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I am Muttering

Child to Child Cruelty; These Scars May Never Die

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8 min read

Though it’s almost 20 years ago, I can’t remember to forget that morning. It was a Saturday, a time for new looks to be plaited on our heads. My elder brother, the beloved impatient, was going to be seeing us off to the saloon, you know what this means, hurry up or get a fast-forwarding slap that helps you pick up the pace.

“Uju!! UJU!!! come and see, come and seeπŸ˜’β€¦” with so much heaped-up fright triggered by the gory image her eyes had just embraced, my sister Chichi couldn’t wait for me to get to her. She kept screaming my name as she ran to meet me halfway, and behold!! I saw her holding bulky strands of hair covered in pus and blood, all rooted to a peeled skin. “Jesus!! What happened? Who cut your headπŸ₯ΊπŸ˜²?” I was terrified and immediately afflicted with goosebumps.

 

TORMENT 101

One unsolicited gamble life gifts us with is that our lives can change in split seconds. It’s either for better or worse, we are not presented with the gift of a choice. At that moment, my sister who was only 11 years old had her life changed into a nightmare. While every little girl in her circle enjoyed the reality of getting their hairs decorated with beautiful colored beads hanging at the tip of innocently woven cornrows on their heads, my sister had her hair scraped to its foundation with a large plaster supported with bulks of cotton wool underneath that gave it a really offensive shape, plastered in the middle of her head.

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β€œUju, is the plaster showing? If I put the handkerchief like this, will people noticeπŸ˜ͺ?” Not a day went by without my sister asking me these questions before she left for school. But unfortunately, her cover of shame with the handkerchief was always short-lived by her insensitive teachers who scolded her every time in class affirming that the handkerchief was not part of their uniform, thus ordering her to remove it. This exposed her to undiluted mockery from her classmates.

mental break down in kids

She lost her esteem completely. She often told me that during break hours, her classmates would draw a large pie head on the board and label it “Maureen’s head”. They would playfully dissect it trying to find X. Sometimes they’ll even come too close to sightsee her head to make sure they had a proper illustration, also chanting β€œFind X on Maureen’s head”. If you can’t beat them you join them yeah? She found herself too embarrassed to pick a slot to engage them in laughing at her pain. Oftentimes she’ll pretend to be asleep in class, deliberately missed assemblies by hiding in the toilet, and worst off preferred to get her ass whopped at the gate for coming late.

Read: Social Hiccups and the Flipside of Mastering Avoidance

Imagine a child of 11 years old in JS1, losing her confidence and having a psychological breakdown in a world that ought to be fair to her at least at that stage of her life. To date, my sister still has the scar (almost invincible now) on her head. And the psychological scar? She’s still insecure about the shape of her head, she believes she’s got the biggest head to ever say hello to planet earth, one even mightier than watermelons. You can’t tell her otherwise, she’s vowed never to cut her hair again for any reason whatsoever.Β 

I know you’re wondering what exactly led to a change of story for my sister’s head, well it all started with her trying to untangle a relaxer burn while losing her hair, and tada, she ended up uprooting her entire scalp. A sad tale that still haunts her to this day!

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Learning to Wade Through My Childhood Trauma
Source- Blac.media

AN AGONIZING THREAD

I got unfairly surrendered by nostalgia over my sister’s story while scrolling through Twitter and saw a tweet by @demigodgeous which read β€œI remembered in JS2, I was voted 2nd ugliest person in the class. I was pretending it didn’t hurt me, but it did. It did.” My emotions were suddenly gripped by the sad-toned voice of my sister, how she often said to me β€œsecondary school was the worst stage of my life. The worst place to be, everyone is fake and insensitive including the teachers”.

Then I moved over to the comments, a lot of the responses pierced my emotions more. I couldn’t resist a few screenshots…

childhood scars and revenge
Source- Teststar.in

β€œIn the drama club, they needed someone to act as satan; the intro tech teacher who’s the coordinator and supposedly a child of God nominated me and explained that imagery and representation matters a lot and they have to use someone that’s close enough to cast the role”– @DrikejioforP

Read: Our Names and the Nickname Disease

β€œReminds me of an experience in primary school where I was paraded in front of the whole school during assembly as having the worst set of teeth. I had fallen down a flight of stairs some months earlier and that hurt my teeth. Tried explaining to my teacher o. But No, this woman paraded me in front of the whole assembly talking about β€œThis is what happens to your teeth when you don’t brush it. Do you want your teeth to look like hers?” Everyone shouted β€œNo”, of course. I did not forgive my teacher for many years for doing that to me”- To_Lisah

β€œI remember my classmate saying I was so ugly that he would marry me and keep me at the door so that anytime he comes back from work and sees my face, he would laugh”- @BLAQ1E

β€œI hated my lips in secondary school! A classmate accused me of having big lips, and used to push her mouth forward to make fun of me! It was so painful, I hated my lips so much…I wished I could reduce it!! But my God, look at the sumptuous lips now”- @Pweetiedivine1

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β€œI have had a missing incisor for about 5 years now, I was in SS2 when I had the accident. I recall going to school and everyone laughed at me when I opened my mouth to speak saying I looked like a vampire. To date, that tooth has not been fixed and people still laugh or stare when they see me. That has really lowered my level of confidence in myself. I can’t even take a picture smiling and I hate meeting new people”- @Airfay_69

O, boy! How were kids able to stomach so much hurt? How is it that the kids were so disconnected from the pain their fellow kids felt?

dealing with childhood scars

I WAS A NIGHTMARE TOO

And then my emotions are catapulted to every ounce of hurt I made Yemisi Sonuga go through. Ooo Yemisi, damn! I was in JSS 1, boarding house, and this girl, I just could never bring myself to empathize with her. For obvious reasons, I guess it was because she wasn’t like the rest of the girls I wanted in my corner. Secondary school and cliques are like bread and butter, it makes the whole essence worthwhile. And if you gotta keep a clique, you have to make sure to come correct.Β 

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Yemisi was too odd but her admiration for me made her yearn for closure. I saw her as too clingy, it pissed me off. She had natural brown-colored teeth which at the time felt disgusting to look at and nearly every time she spoke, spit splattering was sure. I couldn’t deal. Well not only me, the rest of the girls too. No one wanted her. We often mocked her brown teeth and made sure she cried before we stopped. The only time she was good for us was helping us fetch our buckets or go on those long errands. Of course, she always obliged as it made her feel among. Unfair to mention that she spent most of her time at the hostel in tears due to frustration from us.

childhood scars in black kids

Yemisi couldn’t handle the heat, we resumed JSS 2 and it was announced she withdrew. Deep down my conscience was uneasy, I knew I had a hand in it but the bad side of my mind kept cheering me on with great relief!

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I never forgot her, her name, and what she looked like. Fast forward to after secondary school, I searched for her on Facebook, I found her and sent a connection request which she accepted. Her warm welcome brought me peace. She sent me a message on how life has been, not bad, not perfect. But reading in between the lines of her messages, I was able to uncover that she still had that attached admiration for me. She was still hung on to what we could have been as friends. I didn’t know if to extend a hand of friendship or seek her forgiveness. I was too much of an egoistic coward to seek her forgiveness, I took solace in the fact that she might have never registered any of what I did as an offense. Should I have opened a chapter she might never acknowledged existed? Perhaps the forgiveness I sought was from my conscience, not her.

childhood scars

OOPS I DIDN’T HAVE IT ENTIRELY ROSYΒ 

Ooo yes! I wasn’t one of those ‘crown to sole’ spotless kids in the neighborhood. I had my share of insecurities with malaria playing the unrepentant devil’s advocate in my life. As a kid, I often woke up with blisters on my lips even when I wasn’t ill. It will spread across causing sores that were distasteful to look at. I got mocked by my peers for having “hot water lips”. The cold sores happened too often to not leave scars and I’ll never forget a certain boy who said to me “why are your lips like this? Don’t you know it will deter kissers”. The nerve though, like it was my making.Β 

Read: Addiction Is Not as Straightforward as You Think

For a long time, I felt insecure about my lips which also got mocked for being big, and yeah yeah my teeth. The incisors appeared bigger than the rest after all my milk teeth bit the dust. I couldn’t laugh at will without getting called “big teeth”. Now, I still suffer a bit of the trauma, I don’t entirely find them cute.

childhood scars
Source- Everyday Health

ARE KIDS REALLY INNOCENT?Β 

As an adult now, I often ruminate on the nature of kids, and how cruelly insensitive they are. It’s often said that kids are the most innocent, I beg to differ, kids are brutal! I think of us as kids and I wonder how we picked bad habits in a world we haven’t lived so much in. Is it inborn? It’s interesting that as adults, we now play the sensitivity card.

Read: Am I the Only One Who Can’t Stand Kids?

Many of us still carry scars meted in our childhood. We’re grown now but will these childhood scars ever die? Going through that thread, some tweeps have accepted their hate for pictures because they believe they’re ugly. Some will never connect with old schoolmates because of the trauma. Some will forever hate their teachers.Β 

childhood scars bullying poster

Did you suffer a childhood trauma either in school or your neighborhood? Do you still carry the scar or have found your confidence? I’ll like to learn about how it all started and the social and psychological impact. Or were you the tormentor? Don’t be shy, the only shame you’re allowed to feel is if you still have those demons dancing with your spirit.Β 

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Also, I’ll ask again, are kids really innocent? They say writing is therapy, perhaps we might find the closure we desire letting it all out in the comment section. Kindly leave your comments below πŸ€—πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

 

Β 

Please take a second to rate this storyΒ  πŸ™

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Soco
Soco
1 month ago

Beautiful art and story. I will definitely share

Seyi Vandy
Seyi Vandy
1 month ago

Bullying and hazing. I think almost everyone went through a phase of it; it built character πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ atleast what some believed. Who wan look the trauma they cause? Anywhoo, I’m first today… FINALLY😌

Seyi Vandy
Seyi Vandy
1 month ago

Your notification was one of the first things i got. So i decided to stroll into the streets of mutteringminds. When kids are in their teens sometimes they are painfully honest, sometimes mean. I consider them atimes to be society without filter; though for some it’s before they become teens. They just live in their own world where they see they have power, so they experiment and flex it. Till once in a while an adult comes in to shake things up. So if they have healthy empathy? They show it there. But for most reality hasn’t humbled them yet,… Read more »

Seyi Vandy
Seyi Vandy
1 month ago

Lol. We were after all given the mandate to dominate and subdue, it’s in our DNA

Myka
Myka
1 month ago

What a story, beautifully penned with different emotions in one piece. Your sister’s case really touched me o, if I were her, I will cry so much my parents will not allow me go to school. I remember when I had a food allergy that gave me rashes on my neck, I think I was in senior secondary school then. I refused to go to school, secondary school that they can yab. For me yeah, I’ve got big eyes, it used to be way bigger in secondary school. Lowkey heard I had a Nickname, agama eyes. I think I cried… Read more »

Myka
Myka
1 month ago

It really hurt me but now I laugh about it cause its my selling point. People say it is sexy eyes.

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Myka

Can I see your eyes please?

Myka
Myka
1 month ago
Reply to  Deeman

Maybe not, picture a really beautiful eyes πŸ˜‹

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Myka

I’d take my chances on the remainder (yes) of your maybe. Feeling lucky already

Nkechi
Nkechi
1 month ago

Well babies are innocent,not necessarily kids….once they are born into this world and begin to learn right from wrong they pick up all sorts of nasty characters from their environment….the nasty characters we adults posses,I’m always careful what I do and say around my sister’s kids because they pick it up real fast,asides that adults should be more attentive these kids do trial and error character building,what I mean is they display certain characters both good and bad and watch the response they get,from the response they know if to continue or discontinue thay act. As for childhood traumas I’m… Read more »

Soco
Soco
1 month ago
Reply to  Nkechi

One babe in my class had big breast then, if only i knew the wonders of breast at that time, i would have not mocked her o. Maybe thats why i love breast now, she fit don curse me. Hei GodπŸ˜’

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Soco

🀣🀣🀣 opportunity missed. You should have bonded very well while you had the chance mr Brezzman.

But if you can try and make it up to her. Peace out man

Flora
Flora
1 month ago
Reply to  Soco

Hahahaha 🀣🀣🀣

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago

Ah I couldn’t read it all till the end, This story has regressed me to painful memories of devils past. I laughed out loud when one of them reached out to me recently asking for contribution for our alumni association. People I was forced to relate with through 6 terrifying years of mental and emotional abuse.

Anyone whose suffered any sort of trauma I hope you heal completely and take pride in your “imperfections” that’s what someone else will love about you.

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago

I’ve healed oh and also I’ve come to find out that the reasons and criteria that was used to get at me back then was all baseless. As in completely null and void. So I’ve remained ever proud of me (devoid of being pompous or haughty). A few past relationships really helped in that regard

Growth and healing is really important oh.

Hope your sister is faring better now sha

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

I am sorry that all of these people went through this. For your sister, I hope she makes peace with the past and know that it doesn’t define her. I am sure she is beautiful with or without a full head of hair. For yemisi and you, from what you said I think one of the reasons why you picked on her was because of your insecurities. You were picked on and one of the ways you could make it go away was to picked on someone else. I know it might bring old wounds, but I suggest you apologise… Read more »

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

Anytime. Maybe it was part of it or not

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

Now, children can be mean and very insensitive. Especially if their parents are not responsible. Teachers have a big part of this. Some teachers are mean, insensitive, selfish, stupid and wicked. This is why teachers need to be properly trained. Some non-educators might not know how to treat special cases.

Children and teachers have be sensitised on how to be emotionally intelligent

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

I agree too. The funny thing is that companies are classifying it under soft skills whereas it is a basic skills that every individual need.

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

For my story. I was bullied when I was a kid. I was very small and very quiet. So it was easy to pick on me. The funny thing was that one of my main bullies became my friend and when we got close, he died because he was sickle cell.

He was bullying me because it at least made him feel like bad about things. I still miss him. Some of the things he say, still reside in my thoughts.

Parents and teachers have a lot to learn and unlearn.

Fried yam
Fried yam
1 month ago

I have to watch that series.
I know right. In my class then, his name was Ugochukwu. I guess it didn’t help that I had other issues at the time

Soco
Soco
1 month ago

Bullying is bad and highly condemned, but you see, I will rather encourage my kids to be bullies than be trampled on. It’s a dog eat dog world whether we like it or not, you either go hard or go home. The world is advancing and people be sipping wickedness, better you learn how to sip it too. Its one of the reasons I can’t wait to have my kids, they gonna be bad ass. I am that parent who will encourage my kids to slap back five times when they were hit just once, if we have to gang… Read more »

Cee
Cee
1 month ago

It’s a crazor world where kids who feel they are perfect and well to do tend to intimidate other kids and see it as fun. I wasn’t bullied aso a kid but I was called a name because of how flat chested I was. Being one of the oldest in class but doesn’t possess the appearance as one. Imagine padding up all the time to feel like am growing but at the end still felt it. Often times I walk in a way to hide my chest and all, it affected me till date because I couldn’t wear certain clothing… Read more »

Deeman
Deeman
1 month ago

I identify with those kinda men. πŸ™‹ We always avoid too much load so please ehn @ Cee should always take pride as much as she can in her body (for her sake) and also because she’s somebody’s spec out there.

JoG
JoG
1 month ago

All that came to my mind was eeyah. Sorry ehn.

Was i bullied when I was in school? Yes. Do i still carry the scars? I don’t know.

Why does this topic make me feel uncomfortable and speechless sef?

JoG
JoG
1 month ago

I am fine, not like I would be fine. Thank you though. Maybe uncomfortable because some repressed memories and denied emotions would rather be left like that, than to be exhuming them.

Zhee
Zhee
1 month ago

I almost shed a tear while reading. I’ve always thought we’re not ready for this discussion…. Buh here it is .. u did justice to it. Physcological and emotional bully is really the worse kind of bully. I remember I hated going to school in primary school and cried everyday as I was dropped off till my primary 5 because I was emotionally bullied… Finally stopped and I started coming out of my shell after primary 4… I was lucky enough to cone out of my shell, many others were not… It’s really painful… And to think most little children… Read more »

Koko
Koko
1 month ago

As a kid I was always at the bottom if the social ladder and would get picked last all the time. Even when I had real friends I was still struggling with my self worth. I was always with the weird kids, the ones that like canine and all that cuz it was too geeky for the rich popular girls. I remember everyone also bullying me for my forehead because I have a big forehead, they drop water on it and time long it’d take to go down or some dude will grab it and kiss my forehead without my… Read more »

Koko
Koko
1 month ago

Also like to add that eventually I had to give up on my bullies getting their karma most of them are influencers now or musicians or just excelling in their lives and life is not a movie sometimes bad people win, you now have to realise that you need to take control of YOUR happiness it shouldn’t be dependent on the outcome of your abuser. It’s a very hard pill to swallow but now I’m taking steps day by day to move on from that part of my life it’s going to be hard after all I only graduated secondary… Read more »

Oluwatobi
Oluwatobi
1 month ago

Sigh. It actually does bring some memories back, although I never had such experience cos for some grace that I don’t understand, I actually had the opposite and people got to gush over me and even my classmates would even protect me. “Don’t play ball”, and even when I eventually did, my mates would handle me like I was an egggggg. Mind you tho, I only look like one but I’m not a butter boy sha. No even think go that side But notwithstanding, I knew friends an folks who suffered from body shaming and all the likes from their… Read more »

Oluwatobi
Oluwatobi
1 month ago

If you mean butter boy as per, I love to eat butter, then you’re right. But if you mean anything else, then I don’t know what you’re talking about. Thank you for striking up such thoughtful conversation anyways. As an afterthought tho, a lot lies on parents to be able to observe and see if their kids aren’t feeling too good about school or their peers, and apart from maybe changing school or environment, can try help the kid improve on that part that’s causing the abuse. Though this can be hard for those with low socioeconomic status… Anyways, every… Read more »

Flora
Flora
1 month ago

What a wonderful piece, this really took me down the memory lane. Omo, many of us are victims of bully. I was also a victim.. I was always bullied of having a big ear. Then they called the ear “Elephant ear”. My Joy has no bounds when Barret was introduced in my secondary School. I never went to school without putting on my Barret so to cover the Elephant ear LoL 🀣🀣.. I can’t even notice that now.. I’m just a pretty damsel to behold. I totally support the motion of inculcating in the children Emotional intelligence.. It will go… Read more »

King
King
1 month ago

I can’t stop laughing, nobody was insulted like I was in primary and secondary schools …my peers, juniors, seniors and teachers but I wasn’t surprise or disappointed because I knew they were right.

I was extremely ugly, so I was not really hurt or emotionally drained, they were saying the truth though, they are just necessarily stupid.

Thank God the story has changed …but it’s funny.

Ebuka
Ebuka
1 month ago

SAY NO TO VAWULENCE! That is what adults call it ba? We joke about how we treat our fellow adults and kids often pick up from there and as much as adults can process it, kids really can’t and it shapes their orientation. I joined high school with the eat or be eaten mindset because of where I came from. When they began to call me “yam head”, I resorted to one thing. Slaps directed to the outer part of their lips, the soft part so that it could break the skin and hurt well afterwards. They’d all gather and… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Ebuka
Ebuka
Ebuka
1 month ago

Hehehehe.. Yes o.
I had to invoke the right not to incriminate myself.

Ézèugo 1
Ézèugo 1
1 month ago

I don’t know if it’s how I was born or trained cause I honestly don’t feel depressed or anything when bullies do their thing. I used to have very big cheek. There’s no one in my class that don’t drag it unprovoked. They do it and laugh at me. I also used to wear an oversized shoe and very baggy trousers to school. They always laughed at my shoes and trousers. They do call the shoe a canoe. That if I entered water, all I needed was a paddle. I still wore the shoe till I left the school. I… Read more »

Ezeugo 1
Ezeugo 1
1 month ago

At least you dey ask for permission. These guys don’t care. They just drag it whenever they feel like

dosbambi
dosbambi
1 month ago

Nice one, as always, Uju! I kuku had my own share of both sides. I was bullied by those who were older and stronger than me, and I too bullied those I was older and stronger than. I was a very bad stammerer when I was much younger, primary school, got a bit better when I entered secondary school, cos I learnt to be quite when I was around new faces, even with that, I was the talkative and playful one. I worsen my case when I broke my upper incisors… My mom’s apprentices were my chief tormentors, they would… Read more »

dosbambi
dosbambi
1 month ago

Nah! Basically my faith is responsible for that…and I kind of forget things easily, especially when the people involved are no longer actively present in my life now. But to be fair, I’ve always been opinionated, “my religiousity” only made it stronger. The psychological impact that transcended into my adulthood is the stuttering thing, but religion helped me with the impact tho. So, glory be to God through my Lord Jesus πŸ€— My siblings bullied me too for my amebo, my immediate big sister wasn’t kind at all, plus she beat me very well when we were younger, to the… Read more »

dosbambi
dosbambi
1 month ago

Is the beginning of wisdom o. 🀣🀣🀣

We cool now tho, she gave birth yesterday sef.

dosbambi
dosbambi
1 month ago

Lolsss…

Uju, I no understand wetin u write so o.

Andrew Isaac
Andrew Isaac
1 month ago

After reading this article, uju you just took back memory lane.. I don’t think I was ever bullied rather, I was the bully.. Mostly verbally, I was very good at making mockery out of my peers. So it kinda gave me this kind of respect where my peers dear not try me….. Now if you as me why was I a bully? Or what led me being a bully?. I would say it’s acceptance from my peer just to feel dominant in my peer group and to be accepted among the coolest dude in school… When I mean coolest dude… Read more »

Andrew Isaac
Andrew Isaac
1 month ago

She obviously could ve stabbed me if she had the opportunity… Cus I remember back then, yetunde was the most quiet person in the whole of the seniors.. She has been that way since jss 1 days.. Making her a easy target not just for the guys but also the girls… So with all those experiences piled up I could have been dead… If she truly had the opportunity to stab me

PAIN
PAIN
1 month ago

I think I had little experience with this bullying thing. I was never really picked on because I built a formidable reputation to never be crossed for myself in school. Not because I was the biggest or the strongest boy in the school, but because I will always get back at you. When I was younger, I used to be a very punitive and vindictive person, friends that knew me back then knew never to cross me, I never forgive a perceived wrong or insolence to my person, even when I look it. I only bid my time. In fact,… Read more »

PAIN
PAIN
1 month ago

Seriously, I don’t know, the main reason being that I’ve never taken astrology seriously. Nothing logical about it, but that’s human for you. No, I don’t believe in, see any relevance in, nor care for astrology. I never have. It’s a tough world out there, and bullies will never cease to exist, that’s why, when I have a son, attempt to cultivate his potency will be paramount. I’ll not mollycoddle him. the world is a tough place, he needs to be one. Don’t go about looking for trouble or bullying people, but if one does find you or comes your… Read more »

Dante Onwe
Dante Onwe
1 month ago

Very touching story. You wrote this story super well! More people need to read this story. Now I feel sorry for all the times I was cruel…I think I was a really angry kid because I stuttered alot when I was young and hated to be mimicked so it also ended in violence. I made it a duty to thoroughly beat kids that mimicked me. I was naturally stronger than my pairs in school so it gave the look of been the bully instead of me been bullied for stuttering. Kids can be very mischievous and calous though. Some times… Read more »

Nheeraa
Nheeraa
1 month ago

Kids are actually innocent, the only problem is the caliber of adults around them and how the adults react to their acts of mischief. I feel so bad about what your sister had to go through, some teachers are worse than the kids themselves, I wish they could be punished for bullying kids and seeing it as correction or whatever they see it as. About memories, I attended an all-girl school and it was a boarding school. I can say my years at that school were my worst years. I had fast sexual development, I had the biggest breast in… Read more »

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