Showing my true colors since 2015

Moving to Blogger

Rainbow Autistic is now moving to Blogger!  Though my WordPress will remain, I will no longer make any new posts on it.  My new URL is rainbowautistic.blogspot.com

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content: discussion of racism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, ableism (including brief use of ableist language) and religious bigotry.

Lately, there’s been a lot of intolerance and hate going on in the world.  Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen more incidents of racism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, ableism, etc.

In Charleston, South Carolina, a young White man went to a predominately Black church.  He participated in the Bible Study for an hour (or at least seemed to).  When the Bible Study was over, he got his gun and opened fire in the church, killing nine innocent people, including the church’s pastor and South Carolina State Senator Rev. Clementa Pickney.

In addition to the shooting, eight predominately Black churches were burned in only a couple of days.  Reports say that only two of the cases were arson, but all the fires seem suspicious to me.

Recently, The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-gender marriage all over the country, but that’s just the first step towards LGBTQ equality—in many states, you can still get fired for being LGBTQ.  In other words, you can get married to your same-gender partner on Sunday and lose your job on Monday, which is not fair.

Also, only a few states have protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people.  In many states, you can lose your job, be evicted from your home, or even be refused medical treatment at a hospital if you’re trans.  This needs to change.

Ableism, which is prejudice and discrimination against people with disabilities, is also a problem that needs to be addressed.  Examples of ableism ranges from using ableist language (i.e., the word “retarded”), bullying disabled people, refusing to accommodate the needs of disabled people and not including disabled people in society.

I have endured a lot of ableism in my life.  From bullying to exclusion, I’ve been through it all.  We need to change the way society thinks about people with disabilities so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

There’s also a lot of religious bigotry.  When the United States was founded and the Constitution was signed in 1776, we were given the freedom to follow any religion we chose (or not follow any at all).  However, many people are taking “religious freedom” to the extreme.  For example, many politicians want Roe v. Wade overturned because abortion goes against their religious beliefs.  Just because something goes against your personal beliefs doesn’t mean that everyone should have to agree with it, nor should they be prohibited from doing it if it will benefit them.  If you’re against same-gender marriage because your religious beliefs say it’s wrong, don’t marry a person of the same gender.  It’s as simple as that.

We are a nation not only of Christians, but we are also a nation of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics and other faiths.  Therefore, we should try to respect each other’s different beliefs.  We don’t have to agree with them, but we do have to respect them.

How do we learn to accept each other?  It all starts with adults.  Children and youth often follow their parents’ and mentors examples.  Parents should teach their children to love one another, no matter who they are—be it their race, gender, sexuality, religion, disability, etc.  Mentors should do the same.  They should all tell young people to embrace one another.

Also, put yourself in that person’s shoes.  Would you want to be judged because of the color of your skin or because of your sexuality?  If not, don’t judge others.  You don’t know that person or what they’ve been through, so think before you open your mouth.

Together, we can all make a difference.

trigger warning: discussion of fitting in, conformation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, questioning sexuality, questioning gender identity, questioning faith, mention of restraint and seclusion, PTSD, suicidal ideation, internalized homophobia/biphobia, internalized ableism, self-harm

For Part One, go here

Two years later, I started eighth grade and I was feeling rather lonely.  I felt like no one wanted to talk to me, so I decided to make some new friends.  However, whenever I tried to get to know someone they wouldn’t seem interested, or they would even walk away from me.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.  I asked myself, was I being too pushy?  Or were they just not interested?

For a Language Arts assignment, we were to write a journal entry about what TV shows we thought should be cancelled, and then share our answers.  Well, one boy said that he believed Jimmy Neutron should be cancelled.  I said that I liked Jimmy Neutron, and then the boy said to me, “What are you, four?”  I said that was rude, but two other guys came to his defense, saying that everyone’s entitled to their opinion.  Now I respected the guy’s choice to not like Jimmy Neutron, but I felt he could’ve been a little nicer in expressing it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been criticized for what I liked.  When I started High School, I still liked Nickelodeon shows like Jimmy Neutron, Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents and Drake and Josh.  One day I was eating lunch with some friends at school, and we were discussing TV shows.  I said that I liked shows like Spongebob and Fairly Oddparents, and one girl said, “Ewww.”  I said, “That’s not nice.”  Once again, someone came to her defense.  The other girl I was sitting with said that it’s OK to have your own opinions.  Like I said, I’m fine with that other girl’s decision to not like the same stuff I like.  I just wish she was more polite about it.

I started to feel like I didn’t belong, like maybe I was immature because of my interests because while I was watching Nick, other kids were watching MTV or American Idol or even those mature primetime shows like Desperate Housewives or Grey’s Anatomy.  Then, the girl who said I had to like the Olsen twins to be in her club back in Lower School said that I should start watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy more.

I talked to my new counselor about it, and she said that if I wanted to have friends and fit in (and I desperately did), I would have to like the same things they did.  So the summer before tenth grade, I started watching more of Grey’s Anatomy and less of the Nick shows I liked, and I continued to dress in fashionable clothes.  The “fitting in” thing became an obsession for me.

But when I started my Sophomore year in July, I started to feel even worse than I usually did.  I was more irritated easily and began having a lot more meltdowns.  I even lashed out at the people who cared about me.  At first I thought it was the change in my classroom routine, but after I returned to school in late-August and I was still feeling like crap, I knew that wasn’t the case.

During the school year, I had a big crush on one of my teachers, who was a woman, and then I started to panic because I have heard people say bad things about being LGBTQ: that is was wrong, that it was a sin.  Even my Teen Study Bible had it written that it was a “perversion”.  So I figured out that if I was LGBTQ, I would be displeasing God and that I would go to hell.

All this, plus the extra work that I had to do in class, really stressed me out.  I started to think that life wasn’t worth living anymore and had to be hospitalized for suicidal ideation—and this was one of many hospitalizations I would have.

I continued to lash out at my friends and teachers.  For some reason, I just became very irritated with everything and everyone.  I even hit my counselor and was suspended from school for at least two weeks.

I also started to self-harm.  I didn’t know what to do with all the extra anger, to I tried to cut my arm.  I barely got a scratch.

I had to repeat my Sophomore year, probably due to all the work I missed.  Now I was even more pissed because that meant I would have to spend another year in high school.  Plus, the school was going through some major renovations, and some of my favorite teachers (including the one I liked) were quitting.  I was really stressed by some of the changes in the school.

In September of 2007, My behavior had gotten so out of control I got suspended for three months.  After the suspension was over, I was told I could no longer go back to that school—I had gotten expelled.

In December of 2007, I went to another school.  This one was a special education high school an hour away from my house (and of course, with extra kids on the bus it was even longer).

It was totally different from my other school.  For one thing, if you were on the track to receive a diploma (like I was), you were graded for your work, like getting A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s.  If you were on the track to receive a Certificate of Completion, you weren’t graded.

Another thing different about this school was that they physically restrained you and/or put you in seclusion if they thought you were being unsafe.

Plus, this school had a “Level System”, a way to rank students based on their behavior.  The higher your level was, the more privileges you had.  Level 1 meant you had the least amount of privileges, and Level 5 meant you had the most.  privileges included school trips, participation in the school dance, going to the school café, (which was different from the school’s cafeteria), etc.  I never made it past level 4, which really disappointed me because I really wanted to go on the trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and you had to be on Level 5 for that.

I had a lot of trouble at that school.  The expectations for us were very high.  We had to “keep a calm body” (in other words, no stimming).  Ask for a “self-help”—a break—when needed.  The latter was hard for me, since I’m not always aware of when I actually need a break.  Many times I would end up going off, and every time I would make it to Level 4, I would drop to Level 3 because I would get In-School Suspension.

School was very hard.  I had a lot of trouble living up to the expectations, but perhaps the hardest year of them all was my Senior year when I was nineteen.  All the friends I made in that school have graduated before me and I was pretty lonely.  So I tried to make friends with this group of “popular” girls, but every time I tried to talk to them, they seemed to ignore me.  So I tried and tried again, but they didn’t seem to acknowledge my attempts to be friends with them.

There was this one guy who liked me, but I was so focused on trying to be popular that I just brushed him off and didn’t put much effort into at least being his friend, which I regret because he was a really sweet guy.

To cope with the loneliness, I made up an imaginary friend.  It helped somewhat, but I still wanted to be a part of that clique of popular girls.  I really wanted to fit in.

At one point, I got so frustrated that the girls were acting like I was invisible I wanted to get revenge.

One day, I snapped: I threatened to stab the girls with a pair of scissors and was physically restrained by school staff (and it wasn’t the first time I was restrained).

Because of this incident, I was not allowed to go on any more school trips.  I was very upset because going on trips was like a relief for me.  Plus, I was now subject to daily backpack searches.  I felt like my privacy was being violated because of the searches.

One day, I refused to do a search and was restrained again.  After the restraint was over, I threatened to kill myself, so I had to be hospitalized again.

I stayed in the hospital for about four days, but was still feeling very resentful of the girls.  It was like an obsession that I couldn’t get out of my mind.

The next week, on Wednesday May 26, 2010, I was very angry that the girls were still excluding me from their clique, so I wrote some nasty things about them, then I crumpled up the paper and threw it in the trash.

Well, a teacher must have seen the paper before I threw it away because I was asked to go to Resource—that’s where you are sent if you act out in class.

While in Resource, my school counselor came in with the paper I threw away.  She wanted to talk to me about it.  I tried to grab the paper from her, but the next thing I knew, two staff member came and pinned me to a mat.  They said I was trying to assault my counselor, but I wasn’t.  I was just trying to grab the paper from her.  Then one of the staff took a pair of headphones out of my hand that I was holding on to.  While I was still being restrained, I tried to bite one of the staff to break free from their grip.

When I had calmed down, the Dean asked me if I thought the hospitalization was a waste of time, and I told him yes.

Later that day, when I got home, I got a knife from the kitchen, went to my room and for about ten minutes contemplated slitting my wrists.  I just couldn’t deal with all the stuff that was going on in school anymore.  I felt that no one loved me.  Not even my mother or grandmother.  I guess what stopped me from doing it were two reasons: one reason was that cutting would hurt really, really badly.  The second reason would be that if my mom or grandma came in and saw me covered in blood, they would freak out.  So I snuck back to the kitchen and put the knife back, without doing anything to myself.

I felt like my only other option was to drop out of school, although there were only a few more weeks left before graduation.  I mentioned to my mother that I wanted to drop out and she discouraged me because she said that there are very few jobs that you can get without a high school diploma.  So I had no choice but to stick with it for the next couple weeks.

When I finally graduated from high school, I cried.  I guess I was crying because I was happy that all the torment was over, that I was free from all the pain, and I would never have to see those people or go back to that hellhole again.

That summer, I realized that I was bisexual.  I came out to my mom and grandma shortly after that.  My grandma (surprisingly) seemed to accept it, but I think Mom had a little harder time understanding it.  I guess she was worried that life was going to be harder for me if I was bisexual.

But I was also dealing with the bad memories of my Senior year too.  Despite the fact that it was all over, I still felt like I was reliving my Senior year over and over again.  It was stressful.

I decided to try and reconnect with one of my old friends from the school that I got expelled from.  I told her some of the stuff that I was going through, sent her a friend request on Facebook and invited her to hang out with me, but she never responded back, so I sent her a message asking how she was doing.  She didn’t respond to that one.  So I got frustrated and said it was rude that she wasn’t responding to my messages, and then she blocked me on Facebook.  I was so angry that she blocked me I sent her an angry email telling her to never talk to me again.  A few months later, I felt remorseful that I sent her that email, so I created a fake Facebook account using my imaginary friend’s name (Katie Sullivan), and I sent her a message telling her that I didn’t mean what I said.  I just wanted us to go back to the fun times we had before I had my difficulties.  Well, she messaged me back, saying that I was forcing a friendship and that it wasn’t right to beg someone to do something back.  She also said that she was going through some stuff and she couldn’t let her issues get in the way with mine.  So it was official: our friendship was over, and I had to move on.

I was devastated.  I felt like my friend had turned her back on me, right when I needed her the most.  I screamed.  I cried.  I went into a rage and started throwing stuff around the house.  I even thought about suicide again.  So I called the suicide hotline and the operator suggested that I go to a hospital.  I ended up not going, however—my mother took me shopping at the mall instead.

I started going through what I call “nightly rages”.  I would scream, yell, swear and throw things, and it all happened in the middle of the night—at times between 12:00 to 3:00 AM.  I was having these rages mainly because I was still haunted by all the bad memories from school and from the ending of my friendship.

I hadn’t started college or gotten a job because I was still dealing with the trauma I had experienced in my school years.  Now I was stressed and idle—two unholy combinations.

I had to be hospitalized four more times after graduation, mostly because of suicidal ideation.  I stayed there four to seven days each time.

When I reached my 20s, I started to question my gender identity as well as my sexuality.  It’s difficult to explain. but there were times I didn’t always feel like I was a girl, but there were times that I didn’t always feel like I was a guy either.  I started to wonder if maybe I was transgender.

By this time, my mother had accepted me as bisexual, but I wasn’t sure if she or my grandmother would accept me as transgender.  I was still figuring it all out myself.

At first I thought I was a trans man, but that didn’t seem to describe how I felt.  Then I thought I was genderqueer, meaning Identifying as both male and female, or neither of each.  That didn’t seem to fit me either.  Then I started identifying as nonbinary, meaning not identifying as either a man or a woman.  It seemed to fit, but then I realized that my gender changed depending on how I felt that day.  I researched it online, and found a term for it—genderfluid.

Genderfluid means your gender changes.  Some people’s gender can change yearly, monthly, yearly, daily, even hourly.  They may be a guy, a girl, both or neither.

My gender changes periodically.  Sometimes I’m feminine, sometimes I’m masculine, sometimes I’m both.

I also realized that I’m pansexual—I’m attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of gender, including trans and genderqueer people.

Both my mother and grandmother are accepting of who I am, and I can now say that they’re my greatest allies!

After graduation, I started to develop intenalized ableism—I started to feel bad about myself because of my disability.  I started to hate being Autistic.  I thought my life was ruined because of my disability.

I started questioning my faith as well.  Now my family and I were never really church people, but we are spiritual people, and we believe in God.  However, I thought I thought God didn’t love me because of the things I had done in the past and because I was LGBTQ.  I thought for sure I was going to hell.

My therapist suggested that I go to an “open and affirming” church.  I looked for a church that was close by and had evening services since my mom used to work on Sundays, but I couldn’t find any.

Just as I was losing hope, my mom suggested that we pray on it, and soon after that, my mom had Sundays off!  I was so happy!

I chose to attend a Metropolitan Community Church.  It’s a denomination that’s founded by and for the LGBTQ community and their supporters.  The people at the church are very, very friendly.  They teach that Jesus didn’t come into this world to condemn people, but to save them and love them.  It’s very LGBTQ-affirming and they support marriage equality!

Today, things seem to be getting better.  I’m applying for financial aid so I can go to community college.  I want to go to college so I can get a well-paying job.

I’m starting to feel better about myself.  I’m proud to be genderfluid, pansexual and Autistic, and I think my growing faith in God has helped me with that.  I believe that God made me in His image, and he doesn’t make mistakes.  I may have sinned in the past, by thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I’ve got a clean slate.

I’m also learning independent living skills, such as cooking, cleaning and using public transportation.  I think the more things I learn to do, the more my confidence will increase.  I am an overcomer, and I believe that with God, all things are possible.

trigger warning: abandonment by a parent, ableism, school difficulties, bullying, depression, anxiety, sexuality questioning, fitting in and conformation.

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” — Maya Angelou

Everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone has something that’s eating away at their soul.  Everyone has something they’re afraid to admit for fear of the repercussions that may occur.  Here’s my story.

I guess my problems all started when I was born.  I never knew my father.  He left my mother when she told him she was pregnant with me, and I guess he couldn’t handle it.  They were never married.  I don’t know where my father is now, or if he’s even alive.

Luckily my maternal grandmother stepped up and decided to help take care if me.  She watches me to make sure I’m OK while my mom’s at work.  I don’t get along with her as well as I do with my mom.  Maybe it’s because of the big age difference between my grandma and I.

When I was a toddler, my mother took me to many doctors because she noticed I wasn’t developing typically: when I was a baby, I did more screaming than crying.  Plus I had a lot of trouble sleeping (to be honest, I’ve always had sleep problems).  My speech was delayed as well.

When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified), a form of Autism.  I went to a special education school that was for kids in preschool through second grade.

Age three was OK, but age four was kind of difficult.  I was always afraid of being ignored (I’ve felt this way all my life, honestly), but I couldn’t communicate it in the way my teachers wanted.  In school, if someone got a turn before I did, I would have a meltdown, and would have to sit in time out and miss my turn altogether.

Age five was worse.  I still had communication issues and would end up screaming and crying to try to get my point across.  I missed a lot of activities because of this.  It was also then I started not to like school because I felt that there too many rules.

Perhaps the most difficult year in that school was first grade, when I was six years old.  I had a very strict teacher who had a lot of rules: no talking, no humming, speak in an “appropriate” tone (when given permission to speak), color inside the lines, get all the answers on your paper right.  If you broke any of these rules, you lost privileges, like recess.

I had a lot of trouble following these rules because there were so many of them.  Plus the fire alarm went off almost every day.  I hate fire alarms, and this one was a buzzer—which made it a hundred times worse.  On top of all that, the teacher wouldn’t even let me cover my ears when the alarm went off: she’d take down my hands and yell “HANDS DOWN!”

All these lead to even more meltdowns, and the loss of even more privileges.  I even bit and scratched the principal because I was so frustrated with everything that was going on.  I started to feel really bad about myself, like I was a bad kid, because I was punished a lot.  My self-esteem started to take a tumble downward, and I started to really hate school.

After first grade, I really, really wanted to go to another school, but when my mother and I went to this school—which was an hour away—for an interview, they decided I wouldn’t be a good fit because most of the kids there were considered “low-functioning” (I hate that term), and they would hold me back.

I had a fit.  I screamed and cried all the way home because I did not want to go back to that other school.  I did not want to have to deal with any more mean teachers or daily “fire drills”.

My second grade teacher wasn’t too bad, but the “fire drills” happened just about every day now (and I put that in quotation marks because most of them weren’t really fire drills—the fire alarm was just broken, but they never bothered to fix it.).  I couldn’t stand it, so the teacher gave me cotton balls to put in my ears to try to block out the noise.  Yes, cotton balls!  It didn’t do anything!

I was so glad to graduate from that school that year, but I had no idea what was in store for third grade.  I later found out that I was going to a mainstream public elementary school, but I was going to be in the “special wing”—a special education classroom for students who had disabilities ranging from emotional disturbances to ADHD to Autism.

I had a lot of trouble in that school too.  For one thing, I was paranoid about the fire alarms there.  I was still traumatized by the fire alarms at the other school that I didn’t want to go to this school because I thought they would have daily fire drills there too.

I also got bullied horrendously there, especially by this one girl.  She would say that I acted “White”, although I’m Black, and whenever I covered my ears, she made fun of me for it.  I was bullied by other kids too.  They would knock me down and snatch my glasses off my face.  The teachers didn’t really do anything about the bullying.  When I told my teacher what happened, she just said, “Well he’s not in this class, so let’s just move on.”

I missed a lot of days at that school because of the anxiety I felt every time I went there.  I missed so many days I had to repeat third grade, but it was at another school.

When that year was over, I was so glad because I found out that I was going to another school.  It was a special education school forty-five minutes away from my house (and with extra kids on the bus it made the ride even longer), but it was much better than the two previous schools I went to.  Like I said, I had to repeat third grade, but I didn’t care.  I was just glad to be out of that school where I was being tormented every time I went there.

This school had all three levels of education: Elementary (or Lower, as it was called) School, Middle School, and High School, but it only had about 150 students, so it wasn’t very big.

I started to make friends, which made me happy, and I quickly adopted their interests.  Instead of listening to Kidsongs like I did when I was younger, I started listening to the latest pop singers like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC.

I was finally happy that year, but then this new girl came to our school the next year and invited my friends to be in her club.  I asked her if I could join and she said that I had to be “cool” to be in her club.  She said that I had to like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to be in her club.  Now I didn’t know a thing about the Olsen twins or why they were so popular, but apparently to be cool, I had to like them, so I rented some of their videos at Blockbuster.

But liking Mary-Kate and Ashley wasn’t enough to be “cool”.  The girl who had her club said that my clothes were too babyish and that other people were going to laugh at me.   Until that point, I didn’t care what I clothes I wore.  I wore mostly leggings and shirts with stripes, dots or checker patterns.  But after what the girl said, I asked my mom to take me to JCPenney to by me some “cooler” yet comfortable clothes.

My mom and I would often clash over the definition over what was trendy.  Once when I was eleven, I was starting to get very frustrated because my mom kept choosing clothes for me that I didn’t think were “cool”.  It was then that my mom prayed that we would come to a solution to our problem, and we eventually found some clothes that suited both our tastes.

When I started Middle School I started to feel very depressed, and I think it had something to do with the changes I was going through (welcome, puberty!), and getting used to Middle School.

Middle School was different from Lower School.  There was only one recess break instead of two.  The work was more difficult, and I tried to tell my teacher that I was having trouble with it, but she didn’t listen.  And there were two recess groups, but most of my friends weren’t in that group because they weren’t in my class.  I was lonely, so I talked to my counselor and she said that I could visit the other recess group once a week.  That helped ease my stress a little bit.

But I was still butting heads with my teacher because I felt she was being unfair.  She would reprimand us for forgetting to put our chairs up on our desks when it was time to go home.  And she continued to give us work that was too difficult to understand.  I ended up taking my frustrations out on her because I thought she was mean.  I started getting an attitude and even threatened and swore at my teacher.

I was also dealing with some personal issues at the time.  When I was twelve, I started to have crushes on both girls and guys.  I knew I wasn’t a lesbian because I liked guys as well as girls, but I didn’t know what bisexual or pansexual meant at the time.  I told my mom about my feelings because I feel like we can talk about almost anything, but she thought it was just a phase that I was going through.  She told me to give it time to figure out my sexuality, so I didn’t mention it again for the next few years.

On Hiatus 

I’m posting this from my phone, so I apologize if it doesn’t come out quite right.

I won’t be writing any new posts until I can get a new laptop.  My current one keeps malfunctioning.  Hopefully, I’ll get a new laptop soon.

Thanks everyone for your understanding, and have a blessed day!

Seven Days of Reflections: Depression,

I used to be happy,
I was more outspoken,
I moved around freely,
I remember the joy in my life,

That all changed in middle school,
When I wasn’t allowed to do those things,
I had to learn to be more reserved,
The pressure from teachers and peers alike,

I started to become more irritated,
Angry, sad, lonely, frustrated,
More phone calls from the school,
Telling my mother about my behavior,

I started to think about suicide,
I wanted to kill myself,
I figured death would be better than this,
I really hated my life,

Twelve years later and I’m still unhappy,
Things haven’t changed much,
I want to be happy again,
I want that joy back from age eleven

Copyright 2015, Kris Young

Seven Days of Reflections: Why Isn’t Anyone Listening?

I see all the troubles in the world,
Poverty, injustice, bigotry, hunger,
Sickness, oppression, pain, inequality,
Slavery, abuse, genocide, violence,

Tears flow from my eyes,
As I pray to the Lord,
Why aren’t you doing something about it?
Why aren’t you making this world better?

So God says to me,
“Kris, I am making this world better,”
“I created you,”
“You are going to change the world,”

So I ask God,
“But how, God?”
‘How can I make this world better?”
“I’m just one person.”

Then He says to me,
“Use the gifts that I gave you,”
“Your writing and blogging abilities,”
“So you can let the world know what’s going on,”

So I write about the injustices of the world,
But it seems no one is listening,
Then God tells me,
“Don’t give up. Keep writing,”

I keep writing on social media,
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Deviantart,
I know that one day people will listen,
I just have to keep going and not give up

Copyright 2015, Kris Young

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