Meet Kate (l) and Maggie (r), two amazing young women on a quest to help women love who they (inside and out) through their blog, Eat the Damn Cake. (I second that – eat it!)
Here are the results of our “email conversation”:
Tell me a little bit about yourselves.
Kate: I’m Kate. I live in Manhattan. I was homeschooled, and I grew up feeling really confident about my appearance and just about everything else about me. With the notable exception of my mathematical abilities. Those were always clearly lacking. I just graduated from a Master’s program, and I’m beginning to feel like a New Yorker.
The lovely Kate
Maggie: I’m Maggie. I also live in Manhattan. I recently moved back to the east coast in November. I was homeschooled with Kate but I went to public school after 6th grade. I developed an eating disorder (anorexia) in college. I’m curious about the connection between eating disorders, food, body image, and confidence. I’m also curious to discover how to balance my busy career with enjoying life. Kate and I want to share some of our deep conversations with the world because we feel like a lot of women secretly struggle with the same issues.
Maggie & fiance Bobby
Describe the purpose behind Eat the Damn Cake. What made you want to start this blog project?
Kate: I keep asking myself those questions. My memory is a little blurring about how it started. I mean, I keep looking at a lot of my friends and noticing that they’re really, really thin. I thought that we’d all feel great about ourselves by now, but the pressures surrounding beauty don’t ever go away. Maggie and I kept talking about eating disorders and unrealistic beauty standards, and since I’m a writer, and she is a food blogger, it seemed like we should start saying something together. I’m too opinionated not to. I’ve never learned to keep my mouth shut. Or in this case, to stop my fingers from typing. That doesn’t sound as brazen, somehow.
Maggie: Recovery from an eating disorder is an ongoing process, and while I’m going through all this crap I realized that everyone (or so it seems) struggles with these food and weight things, not just fellow eating disorder people. Kate and I started talking about it and we felt like we could help people if we got them talking more openly.
What kinds of responses have you gotten from the public?
Kate: All positive, so far. I’m just waiting for some guy to write in like, “You’re all UGLY!!!” You know how internet trolls like to do that… But so far, they haven’t found us. A lot of women have written to me and told me that they were desperate for a forum like this. And they’re so relieved to find it. That’s been extremely flattering, and tells me I’m doing the right thing.
Maggie: Great responses. I’m really happy.
What is your biggest pet peeve about the perception/definition of beauty in our society?
Kate: That only really young people can be gorgeous. That tight, sleek, young look as the epitome of beauty. Enough already!
Maggie: I guess mine is that people don’t value health as much as they value beauty. Someone can be gorgeous but living terribly – smoking, drinking, partying, etc… – but it’s “ok” because they’re gorgeous. I’d rather be healthy and happy. Happy mostly. I think if you’re healthy (as in, eating good foods, doing the things you love, having friends that you care about and who care about you) the rest of your life should fall into place and beauty shouldn’t even be an issue. You should be considered gorgeous automatically if you’re healthy and happy like that. But that’s not how it works.
What is “true beauty?”
Kate: Hmm…Physically, I’d say it’s the way in which absolutely every person is gorgeous. When someone’s face, regardless of how it’s composed, reflects so much love and joy that it can’t help but be identified as beautiful. When caring about someone reveals how beautiful they are. I don’t mean to sound corny, but I think corniness is a little unavoidable here. Your fault, since you asked the question. [YW: I take full responsibility for any corny answers!]
Maggie: Being happy with yourself. Being the best friend/lover/parent/child/whatever that you can be.
What makes you feel the most beautiful? How does that feeling affect what you do?
Kate: Being loved. I guess that goes along pretty nicely with my last response. When I’m with people who obviously love me, I feel at my most lovely. And also sometimes when I buy a new, amazing dress and wear it out for the first time. Especially with heels. These things cause me to try to be around my fiancé as much as possible and also to buy new dresses ALL the time. Kidding. Not about my fiancé, though.
Maggie: I’m with Kate. Being loved makes me feel beautiful. When my fiancé grabs my butt and says, “wow,” that makes me happy and feel sexy. He does that a lot these days because it’s not just skin and bones anymore. Even when he’s not grabbing my butt, though, just getting hugs and being able to just be myself – those things make me feel really beautiful.
Thank you so much, ladies!
Be sure to check out Eat the Damn Cake and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Kate at The Huffington Post. You can also find Maggie’s health blog here, and follow her on Twitter here.