I sat to write my column a few days ago, amidst heaps of half-finished projects and tasks. My kids and husband made pancakes in the other room and I wanted to be with them. I didn’t really have a solid idea, which, for me, is comfortable. I often write this way: I sit and I begin.

I started writing about dying my hair and out came something else entirely, stuff from way back, way deep — a piece about friendship, bulimia, strength and self-exploration. It’s the beginning of more, which surprised me. I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel compelled to write about the six years I battled an eating disorder. It felt old and boring to me, a past life I’ve moved beyond. But it turns out I have so much to think about and share. My story is practically spilling out of my fingertips into words. And that’s a really wonderful, alive feeling.

Click to read mama digs: dye.

With this piece, I more fully realized something I thought I already knew completely.

Expression moves
through us
We are creative
And even when
(especially when)
we are the most
we can be,
there are
secret locked doors
waiting to open

Our voyage is mapless
Our treasure is rarely
what we initially sought

What a gift, our time

How lucky are we?

As we gallop
through our life
lessons and love
boil up
right under our feet

every single day

Until our

very last heartbeat

sowing our legacy
into the earth

26 Responses to discovery

  1. Melina says:

    Nici, I’m so frickin proud of you.

  2. Sage says:

    Nici, I really enjoyed your piece. This time of year I feel so deeply engaged with my soul, I can really relate to those little “treasures” that tend to surface when you least expect them. Best to you and yours. xo

  3. Idaho Amy says:

    This mamadigs piece on Mamalode was moving, honest, sad, and happy. I like your writing best when you share things that can be/have been troublesome or broken. Also: I vote to for you to let your gray hair loose! I, too, started turning gray at the age of 18 and used to dye it black, brown, red. Now, my silver streaks are the first thing that people compliment me on, and I’m only 37. C’mon and join the club!

    • dig dig says:

      Oh sister, I am tempted all the time! It’s a funny thing that I swing back and forth on. My day will come, sooner than later. When did you let go of color? Love it.

      – Nici

      • Idaho Amy says:

        I think I stopped coloring it around the time I started grad school and had my first daughter, around 2004. My hairdresser is terrifically talented and does these awesome red highlights, leaving my gray streaks untouched, so it looks modern and fun!

  4. Tammi says:

    Nici – loved both pieces today. You really bared your soul and your writing just sang. Thanks for trusting your readers enough to share the hard stuff. As always, inspirational.

    • dig dig says:


      That’s nice of you to mention that I trust my readers enough to share…it’s very true! You guys rock.


    • Mary says:

      Perfectly said, Tammi! I was thinking that as well, feeling very honored.
      “As we gallop
      through our life
      lessons and love
      boil up
      right under our feet”

      That was my favorite. I imagined this boiling magical grassy Montana soil, it’s so wonderful. Love your writing. You often remind me to express my life more in the language of who I am. I think who I am (grass roots Santa Cruz hippie chick with civil rights passions and feminism all over the place) doesn’t always show up outside of me. Thank you for your blog, you bring me back to myself and help me more fully realize the direction I want to go. Love, love, love.

  5. Anna says:

    Your column this week was beautiful and empowering. It spoke to my heart as you talked about strength and evolving. That’s good stuff. I love it.

  6. Molly says:

    That was so beautiful. This time of year is so grounding and reflective. It is certainly true that when we are the most open is often when we find those secret doors. Thanks for sharing. I love your writing and have been a long time blog follower. I have recently realized that I need to be more openly supportive of the women whose blogs I love and who are willing to share part of their lives with the world. I appreciate it and look forward to it. So, thank you and I hope to express that more often.

    • dig dig says:

      Hi Molly,

      I look forward to hearing from you more often! It’s a funny thing to wonder who is reading out there. I always adore hearing from readers. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      – Nici

  7. Molly says:

    Oh and I am also very grey haired at 31 and I love it! I have two skunk streaks in the front and am often asked if I had it done at a salon.

  8. Alma says:

    “our voyage is mapless”… i love that
    pics are breath-taking!

  9. Ciara says:

    Hmmm I am wondering about the grey myself! I am 34 and I don’t feel ready to let go of the hair dye just yet, but the thoughts of dying it for even another 20 years doesn’t sit well with me. So I will definitely be embracing the grey.
    I read your column this week and was so moved, as I often am when reading your words. I love that you have the strength to show your vulnerability. Thank you!

  10. Jennie says:

    I had so many old emotions and memories come flooding back when I read your Dye post the other day. Although I never suffered from bulimia, I did have many challenges through school and University, dealing with a severe anxiety disorder, social anxiety, questionable self esteem, and all the frustrations that come with it all… it’s funny, and a great coincidence, that the way I used to deal with it was… *drum roll, please*, dying my hair! It was my way of expressing myself, a desperate plea to have people somehow see inside of the shell that I felt trapped in, to make up for the fact that I couldn’t seem to get out. (Without a dangerous amount of booze, that is. Sigh!)

    Almost a decade later, and many challenges (mostly) overcome, I’m now back to the natural brown, with a few wisps of white mixed in. Sometimes it’s amazing how many variations of yourself a girl has to go through until she comes full circle! Fantastic article.. thank you.

  11. Carrie says:


  12. Kim Schaper says:

    Love Nici and I just LOVE you! So proud of you and all you have accomplished!

  13. Melissa says:

    I forgot to go back and comment on your post yesterday but I wanted to tell you what spoke to me the most. Not the bulimia, not the grey hair, but the choice to forge your own path at college when all the other girls were joining sororities. I, too, chose not to join when I was in school. My college was 80% Greek so finding the right group of friends who would accept me for me was difficult. In the end, I had made great friends both in and out of sororities and fraternities and I never look back on that decision with regret. Thanks for sharing your life and your story!

  14. Kelly L. says:

    A long time ago, I remember watching a woman dancing to the music performed by my high school band. We (the band performers) were playing cheesy Hawaiian music and this woman was spinning and swooping to the music, her long silver hair whipping around her body. I always think of that woman when I try to decide if I’ll let myself go grey when the time comes. She was so free and sure and beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  15. Um, hello Poetess. I read the last bit aloud, as all great poems should be heard, said slowly and with conviction.
    Strange that right before your article I posted a pic of your with red hair, thinking that seemed like so very long ago, a whole different you.
    Love your honesty.

  16. Absolutely beautiful words. Thank you for sharing them with us. : )

    ~ Wendy

  17. Trbholt says:

    … you to the moon and back….

  18. Amy says:

    I vividly remember that experience of dyeing my hair for the first time in my freshman dorm, exploring who I really was, trying on a new me… thanks for sharing so openly!

  19. Amanda says:

    That last bit was my favorite, simply beautiful! I love your blog for your words, your pictures are breath taking but the pictures that form in my head from your words are what I love the most about this blog. They settle deep within me.

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