Hey Teens with experience
My sexuality has been something I have struggled with for 4 years. I never thought about it, I always assumed I was straight (the default right?) until a girl I was talking to in class asked me what my sexuality was, I new she was Bi and I hesitated. I answered with "I never thought about it". This has haunted me since, why did I hesitate?
Since then I kinda repressed it until recently when I watched something that made all my questioning resurfaced. I wouldn't care except it's affecting my everyday life. I have never been sexually attracted to anyone so I thought I was maybe asexual? But I can imagine myself being romantic and sexual with people of any gender? Nothing repulses me and I don't know if this is because I'm not bothered by the LGBT+ community, or because I have a very strong imagination?
I just really want to learn who I am, I feel like part of myself is missing, I feel like I don't know myself.
Hi Laila, thanks so much for contacting us here at TWE! Sexuality can be a difficult thing to navigate, and questioning it is something many young people experience at some point. Being a teenager is the time when people become aware of their romantic interest, and also start to experiment a bit for some, so it's totally natural for you to be beginning to think about your sexuality.
However, if thinking about your sexuality is becoming an issue for you, it's a great think you've reached out for help. Although I can fully understand that not being able to identify yourself with a particular group or label such as bi, asexual, gay, etc.. can be difficult and leave you feeling lost, many people actually go through life without calling themselves anything, and focus on what they like without worrying about what to call themselves. Your sexuality is a big part of you, so if you're trying to work out what it is you like, perhaps try to focus more on exactly that, knowing what you do and don't like, instead of trying to work out what term you fit under. Also, you may not know for a while now exactly what you like, and that's also okay! Don't rush into anything, just make sure that whatever happens, you're comfortable and happy with it, it doesn't matter who it is (or isn't) with, and who knows, perhaps along the way you'll work out how you'd like to identify. For now though, just know that lots of young people go through your situation, and it's completely okay to not know who you are just yet, just try to focus on whatever makes you happy!
All the best - Emmy
Hi, so since it's pride month and I'm genderfluid, I want to come out to my mum on genderfluid pride day (16th of June) but I'm not sure what to say or how to explain it since she isn't very aware of all of the gender identities and their definitions, what should I do?
Hi Tegan! It may be worth explaining to your mum what it means to be genderfluid, because then she has a full understanding of what you’re trying to tell her you are. Possibly plan a little bit of what you want to say to her, but don’t over think it - this will probably make you a lot more nervous as you’re trying to remember all these things you want to explain to her. Try and treat it as a relatively normal conversation; sit her down and just say that you need to talk to her about something. That’s a good way of showing her that it’s important to you. Then maybe explain that you’re genderfluid, and then define what that means, and just see where the conversation takes you. Good luck, I hope it all goes well! - Tasha x
I recently got taken out of school to be homeschooled because of my bad anxiety and a traumatic experience that I had at school but now I won’t be able to do my GCSE’s because it’s too expensive to take them out of school and I’m really worried that I won’t have a good future. I really don’t know what to do :(
Hi Eve, thanks for contacting us. There are alternatives to GCSEs, such as apprenticeship schemes which will take you below GCSE level and train you up for the sort of job you want, or BTECs if that would be more affordable. Job experience is also really good, if you can get any of that! You may also be able to look into colleges which offer GCSE retakes, they may be willing to take you on if that's something you'd feel comfortable doing. You could also look into things like counselling which may enable you to feel more comfortable and confident applying to a different school later on. Besides that, have you or your family spoken about the possibility of only taking a few GCSEs, such as Maths, English, and perhaps Science? This may be more affordable, or it may be worth looking into if your parents could get any extra financial help to aid this. Not having qualifications isn't the end of the road, there are other options, such as apprenticeships which I mentioned above, which still offer success. - Emmy
I think I may have depression but my parents and none of my friends will believe me and just think I want attention. How do I know for sure if I have it. Samantha
Hi Samantha! Thanks for getting in touch with us. If you think you have depression, the best thing to do would be to go to see your doctor. A medical professional is the only person who can diagnose you, and if they find you do have depression, there are lots of things they can suggest to help you, such as counselling, which is completely confidential if you don't want to tell anyone. I hope if you do decide to tell your friends or family, that they are nice, perhaps if you were comfortable you could bring them to a second doctors appointment if they do find you have depression? That way the doctor could speak to them about it. Good luck! - Emmy
How do I make myself start to listen to others and talk less about myself. I don't even know I am doing it but lately my friends have been telling me I do all of the time. - Lucy
Hi Lucy, it's natural for people to want to talk about experiences they've had or to share fun things about themselves, but if you and your friends are noticing that tends to take up a lot of your conversations, it's really mature that you're trying to resolve that. I think the best way to do this is to make sure you ask your friends about themselves, and if they're telling a story, make sure they're finished before you start to talk about something else that happened to you. It might feel a bit forced or unusual at first, but after a while you should get used to it. Good luck! - Emmy
My great grandmother passed away 2 years ago and I am so depressed over it. Everytime I think of her I cry and it hurts to think of any of the memories. My family refuses to even talk about her and I don’t know what to do.
Hey There Luke!!
It’s normal to feel the grief even so long after the passing of a loved one. They often say that the later years can even be worse as numbness and shock wear off. My advice, mainly from Experience, is to talk about her in the best possible light. With friends or a grief counsellor if your family won’t. Writing letters to her will also be a great relief and outlet to this pain. Tell her what you wish you could, thoughts and feelings and all of those things. And remember it’s okay to cry!! It’s a horrible thing to lose someone you love, and you’re allowed to be upset. And to still be hurting. You’re strong, even when you don’t feel it. - Rae
I think that I need help for my mental health but I don't want to go with my parents/them finding out. How do I go to the doctors then?
Hi Poppy, thanks for getting in touch.
It’s completely understandable where you’re coming from and I’ve been in your shoes before. Depending on your age, certain GP Practices allow you to get an appointment without parental guidance. I know that some practices allow 15+ year olds to make appointments independently.
However, having been in your shoes I think that telling your parents may be a viable option. I thought that my parents wouldn’t understand or would judge me, however after telling my parents I wish I told them sooner (believe me they’re not the most easy parents). Especially if you’re 14 and under, as sometimes the independence makes you feel stronger but when it comes to mental health the thing you’ll need is support as mental health waiting lists can be extensive.
Meaning of life?
This is a really tough one, but as somebody who has gone through this same dilemma, I totally relate to how you're feeling. I had an existential crises a few years ago, all I thought about was the meaning of life and what I was doing, and after a while I came to a conclusion I was happy with. To me, the meaning of life is to be happy and enjoy what time we have on this planet. No matter what you do with your life, the most important thing (to me anyway) is to make sure it makes you happy. This thought process has made me more able to make important decisions and overall has made me happier with my life. Of course, the meaning of life can be something different to everyone. You may read this and think "I don't agree with this!" That's totally fine, perhaps the meaning of life for you is to get a great job, be a nice person, have family around you, etc.., and eventually your search for the meaning of life will end and you'll be content. An existential crises can be really tough, but you'll pull through! Emmy x
This guy and I were really close. We did everything together. We walked to classes together, ate lunch together and talked all of the time. We used to be best friends. Now suddenly he has started calling me a drama queen even though I never said anything to him that was mean or started drama. When he isn't calling me drama queen or telling me I emotionally eat myself he ignores me. It hurts so much and I just really want him back but he won't listen to anything I say. What do I do?
If he was previously your best friend then try confronting him about his recently out-of-character behaviour. If there's even the smallest part of him that is still the person you knew, then he will listen. If he continues to be a toxic influence in your life then it might be worth distancing yourself from him. It is the hardest thing to do, but as time passes it will get easier.
Keep your head up!
So one of my friends found out about my self Harm (she saw my wrists) and she was quite supportive but she then pressured me to tell another friend who then told two more of my friends and none of them have told anyone else yet. The first person, like a month after she found out she came to me and said that she’s been cutting for the passed two days so when I asked why she said I’m extremely depressed and then laughed and then the friend that told everyone cane to me and said that she self harms because she thinks that her girlfriend is “extremely depressed ” because of her. But nowwww the second girl is blackmailing me she says things like if you don’t let me [punch,kick etc..] you then I’ll tell everyone and she said if I tell anyone about her blackmailing me then not only will she tell everyone she’ll film me (doing something like getting changed for pe or going to the toilet) and posting it online I really don’t know what to do and I can’t even tell the school because they’ll talk to her and she’ll know it was me. Please help! Sorry for this long message....she constantly beats me up people keep thinking my parents abuse me and then say I’m attention seeking and it’s getting wayyyy out of hand please help... thank you ~ Corey
Hello, first of all I’m really sorry to hear of your situation. This must be really difficult for you and I want to start by saying how brave it is that you’ve come somewhere for advice. To start, it was unfair if your friend to pressure you into telling more people, self harm is a very personal struggle and it was really brave of you to come forward and tell someone about it. The girl who is blackmailing you doesn’t sound like much of a friend, and although it seems like a scary thing to do, I think telling an adult is the best step forward here. What she’s doing is not okay, threatening and physically harming you are very wrong and if the school find out, they may be able to take steps to stop this, such as excluding her or ensuring she’s not in any lessons you’re in. You may want to tell a parent/carer first, as they may also be able to help and offer emotional support. I’m also wondering if your friends know about this? Would they be able to stay around you so she doesn’t have a chance be mean? I hope this clears up for you soon, nobody should have to feel this way. Emmy x
How to not care about what other people think about me?
Hi Afia, thank you for getting in touch.
This is something I completely understand and I thought about it for years. Throughout my teenage years I have watched other people live care free and I was so jealous. What I’ve taught myself is that nobody’s opinion matters but my own. If I like it, I’ll do it. If I don’t, I won’t. Its a journey I had with myself that has taken until the age of 17 to conquer and I think I’m getting there. To not care about others opinions is to have an outlook on the world that is surrounding yourself. Again, only care about what you think and if people try to tell you otherwise or disagree with you, you can either take it into account constructively or disregard it. It’s easier said than done, but the more you practice and the more you tell yourself positive things the easier it is to achieve. - Courtney xx
How can I deal with stress?
Stress can be a difficult emotion to cope with, it can leave us feeling upset, angry, and unsure of what to do. A really good way to deal with stress is to distract yourself, whether that be watching a film you love, listening to music, going out with friends/family, etc.., they can all help you to take your mind off things. Sometimes it's also good to get it out, and some people have different ways of doing that. Some people like to talk to people, it can help them express their emotions and get support back, others like a more physical way of getting it out, such as exercise. If you're finding yourself stressed for a long period of time, you may also want to look into counselling as a way to relieve stress and get help with dealing with it. Emmy x
How to deal with not a friend but they're in your friendship group who acts the victim in situations he has created? Especially when all your friends then side with him because he's "having a hard time"? It makes me feel incredibly isolated even though I've done nothing wrong and he just creates drama out of boredom.
Be empathetic when around this person, and try to understand why they are doing what they are doing. Yet also allow yourself to see situations he may be trying to manipulate and don’t let yourself get drawn in. When you feel like it’s happening, bring it to his attention. Point out what he is doing and how it’s affecting you.
If this doesn’t work, when there is a situation it may just be best to distance yourself until it all dies down and not get caught up in it. Taz
How to handle failing an exam?
Failing exams can be really hard, whether or not you expected a better grade or not originally. You may also be feeling pressure from teachers, peers, and parents to do with your grades, and this can make the situation worse. If you've done all you can, that's important to remember. So longs as you're trying your hardest, that's all you can do and that's something to be proud of. You can also use it as something to learn from, look at where you went wrong and work on improving it, this can give it a more positive spin. Emmy
How do I deal with my friends finding out I self harm? I don't want my parents to know but I know I should ask for help.
Self-harm is a tricky subject and I'm glad you've been able to come forward about it. I understand it's a coping mechanism but what's important is your last statement: That you know you need help. Acknowledging this is often so tricky and i am genuinely so pleased you've been able to do this.
Now regarding your friends, are they close? If you are super good friends with them, chances are they just want to know what's going on so that they can support you to the best of their abilities. You only have to tell them as much as you feel comfortable doing so, but maybe just let them know how they could support you in times of crisis etc etc.
In regards to your parents finding out, why don't you want them to know? Are you sure they won't support you? If the answer is 100% yes and you're over 16, in the UK, why not speak to your friends who could maybe take you to a teacher and get help that way? Or head to your GP and explain everything that's going on. Your parents don't need to be made aware if it's through your doctor! You have a right to confidentiality but you also have a right to get help, because you deserve it.
Good luck and look after yourself. You are worth so much more than the ways you hurt yourself x
I'm sorry your parents are unsupportive in any regards. It sucks when you can't find comfort/support at home. Since you haven't really specified your question I'm not quite sure which part of non-supportive family you'd like advice on. However, coming from a background myself where parents didn't want to help me out with anything I'll drop a few tips below.
A lot of the time your parents or a parent still loves you. They just dont know how to show it. Similarly, dont value your worth on how much you parents seem to value you.
When you dont get support at home, you often need to turn elsewhere
Academically, speak to your teachers. If you're comfortable explain your situation and they will often provide extra support (Lunchtime, Emails, Extra work etc etc). Also speak to your Guidance/Pastoral teacher if you are comfortable as they can often make deadline exceptions etc if you are really struggling.
If your parents are getting in the way of you going to things like college or university the key is to speak to as many resources as possible. Often there will be bursaries and scholarships available you should look at. You can also get general funding depending on your course/country. At the end of the day though, if its finance thats the problem, you just have to get a job. I know it sucks at a younger age when all your friends go out and you have to work to support yourself but it's worth it in the long run and its the reality.
If its emotionally, rely on your friends. Explain your situation and let them be there for you. Make friends in loads of areas so you have a lot of people to just chat to when you feel isolated. Join clubs, societies, volunteering etc etc.
If its with your sexuality, this is a hard one. You are valuable and you are allowed to feel however you do. Sometimes your parents may change their minds and come round to your way of thinking. Other times they wont but that doesn't decrease your worth, Its difficult to accept that your parents don't accept a part of you but again, focus on your friends, teachers, tutors, work colleagues, youth workers and you will learn to live with it.
Same with mental health. You have to just be more independent and do things on your own. Go to the GP. Get the help. Don't let your parents get in the way.
Overall, just learn to have confidence in yourself and love yourself. Build strong relationships with those around you and you never know, one day your parents may change!
Sorry this is super long but you didn't specify!!!
My friend is extremely homophobic... but towards himself. He doesn't have an issue with anyone else being gay, he openly supports it, but he can't tolerate himself. What do I do?
I'm sorry to hear your friend is struggling to accept his sexuality. Sometimes the process of figuring out your sexuality can be difficult, and for many it may take a while for them to accept themselves. Although everyone should feel confident and happy with their sexuality, sometimes people feel worried they'll be judged or face bad reactions from people around them, so as a result they may associate these negative feelings with their sexuality. I think the best thing may be that you talk to him in a place he feels safe. Ask him about how he's feeling, if there's any reason why he's struggling with coming to terms with his sexuality, and perhaps suggesting ways he may be able to help himself. For example, he may find it beneficial to talk to a counsellor or a support group about his feelings. Make sure you're being supportive, and if he's uncomfortable talking about anything then try not to push him on it, as it may be hard for him to talk about certain things. You sound like a very supportive friend, I hope you and your friend manage to have a good chat and figure some things out.
What do you do when you're on the verge of being homeless legally, due to wanting counseling to help ptsd and other mental disadvantages?
Hi Adrian! I know I’m a little late in responding but I spoke to one of my friends who ended up homeless when she dropped out of University. Although it is obviously for different reasons, I thought you might like to know what other options are available. You can ask the council for help and they must assess your situation within 28 days and you might find you’ll qualify for emergency home accommodation.
Depending on your age, they may be able to place you in a home/hostel/temporary family for a temporary time whilst you find other options.
At 16/17 it is normally social services who deal with it.
Otherwise, charities are your best option. Try local shelter charities etc and all shelter.com have good advice.
Best of luck and stay safe.
How do you get rid of spots?
Spots are a tricky one! It’s natural to get some acne as you pass through the teen years and everyone’s skin is different so it’s about trial and error until you find what works best for you. I used to use products like Micellar Cleansing Water, Cetaphil wash & scrub. Exfoliate once a week (but make sure you keep an eye to find out if this helps/hinders as it can make sensitive skin worse!). Products with tea-tree in them are often very beneficial to at least calm the redness, if not remove the spots. Proactive+ can be good!
If you’ve got sensitive skin, Simple do a wonderful range of skin care products.
Are you super stressed? That can increase acne.
Don’t pick/pop them if you can...that only spreads the infection.
If all else fails, and it’s really knocking your self confidence, visit the doctors. They can often provide creams and antibiotics to help you tackle acne. I was on a cream called Duac & a tablet called Lymecycline but there’s also accutance, the pill, oxcytetracycline, epiduo cream and many more.
Unfortunately as I said, it’s trial and error to find what YOUR skin wants. Good luck and don’t let them get you down if you can - remember everyone gets spots even if it feels like it’s just you
How do I deal with my friends finding out I self harm? I don't want my parents to know but I know I should ask for help.
Hi Bryan. First of all, I’m glad you’ve acknowledged that you do need to tell someone. That’s often the hardest step and I’m actually really pleased you can do that!!
Secondly, I assume you’re asking because your friends have been fairly concerned. This is a good sign and it means they truly care. If you feel able to, maybe pick 1 or 2 friends you’re comfortable with and try to talk to them. Tell them as much or as little as you’re comfortable with for the first time, it’s just good you’ve opened up those lines of conversation.
Now, about your parents. Firstly, ask yourself why you don’t want them to find out. Are you scared of their reaction? Will they hate you? Will they not support you? The truth is, you won’t truly know how they’ll react until you try. It is the scariest thing but in 99% of cases all your parents want to do is support you. Remember also their initial reaction won’t be their reaction forever, it’s a hard situation for everyone involved but they’ll learn to adjust often.
If you know your parents finding out puts you at risk/safety at risk, then talk to another trusted adults. Teachers are wonderful. Your Giidance system is vital in a situation like this as they can help you in school and can also help you access the help you deserve - whether it be in school therapy, out of school counselling or medication. It’s also good to have someone you know you can go to. If you dislike your Guidance staff, pick a favourite teacher and chat to them. They’re always willing to help and they can e more than you’ll expect!! They are also a good bridge between your parents and you, if you do t know how to start the conversation maybe.
If you feel you can’t do any of these things, go to your GP. If you’re in the UK & over 16 they can’t share your info with anyone else.
Or try online services: YoungMinds, SelfHarn.co.uk, Samaritans, Childline etc etc.
Also remember next time you want to hurt yourself, you don’t deserve it no matter what you believe. There’s other alternatives (check out the articles on our website for 50+ alternatives to self harm).
Take care! - Rebecca x
Prelims are coming up and I’m scared I’m going to fail. How do you handle stress because I still can’t do it!!! I go to Zuni next year and I need to be able to handle it better.
Hi Antonia! I totally understand how much pressure there is when it comes to tests and exams. I know you want to do well, but no number, letter or any grade can define your worth. At the end of the day; everything will be okay.
When dealing with revision I like to prioritise my work. Maybe try making a revision timetable and plan when you are going to study. Remember to leave time for breaks. Put the subject you struggle with most or the subject you want to do the best in first. Within the subject, study the topics you don't understand first rather than going over what you already know.
Make sure you have a tidy place to work, clear out a desk or even if your just sitting on your bed, don't have papers everywhere. Make sure you are comfy and relaxed and have some snacks on hand so you don't have to get up. It's important to have a drink too because this will help you feel better. I like to have a glass of water or tea (herbal tea if it's in the evening as you need to sleep). You could also light a candle to help you relax.
Turn off distractions, don't have the tv on and turn your phone, laptop, or iPad off unless you are using them to study. Electronic devices can be good but you should turn social media and game notifications off. There are lots of apps and learning games you can play that might help you, and quizzes and even practise papers online you can use. I like quizlet and duolingo if you are learning languages.
On the topic of the internet and electronics, I find YouTube a good learning resource. Sometimes it's easier to see and hear someone explain something rather than reading it out of a text book. My favourite study channel is Eve Bennet, but depending on what exams you are doing you may or may not find her helpful.
Making fancy notes and using flash cards is a good way to remember things. Try writing in different coloured pens and even different coloured paper. It has been proven that different colours help people to remember more easily!
Having a friend to help you study has also been helpful for me. Make sure it's a friend who you know will help you focus rather than become a distraction. You can test eachother and share study methods. It will also make you feel less stressed and know that your not alone with the stress of revising.
When you get to uni, try revise as early as you can so you don't have as much to do last minute and try to keep on top of your work. Just try your hardest and take good notes in class.
If you start to feel overwhelmed, treat yourself. Take a bubble bath, watch an episode of your favourite tv show. Have some time to do something you want to do. And remember not to let exams take over your entire life. I comepletly understand how you feel as I have broke down crying over exam stress before, so please know that you are not alone. If you haven't already, try reading some articles on TWE as we have many articles about this. Also, my last tip is to get a good nights sleep the night before! Don't stay up all night revising. I hope some of this helps you, and good luck. At the end of the day, exams aren't the end of the world. -Ella
Hi there, I am lesbian and I have a crush on another lesbian A REALLY BIG CRUSH... so anyway erm she got a girlfriend the day I was going to ask her out and she only said yes to the other girl because she didn't want to ruin their friendship but that also means they won't break up because they'd hurt each others feelings. I know this sound mean and jealous and salty but what should I do? Thank you I hope you can understand, sorry
I totally understand! I think the best thing you can do is tell her how you feel. If she feels the same way she may understand that what she’s doing to her friend is wrong. I hope everything works out xx -Joey
I am seriously worried about my grand daughter aged 13. Her parents are divorced. Her mum moved to Spain and she didnt want to go. She lived with me and was happy with friends going out and sleepovers. In April her dad said i was too old to look after her and she lived with him for 4 month. He verbally abused her, she lived 2 jra away and had to change schools. She was devastated and since yhen her life has fallen apart in her eyes. Her mum said to her if not working with dad then you have to come live with me in Spain. Her mums work means she comes home 3 or 4 in the morning and sleeps best part of of the day. She is about to start a spanish state school.
She now has social anxiety will noy talk ti others and on friday her ild school contacted me that she has been contacting an old school fiend from when she was living with me and was going on suicide snap chats. I am terrified she will harm herself. She sits at home all day with no friends and scared of the day she has to go to school. Even begging me not to bring her birth certicate to her mum which she needs to start school. She has also tild me she is not sure of her sexuality. She talks ti me but not her mum. Her mum's friend asked her if she was enjoying living in spain. She said no. Her mam gave her the bad eye then Shouted at her for telling the truth. Her mum wants it to work but i know my grand daughter unless with me in uk. How can i help jer
Hi Julie, I am so sorry that you and your grand daughter are going through this. I think that you all need to sit down and talk about this (you and her parents and your grand daughter). If not possible in person then through Skype or even over the phone. You need to tell her parents that they need to take her opinion into consideration. Maybe you could introduce your grand daughter to our website, I'm sure some of our articles could help her and we would be happy to talk to her if she needs it. I really hope you manage to sort this, and if you need any more help please let us know. -Ella
Well I'm lesbian and I just got a girlfriend and she is so much prettier than me and more popular we both love each other and I know it isn't all about looks but I genuinely AM ugly and she is gorgeous. I have good skin with no spots or freckles, nice eyes but really horrible eyebrows and the thinnest lips ever but I'm allergic to EVERY type of makeup I've tried and I just want to look at least decent I know this sound kind of pointless but me and my girlfriend both self harm people know that she does but no one know about me and I have severe anxiety especially over my looks please help if you can what do I do if I'm way too ugly compared to her - Harriet
Hi Harriet! It is normal to feel like this especially in a relationship with someone, it is easy to think that you're not good enough for them. You need to remember that there is a reason she is your girlfriend, and she might even feel similar to this about you! Try talking to her about this, and you can both help each other. You don't need makeup to look nice, you may have heard this many times before but it is true. You could talk to a doctor about your allergies and they may be able to recommend some makeup that you can wear and is safe for your skin. Good luck and if you need any more help please ask! -Ella
What should I do about my "friend" who pretends to have depression and self harm? I know you probably think like how do you know the pretend but they even told me them self that they're faking it for attention and she doesn't know that I self harm etc and it really stresses me out, and even triggers me! What should I do?
Hi, I understand how frustrating this is, I had 2 friends who did this and the most annoying thing about it was having to see one of my other friends who was actually going through this suffering in silence. I think you should talk to your friend, and tell them that if they are self harming they should see a professional. My "friends" would post on Snapchat about it for attention instead of doing this which is another sign that they are attention seeking. My two "friends" also would encourage each other to do this which was part of the problem. I am no longer friends with them for more than just this reason, and if your "friend" continues to do this maybe you should find better friends. I hope this helps and there may be some articles on our website that could also help you, -Ella
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