Beautiful: An Interview with Emily Sclar
A violinist, a song writer, a singer. Talented. An advocate. A recent High School graduate, a current student at Berklee School of Music.
“High School was not the most amazing experience for me. I felt very different from most of the people there. I had a hard time with the pressures of trying to be so much of what I was not.”
Emily Sclar defines herself firstly as a theater kid. Yet, attending a quintessential high school in Freeport, Maine, Emily acknowledges that the road to confidently identifying with that part of herself was not easy. ““I played sports for my freshman year because I felt that it was what I was supposed to do. But after starting out my senior year with some mental health challenges and taking time off, I realized that it’s okay to be a theater kid. It is okay to be in the group that makes you feel nourished and happy.”
In the summer of 2019, Emily attended a 5 week music program at Berklee College of Music. Surrounded by some of the best young musicians in the United States and abroad, Emily started to compare herself. In an industry where success is not only defined by talent but also looks and popularity, “I started to compare myself and it was really scary. There were periods where I couldn’t stop eating and then periods where I wouldn’t eat to make up for the day before”.
“I started out the year with some mental health challenges. I was struggling with anorexia in the beginning of the year and took a ton of time off of school. I was doing outpatient therapy and really just battling my mind. With my eating disorder, it was all about control. What I found to be the most helpful was research and facts- for example, 95% of diets don’t work. Being obese does not mean you’re unhealthy. Hearing the truth helped me to understand where my eating disorder was stemming from. I wasn’t battling the food that I was eating but the mindset that I was not good enough.” With the help of outpatient therapy and a supportive family, Emily says that “I battled this stupid mental disease and I transformed into this body positive mindset.”
What had always been her passion, Emily turned towards music as a coping mechanism for not only battling her mental health but also overcoming the death of a classmate and her great-grandmother, and even her friend’s dog. “Seeing how death not only affected me but my friends and peers- I wanted to understand it and aid the pain of others. When my classmate passed away, I had never even really seen a boy cry before. The emotions of my acquaintances were overwhelming and intense. Songwriting is a coping mechanism for me, and that song (“Beautiful”) came from my heart”. The lyrics “Soul will be found in the sky or on the ground” attest to the spiritual healing that the song not only brought to Emily but could also bring to listeners struggling with loss or pain. In addition to utilizing her musical talents has an outlet, Emily also advocates for mental health normality, citing that the ability to speak openly about her own struggles assisted in her healing process. “When I was walking around school and seeing that everyone- in my mind- had it together but me, I felt alone. But as I was able to open up and be encouraged to address my eating disorder, the shame I felt melted away. I realized that everyone has their own struggles, and the whole world could benefit from talking to someone.”
Check out the Interview on Spotify
Facebook: Emily Sclar
Image Credit: Instagram @emilysclar and Juan Artiles, https://m.theshorthorn.com/life_and_entertainment/music-mental-health-go-hand-in-hand/article_40ac3870-b099-11e7-be75-8313f395edb2.html
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