Death of Childhood

I am standing on the edge of a cliff and I know I have come too far to go back now. Even if I could, there is no way back and as much as I will long to turn around in times to come, I can only go forward now.

When I imagined this moment I always dreamed I’d jump forward into the open air and soar through the sky like a bird set free. But now I am here the emptiness looms below me unknown and I am shaking. I will myself to jump but my body stays where it is, here. On this familiar path lined with bright flowers that nourished me and kept me breathing and safe since the beginning of the history of my life. I stay still but one cannot stay still for long and soon the wind has caught me in powerful palms and pushes me.

The dirt scrambles beneath my feet and I am stumbling. I catch hold of the grass with my small hands but it is uprooted by my fall, I hold onto the edge of the cliff but the soil crumbles away to dust and then I am holding nothing and then I am falling. Just a child like any other, not special enough to stay. Tears sting my eyes, this isn’t how I wanted to go, I wasn’t ready but I am gone.

Not flying, falling. Angrily, wildly, painfully, wonderfully. Tumbling ungracefully through the air, with no place in this world. As I fall I grow breasts and hair in secret places. I taste the bitterness of alcohol, the powder of lipstick and the burn of cigarettes. My hair flows like a waterfall of changing colors and scars burn on my thighs, carved from sadness. And while I fall I fall in love. I see their handsome faces flash before my eyes and for a moment they are my world. I feel the warmth of their lips and the softness of their loving words and for a second my heart is so swollen it bursts and I think I will die but I keep on living and falling and loving again.

The wind is cold so I wrap my arms around myself tightly. I carry the burden of a thousand worries and it makes me fall faster. I hear the laughter of friends and the hollowness of death and the passion of my art in my mind and for a moment I forget I am even falling. I feel everything and sometimes when I feel nothing I feel the most of all. I put myself together as I fall from old pieces of myself and new pieces I collect along the way. I see many different places as I fall and I breathe them in to become a part of me too. I am imperfect. I make one hundred mistakes and then one hundred more, and through them I grow.

Out of nowhere a crow joins me. He is as black as the sea at night and has hard yellow eyes filled with bitterness. But I am lonely, so I talk to him.
“Am I beautiful?” I ask.
“Your teeth are crooked, your nose is too big, you have spots on your skin and you are not so skinny any more, how could you be beautiful?” He caws, and I can see he is right, I am not beautiful.
“Will I be okay?” I ask, with tears making trails down my cheeks.
“You are only a girl. You are clumsy and lost and you cry too easily and you are afraid. Maybe if you had a boy to look after you you would be okay, but not alone, alone you are nothing.” and I could feel he was right, that I had been naive.
“What is happening to me?” I ask, frightened.
“You’re becoming a woman. Soon you won’t be young and your art won’t be special any longer. Age will numb you, the world will lose its wonder and you will never feel this much again.”
And now I cry out into the emptiness for my mother but there is no mother to hold me, just biting wind and the feeling that I am slowly dying.
When he flies away his words make a nest in my mind and settle there.

Nothing else joins me, no more birds or airplanes or clouds, just flashes of feeling and lucidity. Sometimes music plays in the air around me and gets me high, letting me escape for a while. I wonder if I will fall forever. In some ways I begin to enjoy the fall, to channel the energy into passion. I recognise it for what it is, the beautiful chaos that is life.

Then before I know it I am not falling any longer. I am back on the earth and at my feet is a little yellow flower. I lay curled around the flower for many hours and feel the warm rush of familiarity, grateful for the stillness and the way outside of my own mind.

I know I cannot stay here but I cannot bear to leave the flower that ties me to my childhood. So I whisper an apology and very gently pick it. I press it tenderly to my chest and it is gone. I walk changed through the graveyard of ended childhoods and feel a stirring within and I know my child self has survived the fall. She is there, breathing into my thoughts. As I leave I wear both a softness that lets me love purely and a hardness born from difficult times.

I walk and I see many roads ahead of me, but I do not walk down them. Instead I make my way through a magnificent forest. Sometimes I get lost and frightened and stumble as I pave a path through the wilderness, but I see such extraordinary things that take my breath away. Things that make me believe in magic again. Sometimes people cross my path and I give them special thoughts to keep them dreaming. When it is quiet, I long to be falling. I am forever learning, endlessly transforming.

Here I meet a prince who holds my hand as we walk and from our love a little child with strawberry curls is born. I am a mama now and somehow I am both different and the same. Still a child, but with pockets filled with life lessons.

In my daughter I can see the wonder of the place left long behind me, I can see it but I cannot walk it. I can kiss the bruises on her knees from little falls, wipe the tears from her eyes and hold her close but a time will come where I will not be there to keep her from falling. So I will give her strength and when the crow comes I will tell her:

“You are infinitely beautiful. Your eyes are bright with all the magic you have seen, your skin is warm from years of embracing the sun, your mouth is soft with a thousand loving words and kisses to come. You glow with life, with the immense beauty of the thoughts in your head and the fire in your soul. This body is yours and it will take you to places you can only dream of now. Yes, my dear girl, you are beautiful, but you are so much more.”
“You are growing and as you grow the world will open itself to you. You will swim in the ocean of possibilities. Childhood is sweet, but womanhood holds power. Power to make dreams come true, to find your calling, to shine your light into the world, to create life and to find freedom.”
“You are enough, more than enough. You are already stronger and more capable than you could ever imagine. You are a little universe, brimming with potential. You are alive and you can change the world.”

And these thoughts will be her wings.

  1. Aria

    Thank you. <3 growing up is hard, but your words have given me hope that everything will work out ok for me in the end. God bless xx

  2. zee

    I think you stories are touching and amazing, Im not a writer nor a photographer but im inspired by life and everyday things that happen in my life. you have an amazing gift of being able to express yourself through both pictures and words. I have a newly started blog, i write little things that i feel, im not very good at it but it makes me feel wonderful to be able to write what i feel and maybe one day inspire. check it out if you have a moment. http://srcibblesofthesoul.blogspot.com
    xxxxx

  3. Amanda

    I read this out load. It was comforting and calming to hear these words. I love how you wrote about the forest, and the magic and the words to your daughter. To create life and to find freedom.
    Reading your blog makes my soul calm, and that is exactly what I need at this very moment in my life. I feel stuck but somehow your pictures and your words sets me free.

    When I was younger, I think about 14 ( I am currently 18) I started to read your blog and got very inspired of your photography. You made me wanting to stay creative. All I strived for was to catch the beauty in a photo as you did so perfectly. I was so fascinated by the way you lived and dreamed of living a life as free as you. I remember opening your blog after a very long time and noticed you were pregnant. I was so chocked but also so happy for you. And it has been really fun to watch Alba grow up and becoming this adorable child.

    I don´t know, but the point is, you are like an old friend to me, someone I come to when my life is all stormy. Someone who has inspired me to stay creative and to keep living. Someone I have seen growing and changing.
    I guess all I wanted to stay was thank you. I think I have never made a comment on this blog, but since your blog with your words and your photos has been so important to me through my teenage years, I thought you should know.

    Greetings from Sweden

  4. D

    I’m with Molly. I have admired your story telling for a long while. You have a beautiful gift; your words, your imagery. This post had been playing on my mind since I read it on the weekend, and I still don’t know how to say what I feel. But it has taken a little of my heart. Thank you for your courage to share this. I’m local and regret not taking your photography classes when you were close by! All the best x

  5. Alphinx Mapa

    I always love the message in your writing. I felt like I was dancing with it. I thought of my past life during high school as I was reading this and of what I just wrote the other day. Quite similar although I wasn’t falling there; I was trapped in a deep hole with full of thorns.

  6. Michelle

    Nirrimi you inspire me in so many ways. I have read your blog for over 2 years now and just like Rosaria this is the first time I comment. You make me find my way towards energy, inspiration, and to myself as an artist. Whilst my work is very different from yours, I know that we feel the same wonderment for the world and the energy it holds. Your writing and photography encourages me to find myself in this world.
    Thank you!

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Camp Bliss

Last November I rented a villa in the rice fields of Ubud, Bali and invited over twenty creatives from all over the world to join. I named our coming together ‘Camp Bliss.’

There are parts of me that would love to unravel the entire story of that intense, life-altering month, but for now you’ll have to forgive my silence and let the photographs do the story-telling. I left my camera untouched, but thankfully I was surrounded by talented photographer friends.

I will leave you with just one of my favourite memories.

It was in the beginning of Camp Bliss. I was always giggling, europhic and in disbelief at the way everything had come together. Here I was surrounded by new friends in paradise and our days together felt like a dream.

This starry night we decided to go skinny dipping in the pool. Music played and crickets chirped as we snacked on fresh papaya and watched the night sky. Warm water slipped and swam around our bare skin.

A sense of awe was shared by us all. Us wide-eyed children. Together we spoke of the immense beauty that surrounded us, of being good humans and artists, of being alive. Our words felt powerful, as though they were more than words. We put our arms around the shoulders of those beside us and we spun laughing in circles. When we stopped the stars were still spinning.

We were all more grateful than we could put to words that night.

bella

By Bella Kotak

JESS

 By Jess Hay

savannah

By Savannah Daras

chrissie

 By Chrissie White

dom

 By Dominque Felicity

melanie

 By Melanie Ziggel

clare

 By Clare Alice Young

 

 

 

  1. Paulina

    Nirrimi are u going to do that Camp again?? I would like to ask u how to join to tha kind of meetings with you?? is is possible?? im from poland and im following you since 4 years, because i love your photos and i dreaming of making a photo session with you! Im going for holiday to Ubud in november this year and im wondering maybe there will be a chance to meet u….? I know the question can be ridiculous but sometimes i believe that some thing can happend when u really want it and when u have a passion u always meet right people to do the same things! greets from Poland! :)

  2. Ella Zona

    Wow Nirimi. Just wow you are such a big inspiration to me. You made me realize that we can be beautiful without makeup and live life without regrets and apreciate nature. You are gorgeous and Alba is infinitely lucky to be your daughter. You inspire me❤️

  3. Camille Richez

    Seeing all of these amazing pictures your friends took, really, really made me want to go to Bali for a month or two next year. I think I might gather some of my creative friends and rent a villa, just as you all guys did, because it really seemed to be heaven there. Thank you for always being such an inspiration ;) Lots of love from Paris.

  4. Lisa

    Gee, such beauty. I’m curious to know where you stayed in Ubud.
    Love your blog.

  5. emi

    this is so incredible…too much beauty for words!
    the pictures have so much soul in them. thanks for sharing! xo

  6. Carmen

    Those photos are absolutely beautiful. Looks like an amazing creative retreat. I would love to be a part of something like this one day.

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