Maolin was here.

Unexpected snowstorm on Gulou
Close to Forbidden City
Great Leap Brewery

Malin is this crazy gyal I’ve known for almost twenty years. We both wished the other one gone the first half year of our relationship, but we were stuck together.

The problem was never really that there was anything wrong with her or vice versa, just jealousy. You see, Stephanie was my bff at school, but Malin was her bff at home. Oh what a mess that turned into when Malin who is 1 year younger, appeared when I started 7th grade. Shit. I had only heard that bitches name til this day… now I couldn’t wait to let her know how I felt about her being around. 

We put trashcans on each others heads with a laugh, as if it was funny to everyone but we knew it was about humiliation. To discourage. We took every chance we got to make the other one feel like an idiot. Trying to keep up internal jokes with “Steffie” to make eachother feel left out. It all changed after After Christmas break though, when Stephanie moved away. Now Malin was the only sane person around. Shit. The people in my own class were just classmates, not my friends. But the people in Malins class were nutbags. Stealing shit. Breaking shit. Smoking. Drinking. Not respecting the shoeline by the entrance. Not respecting the rules of no outdoors clothes indoors. People born 89 are fucking weird man. Who the hell was I supposed to hang out with?!

I felt too organized for the Eightyniners. Too dumb for the bookworms in my own grade.

Malin and I stopped fighting. We had to. Instead we missed our friend together and eventually  forgot all about her. We both felt equally unimportant to Stephanie now, since she never called, sent an invitation, a text or an email to either of us. It brought the two of us together. Now it was her and I, plus the other weirdos from her year, against the immigrant bitches and idiots. GAME.ON.

Yeapp, we called them much worse stuff than that. To their face. And them us. School turned into something out of a movie about tragic teens. The Turkish Bitches made my life hell. That started brewing the first week I spent t that school, but didn’t escalate as long as I was hanging out with kind and cute Stephanie. We just wanted to read Harry Potter and draw trees together. Attra, the bitch leader of the bitch pack, turned into stone the very moment I chose to be Erica and Stephanies friend over theirs. My real life Draco! All smiles were gone. The air was sucked out. Then Stephanie moved away and I started hanging out with Malins crazy peers. The Eightyniners. Crazy mother fuckers. It all fucking exploded. And I can barely remember picking up a book during 7th grade.

I wrote one, but didn’t read any. The one I wrote got disqualified because my teacher could not possibly believe that a what? A girl in baggy jeans and a hoodie who skips most classes to go smoking and stealing stuff from the mall, cant possibly write anything worth reading?

This book was my biggest achievement in life til that point.
It was about a girl named Milla, who fell inlove. She was me, but not really. She did crazy things with her friends, but in a different way. In a healthier and happier way. Through that book, I dreamed. Writing this book kept me inside the school. I printed several copies of each page after finishing and handed out to anyone interested. Then I handed out new versions. All of it was waited upon and read with excitement by a big bunch of girls. It brought my separate group of friends together. I had a girl from my hometown who came to my class, but she hung out with the nerdier girls who read adult stuff like The Lord of the Rings as 12 year olds. Quite amazing I thought. I would never dream of reading a brick like that. It didnt seem human to me to read so heavy stuff at that age. I was major impressed. So having these girls interested in my writing was fantastic. I got recognition! Their interest made all the difference! Walking through the corridors seeing these smart girls read my pages with high interest while walking, I FELT CAPABLE! PROUD! CREATIVE AND AMAZING! Oh boy how my heart was broken when that teacher, who I had thought was so cool with her short hair and rave clothes, told me it was “Plagiarism”. I just burst into tears. I thought she wanted to have a meeting about the book, to talk about how great it is to see me do some schoolwork again. She didn’t know where from, but she was sure I had stolen it off the internet. 

Eventually my friends spoke up for me. That was a beautiful thing. Girls from different groups and years, told my teacher how I had been not hanging out with them to write the damn thing. It was nice to feel someone had my back atleast. Even though the smart girls later on called for an official meeting to let me know they don’t wanna be my friend anymore, cus I was “too different”. Up til that point, I had even felt pride to be one of them every now and then. Even got invited to 2 birthday parties. I only heard the opening words of the meeting before I paniced the fuck out of there. More than enough to set my heart to burn, freak me out and figure the rest. “Mm, Sanna” the teacher said.. “Hae you noticed how different you girls are?”

I had not come there to be humiliated. I had come because I had thought we were planning something fun together. And for some fucking reason, the school shrink was there to support them in this intervention type of friendship breakup. God I hated that school. Not the students, but those shitty adults. She should have told them that an official meeting with 5 girls wanting to officially resign from being my friend IS WRONG! I hadn’t even really done anything. I was just not like them. Just not smart like them. The shrink should have had some respect for the very fact that I hadn’t really done anything. Some respect for me. She should have taught these girls that this is not the way to handle a situation like this. Not force them to spend time with me either, but at least not condone in my humiliation like this. 

I haven’t felt I belonged anywhere since this year in school. Just waiting to get kicked out of whatever group Im trying to get involved with. Surprised that I am being wanted back. Not kidding. This is my life now. Just waiting for people to realize I’m not good enough to for them. Not until today have I connected the dots. During these years in school I grew away from being confident. Away from being happy and content with myself.

I had been called a rabbit for years. But it never bothered me so in to the bones as it started to, during this year. I even stopped eating carrots. I really started to feel ugly. That nobody will ever appreciate or understand me.

Shortly after the whole situation with the book, the teacher let me skip 3 levels. Because everything those 3 levels would teach, I had proven in my book I knew all about. Subconcious skill?

Between the eightyniners and the Turkish Bitches looooads of name calling was going on. My school books were kicked around the floor, while I was trying to clean out my locker on floor level. Ugly became my nickname. Rabbit continued being my nickname. “Have you ever heard of this thing called braces ugly?” It all was a disaster. But it was in a weird way, not for real. Because if I would be alone on the subway, the girls would’nt say or do anything. Just ignore me. It all was just a way to pass time at school, between stealing makeup from H&M and smoking Denise’s moms cigarettes.

Malin and I grew up together. Became people together. Not the best ones, but we did it together. We’re pretty decent folks today! As teens she supported me through everything. Always made me feel ok, that’s it not me who is the problem, but the other people who don’t see how great I am. We looked after eachother. I was the oldest but she was the big sister. Now I think I have grown into the role of the big sister, but we will see how long it takes before she reclaims it again.

Over the years we lost contact on and off due to new schools, new friends, boyfriends, hobbies, lifestyles. But we always knew we weren’t gonna be apart forever. We just needed space to grow, since we were growing in different directions. Like two branches on the same tree. Instead of pulling eachother to come our own way, we gave each other room to go to brightest place. It was out of nothing but true love and respect, that we dropped contact from time to time. Since we couldn’t support each others decisions always, and we would have nasty fights instead; we organically took breaks, rather than risking fucking up the whole relationship. We knew it was important. We’d met up after a few weeks or months and see how things are going, then keep in touch or fall our again depending on how the meeting went. It could go up to a year maybe more sometimes. We knew if we were ready or not. Through all of this, if either of us would have been in desperate need, we’d been there in a heart beat. We’d drop anything.

Here in Beijing we enjoyed just hanging out on our yogamats in my Hutong, but we did manage to get out of the house and see some stuff.  As a photographer, I kept it simple. Never brought  flash or anything fancy, not even a change of lens. Just a charged battery with an empty CF card. Keep it simple stupid.

Malin my love, my sister. What the hell would I have ever done without you?

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