I’ve thought a lot about how to begin my story, but frankly, I don’t have a clue.

Should I jump straight to where my daily hell begun, or sometimes before that?

I figured I should start with the beginning. Maybe not as intricate as David Copperfield – I will not bore you with the hour of my birth or go into great details of my early years – but I figured it is important that the reader knows a little of my background, to better understand where I was coming from.

My early childhood was a happy one, I know that for a fact. For one, that is how I do remember it. My parents were not wealthy by any standard, but we did have a house, I had more toys than I could ever play with, and we could go on a long vacation every summer. Like almost every child in my country, I went to kindergarten from I was a year old until I started first grade.

I loved kindergarten. It was not like it is now, with focus on teaching and preparing the children for school. We did nothing but play, all day, every day. There never was a dull moment. When we tired of one game we always came up with something new. I was surrounded by friends and it was always so much fun.

We didn’t have internet, computers or tablets in those days, so we had to use our imagination during playtime. Often I would take charge. My imagination never slowed down , and I liked to make up scenarios, characters and storylines we would play out. This doesn’t mean I was loud or particularly bossy. I was a very timid and quiet child. But I was surrounded by people who liked me and I trusted, and so I bloomed.

I don’t have to rely solely on my memories for this part, because the photos of me from this time doesn’t lie: I’m always smiling in those picture. I just look like the happiest little kid around. Even my mother, knowing my story so intimately, being with me the entire way, has commented on this.

I looked forward to starting school. To this day I can still remember with crystal clarity that the morning was an overcast day, that my backpack was purple, the dress I was wearing was blue, me walking into the schoolyard for the first time with my mum. I remember thinking I was a big girl now.

And knowing nothing but acceptance from my peers, I had no reason thinking my journey forward would be any different. That is the luxury of being naive and untried. Everything appears to be so easy.

Boy, was I headed for a wake up call.

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