Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You Are Awesome: Guest Post by Nici Holt Cline

Friends, I'm thrilled to extend this cozy space today for a dear friend.  And while the blog sets up a virtual guest room for her today, I'm excited to know we get to prepare for her family's real life arrival to our space in just a couple of weeks.

Meet Nici.

Once she was just a blog friend.  But then we decided to do this crazy thing where I flew miles across the country with my kids to spend a week with her family.  And all those "wouldn't it be cool if we met in real life?" conversations came to life.  My girls kicked up the dust in Montana fields with her girls while Nici and I confirmed what we knew to be true--that we were meant to be friends


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Photo Credit: Logan Castor Parson

Nici lives in Montana with her husband and two girls, and while I could go on about her domestic talents and artsy inspiration, what I really love most about Nici is her heart.  This adventurous, nurturing, truth-chasing, love-sharing, kindness-spreading heart. 

So happy to have her in our space today.

*****

You Are Awesome
by Nici Holt Cline

I am a runner. Much like declaring that I am a writer or I am an artist, it took me a while to be able to speak that simple, affirmative, true statement instead of saying something like I run or I enjoy writing.

I am a runner.

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When I was 16, I squirmed around being a Runner because I didn't have the runner's body I thought I needed to be taken seriously. I could run a 5:50 mile but I had big boobs and hips scarred with stretch marks. I fought my body. I ate nothing but carrots for days and ran until I was dizzy. I ate six bowls of Honeycomb cereal and puked it all up in the woods behind my house. And then ran to makeup for the unhealthy binge. I dropped 40 pounds in a month and got praise from my track coach. Imagine how much faster you will be next fall? she said.

The cycle of binging and purging was my identity. By the time I was 19, I thought I'd probably die from it because I couldn't imagine life without the lies, the obsession, the body hatred. I accepted that sentence flatly. I was miserable and tricked myself into believing I was in control and that there was always room for improvement; each day I could live on five fewer calories than the day before forever until...

I crashed hard my second quarter and landed in the hospital. I didn't want to be there but I went. For my parents and my friends, who had cried and begged. I wasn't underweight. I still didn't have a runner's body.

Alexis was 14 and on a feeding tube, her cheek bones nearly puncturing her flesh. That's dedication, I thought. Marisa was my age and there for the third time. Brenda was a compulsive overeater and her twin was anorexic. Mary was a mother of two, so thin and pale that she couldn't stand, so depressed she couldn't talk. This was her sixth stay. I shared my soul with these women, all day every day for three months and then I never saw them again.

A few weeks in, I understood my luck in being there. I decided it wasn't cool that I hadn't had my period for three years. I didn't want rotten teeth and failing organs. I didn't want to be here for a sixth time or a second time. I wondered if maybe the woman who loved her body was actually truthful, that maybe I could be that woman. In one day I went from rolling my eyes at being in the hospital to hugging the opportunity I had been handed. And that was it. I decided and I changed.

I was there for three months. I graduated and left the state against medical advice, making it impossible to get insurance coverage should I ever need hospitalization again. I'll forever remember that angry doctor's face. I know he had my best interests at heart but I, for the first time in years, didn't need someone else with my best interests at heart because I knew my best interests.

Holy shit. I was confident.

I moved back to Montana, the place I always felt most beautiful and successful. The place that raised my parents, my grandparents and great-grandparents. The land is in me.

I started running again. Or, I started running for the first time. I ran to feel good, to inhale, to move over mountains, to clear my head, to feel connected. I was strong. I was brave. With every step, I shoved my eating disorder into the earth. I ran and ran until my former self was a tiny, waving flag on a distant summit. And then I stopped turning around to wave back. And then I started only looking ahead.

That summer, despite my best efforts to avoid a relationship, I fell in love with the man I'd marry. Sixteen years later, we have two daughters. I run with them and for them. I am always honest and they will only ever hear me make positive statements about my body. Even if I feel ugly or chubby I smile and say I look forward to hiking up that hill because I know it will feel so good to feel strong.

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Last week I ran, pushing my three year old in the stroller. The sun was at my back and I heaved 34 pounds up hill. I leaned in, breathed hard, barely moving. A tall, willowy man ran down the hill toward us. He was fast and sturdy, each stride gaining him feet of movement. When we were about 10 feet apart, he pumped both hands over his head and yelled YOU ARE AWESOME! YEAH!

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It surprised me. I smiled and we passed each other.

Ruby said, "Mama? That man thinks you are awesome?"

"Yeah, baby."

"I think you are awesome too."

I have a runner's body.


*****

Nici Holt Cline is a fourth generation Montanan raising a fifth with her childhood crush. She is small business-owning creative type who dreams big, believes perspective shapes reality and loves life’s lessons. She likes mothering, running, red lipstick, growing food, martinis and nice people. She writes regularly on her award-winning blog dig this chick and sells her handmades here.

In two weeks, we will hug again and watch our kids play together on the beach.  I can't wait.

76 comments:

Cassie Marshall said...

What a wonderful lady, thanks for sharing with us!

Melina said...

You know what I think about that bangin body of yours, Nici!! You are awesome.

must have taken some bravery to write this one, Nici, and I sure applaud you.

much love
lina

Jen said...

Love, love, LOVE Nici and her blog! She inspires me so much. Thanks for sharing!

SmithShack71 said...

Nici, you ARE awesome.

-Angie

Angela said...

Beautifully written!! I think you are pretty awesome too. :)

Strong Clan said...

Love this whole blog entry. Makes me want to write down my own struggles with an eating disorder and with body image. What a true faithful woman you are!

Bethany said...

Dig This Chick & Enjoying the Small things are my favorite blogs to read. Thanks so much for all the inspiration and courage. You ladies rock!

Louise said...

LOVED THIS! And LOVE that man too! Lovely writing Nici. I will miss you on Mama Digs. But I will be buying your book!

Corine said...

Nici - I also suffered from Anorexia/Bulimia (never hospitalized though; my story is a little different). And I too am a runner (albeit a NEW runner, and my PR is no where near yours!)! And I too LOVE my body NOW! :D And I am a mom as well (of four - two are twins. But mine are all nearly grown up now). Great to meet you!!! Way to overcome!
Corine :D

Vanessa said...

Wow. What a powerful story and what strength it took to change what had become such an integral part of your life - despite how unhealthy.

I admire you for never talking smack about your own body. It is so easy to do. It seems ingrained in so many of us. The urge to turn an honest compliment from someone into "oh, I still have so much weight to lose" or something else negative seems to be automatic. This is something I am trying hard to work on. My oldest child was born with a cleft lip and palate. I don't want her to judge herself too harshly; to base her worth on her looks and the ability to blend in. I want to be an example for her. I want her to love herself and embrace her differences along with her body, whatever type it should be.

Thank you for a post that reminds me to say and think nice things about myself so that my kids might learn good self-image habits instead of bad.

Stacy Monaghan said...

Wow - tears in my eyes!! How wonderful that man must have made you feel! Thanks for sharing - I find your words very uplifting.

KWQR said...

Beautiful, strong, kind, honest, inspiring... yep, all kinds of awesome. So glad I get to know you in this life.
xo
Kate

meg@ourwaytoeat.com said...

I love both of your blogs so so much. I can relate to the early story, but it is the victory of NOW that really gets me fired up. How beautiful. Glad I have both of your blogs to inspire me to feel beautiful inside and out.

The Dimas Family said...

I read Nici's blog, have for years now. I also have read her weekly Mamalode column for years. This is hands down one of her best, if not the best, posts/columns/essays that I have ever read.

You ARE awesome in so many ways!!!

VIC said...

:). I don't really have any words. Only, thank you for sharing your story with us. A truly amazing woman is who you are.

Heather @ Raising Memories Blog said...

:D I have a huge smile on my face. I love that man! :) haha And I'm so happy to hear how your story sounds in the present. Sorry you went through what you did, but happy that you grew from it and that it shaped who you are today. Thank you for sharing that with us :)

Jillian22 said...

Two of my favorite blogging women, on the same post. Nothing better. Nici, I "met" you through Kelle and have always been so impressed with you. You are my inspiration, the one woman in the blogosphere that I feel most akin to. I never knew this story, though I've been following your blog for over a year now and it reveals so much more depth to you. It must have been hard to revisit this and share it with us, but I am glad you did. If only we all recognized how awesome we are, and like that man, encouraged those around us by pointing out their awesomeness too. Thanks, Nici.

Happiness is... said...

Nici, this was raw and honest and vulnerable. You are so strong. So brave. With every sentence, I nodded and reaffirmed why I have been reading your blog and columns for years.

For those who are loved by you, they are the lucky ones. You're the warmth and the strength and the color captured in a ray of sunlight.

TRB Holt said...

Tears are streaming...memories... YOU are awesome my beauty, xoxo Mom

Becs said...

Freakin brave and awesome!!!! Nici you are a heroine to me!

Brandi Shope said...

You ARE awesome! Yeah!!! This line moved me to tears!

FinnyKnits said...

A brave story to tell, but even braver to live through. I also kinda want to punch your old running coach. But i love the dude who cheered for you on your last run. Very cool.

Monique said...

Oh you two ARE AWESOME! YEAH! Love reading both of your blogs. Thank you Nici for sharing. You are brave. You are strong. You are a runner!!

Happy times to both of you and your families on beaches of Florida.

Monique

Jessica said...

What an awesome testimony. Wow. I needed this today. If only they could sell confidence at your local retail store - instead so many of us have to go through hell and back to find it. Thank you for sharing your space for Nici :)

Sage said...

Nici, I have always loved your perspective. It inspires me beyond words. This piece, just nailed all of what is so impressive about you. And I am always a bit awestruck by how you have made your reality into this amazing, unstoppable force. Way to make your mark. Wish I had you into inner circle.... Xo

Rachel @ Existation said...

You ARE awesome, Nici. I love your blog. This post made me tear up a bit. Excellence.

Jamie said...

Beautiful post... So thankful to have your blog to read and to have found so many others like Kelle's from you! Can't wait to buy your book! Will miss you on mama digs!

Mel said...

Wow. An absolutely inspiring post. Loved it!

Jeanne said...

You my friend are AWESOME! But your awesome isn't bottled up for no one else to see. Yours is shining so brightly that it permeates others miles, states, countries away. Thanks for sharing your awesome with me via your words and photos. Your words, your creativity, your perspective have always struck a chord in me.

Amanda J. said...

I can't wait for you guys to get together either! So many great pictures and blogs ahead! Yay! Wonderful post nici you rock!!!

kimberly said...

Beautiful.

me said...

sorry Kelle, I have zero interest in reading a blog that is all ads and entries written by other bloggers. Understand that you are busy with a baby, and good luck to you.

Sian said...

YOU REALLY ARE AWESOME!

Joe said...
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Jaimie Lee Moore said...

This is fantastic! Love it.

Sarah said...

LOVED that post!! What a great message for everyone!

Angela said...

i.love.this.

Lindsay said...

When I read "I didn't think I had the body I needed to be taken seriously" I totally stopped dead in my tracks. I don't know how many times that has gone through my head in my life. It's been a long journey for me too, but I'm getting there! This was inspiring. :)

Rachel Whittaker said...
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Blue Skies and Lemonade said...

Great post - thank you for sharing. It's funny, just when I needed this post, here it is.

"I decided and I changed." - it really is that simple isn't it?

Kelly Sheehy said...

Awesome! :)

kendra said...

oh my goddess. nici. i think you are awesome too. i identify, and i cried. thank you for sharing your soul. you are truly amazing and so very brave.

kendra said...
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6512 and growing said...

Yes brave one, you are awesome! For all of our daughters...thank you for your courage.

Jenny V said...

Hells yeah you're awesome, Dig...and so is this post!

Jenna Richards said...

Thank you for sharing!:)

CMB said...

This is amazing! Through you, I have been following Dig this chick and I never knew this story! Wow. I always thought she was born as strong as she is, but now I know she made herself that way. Powerful. Thanks for sharing Kelly and Nici =)

Monique said...

Thank you so much for sharing this Nici. I love to read both your blog and Kelle's and think it is really awesome you two are friends beyond the blog world. I look forward to seeing your beach pictures coming up and hearing both your views from the visit. You are one amazing runner, mom, and woman. Keep running mama.

Ciara said...

That man was so right, Nici. You ARE awesome. Thank you x

Claire said...

I, while I am a bit younger than you, also had/have an eating disorder. I say "have" because a part of you will never stop saying things when you look in the mirror like "look at those thighs!" I was a dancer. And I am a dancer. I started my battle with anorexia at the age of 12. Yes, 12. My daily meals consisted of a bottle of gatorade and whatever my parents made me eat at dinner. I didn't get the help that I really needed until recently. By then I'd realized I had a problem and basically put my life back on track for a couple years. I wasn't the girl who weighed 92 pounds anymore. I am constantly surprised at how less hairy my body is (girls, you will get hairy if you lose that much weight; your body is trying to protect itself from the cold). Just a note to anyone who finds this blog entry because of an eating disorder: hospitalization is now not the automatic treatment of choice. My fear of being hospitalized kept me from getting the help I knew I needed. You can still live your life and get treatment.

Jen said...

That was lovely!

Traci P said...

Amazing!

mumofsix said...

She is awesome! Love that chick ❤

Rhett said...

What a story! So inspiring. You ARE awesome, Nici. You too, Kelle. Hope you gals have a wonderful visit!

amy said...

So glad to have read this, as someone that suffered from anorexia for years it is great to hear someone else so matter of fact about their own eating disorder. I love your writing style, I'm going to be reading your blog from now on too! Thank you

Jennifer said...

Nici,
I don't think I remember knowing this but I DO remember you getting so thin in high school. Need to get back on your "blog wagon" and catch up. The girls look so grown up! Have a great week with Kelle!

Katelin said...

I am loving this-- loving it so much I have read it through more than once! I want to read it to my daughter, read it to my female high school students, read it to my 16 year-old self, read it to myself as I run and curse a bit of belly jiggle.

Awesomeness, for certain!

jdc said...

I have tears in my eyes. Thank you so much.

-Mama of 3, no longer starving.

Mares Eat Oats said...

I love this so much. Thank you for introducing me to Nici!

Boo's Mom said...

My doctor -- who has been practicing for more than 30 years -- recently told me that he has never met a woman who didn't want to lose wait. How sad is that? I thought I raised my nearly 30-year-old daughter to not be as concerned about her body as I was about mine, but it didn't take. I hope you younger women figure out a way to teach your daughters!

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bobbiebrownphotography.com said...

Wow. Incredible story! I found myself hanging on to every word and had tears by the time I finished! Thank you for sharing and I am so happy that you got the help you needed early enough to make this kind of difference.

Phyl said...

I loooooove knowing SHE's on the planet. Yay! Phyl

Naomi Hattaway said...

Nic - I love you on your dig blog ... but I also really love your voice here in Kelle's space. It's different somehow, and I very much resonated with it!

Lucy said...

You are so lovely, Nici. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I know that many women have struggled with eating disorders, some less severe and some more, myself included, and reading your words and your journey out of the depths is very healing. Run, mama, run.

vanessa said...

Thank YOU for your thoughts and insights. Beautiful! I needed this so badly today!

MaryAnne Smyly Sabin said...

Oh so powerful! We are all very, very awesome.

theslow catwalk said...

Beautiful post! Everytime I come here I learn something!
Thanks*
Sandra

Sarah Kuhn said...

This is so encouraging to me. I'm 16 and a runner. I struggle with my "runner's body" all the time. I am glad to hear about someone else's strength through such an identity crisis. Thank you so much for posting this!

Jenna said...

Something about this resonated with me today. Needed this. Thanks for the perspective. Run on, beautiful woman!

Kmarie Jones said...

This was beautiful. I cried at the end. I wish I could only tell my daughter positive things about my body. I will try. Thanks for the inspiration. It is so important to thank our bodies for what they CAN do. Beautiful!

The Korporaal Family said...

Nici - You are such an inspiration - love your blog... love what you teach me!!

kc said...

This is such a great post--thank you for sharing! I follow your blog and love reading each entry that goes up! You have nailed something I think a lot of parents don't get: how you talk about your body greatly affects how children see their own bodies. My sisters and I were told we were beautiful, but also heard Mom and her girlfriends constantly tearing down their own bodies. The message that stuck was the critical one, not whatever positive stuff we'd been told.

So glad your writing and story are out in the world!

joylovelyjoy said...

Awesome seems like an understatement. Thank you for sharing your story. Now following your blog!

Teacher Mom said...

Nici - I felt like I could have written this story, but I didn't because it is your story...I have a similar one though, right down to not having a runners body, 2 kids, an eating disorder, and picking up running again as an adult. I also live near you! Thank you for sharing...your story fills me with strength!

aprilallard said...

I am sooo surprised to read this. I have followed Nici on IG and her blog sometimes. I just always had this feeling that she was raised by these parents who gave her all of the self confidence in the world and would never have to experience anything like this. Nici, you are beautiful and portray yourself as so confident and I know you are raising your girls that way. I think I am still in shock...I am rambling.

April