Happy National Cookie Day!!
When I found out that National Cookie Day was coming up, I knew I had to write about it. Not only because writing helps me think things through, but also because, quite literally, a cookie changed my life. Also, it's just the cutest holiday. Cookie Monster had it right, showing us from a really young age how wonderful a cookie can be. For me, a cookie means so much more than it might seem, and here’s why.
First of all, I am self-admittedly a stress baker.
I distinctly remember a conversation from last year during which my friend said "Yay! You baked!... wait... does this mean you're stressed?" I was seriously baking 1-2 times per week to de-stress, and while my coworkers loved having snacks for their duty shifts or our Monday-night meetings, my bank account was not happy with me. Somewhere along the way, baking had stopped being fun.
Something about the numbers, the chemistry of baking, the ability it gives me to create an amazing item filled with so much love that I can share with other people both calms me and warms my heart. Fittingly, one of my favourite things to bake is chocolate chip cookies. My mom made them all the time when I was growing up, and they taste like comfort, love, and home to me. Nothing is better than a straight-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. I also love how creative you can get with them, and in a weird way baking gave me a sense of control when I couldn’t figure out the other things in my life. I could manipulate a recipe, so at least my world wasn’t a total confusing, uncontrollable mess. Experimenting with baking is one of my favourite forms of self-care, even though student life gives me limited time and funds to do so.
That said, cookies were also something that helped me realize I needed support. Baking was a healthy coping mechanism I turned to when I was overwhelmed and needed a break. It made me realize I was running myself ragged and that I needed to take care of myself. When I was struggling a lot with body image, I would bake for other people, but I wouldn't let myself eat the cookies. I felt like I didn't "deserve" them. I have since learned that sometimes you need a cookie to feed your soul, not just your stomach. I will never deprive myself of such a delicious snack ever again.
To me, baking is no longer a coping mechanism for when I'm extremely overwhelmed. It's fun. I bake before I am broken. I bake to show others that I care, and to make myself happy. It shows me how far I've come in terms of body acceptance. I now recognize when others are perpetuating diet culture, and I no longer take offence when people label my foods "good" or "bad". It's all food, and all has a place in my diet. I no longer hesitate to share all the reasons why I don't buy in to diet culture, and why people should be conscious of their word choices. A cookie also has the power to remind me that I never know what someone else is going through. A cookie can be a huge challenge to someone who is starting to recover from an eating disorder, and I have learned that when I celebrate others’ small yet not-so-small recovery victories with them, it means more to them than I could ever understand. Oh, little cookie, how much more you do than you realize.
So, on National Cookie Day, have a glass of milk and a gooey, chocolatey cookie for me. Share the love and spread some kindness around like Nutella. I'll be right there with you. A cookie changed my life because I didn't realize how broken I was before. Now, it reminds me of how far I have come and how I have learned to love myself (on most days). It's the little things. Don't be afraid to celebrate your wins, and remember to reach out for support if you need it.
Edited by Jacob Halloran and Executive Assistant Addie Van Rijn