Cookies for my wedding

(image source here)

It was the dead of night. My fiancé was asleep beside me, his expression sweet, his face gentle and unguarded, like a child’s. I pushed the covers back and slid out of bed, overcome by a familiar dark desire. I had learned to hide from it, through all these years, but it always seemed to find me eventually. It was ceaseless and ferocious, with claws like a tiger that clutched my mind, and coils like a snake that wrapped me up and moved me where it willed. And it whispered to me in a voice slick and warm as honey, “Just this once…Just one more time…” But it was never just once. And it was never one more time.

I walked obediently through the living room. The table was strangely ominous in the faint moonlight—its surface washed empty; a huge plane of nothingness that might swallow someone whole.

And then I was in the kitchen. My fingers worked of their own accord, prying open the box. The deceptively clean-looking white cardboard takeout box. The one full of cookies. The one that my fiancé had brought home for me. The one that I told myself I wouldn’t eat. Or wouldn’t eat right away. Or wouldn’t eat all of right away.

It was forbidden. It was absolutely off-limits. This act, the one I was about to indulge in, had serious consequences. Ugliness. Failure. More ugliness. And then, of course, more failure. There were words for this. “Overeating,” “binging” even something about eating at night, specifically. It was self-destructive.

(image source here)

I was self-destructing. And it was delicious. In the Qur’an, a lot of the descriptions of heaven involve food. I totally understand. In heaven, I’d be eating a bunch of pastrami sandwiches on rye, with coleslaw and Russian dressing. I’d be drinking chocolate shakes with my bacon and broccoli and pepperoni and spinach white pizza. I’d have mozzarella sticks on the side every time. And cookies. Cookies and milk are a classic, and for good reason. They are perfect together. It kinda doesn’t even matter what kind of cookie. I tried peanut butter. Then chocolate chip. Then oatmeal raisin. Then some of a cupcake that had somehow wandered into the mix. All amazing. I was drinking the milk straight from the carton, and breaking off pieces of cookies and combining them in creative ways, and really enjoying the whole experience, when the rational world finally broke through. If the rational world had a voice in that moment, it would’ve been big and booming, and it would’ve said this exactly, “YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN SEVENTY-SIX DAYS.”

That’s what Bed Bath & Beyond said on the registry portion of their website when I signed in to add a chicken thermometer. And it’s true. Bed Bath & Beyond never lies about these things. I feel strange not using any commas for the name, but the website was pretty clear about that, too.

I’m getting married in seventy-six days, and my arms are chubby. This is a fact. My arms are chubby, but my breasts are not. This is one of the particular, intriguing quirks of my body. This is part of what makes me who I am. And apparently, who I am is a flat-chested woman with chubby arms. Who happens to be full of spirit. And cookies. I will be wearing a gown that emphasizes these things. The spirit, the arms, the lack of chest, and possibly even the cookies. And so I am a bad bride. If I was stronger, and I had willpower, like so many other women, I would be a better bride. I would be immortalized in the photographs of my wedding as eternally slim-armed and lovely. The great, great grandchildren who never got to meet me would look at the faded photos projected out of the mouth panels of their personal i-companion robots, and think, “She must’ve been renown in the family for her beauty,” even though there had been no such rumors spread word of mouth. This is what I should want for myself. For my legacy.

You know, it used to be different. When I was a kid, sneaking into the kitchen for cookies wasn’t a violation of some sacred code of femininity— it was a snack. Those were simpler days. I thought another American Girl Doll was a great investment, and I thought their faces looked significantly different from one another because some had blue eyes and some had brown eyes. I ate as much pasta as I could, because I was having a competition with my brothers concerning who could eat the most pasta, and because pasta was the best food ever. It never once occurred to me that someday I might want to grow up and get married and because of these things, I’d never be able to eat pasta again.

Standing in the eerie, moonlit kitchen in the middle of the night, I wondered how it’d all come to this. And then I ate another cookie, and I dedicated it to my upcoming wedding. I raised the jug of milk and toasted my own wedding. I’m not unhealthy. I move my legs enthusiastically on the elliptical at the gym. I’m not unpretty. I have striking Jewish features that everyone can agree are the gold standard of beauty (for really nerdy Jewish guys and my fiancé). I’m not a binge-eater. I’m a woman who loves cookies. And if continuing to eat them in the last seventy-six days before my wedding somehow causes me to look less bridal in my gown, then it was probably worth it anyway. Because if looking more bridal means depriving myself of things I enjoy, then looking bridal is not for me. Maybe I should make some pasta too, while I’m at it.

(image source here)

*  *  *  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love how good I am at combining random foods and making something delicious. Like the broccoli, spicy sausage, soy sauce, feta cheese, and garlic stirfry from last night. So good. And also, I am trying really hard to like my arms. They’re soft. Which feels nice. That’s as far along as I am now, but I’ll get there.

P.S. Check out my article about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in Huffpo. I kinda like this piece.

P.P.S. A passionate response to my piece on feminism from yet another person who now hates me a lot. She begins by saying, “This post, on a blog I’ve never read…” Ouch. I guess she didn’t read it in The Huffington Post! One day, person who hates me….One day Cake will be famous too…. :) Anyway, her piece is actually very good, despite being based entirely on how stupid I am.

26 Comments »

Kate on August 2nd 2010 in beauty, body, food, wedding, weight

26 Responses to “Cookies for my wedding”

  1. Wei-Wei responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    I love this post, because I’ve been having real binging problems lately. Maybe I can just write myself off as someone who loves food… well, I actually do. So I’ll just enjoy food when I’m hungry then. Kudos to you for doing what you want :)

    Wei-Wei

  2. San D responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    This the song I sing (From Frog and Toad) when I eat cookies.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V98aOhb5-jo

  3. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    @Wei-Wei
    Maybe you really do love food! You seem to be an awesome baker, from the pictures on your blog…

    San D:
    I feel like it’d take me a long time to learn this song, but it might be worth it :)

  4. San D responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    You just need to know these crucial lines

    Toad:
    Eating cookies, eating cookies
    I’m so happy eating cookies!
    Cookies, cookies, cookies I adore!
    Cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies
    I go kooky eating cookies!

    Frog:
    Maybe you should stop.

    Toad:
    Just one more!

  5. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    That was helpful. I can definitely do that.

  6. Amy responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Kate! A good friend once said to me ‘we all have our addictions’ and you know what…it’s true. Even girls with skinny arms…they’re addicted to being perfect…or skinny…or perfectly skinny. The best part is…your fiance loves your soft arms. Are you as critical of your fiance as you are of yourself? I doubt it. Try…just for a day…to love yourself as much as you love your fiance…or as much as he loves you. That would feel really good!

    Love the honesty.

    Amy

    p.s. How did you come to be a writer for HuffPo??

  7. zoe responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    you’re my favorite ever. fo’ serious.

    whenever women prep for a big even in which they will be displaying their bodies, a lot of diets seem to immediately create two categories: “bad” and “good”. i totally feel you on the cookies and pasts deal. somehow when i crossed into body consciousness these two foods gained a “bad” label and eating them caused guilt instead of joy. what kind of backwards thinking is this? restricting just about anything creates unhealthy associations, right? so i guess what i am saying…you eat that cookie woman! and enjoy every second of it! (i don’t think i need to tell you this…you seem like you’ve already got a great attitude about it :) gaah…you’re an inspiration for positivity!)

    and funny about the arms/chest debacle. whenever i gain a little weight i have the opposite problem…my chest gets bigger but my arms stay the same! bodies are funny like that.

    unroast: today i love that i am comfortable enough to be sitting here in shorts and a sports bra without lamenting the fact that my stomach might not be as flat and toned as i want it to be at this moment. maybe that’s because i’m finally starting to see some definition and starting to love my curves at the same time.

    have a great monday, kate!!

  8. Maya responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    I’ve gotten really into baking lately. Today, I made peach cobbler. A few days ago, I made apple turnovers. A few days before that, sugar cookies. It’s summer. I’m a teenager. I’m bored. But I’m also beginning to feel guilty about how much baked goods I am consuming.

    (My dad doesn’t really do sweets and my stepmom seems to have some kind of jealousy issue and hasn’t been eating what I make.)

    Also, I’m fairly skinny and dreading the “freshman fifteen” that I approach as the summer draws to a close. So it’s nice to see this post. Now I can continue to tell myself that the cobbler is giving me my daily serivng of fruit without qualms.

  9. Joanna responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    When I read ‘Bed Bath and Beyond’ the english major in me was like ‘WHERE ARE THE COMMAS????’ and then you answered that in the very next sentence and I realized, as I always do, that this is the blog for me.

  10. Bev Owens responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    I just love your blog! I love your honesty and your humor!

    I say…eat the cookies and enjoy them and have cupcakes at your wedding! Chocolate ones!

    I’m probably old enough to be the mother of most of your readers and you too….what I love is that you have figured out what it took my generation too long to figure out….Be yourself, love yourself, and LAUGH…it makes life so much easier. Life is to enjoy not to fret over.

    When I was younger I used to fret over my nose…it was too big…I hated it…it looked like my Mom’s…it was too big (Oh I said that already!). Anyway, I finally figured out one day that I would look funny with a smaller nose or a different nose. It’s the nose I’m supposed to have, it actually fits my face, and no one else has one quite like it.

    So, Kate…eat the cake, eat the cookies and have some cupcakes too and don’t feel a bit guilty about any of them

  11. Danielle responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Kate,

    I don’t “hate you a lot”, or even a little. Nor do I think you are “stupid”. I just completely disagree with you.

  12. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    @Danielle
    I was being slightly facetious with the “hate” thing. I joke around a lot.

    Obviously, you don’t know me. But your post about me and feminism used me as an example of everything wrong with a generation. Not exactly kind! And though I’d love to have an actual conversation with you, it sounds like maybe you’d rather hold me up as an example than learn anything about me. Which is too bad!

  13. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Also, I don’t think it’s true that you completely disagree with me, since we seem to stand for many of the same things. I’m a little confused about that. It seems more like it’s useful for you to disagree with me, in order to have a platform to speak from.

    That seems to be a popular response to my post about feminism.

    Oy.

  14. Danielle responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 1:18 am #

    *sigh* Alright, Kate.

    You’re right – I don’t know you, and I didn’t realize that you were joking with your comments about my hating you. I’m not a humorless person (quite the opposite, actually) but based on your comment on my blog and your reaction here, you seem to be on the defense, and I perceived your comment in that vein. I made it clear in my post that I didn’t know you, and that your entry on feminism was the first time I’d ever heard of your blog. I say that not to offend, but to offer people the understanding that my comments about you were based solely on the blog post that was emailed to me. I thought I was making it clear that I didn’t know anything about you in using words like “seems” and “maybe”, and entire phrases like “Judging from this post alone” and “[this is a] blog I’ve never read before”.

    I think my comments are fair. I haven’t called you names. I’m not actively calling for people to harass or antagonize you. I disagreed with you, and think that you are representative of a larger issue. A lot of people agreed with me. You’re not the only representative of lapsed feminism – just the most recent. I don’t need to use you as an example to describe an entire generation. I spend 75% of my time on a college campus, and I talk to more people that share your sentiments than they do mine. Yours just happened to be an opinion I could provide a link to.

    I also don’t need you for a platform. I’ve been blogging for almost seven years, about feminism and a lot of other socially relevant topics. I’d be more than willing to learn more about you if you offered up any additional information about your feelings on this topic. Right now, all I have to go by is your original post, your defensive comments, and your sparse “About” page on a blog that’s existed for what seems like a few months.

    So, offer up something else for me to know. On my blog post, you said you agreed with me, but didn’t say what you agreed with. You say you’re supportive of women’s rights, but you don’t say how. These are not intuitive leaps – if you want me to know something about yourself, you have to be the one to tell me.

    If you want to keep pointing to me as the bad person that called you names and repeatedly saying that I don’t know/understand you, that’s okay too. I stand by my statements. I don’t have to know or understand you; it’s perfectly legitimate if we’re just two strangers on the internet who disagreed about something once upon a time.

  15. Elena responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Kate!

    I loved this entry because I can totally relate, and I am so glad you wrote about it.

    Having dealt with binge issues in the past, when I have a craving for a lot of cookies or something sweet it can be scary because it seems like I am going back to old habits. I think this has to do with our culture though, since we’re suppose to be scared of gaining too much weight, of not being on a diet, of being extremely unhealthy by eating too much butter, sugar and fat and therefore dying early. Basically we’re just taught to be fucking scared of everything. It’s so strange because while our culture is inundated with information about health, we seem to have the most trouble understanding how to be healthy. As a society, we work too much, don’t exercise enough, have an alarming number of people on anti-depressants, and have some of the highest rates of obesity.

    Having just been in Europe, its clear to me that things are different. While there are still people who are obsessed with dieting and looking thin, there seems to be less emphasis on worrying about what one eats. When I was in Paris, Barcelona and Ireland, I noticed that eating seemed to be more of a social thing and people take their time doing it. In Paris, people don’t seem as scared about bread, as its eaten with most meals. Not that they eat a baguette with every meal, but maybe a couple pieces. Its the tourists that think its ok to eat a whole baguette every day.

    When I was in Ireland at many of our bed and breakfasts, we would sit down for breakfast and there would be cereal and toast and eggs, and if you wanted it, sausage, bacon and pudding. I am not sure that its super healthy to be eating so much sausage every day, but regardless, they are emphasizing a hearty breakfast. What’s wrong with that? For my old days of dieting this would be a no no. Two carbs for breakfast? I noticed that my old thoughts came in, but I was able to remind myself that I needed the energy and that the brown bread is too damn good to pass up!

    This was a bit of a tangent, but I guess what I am trying to say, is that its too bad that we think that eating a lot of cookies because we want to, is considered unhealthy. We are so inclined in this society to label this kind of behavior (of enjoying things?!!) a problem or disorder. Obviously, its good to eat healthy foods and exercise, but that should be a given. I think the disorder lies in a lot of us because we have been taught that eating a bunch of cookies when we want to is a sign of unhealthiness. It seems that the disorder is the culture’s obsession with eating “perfectly”, whatever the hell that means.

    I also wonder what would happen if we didn’t have the same need to be perfect and thin. I don’t think we would have the same disordered thinking or guilt about eating tasty things.

    Just a lot of thoughts off the top of my head, sorry if they don’t make sense completely!

    -Elena

  16. Carly responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 9:07 am #

    *sigh*, Danielle,

    It’s really frustrating for me to read this conversation between you and Kate.

    You might want to note that you’re commenting on a post titled “cookies for my wedding”, which, even in spite of her “sparse” (oh, burn!) about page, should tell you something about how this blog is a space for women (especially Kate) to be a little personal and vulnerable.

    But whatever, fine, that doesn’t mean you can’t write a clearly aggressive rant about one of her posts. Please don’t insult her readers and yours, though, by pretending that your post wasn’t condescending and insulting. You called Kate “juvenile”, said her writing “stinks of the wealth of advantage”, and imply that she is somewhat less deserving of rights than The Real Housewives of Orange County.

    But whatever, fine, the internet is full of people who will insult you no matter what you say. Except you actually seem like an intelligent, articulate writer, so it probably stung a little more than usual to be treated that way. And also, when you list women’s rights issues at the end of your post kind, you kind of imply that Kate (or the whole generation of which she is just a particularly contemptible example) is ignorant about them or doesn’t care.

    So… Kate decided to engage you, with what seemed to me like a pretty nice “hey, let’s talk about this” message. And you responded by, *sigh*, pointing out how much longer you’ve been blogging, calling her defensive (how do you respond to an attack without sounding defensive?), and representing her response as “you have to know me personally in order to disagree with me”.

    The worst part about all of this is that if you had been just *a little bit* nicer from the beginning, you would have been in a position to realize that you and Kate actually do agree on a lot. Her post was about lables and identity, not about rights and equality. Did you notice when she said: “It isn’t that my generation doesn’t need feminism anymore. It’s that we more acutely need people who will care less about the definition of a particular word, and more about the experiences that people are having”? How about “The truth is, a lot of the issues (systemic gender inequality, denial of reproductive rights, sexual violence, domestic abuse) that made feminism a necessity still exist”? How about the fact that her whole blog could be construed as a feminist project?

    No, I don’t think you saw any of those things. I think you saw the headline, read too fast to notice that a lot of what offended you (“They may hate men”, “They definitely don’t attribute enough importance to a good pedicure”) was written from a rhetorical third-person perspective (i.e. that is *not kate’s opinion*), and got mad. And it’s a shame.

    Given the way the dialogue is going, I don’t really expect you to acknowledge any mistakes. But to have you act this way in our little community is a little too much for me to take silently.

    Carly

  17. Chris responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    @Danielle,

    I feel like there is little I can add here, especially when Carly put it so well. I find your comments to be emblematic of a rampant problem on the internet — you don’t actually know Kate and its nonconstructive to act like you do. Your assumption to know what she’s about based on one post sets you up to be a monologuer instead of a dialoguer. If you’re truly interested in advancing the discourse on feminism, it might help to listen to others who are trying to do the same, even if it seems at first glance that their approach is radically different than your own. And, perhaps most egregiously, your cringe-inducing blatant condescension and jabs at Kate’s age and experience as a blogger run so contrary to a pro-feminist agenda that I’m not sure how to take you seriously. But hey, I only know you based on your comments here and one blog post you wrote, so who am I to say.

    Best,
    Chris

  18. Danielle responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    @Carly and @Chris,

    How many times do I have to say I DO NOT KNOW KATE? I said it at least 4 times in my comment alone.

    I love and and open to any and all discourse related to feminism. It’s incredibly difficult to have those discussions when you’re talking to people who refuse to listen.

    I’ve asked for Kate to explain her position, and asked her for clarity as she says that we have some commonality in our feelings about women’s rights, but has yet to explain the extent of her position on women’s rights beyond “I do not call myself a feminist anymore”. To this end, I do not feel that Kate has made that clear to me yet. I’ve asked for her to make that clear.

    How, then, is that not listening to her?

    I’ve opened the channel for dialogue with Kate, both here and on my site. I don’t need to know Kate’s entire history in order to comment on what is clearly an inflammatory, provocative post. If that were the case, conversation on the internet as we know it would cease to exist.

    To this point, I’ve handled the situation with as much respect as it requires. I will continue to do so. But I will not continue to comment here. I do not feel that I need to defend either myself or my comments further.

    Kate, if you wish to contact me, please do so via email. I welcome the opportunity to talk with you more, but I don’t think the comment section of either of our blogs is the place to do so.

  19. Carly responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    @Danielle – I am more than happy to listen to you, but I get the distinct impression you are not listening to me. I did not claim that you did or should know anything about Kate’s history. But I did provide specific examples of you being intentionally hurtful and condescending, and I did provide specific examples *from the post you were criticizing* showing that Kate’s position is not the caricature you imagined.

    Also, obviously your original post was not a request for clarification, but (in my opinion) an angry misinformed diatribe. So even if you are being reasonable now, you still might owe Kate an apology.

    Also, I can’t imagine why you think a public forum is an inappropriate place to respond to your hurtful comments in *the same public forum*.

  20. Rob responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    @Danielle,

    I read the dissenting post on your blog and a few of the comments that have been exchanged, and I have to say, I think Carly hit the nail on the head. The entire second half of your post is a soapbox-style rant with every sentence headed off by “I am a feminist because…”. It sounds to me like you really worked yourself into a self-righteous lather over the whole thing and used Kate as the undeserving target for your feelings of frustration.

    You say you’ve asked Kate to explain her “position” on women’s rights. What position are you expecting her to take? Are you expecting her to say “I think women OUGHT to make less money than their male counterparts, starve themselves to live up to the male expectation of beauty, and get back in the kitchen and make their husbands a sandwich”?

    You’re right: as you so strenuously insist, you DON’T know Kate, and if you HAD taken the time to read more of her blog posts instead of basically Breitbarting her, you would already know her position on women’s rights or at least be able to make a good enough guess not to make her out as your enemy when she’s anything but.

    And if anyone is on the defensive now, it’s you, because you know you spoke off the cuff too hastily and without enough background. Kate’s opinions and her positions on the subject are published right here for all the world to see. She doesn’t owe you a personalized explanation. Just read the rest of her blog!

    And by the way, repetition as a literary device is only effective when used sparingly. Your blog post really went overboard with the whole “I’m a feminist because…” harangue. Just a tip from one writer to another: try to vary your prose a little bit. But what do I know, I’m just a man. (Yes, that was sarcasm).

  21. Ellie Di responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Your thoughts about being chubby for your wedding really resounded with me. I got married last June at the heaviest I’ve ever been – I can’t come to terms with how I look in those pictures. Not yet. My corset shows how far from my “happy weight” I had gone and looking at them makes me sad. But you know what? I enjoyed eating everything I ate to get there, so it’s not a total loss.

    Love cookies. Love your arms and your boobs.

  22. Ellie Di responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    @San D: OMG I used to read Frog and Toad stories when I was little! I totally remember this one. <3

  23. Rogue responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    Kate,

    You rock and you are so right. I say this as i shove delicious espresso dark chocolate into my mouth, mmm. I get those feverish hunger pains in the middle of the night too. It sucks, and I don’t know what to do to make them go away, I guess I could just stop eating that late at night and then I will stop having cravings…but there is something soothing about going to bed on a full stomach. Hmmm.

    I can’t believe you’re getting married in 67 days! I am sad I won’t be able to be there. I will be in New Zealand already and hard at work, researching genetic testing. Who knew?

    Anyway, keep up the great work! And I love the drama with this Danielle chick. I know neither of you are trying to be malicious…too malicious, but it definitely made me click on the link, knowing that there was drama…a good gimmick! Not that you’re writing alone, without feminist drama isn’t worth reading. It just adds spice! You know how I feel about spice!

    Love you,

    Rogue

  24. Eat the Damn Cake » (finally) a summary of the whole weird and wild wedding experience responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    [...] Cookies for my wedding: a post about not dieting in preparation for my wedding. [...]

  25. Shannon responded on 11 Jan 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Love this post! I really struggle with guilt over eating sweets in particular and this post really hit home for me. Thanks so much for reminding me that it’s okay to have a cookie. And then another. :)

  26. Eat the Damn Cake » everyone is supposed to be exercising all the time responded on 02 Nov 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    [...] embarrassing. I was trying to accept my arms, at the same time. Because I was going to wear this frustratingly sleeveless wedding gown and stuff, and I had to be [...]