If you’ve followed my work for quite some time, you know I’m basically always trying to kick sugar and carbs to the curb. Every once in a while, I do it well. It always feels like a miracle, seriously. But as time passes, it just felt sad being without the occasional cookie.

So I started to eat them again. Many times even for breakfast. No joke, I’ll down a large glass of green juice and chase with a Publix chocolate chip cookie. Why? For many emotional reasons + the kick my brain craves. Ya know, basic stuff.

I’m constantly working on compassion and being kinder to myself. And I’ve been doing really well. Although I can’t help but have flashbacks to what it used to feel like to be me. Here’s how it would go:

I’d eat the cookie and then I’d go to damn Instagram to look at all these people on their feeds working out, eating kale, and YOLOing. Naturally, I feel quite shitty about myself.

“You see, Nikki, this is why you don’t get what you want. This is why you’re not YOLOing with that girl jumping in the Sahara Desert. You can’t stick to anything. You’re not working hard enough. Oh well, better luck next time, you wimp.”

Guys, I’m serious, this is what would happen in my head. It was awful.

I like cookies. I like Snow Caps and cake batter ice cream. I am not perfect.

But you know what? Lucky for me, I do not write about being perfect. I’m not in the business of appearing happy all the time. I don’t care for put-together hair and salad every day. And retaking photos for the right angle makes me sad.

I write about creating your own rules, loving yourself unconditionally, and expressing who you are all the time.

Honestly, this comparison mode we go into after being fed all this this-is-how-you-need-to-be-living content from endless blogs, social media feeds, and traditional media is killing us. God knows I’ve become victim to it, and my intention is to be conscious of that going forward.

With this new intention in mind, a few weeks ago, I came out of the closet and told a friend what I just told you: that I eat cookies for breakfast sometimes. She looked at me in relief and said, “Oh it’s so good to know because I ate last night’s cupcake this morning.”

Moving into the weekend, I brought up my cookie talk with my squad, the ladies who have been my besties since grammar school. Their response?

“I had cake for breakfast”

“I want cake and cookies all the time”

“I eat cookies every day. True story.”

Listen, I’m not telling you to go for the sugar if you’ve been working to wean off. No, what I’m saying is we need to have more of these conversations. You can’t believe everything you see on social media. People’s posts are just as well edited as a romantic comedy. We never see the hot guy in the movie shitting on the toilet. No, we do not. And we never see the creative bohemian blogger crying about the future. No, we do not.

Many of my photos are shot professionally, styled, and edited. My creative director is an artist, and the work she does for me is her art. But those photos are just an artistic expression of my ideal self. We need to know the difference between art and real life. We need to accept what each looks like and love them for their differences.

I know I have left you with no answers in this one. That was my intention. I just want to have the conversation with you, because we’re real friends.

What I’d like to do is encourage you to stop the comparison game — and encourage me, too. Love you. Be you. Even if you don’t know who she is yet. What you are is ever evolving. And that’s beautiful, sweet, and damn exciting in every bite.