Portraits of Grace: Joanne (2 of 2)

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King’s Cross Church. As “kingdom minded, kingdom people,” we recognize God’s work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

Photo by Minnow Park

I have an eating disorder and it’s something that I’ve kept a secret for a very, very long time. Growing up, I always teetered between being average and overweight. This is great for people with eating disorders because no one suspects that you’re bulimic and quietly hating yourself.

When I was in the 6th grade, Teen People Magazine wrote an article about Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s recovery from anorexia. The article shared how the actress struggled with bulimia, how she only ate 500 calories a day, and spent 7 hours at the gym. The intention of the article was to dissuade teens from unhealthy eating habits, but my 11 year old brain patched together what it wanted to hear and the article became one of my earliest tutorials to developing an eating disorder. When you’re skinny and losing weight you’re considered anorexic, but when you’re heavy and losing weight you’re considered a success story. When I lost a few pounds, I received countless compliments on how great I looked — it was the fuel driving my anxiety and obsession towards food.

I was comfortable in my secret. I didn’t think other women (or men) could understand my flaws. And people treat you differently when you’re sick — they look at you with sad eyes and hold you like glass in an earthquake.

But when I first admitted that I had a problem, I found a community that recognized my brokenness and I was overwhelmed with prayer and support. Through this experience, I’ve realized the importance of accountability when you want to live honestly and responsibly. I am thankful towards my King’s Cross community that has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be vulnerable and completely accepted. (2/2)