eighteen

being a writer at heart means no matter how many terrible, unbelievable things happen to you, it’s okay because they will always make for good stories. i seek out experience, and things just happen around me.

i turn eighteen with the police at the foot of my bed in my hotel room. i am not there in my head. i count down aloud to midnight. they ask ‘can you please spell your boyfriend’s full name for us?’ and ‘can you please describe everything’ but i am not there at all. all numb and unhearing. my boyfriend is out in the winter night without a jacket, wearing a shirt covered in blood hiding from police and i am beginning to shake. the fat policeman says ‘happy birthday’ and i say nothing.

it’s the last day of shooting the ad campaign so we throw a party in a warehouse in the city. it has big open windows and you can see all the buildings lit up outside like the world is on fire. i feel very pretty because everyone keeps telling me so. i dance around and everyone keeps giving me drinks. things begin to melt together. i shoot into the night until we get the last shots and everyone cheers. shooting is over now.

one of the male models says ‘you’re only 17 a few more hours, be young and stupid’ and so i do.

we all take taxis to the hotel room in kings cross. my agent brings me a cake and champagne and we sit on the roof, laughing. on the roof there is a garden and i walk through it and look over the city. i think about how scared i am to become an adult. i imagine the effect i would have on the world if i climbed up and jumped off. at least i would never have to grow up. i am ignoring my boyfriend, something has come over me and it’s not me. i am mean-tongued and stubborn. i can’t find my love anywhere, it’s run away.

soon i am in an elevator with a skinny ukrainian model who calls me nina and there are drugs and all i think is, this will be interesting to write about someday. i like the way she speaks and moves her wrists. then we are on the ground level and some of the other models are there and my boyfriend comes and he knows. he never drinks but tonight he has, he is unusually loud. he thinks another boy kissed me but no one has. we yell.

a bottle is smashed against tiled floor, my boyfriend punches a boy and runs through the hallway and punches a hole through the glass window in the front door of the hotel. glass is stuck between his knuckles and he bleeds down his arms and runs. i am on the ground crying and everyone is holding me in every direction but i feel like i am down here alone. breathe, everyone says, breathe really deeply.

i want to chase after matt but i know no one will let me. when we are in the elevator there are more drugs and i am now beyond thinking. i let others think for me. i don’t know if the drugs work or not but i decide to never do them again. downstairs my lover comes back to find me and no one will let him. they all hold him back from running into the hotel. upstairs the owner of the hotel screams to us ‘who the fuck smashed the window downstairs, we saw you with him, tell me who it was now’. but we stay quiet (while inside is the loudest my mind’s ever been). i begin to cry.

in the street my boyfriend is so cold so he takes a jacket from the trash and wraps it around himself. he lays beneath a truck for a long time and waits.

i am in the hotel room and my beautiful friend from los angeles is reading to me to calm me. her voice is honey. i drift in and out of unfeeling. in each pause i worry about matt, so much it makes me sick. i don’t know where he is and i am scared we are over. my body shakes hard.

here and there are blurred spots in my memory i am yet to remember.

the police come and the police go. my agent hugs me tightly and promises everything will be okay. everyone sends so much love my way i am almost soothed by it all. i do not know that thirty policeman arrest matt and put him in the back of their wagon. i do not know that when they ask him why he did it he replies ‘love’. my friend from la and one of the models falls asleep in our bed.

there is only me to my thoughts for the entire night and morning. i do not sleep or eat or pass time with anything but sick worry. at every noise i open the door, every half hour i go downstairs to see if he is outside the hotel. he is never there. a thought creeps across my mind and it makes me cry. the dead of night breeds frightening thoughts. i am scared he is gone.

the night is the longest living night there ever was.

i watch the sun rise. my boyfriend is taken to the police station, to the hospital and then to a jail where he spends the night. in the morning he is taken to court. i do all i can to find out where he is but i don’t hear anything back. morning is here and one of the models comes over and worries beside me. he brings me chocolate because i have hardly eaten in the last few days.

matt knocks on the door and i run at him so hard we fall over into the hallway. his arm is casted and his clothes are torn and bloody. he is home. it was like i’d been holding my breath the entire time and i could finally let go.

later the same day somebody asks me ‘did you have a memorable 18th?’ and i smile and say ‘yes, something like that’.

71 love notes

  1. I think I’ve read this story over and over maybe 5 times. It fascinates me for some reason. Your love story sounds similar to mine. Except my boyfriend and I live in suburbia. In the heart of Loveland, Ohio. We only dream of being wild and free like the two of you are. But your story inspires me to find magic in our mostly mundane lives. I’ve been following your blog for over two years now, almost the same length as my relationship with my own m (his name is Matthew). Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories with the world. I know many people follow you and I’m only one of them but I feel like i’m a part of your story, even if it’s a only minuscule part.

    With Love,
    An Inspired Fan

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  3. hi, i'm eemah. nice blog you have here and great stories and photo's too. Its so colorful in here, its like sweet, crazy, nasty and bold, interests me a lot, will be watching from now on.

  4. Wow, I can't believe I found your blog- I just stumbled across it by accident. You don't know me but I've known about your photos on Flickr for a long time. You are the most amazing photographer, and I really really do mean that. Clearly you're also an amazing writer as well!

    You will go far 🙂

  5. A painless lesson, my dear Nimi, is one without any meaning. This night has taught you many; the power of love, among other things.

    May life bless you with an abundance of wisdom, without compromising your youth and your adventures.

    XO

  6. what a whirlwind of a night! Sounds so dreamy yet so realistic. At least all was well in the end. I couldn't help but smile with that sentence at the end. =) Thank you for sharing such stories.

  7. its so brave of you to open your life up to the world. thank you so much for sharing your photos and your words. you are such a beautiful person <3

    love,

  8. If you're shooting a campaign for a famous brand you shouldn't be telling there were drugs in the aftershooting party, they might not like this info leaks the internet. Also underage drinking and that stuff … you know, just saying …
    hope everything's ok now! btw nice writting 😉

  9. So not only do you take amazing photos, you're also an amazing writer. For a moment I was there with you. Keep sharing, because it seems this is what you are gifted to do.

  10. I was absolutely captivated by this post! You write beautifully, and obviously every experience had in life was meant to happen for a reason. I'm glad you shared this with the world – so intense, but breathtaking.

  11. having lived in kings cross (or there abouts) for almost 4 years.. i think sounds like you had a good'ol cross night.. it can get weirder than that too.. You are right tho, gives you material to work with.. Anything is better than stale life xx

  12. I hope everything's alright now. xx

    Your life seems incredibly rich, and I would really love to hear more about it.

  13. Nirrimi – I hope this isn't too cheesy but it's one of my favourite quotes and thought I'd share it with for your birthday because it makes me think of you and your blog.

    "In the idealism of youth, a person sees truth. In it he or she possesses riches that he or she should not exchange for anything.

    We must all be aware of the fact that life wants to rob us of faith in the good and true, and our enthusiasm for it. But we need not relinquish it." – Albert Schweitzer

    Hope it sticks with you as much as it did with me 🙂 X

  14. & I thought my 18 birthday was dramatic :O
    I really love the idea of turning the blog into a "personal diary", and congratulations sweetie you're an amazing writer, you got me hanging on every word

    love.

  15. This came really down at me. I've never read anything so real form your life. I hope you and Matt are alright now. Oh, girl, it sound like a really terrible birthday. I'm sorry for it.

  16. I'm sorry to hear it was such a negative experience… But, sarcasm aside, once you're over it, you can even use it for inspiration in your work. Speaking of challenging yourself…

  17. When someone turns 18, it's a crucial moment in his/her life. From that moment on, you begin to be adult and take decissions that will change the rest of your life
    I turned 18 a few months ago and I haven't already taken a good decission… I need to be 17 again

  18. so beautiful to read!

    i love your writings. Please feel brave enough to write more.

    you are a beautiful old soul.

    Much Love

    Phi x

  19. "Great story!" is not enough.
    Thanks to tiny/huge things like Matt's response this is more than just a story. It's proof of love's existence.
    Damn, girl. I can imagine it so easily. Everone's shouting at each other, telling the news, "Matt's gone, he's gone!", scared glances at you, shaking heads with disbelief, feeling like all of this is just a dream, 'i'm dreaming' because none of this could happen between you two in real life, cold light of dawn meeting your red eyes…
    Look what you've done. I've even written a comment. I never do that. We've never met, we will never meet cause i live on another continent, speak completely different language. But your photographs are above it all.
    Take care of each other, because it gives me hope that one day I will experience that love, the whole meaning of it, like you two do every day.
    When it happens, if it happens, i shall believe that even we could meet, one day.

  20. this is crazy nirrimi, i can't believe you're only 18. I'm always surprised when I see how different someone's life is to mine.

  21. And that is how young talented people fuck their lives up and end up as total losers… learn from this and do not become yet another one of those…

  22. And as for Matt . . . . like the rest say . . . never let that boy go again.
    What you guys have is special.

    You will have to travel the world together as a team, see the world and experience it together and work together. Do it all together!

  23. YES treat your blog as a real diary . .. not that you would ever get enough time to explain in detail all the things that happen .. .

    I love how you have turned a somewhat negative experience into the positive, by referring to it as just that – an experience. An interesting story to tell the world. A memorable 18th.

    Even though I dislike drugs, as many do, in a way, I am kind of interested that you were at least open minded and gave them a go (I do hope they were not digusting, lethal drugs!:( ) but even happier when you learn your lesson and decide never to do them again.

    Regardless, wow, what a night. xo

  24. One thing i gathered from this post is that you have wonderfully, passionate, dangerous love, and girl, never let that go

  25. WOW that was a hell of a birthday!! Felt like I was there with you the whole time! the imagery created here is so strong and vivid! Happy Birthday again!!! even if you're an adult now! you're still a teen!! eigtteen!! if only I could make my life adventurous and energized and young as yours then I would be over the moon..

  26. "unbelievable things happen to you, it's okay because they will always make for good stories."
    what a perfect disclaimer for this story, warning to the reader that the experience behind the story is not as easily felt as it was written.

  27. People asked if this story was real. That's fantastic. Your writing skills are wonderful and your stories great, you write so personal and … I would call it "down to earth" … about crazy/unreal situations and pictures that the reader always thinks the story is real. So they have to ask whether it's real because the only person who always knows is you. And I really think your stories are always some kind of real, because the feelings behind it are and this is why your fans, why I, do love it. We can see in your soul and feel what you say through your writing and this is just beautiful and stunning. I hope you get what I mean, because my english isn't that good. But I really wanted you to know. This is your magic, you are magical to other people. Never stop sharing this magic to us, no matter what ever happens, please.

  28. I'm always astounded by the stark honesty and the harrowing beauty of your writing. You truly are an inspiration, and I hope you do express more of your thoughts and experiences for us to read!

  29. Your writing is beautiful. But wow , I would love to own that story , something you will never forget huh?

  30. very good and touching text. hope all is well with the two of you. love your photography. xx

  31. haha my 18th birthday seems to have been so lame compared to that!
    but i seriously love the way you write, it's so personal and beautiful. great story!

  32. very dangerous and true. Love makes people do so many things out of nowhere. I think if you would happen to right a book..i would buy it. 😉 Now, be happy and stupid (only sometimes). xx

  33. woa, I'm glad everything turned okay. my eyes were glued to the screen + open mouth as I read this. stay safe, nirrimi and matt! 🙂

  34. WOW
    for one you are an amazing writer – you pulled me in and I was there
    secondly what a crazy 18th
    and lastly i'm glad everything is ok
    X EnvySplendour

  35. this is beautiful. my god. you have such a talent for writing everything so vividly that i can hardly get the images out of my mind. i know you're scared to grow up, but being an adult doesn't make you irrelevant. it makes you brave, and strong, and unique, because you won't forget what it's like to be young or what it means to you, and so you'll never lose that light. thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

    happy birthday <3

  36. this is so unbelievable. me, and i think i speak for the rest of your followers here on blogspot – that we would like to know more what happens in nirrimi's head. you are a beautiful soul! cant wait to see your exhibition in NYC 😉

  37. wow wow wow, I don't even know what to say. my eyes were glued to the screen the whole time, wow. I can only begin to imagine the terror you must have felt… thank god it ended up alright. I like the last line 🙂

  38. I saw all this in my mind.I imagined that I am you and my boyfriend is matt. I know I would be dead worried too.
    What an eventful birthday you had.
    All the best to you and your lover. xx

  39. Wow, I was wondering what had happened! It must have been terrible 🙁 But I'm very glad you both are okay now, and together, of course. It's they way it should always be.

  40. wow, what a night. You're a wonderful photographer and a brilliant writer as well, what other talents are you hiding?°

  41. The way you write is just amazing. So is this story. So so real that I can't help but love it. Sad to read, but also good to read 🙂
    I hope everything is ok between you and Matt now? xx

  42. yes, i'm treating my blog as a real diary for once. i might make a habit of it but i'm not sure yet. depends how brave i am.

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