vicious cycle began all throughout my freshman to junior year of high school. I would restrict my food, then binge, then purge, and then repeat. I was in a super unhealthy relationship with a boy and with certain friends. My eating disorder was literally all I thought about 24/7. I remember getting anxiety the night before the next day because I didn’t know how I was going to eat. I would map out how I would go to the bathroom before each class and how to skip the food at student council activities. One of my favorite teachers was constantly worried about me and kept asking what he could do to help. But I told him nothing. I felt like someone was constantly following me and shouting, “you’re disgusting. Shut your mouth. You’re worthless. Please that person. You’re fat. No one will ever love you.” My parents saw how bad it was becoming and in my freshman year tried to put me in therapy, but I just didn’t like it and kept telling them I had it under control. I was manipulative.

Then the summer before my senior year I gained over fifteen pounds and I freaked out even more. I began purging again even more, but I noticed that my weight was staying the same. I then began to restrict in extreme amounts and I then was finally getting the results I wanted. Between that and running over five miles everyday, I was going from a size 4 to a size 2 to a size 0. People began to recognize me, boys in particular. I was getting complimented left and right for whatever "diet" I was on. People finally wanted to talk to ME. My eating disorder gave me a false sense of confidence by giving me the idea that if I stayed skinny, more boys would like me. My peers would finally accept me. And that I would finally be lovable.

Clothes began to look a lot better on me, I was a smaller size then my best friend and I was smaller than my sister. My sister was always tinier then me my whole entire life. I had this false sense of elation that I was better because I was thinner. I had a "friend" who stuck by me whenever I was sad or lonely. "Ed" would help me and understand the issues I was going through. If I were feeling fat he would help me learn how to drop five pounds a lot faster this time around. He knew what would make me "happy" and he wouldn't let me go. I didn't want him to go, he was helping me to become what I've always wanted to be, lovable.

I was a "people pleaser". I couldn’t stand it if someone didn’t like me and I couldn’t say no to anyone's requests. I just wanted to fit in and with my eating disorder I felt like I was achieving that goal.

I really didn't see any consequences from my eating disorder until my junior year of high school. When I went to see the doctor she said I could have problems getting pregnant or ever being able to have a child at all. I would have thought that this would have been a wake up call for me, but apparently not until much later. I realized that my eating disorder did come with consequences, but I didn't care. I started caring my senior year in high school, when I entered the Center for Change the first time. I tried so hard to get over this, but to be completely honest I didn’t want to let it go. I realized that it would take years before this awful mentality I had would leave.

One consequence freaked me out. I love to perform. I love to perform on stage in musicals and sing. I have taken voice lessons for years and have loved it. My senior year I participated in the musical "Grease" and played the part of "Rizzo", a lead. This is actually when I was in the deepest of my eating disorder. One day when I was purging, I cut my throat and it started bleeding a day before we opened. I wasn't able to sing at all. I was freaking out, not knowing what to do, I vowed I wouldn't purge again or until after the musical was done. It scared me, but I didn't want to let "ed" go. I had so many other physical consequences from "ed", like losing my hair, my skin getting worse. I finally realized my freshman year of college that the bad most definitely outweighed the good when it came to my "friend". I didn’t want it to happen to me anymore.

The more I began to be in my eating disorder, the more my self-esteem plummeted to the ground. One of my main vices is comparing myself to others. At first, I would compare my body to those close around me, especially my best friend and older sister. Not really anyone else. As I got closer to "ed" I realized that my body wasn't good enough and I began comparing my body to any girl that walked through the door. If she were smaller than me my confidence would go down, but if she was bigger than me I would feel better about myself. I didn't care about anyone else. No one else mattered. I thought that once I reached my goal weight everything would fall into place, but it didn't. I still wasn't good enough and I was too selfish to go and reach out for help because I didn't think I needed it

I remember that the ONLY time I ever felt peace of mind and no negative thoughts would be when I was on my knees in prayer to my Father in Heaven and when I was reading my scriptures. So constantly from middle school on, I was praying and reading my scriptures. He was there and He was listening. He was sending angels on my right and my left to bear me up, but I sometimes I was so into my “ed” that I couldn’t even see it. I didn't see my self worth through His eyes; I saw it through my eating disorder's eyes. It came to a point that when I would go to church, I would just feel worse about myself. I think I compared myself more there, then anywhere else. There was always someone better than me. Better life, better clothes, better attitude, better smile, and a better body. I envied each and every single girl. Church became a prison for me of constantly comparing. People would come up to me and say "where did that light go?" or "whatever you're doing, stop it". I would get annoyed and then beat myself up because I knew that they were right. I came to a point where I felt empty. I felt alone but for some reason I kept reading and praying. I kept developing my faith in Christ and knowing that one-day I would recover.

Nobody would ever confront if there were something wrong. I was super involved in school and had a great group of friends. I would put on my fake mask and make jokes. Humor was a cover up. When people would find out they would say, "No way, you're too funny to be sick like that or too happy." I began to lie to everyone around me, to my parents, sisters, and friends. Everyone around me began to disappear. Nobody wanted to deal with me because they didn't know that what was coming out of my mouth was the truth or just I pushing them aside. I wasn't at peace with myself mentally or emotionally. My only friend became "ED". I depended on him, he was, at least I thought he was, the one only one that stayed by my side. I was best friends with him. On the weekends I would just stay home and lay in bed all day, hoping that I wouldn't have to eat. When I came up to Utah for school, I became even more distant from all my friends back home. I wouldn't return my parents phone calls or any of my friends. My friends drove up through Provo and wanted to see me, but I wouldn't answer. The people who truly made me laugh and I felt most comfortable around, I wouldn't give them the time of day. My grandpa, a couple days before he passed away, wanted to see me, but I wouldn't answer the phone. This hurt me the worst. How could I be so horrible that I wouldn't even see my grandpa? Instead the last time I got to see him, he was in a wooden casket, eyes closed, with nothing left in him. That is when I decided that that would be the LAST thing that "ed" would take away from me. I didn't have any good relationships, I was scared of food, I was afraid of people, I was afraid of many things. I realized that my eating disorder had taken so much from me, different experiences that I will never, ever get back, but by getting rid of it I could become everything I have wanted to be. It makes me so mad that I let myself get that far, but I finally took a stand. "ED" is no longer take things from me because I “broke-up” with him.

In October of 2010 I entered the Center for Change in Provo, Utah. And for four and a half months I was a full-time patient. I then went back to Vegas to live with my parents to continue my recovery. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Each day I had to take it moment by moment or else I would crumble. But through it all I gained a stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven and His Son. I saw His children the way He did. I began to see myself as He did. I have been eating disorder behavior free since July 5th 2011. I remember in December of 2012, I was in a super good place, and I began crying in my best friend, Katie’s, car. My eating disorder was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting and it was something I fought since I was 8, but at that moment I recognized that through it all, I had been blessed WAY more than I had been tried. I realized that God and His Son carried me through. Because of my “ed” I was refined into someone that God could use as His instrument. Because of “ed” I was able to serve a mission and truly know and testify to those around me that God loved them through their trials because I had felt it for myself.

An “ed” isn’t something someone can get through in a month or a year. Those were dark years but there was light because of God and His tender mercies.

I know that if it wasn't for my family and their constant love and care, I would not be where I am today. My parents loved me through it and were able to get me the help I needed. My sisters, even though I was a struggle, still loved me and wanted to help. I'll never be able to repay them and I constantly thank God for them. I am thankful that Cate was with me my freshman year when I went back into treatment. Without her, I wouldn't be where I am either. An eating disorder, no matter which one it is, is a mental illness that continually needs to be addressed. Not everyone had the same resources I did and I know that through awareness, others too can have the opportunity to recover.

#recovery #NEDAawareness

Sunday, September 6, 2015


I love the feeling of being somewhere that is so sacred. I love the peace that I feel when I am there. I love the serenity. I love the love and joy that fills my heart and soul. For me, I have realized that I have multiple places that are sacred. I have the temple, which is the house of the Lord. I have my home in Vegas which means so much to me. I also have South Carolina, a place I lived and served the Lord for a mere 18 months. And lastly, I have this place.

Some people might wonder why on earth the treatment center I absolutely loathed and faced my worst fears in would be so sacred to me, but there are SO many reasons. Mainly, in the years I was in treatment, this is where I came to truly know Him.

The Center for Change is a symbol of my eating disorder I fought for fourteen years. It is the place where I fell on my knees multiple times a day to bear my soul to my Father in Heaven. It is the place where I cried out in my heart to my Savior Jesus Christ to strengthen me and to carry me through. It's the place where I realized that the only time my mind was at peace was when I was praying to my Father or reading my Saviors words through His scriptures and teachings. He truly has "healing in His wings." It is where I overcame some of my most traumatic experiences and began the process of truly learning to love myself for who I am and allowed myself to be vulnerable for the first time in my life. This place is sacred to me because my eating disorder is where I truly came to know Him, my Savior. And I am eternally thankful for that every single day of my life.

I realized that the reason why the temple, my home, and South Carolina are all so sacred to me as well is exactly the same. In all those places I fell on my knees in prayer to God. In all of those places I pleaded with the Lord to help me get through the trials ahead. In all of those places I cried out and bore my soul for Them to hear me and my prayers for not only myself but for others. In all those places I learned what true charity was and learned how to selflessly serve. That is why these places are so unbelievably sacred to me. 

I have come to realize that we can make ANY place sacred as long as Christ is at the center of all that we do. He is the way, the truth, and the light. I am so unbelievably thankful for Him and my Father in Heaven in allowing such places to be this way for me. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'm in a airport.

 That's right. I'm sitting at the gate on the way back to SLC because ya girl starts school tomorrow AND because my grandmothers funeral is over. 

First, can I say that airports are getting more and more fancy with their food? Like for real, this one has a Los Taquitos. Pretty sure it means tacos and to me that's a lot fancier than a McDonald's.

Second, a couple just walked by both wearing shirts with a bald eagle and an American flag that I definitely saw at Walmart last week...and every time I've been to Walmart those have been there in the past 10 years. I should just totally cave and buy one, too. 

Third, my grandmothers funeral was a BEAUTIFUL celebration of her life and I'm so thankful that I got to go. My Grandma Joy definitely was her name. I just feel so blessed that I even got to have her as my grandmother. She worked so hard for her family. I mean she was a telephone operator for 37 years, doing the graveyard shift,just so her kids could do extracurricular activities. She was a fashionista that was always looking for a bargain. She loved her cheetah print. Also, her love and devotion she shared with my grandpa Reed for the past almost 70 years is something that I cherish. I think the most heartbreaking thing to watch yesterday was my grandpa. I mean, the woman that he cared for and loved and labored with for the past 70 years was gone. His very best friend. Watching him stand alone as her casket was loaded into the car made me realize more than ever that one of the most important things we can do is strengthen and cherish those eternal relationships here on earth. I'm so thankful for my grandparents and the examples they have set in my own life. I'm so thankful for those precious covenants we make in the temple so that we can be together for forever.

                Grandpa Reed and I!

Fourthly, if that's even a word, in the past week something has been pressing on my heart a TON and I've been pondering it ALL THE STINKING TIME. It's that we  are totally our spirits and we are NOT our bodies. I know I know, you're probably thinking, "old news Em, you've known that since you've exited the womb." But seriously! I've been thinking about it a ton. For example, I am Emily, I am NOT my eating disorder. My spirit is pure, but my body is prone to imperfections and trials. My negative thoughts are not  my spirit. Depression is not my spirit, etc. Every time I've made a decision this week I've asked myself,"is this going to nourish my spirit or is it going to hurt it?" 
So if I had a negative thought about myself, I would cast it out because it wouldn't help my spirit. That's just one example. I know I'm totally rambling but this has just hit me so hard. Everything that I do in life, I want it to nourish my spirit and help me grow eternally. I don't want the fears, negative thoughts, self doubt, mental disorders to harm my eternal growth anymore. I've realized that I will face those things my whole life, but I don't have to entertain them or define who I am. Because who I am is a daughter of an Almighty God. I'm not my eating disorder, I'm not my fears, I'm not my doubts. I am His. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drop the Label.

    "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
            Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God.” Alma 48:17-18
             When I first read these verses all I could think was about how much I wanted to be like Moroni! I wanted to become just like him. I wanted the very powers of hell to be shaken forever at my presence! I wanted to be able to be just as righteous and just as faithful as Moroni. Moroni was not perfect, but he was perfectly consecrated to the Lord. He never complained against God and the trials he was given in life, he never forsook the gospel and went out on his own. He was completely humble before the Lord and relied on Him daily because he KNEW that he could not do it alone. Moroni could be labeled as a fearless, faithful follower of God.
            There are many different men and women in the Book of Mormon with many different labels. When one talks about Nephi, it’s always in reverence and awe because of the faith he showed in truly following God in every aspect of his life. When one talks about Laman and Lemuel, it’s always about how they were truly never converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were labeled as doubters and non-believers. When one talks about King Benjamin we always speak of his endless service to God and his fellowman. When one speaks about Korihor, it’s always about how he was faithless, a man that would never be satisfied without proof, a man truly without faith. Then we have Corianton, who I want to spend time on. Whenever one brings up Corianton the first thing anyone ever says is, “oh yeah, he’s the one that broke the law of Chastity.” Or “he’s the black sheep of the family, the one kid that didn’t get it, etc.” or in modern terms you could say, “he’s the one that went home early from his mission because of morality issues he never took care of”. These are his labels. But what we fail to forget is that Corianton CHANGED. He was able to repent and to become clean through the atoning power of our Savior Jesus Christ. His sins were completely washed away. Why then do we keep associating these labels with him?
            In verse 18 something amazing happens at the very end of it. It starts off by saying that Ammon, all the sons of Mosiah, etc. were men JUST like Moroni. Then at the very end it states, “and also Alma AND HIS SONS, for they were ALL MEN OF GOD.” Alma and his sons! “His sons” includes Corianton! Corianton’s label of being a “law of chastity breaker” was dropped when he fell to his knees for forgiveness from our Father. His label of being “a sinner beyond repair” was dropped when he went through the repentance process and felt of the Saviors love and peace. His label of being “a child of the world” dropped when he turned over his whole entire life to Christ and preached His gospel again to the dissenters. Corianton was changed because of the Atonement of Christ.

            We also need to drop the labels that we not only give one another, but what we give ourselves as well.  We are all worthy of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are all worthy of our Father in Heaven’s forgiveness. In the words of Brad Wilcox, “Worthiness is not flawlessness. Worthiness is honesty.” When we honestly turn to our Father in Heaven and plead for Christ’s grace, our labels are dropped. We become changed. We become like Him. I have such a strong belief that when we get to heaven, Corianton will be a lot different than what we perceived and labeled him in this life because he is changed through Christ.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

friends4lyfe #5

Joni Sip

I haven't finished yet with these posts yet and you are all so lucky because this girl named Joni is the best of the best. Joni is one of my roommates that I have had this year since January and to say that she is one of the kindest people ever is an understatement. She has to be one of the most loving, caring, service-oriented people I have EVER met and has made such an impact on my life. I hope she knows that. At first when you meet her, she's shy, but she loves with her whole heart. The way she shows that love is by serving others. I swear she is always looking out for other people, whether it is by quick notes or just asking how you're doing or by just acts of service. I swear homegirl does everything. I can't tell you how many times she has just come home with a York peppermint patty for me "just because" or how many times she has gone out to eat with me just to talk or how many times she has left me notes when she knows I am having a hard day. She is truly one of the most Christ-like people I have ever met and I have been truly blessed to have her in my life. I am definitely going to miss hanging out with her, but I know that whatever she does in life, she is going to be the best because she will put her whole heart and soul into it. Joni is the oldest in her family and you can just see the love she has for her family by how she talks and treats them. She is going to be one of the best mom's and I can't wait to see the day when we all live on the same street and I see her taking her kids to ultimate frisbee games ;)

Joni is my take-out buddy, my basketball watching best friend, and my "I work at Jimmy Johns and eat it everyday" role model. I love my homegirl!

Five random facts about Joni:

1. She loves the Jazz more than anything...I have learned not to judge her on this.

2. She is the most athletic person I know, I swear she is good at every sport, even bingo.

3. She is the oldest of five.

4. She and I WILL go to a Red Sox vs. Yankees game when I come home.

5. She has worked a bajillion jobs, including Pizza Hut and Jimmy John's. She's our suga mama.

I just love ya "Joni-fer"!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

girls girls girls

I would like to say a few words about girls. I love them, I cherish them, and I am one of them (some find that hard to believe after they see how good I am at the man's game called whiffle ball), but sometimes I get so frustrated when I see some of them tear down other girls ALL OF THE TIME by little snide comments. They don't really think it's "tearing" someone down or rude, they just honestly believe they're stating facts with a compliment at the beginning. Here are a few examples that I have heard:

"Yeah her lesson was good, BUT did you see her skirt? Totally didn't cover her gross knees, poor girl."

"She is nice, BUT like, could she seriously just calm herself every once in a while, her voice sounds like something dying."

"Yeah I know she is going through a hard time and that's why she's gaining weight, but I am going through a hard time too, you don't see me crying or running to McDonalds to buy a big mac every time I have a problem."

"She does have great hair, but dude, did you hear her solo in church today? Kind of sounded like a boy going through middle school puberty all while singing a hymn."

After hearing all four of those statements I don't know whether to a) laugh at how ridiculous it all is or b) to throw my diet coke at them.

Honestly, I wish girls would just remember that we are all SISTERS, that everyone is going through a hard time! We were all raised differently and as such, we react differently to situations. We need to empathize and truly be our sister's keeper. Just because you start off by complimenting someone doesn't give you the right to ridicule later or EVER.

Who cares if Sandy wears pig tails still? That's how she likes to whip her hair!

Who cares if Donna likes to be center of attention by singing her sentences? That's what makes her shine!

Who cares if Wendy dates any boy that walks through the door? Let her get at that free food!

And who cares if Sasha is eccentric and draws anime? Let her be multi-cultural! She might even draw a picture of you and make you a warrior princess in her next comic book!

I just wish girls would remember that we are all here for a purpose, life is hard, and to have someone telling you that you aren't good enough, when you already think that about yourself, is not fun. We have got to empower people!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

friends4lyfe #4

Victoria McBride

Can we just say that this girl is the most awesome person ever?! And I am being completely serious. I met Vicky just in January, but we saw each other around in our singles ward last year. She is my roommate and I am FOREVER GRATEFUL to have her as I go through the awkward dating scene which resides in Rexburg, Idaho. Funny thing about Tori is that she has a best friend/cousin and I have a best friend named KD, that went into the MTC the same day as each other, February 6th. With that happening, we really bonded. She has become one of my closest friends and I am so thankful for her loving heart. She is there whenever I need her and is always looking for ways to lift others up. She is the best and I hope she knows that. 

Also, she is engaged to a guy named Garrett who is equally awesome. They get married August 3rd! There is no way they can ever forget my birthday now (August 4th for all you who want to start saving up money for my birthday present now). Anyway, on to Tori. She has the best sense of humor, loves everyone and their mother, and is so easy to get along with. Just on Thursday we drove down to SLC in one day for her dress fitting and all the way down we could be laughing one second and then a minute later be in such a deep conversation about the gospel or past trials. I love that I can just talk about anything with her and I know she is a tender mercy from my Father in Heaven. She has been through a lot and has so much faith. She really inspires me every single day.

 I cannot wait to see her and Garrett get married! I have helped them prepare for children as being their permanent third wheel. YOU ARE WELCOME JOHNSON FAMILY.

Five random facts about Victoria:
1. She has so many ways to say her name. I am pretty sure I haven't called her by the same name once in this post.
2. She is very creative especially when it comes to graphic design.
3. Her parents live in France and she gets to live in Rexburg...lucky girl!
4. She will eat pizza with me whenever I desire it (friends that eat take out with you are hard to find guys!)
5. She is the sweetest person ever. she randomly just buys me a lemonade because she knows I love lemon and ade. 

I just love ya Aunt Vicky!