Do Whatever Just to Stay Alive

If you follow my Instagram story you will know that I have been outlining my practical strategies for coping with flare ups of post traumatic stress. This is partly in keeping with Instagram's May Mental health #hereforyou initiative, and partly to keep me accountable as I fight the demons of May in my own life.  One of my sanity saving go-to's is to go running in the woods and in the story I featured one of my favourite songs for running to and the mantra that I have taken from it.  I'm sure I have mentioned "Stay Alive" from one of my fav movies, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". Not a difficult day goes by when I don't chant to myself over and over:

                                                  Do Whatever Just To Stay Alive.

There is a truth and it's on our side, dawn is coming open your eyes...
Look into the sun as the new day's rise....

Deep within most of us on some level most times there is the hope for dawn. But that doesn't mean that the night isn't dark and frightening and how the hell are we supposed to survive that?

All weekend I have kept the monster manageably contained through feverish distraction.  Yoga, jiu jitsu, boxing, some kicking (damn that felt good).  Kids, shopping, going out, yoga trapeze! The monster was always right below the surface and that's not exactly my happiest place but doable.

But today is Monday and the house is quiet. And when you find that the brave Kimmie Schmidt in the drivers seat has been replaced by a frightened little girl who is feeling very threatened and alone that's not a good space to be. Mommy mode saves me until I drop Ella at school and then I sit in the car , swallowing the panic and assessing my options.

1.I can go home and get into bed and pray for the oblivion of sleep since I woke up 25x last night at least.  Nope. That doesn't seem right. Day sleeping can spiral in a hurry.

2. I can get into the bath. It's warm and safe in the bath. But no. Too much stillness.. too much time to think and then I have to get out eventually. Plus my house is a mess.

3. Go for a run. Ok. Do that. I don't want to do that but it seems like a good choice.

I wandered into my room, looking for the last place I kicked off my running shoes. I spot a book I am half way through. It's Glennon Doyle's Love Warrior. G is my jam. She's messy. She speaks her truth and she is vulnerable and brave and raw and real. She gets me. She's been scared and sad and messed up and she figured out how to stay alive anyway. G is always a good choice for me. Running can wait for G.

 I settle into reading about one of the worst moments of her life.  A phrase she has used many times in the past pops out at me. Something like.."when you don't know what to do...just do the next right thing".  Yes. Doable. Even a frightened little girl can follow these directions. Ok I need to clean the house. It's Monday. The house needs to be cleaned.  But where do I start?  I thought of a podcast I listened to recently, Jordan Peterson was  talking about activism and trying to change the world being a bit of a stretch when we can't manage to keep our own rooms tidy. The man is abrasive in his manner but he has a solid point. We can start improving the world but sorting ourselves out first. There's no denying that truth.

Ok so I will start with my room.  Smoothing the sheets, fluffing the pillows. To keep my panicky mind focused on the task at hand, I listen to my big sister Shona's voice telling me what to do next. Nobody can clean a room the way Shona can. My friend checks in with me to see how I'm doing with my "no sugar" pact. Sugar is a disaster for me and I only lasted an hour yesterday. I have asked him to be my sponsor. He is a sugar addict who has been in successful recovery for months.  I tell him I'm good because I haven't eaten yet. This reminds me I haven't eaten yet. That might explain some of the sense of despair.  Next right thing would be to eat. I open the fridge to see the overnight oats my sainted husband has prepared. Next right thing to do. Tell him thanks for that, check in on his day. Tell him I'm struggling. We talk about the next right thing to do....

This day will be difficult and at times maybe the emotional labour will begin to feel unbearable. But I will breathe through it. I will get some things done. Maybe not nearly as many things as I wish I could get done because it's hard to get a lot done when you are in labour. But some things, certainly. I will do Some of the Things. This day will be ordinary, and difficult and ultimately it will be triumphant. Because as hard as it will try to bury me and lie to me and tell me how terrifying and hopeless everything is, I will proceed in the truth which is that in reality everything is actually ok at this moment and that infinite hope lies ahead and I am loved.

And so are you.

If you are struggling, and going through your own emotional labour right now and you are not sure how you are going to survive it, may I suggest that you join me in just coming up with one right thing to do at this moment. It can be simple. Maybe brush your teeth. Unload the dishwasher, Empty the trash. Go to that appointment. Clean off your desk. Send a thank you note. Walk to the end of the block and back. Any of these are good things to do. There are any number of right things to do now. Just pick one, You can do that. Do it and then do the next right thing and together we will walk this day out and we will stay alive. (And kicking.)

Much love

The Unbreakable Kirsty Sayer

I knew from day 1 of May that it was going to be a doozy. It always has been, and in the last few years my complete short circuits occurred predictably on more or less the same day in May. Leading up to those days were a series of occasions and their accompanying triggers, slowly wearing away at the peace and serenity I work so hard to maintain.  When I finally unpacked all of it  in therapy this  week, my therapist looked shocked. "You are not even kidding about May. Wow. And all that is real. It's not in your head. It's real stuff. May really is the worst for you!"

Um...yes. May can die in a freaking fire.

At the end of our session yesterday she said, "I feel compelled to give you a hug. Would that be alright?"

I have many people in my life who say wonderful things to me all the time. I'm very lucky that way, to be surrounded by so many generous and kind people.. A couple of them are truly sincere about it too. They admire me without agenda. It makes me happy that I am a positive influence in their lives, but it doesn't tend to affect the way I see myself, one way or the other. My therapist however does not say much about me. Not one way or another. And when she does, I pay attention.

Yesterday she said to me, in a neutral manner. "You are incredibly strong,  maybe even too strong sometimes."

And it connected. 

I looked up and said to her, "Apparently so. And I think it's time I really start seeing myself that way. It was the first time I was like. Yes. I am strong. Actually."

After I left, I felt ok. In as much as you can be ok and also be in terrible pain.

I felt like a healthy woman experiencing what I have coined as "emotional childbirth". I pushed through my good moments being who I needed to be, (a wife celebrating an anniversary, a mother celebrating her baby graduating kindergarten and her other children feeling the stressors of the end of the school year,) and then, I would feel it rise, an enormous measure of pain that washed over me. The contractions have been happening all month, periodically intensifying over the course of the week and the last few days I have been in real, active labour. The contractions.. 

Like a tsunami wall of pain. Taking my breath away, nauseating me. Physical, excruciating pain. In my solar plexus all the way through to my back. Sometimes paralyzing my throat in spasms too. The throat spasms are not unusual in people who are recovering from the type of abuse and secret keeping that induced my PTSD. 

When before I was sure it was killing me, and I just wanted to die, now I know what it's about. So I breathe through it. I do what I did when I experienced long and difficult labours without drugs and I told myself what to do when I helped others through long and difficult labours without drugs. I sought support from strategic, trusted sources. I allowed myself to alternate between distracting myself when I was able to and then breathing through it when I wasn't. Accepting the pain, moving with it. Knowing that it would pass. That every surge was bringing me closer to the reality of being healed and whole. A couple of nights ago, I lay in bed and quietly moaned to my husband that the pain was so terrible and profound that I could feel it in my muscles and my skin. His theory was that it had been inside of me for so long, hidden even deeper before and it was working it's way out.  I agreed wholeheartedly. I do believe we hold psychological pain in our very cells and so this made sense to me. It didn't make the process any less painful but the understanding made it easier to bear.

In every labour there are pockets of time between the pain and intensity to catch ones breath. During these waves of intense pain I have had many moments when I felt that relief.

This morning I was looking at an ad for some silly not in any way particularly impressive little product on my phone and I heard my voice say out loud with such wonder and delight, "WOW! WHAT. EVEN?!"  I immediately laughed at myself. Affectionately, actually. I reminded myself of Kimmie Schmidt.

If you haven't seen The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt series, I dunno...maybe you should. I rarely watch TV, but when I'm experiencing a post traumatic episode, I find it therapeutic.  It doesn't seem like you should be able to make a comedy out of the kidnapping of a group of young women by a faux religious leader who kept them underground in bunker for years, brainwashing them to keep them there, raping them etc. But somehow they managed to do it.  It's a totally silly show,  but Kimmie herself is nothing short of a delight. Just seeing her face makes me giggle happily.

This morning as I felt myself still labouring through grief, I thought, "Yes!  That's it! Kirsty!
When you feel sad you must: CHANNEL KIMMIE".

Here's what I love about Kimmie :

-Kimmie has seen some dark, dark shit. But she doesn't let it affect her sense of wonder. Life is so unbelievably full of wonder,and beauty and joy and incredible things to learn and experience and see and hear about. The sheer amount of things that there are to LEARN makes me feel giddy with joy. Think about how happy babies are (with the exception of when they aren't). Do you know why? No men not every baby is breastfed, so it's not that. I'll tell you why. It's because literally everything is fascinating and new and amazing to them. That piece of paper they find under the couch. Totally awesome. The noise of it when they crumple it or bat at it, the way it feels in their hand, the way it tastes, the way it moves. That piece of paper is the best goddamn thing a baby has ever seen in their LIFE IS WHAT IT IS, and that's why when you yank it away from  them it's completely tragic. You just took away the, you monster.

But it's cool because in about 25 seconds they will discover something else that's also the newest most fascinating thing they have ever experienced. This is also why they need to sleep a lot. Their tiny minds are constantly being stimulated and BLOWN. It's exhausting. Babies are thoroughly alive and learning and experiencing all the time. And they are happy (except when they aren't).

Kimmie , oh how I love her, Kimmie captures that childlike wonder and joy.  And in a lot of ways I'm like Kimmie. I am constantly amazed by like...everything. It pisses my kids off a little bit. They are like..."why is everything so exciting to you mom? Ugh!" Nobody is more cynical than a teenager. They'll get over it.
Anyway I love this about Kimmie and I love it about me too. No apologies. And btw hell yes the fidget spinner is awesome, not just a fad and I will fight you if you try to steal mine. MOVING ON:

-Kimmie is incredibly kind and generous and willing to help everyone. And she respects her own boundaries.
 I'm inclined to be kind and generous and to help people too. I'm wired that way and I feel happy about that. I'm really lucky that I am that way. A lot of people seem to have to work on it or they don't bother working on it and so they are bastards and they don't have a lot of people in their lives who think they are cool and that must suck. Anyway that's never been my problem.  What has been my problem is that my kindness and wanting to help and take care of people means that shitty damaged people can take advantage of me and hurt me. I can be na├»ve about people sometimes.

Yeah, Kimmie had that problem too. We can tell by the fact that she was led into a bunker and stayed there for a lot of years when she could have easily escaped.  (I'm hoping you see the parallels in my own life here without me getting out a pencil and a ruler and drawing them for you). Now, wandering around NYC, Kimmie is in peril of being taken advantage of all over again. Like every single day.  Happily, Kimmie's not dumb though and she's also not weak. (Hey! Same here!) Soon enough, Kimmie figures out the joy and beauty of BOUNDARIES.  Ah boundaries.

We watch as Kimmie figures out those boundaries. And you guys it's freaking inspiring. But why would that be inspiring. I WILL TELL YOU WHY!

Kimmie doesn't trade in her kindness or her childlike wonder and awe or stop believing life rocks and that most people are cool.  She doesn't become a cynical, unhelpful, jaded bitch. Nope. She sets up her boundaries and they are rock solid.  And it's not just good for Kimmie,  it's great for her friends too.  She has this one friend who is constantly using her at first and she's like this woman's unpaid Everything. At first, Kimmie runs herself ragged for this delusional wreck of a woman and then one day she loses her characteristic cheery shit, and digs in her heels. She decides enough, already and basically lays it all on the line. Tells the painful woman something like, "you are not paying me I am your FRIEND. So either start paying me or start treating me like an actual friend but you gotta pick one and they decide to go with the friend thing. Or the paid friend thing. I can't quite remember but it's all good.  And Kimmie provides help but stops enabling, and the friend becomes more capable and confident and accesses her better self and starts treating Kimmie like a human being and in doing so she experiences what it is like to have a real friend for the first time in her life and it's awesome for them both.

So yeah, boundaries are the best. When I don't ask for what I need or I give more than I am able or if I let people treat me in a way that I know is disrespectful of my established expectations for relationships doesn't make me a chill, cool makes me a person who is ignoring my own boundaries. I become angry and bitter and unkind. It doesn't me happy or anyone around me happy. We don't do people favours when we let them violate our boundaries.  The reality is that sometimes the needs and boundaries of two people just aren't going to ever synch up.  This part is important:
If your boundaries are healthy and  reasonable (and you might need to check in with an impartial third party on that from time to time to be sure, in fact I recommend it especially if you are still figuring this boundary shiz out) and they repeatedly show a disregard for those boundaries, then sadly they are showing a disregard for you as a person, and  y'all don't need to keep hanging. I know babies, it's super sad and it's hard and it can be nothing less than heart breaking. But. To stay in that situation will ultimately be sadder and harder and more heart breaking. That's the truth.
And it's better for everyone that way. Watch Kimmie. She's catching on fast that 'lil firecracker.

-Kimmie doesn't feel sorry for herself. And she also doesn't pretend none of that shit happened to her.
Kimmie has a future, she has a lot of lost time to make up for. She doesn't sit around all day thinking about the shitty thing the Reverend did to her all the time and after she got the Reverend properly sorted out and put in jail where he belongs she didn't revisit the bunker.  (It's important to note that she DID go back to that traumatic place even though it was really hard for her when she needed to get information to put him away though. Again, do I have to haul out my protractor to show you where I'm going with this analogy? No? Great ok. I didn't think so)

So look Kimmie is also  real. She's super matter of fact about her anger over the whole bunker experience, how jacked up it was and how she wishes it had never happened and that it sucked. (In real life,  Kimmie would need a shit-ton of therapy and Kimmie is a smart strong cookie so I know that she would have no problem in seeking it out so she could move on.)  But while she is real about how messed up and hateful the bunker was, she also acknowledges the survival skills she gained down there. For instance, Kimmie is hella strong from cranking the Reverends "wheel" (turns out it was to power the electricity for his TV in his hidden man cave).  He lied to her and the other girls over that, and she was PISSED when she found out what all that cranking was really for, but now she enjoys the strength in her arms to do all sorts of crazy, fun,  interesting and useful things.

And what of all the other chicks Kimmie was in the bunker with? Well this part is interesting. Kimmie being Kimmie, wants to help them as they too assimilate into post-bunker life, and she tries rather unsuccessfully, until she realizes that they want different things out of life than she does. One of them, for whom the bunker was a type of nirvana, essentially keeps trying to get kindnapped into new cults and Kimmie gets frustrated with her, until she figures out a way to work with this fetish of cult lovin lady, and helps her  to become her own guru. (That's a bit sketchy when you think about it, but what do you want this isn't real life). Anyway! The point is that Kimmie recognizes that everyone is on their own path, and what works for her isn't necessarily the right answer for everyone. While she stays in touch with some of the girls, she doesn't seem to think that she has to stay close to them just because they were thrust into these circumstances together. They don't have a lot else in common. 

I think a lot of us are loyal to groups and people that and whom we came to be friends with out of shared circumstances, and then we get all bent out of shape when those people don't fit or fulfill all of our emotional and intellectual needs. If Kimmie kept trying to hang with those chicks she would be severely limited and she would feel constantly nuts.  Kind of like how I felt when I kept trying to be a good Mormon. It wasn't going to work. Those weren't (with several notable exceptions) my people, and that wasn't my scene. Some of them need to get the hell out like I did and others of them, eh it's working. They are happy. It's not my call to make. I hope I empower the ones who feel like I did to ditch.  That's good enough for me.

So that's where I am at, darlings. I will resume my story when May isn't kicking my ass quite so hard and when I'm not so damn busy kicking it back. Because I don't go down with a fight. Never!
I am after all,

The Unbreakable Kirsty Sayer...DAMMIT! ;) Love you all.


On Becoming: Ex-Mormon Girl Part 3 : PR Child Soldier

Warning. This is going to be meandering both through time and in topic. It seems that I was pretty triggered by the last couple of installments and I have been working on this one in fits and starts. It's not cohesive and if I try to make it that way it's never going to see the light of day so...yeah.

Before I continue I should note something.  What I'm doing right now will be considered by many people as participating in "Anti-Mormon rhetoric". Growing up I was taught to fear and shun and flee from any hint of anti-Mormon rhetoric.  It was literally the worst thing a person could do. Worse than "fornication" or murder in my mind. IT WAS TERRIBLE. **P.S: when I, as a totally "good Mormon" came out on this blog as being a Democrat years ago, I was accused as being a "wolf in sheep's clothing" so yeah, there are a ton of Mormons for whom what I am doing right now is the ultimate in rebellious sinfulness. They aren't even praying for a person like me at this point. I deserve whatever I get. That's the mentality. Carry on....:)

When I was still in first or second grade I think I was dimly aware of a lot of angst of the anti-Mormon movie "The God Makers" and I remember my aunt coming over to watch something on TV and being super stressed out about what people would say about it. I was warned never ever to watch anything like that. Don't read it, don't listen to people who say they know bad stuff about the church. They will only lead you astray.

I was obsessively obedient to this instruction until one day around 17, I remember coming across a pamphlet in our kitchen, Somebody must have come over and wanted to discuss it with my parents. I think it was an anti-Mormon pamphlet and it was about the sketchy past Mormons have had in terms of race. There were some deeply disturbing quotes in there by names I recognized as esteemed past (and possibly present) leaders of our church.   At the time I was living in Swaziland, I was a definite minority as a white person and I was dating a really great Black South African guy. What's more, I was attending a school which had specifically been built as an educational shelter outside of Apartheid South Africa. I was attending it with Nelson Mandela's grandson and his stepdaughter.  We had always been a really liberal family, racism was not considered in any way acceptable in our home.  I remember my hand shaking violently as I read the pamphlet. I could not believe it. I knew that the church had not allowed Blacks to have the Priesthood until the late 70's and when I had asked why I had received vague answers about it being illegal or something. Seriously. I had heard all sorts of airy explanations which sounded plausible to my naive (brainwashed) childhood mind but this seemed extremely wrong, there was more to it than just not allowing Blacks to have the Priesthood, way more. I confronted my parents. I don't remember their explanations but it was tense and I remember feeling as though I was in the wrong somehow for questioning and asking I was on the defense here, not the Church.

This is how it always went when I brought up major concerns. When I brought up polygamy (which I was deeply, deeply troubled by) I was told to just relax, have faith, God would work it out.  The doctrine I had learned implied that polygamy would actually be required in Heaven but lots of people assured me that only the most worthy people would be required to do that and they would be happy to do so. (Implying of course that either I wouldn't make it to that state or when I did I would be cool with it.) The inherent inequality of polygamy struck such a nerve with me, but I would swallow the apologists explanations of why it had happened too. So noble of those men to take in all those aging widows in the early church. There was never any discussion on why Joseph Smith saw fit to marry a 14 year old child. Which he did.

Back to the present time. When I began voicing public criticism of the church in the last couple of years (really gingerly at first, super vanilla stuff for the most part) I was unfriended on facebook in droves. I would go to see how this person or that person was doing, people who had been marvelously supportive and kind to me over the years, and find that we we weren't friends anymore. There usually hadn't been a big deal made of it, (Mormons aren't really ones for confrontation) and in fairness, when I first officially "outed" myself on Face-book in December last year,  I had invited people who felt as if this gave them the obligation to gallop in and white-knight for the church to relieve themselves of that obligation by unfriending me. And many did. I get it. Completely. The shunning from most people didn't bother me at all, but the lack of acceptance from others was devastating. It hurt like hell, but I understood it.  It is exhausting to feel that sense of obligation. To constantly be on the defensive. I know because that state of being pretty much defined my childhood and teenagehood as a Mormon. I was a soldier for the church. A PR soldier. If people say bad stuff, stand firm, deny, reframe it, shine it up, make it pretty, normalize. The Church is always right. The Church Leaders are ALWAYS ALWAYS right. And it is your sacred responsibility to not just believe that but make others believe it too.

Sadly, on top of all that crazy pressure, even the idea of  the church just never was for me. It always felt wrong. From my youngest memories, the term, "The Only True Church" (often followed up with "on the face of the Earth, Mormons freaking love that expression) gave me the cringiest feeling.  So exclusive. It was embarrassing to me in its hypocrisy. Here I was, a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 or 7 and I'm singing, "Jesus says love everyone" and being told about the Only True Church and referring to myself as a member (and others as "non-members"). And how about all the people all over the world who had no idea about this true church? Or who really believed in THEIR true church? And why did God even need people to be in churches, couldn't they just be nice to other people and love him?

Later, people would come at me with accusations of wanting to fit in, or be cool and politically correct. Please. I was freaking 5 years old and it wasn't adding up. What's more I felt like an outsider in my own community when I even thought this stuff. Like I'm some kind of cool 5 year old rebel without a cause? Don't be crazy.

Straight up hellion right there.

Easter. I was probably eleven I remember sitting on my bed after eating way too much sugar on a day that should be joyful and carefree for kids but I was feverishly writing in my journal. Goals and gratitude. I was trying to pretend to be so spiritual and good. I had talked myself into believing that somehow Jesus was going to read this journal and totally forget my sinning ways. SPOILER ALERT: THERE WERE NO SINNING WAYS. I was a good kid. Like, a really good kid but I felt bad, dirty, sinful, unworthy and ashamed constantly. I own that this was partly because of my personality and partly because of the fact that I was sexually abused just as I entered puberty until I left home. That certainly didn't help, but I didn't ever factor that into the equation. I just knew that I was the worst, and I was frantic and scared about it.  It just now struck me that if you read the early years of my blog you will see more of the same. Except by that point I wasn't aware that I was doing it to persuade God and myself, by then I had pushed that shit way down deep and I thought I was being 100% sincere in my gushings about the church and its teachings. I might be saddest about that stage of my life. I don't know.

Being 13 or so. A friend of mine teasing me in French class about the temple and how a "naked Mormon Priest jumps into a jacuzzi with some dead bodies and baptizes them". Ok THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN and he knew that too. He was being a 13 year old asshole and we are still friends and I think he still thinks its really funny but that was hella traumatic for me. The whole class laughing. Me trying to do damage control, trying to repair the church's image, wanting to die instead. I was 13 man. It sucks to be 13 without all the other shit I had to deal with. God. I could go back and slap him now and I probably should have, and told all those other laughing idiots where to get off too.  Better yet I should have joined in and said, "well not quite but yeah, it's nucking futs can you even believe my life?!" Amazing how much clarity one has for one's 13 year old self at age 40. ;)

My parents wouldn't let me date until I was 18. This was 2 years ahead of the official Mormon dating age but they had read it differently. It was ridiculous. Ultimately I had plenty of boyfriends before age 18 and my parents were pretty lenient about it and boys were always welcome to chill at our house, But the whole not being officially allowed to date thing was awkward and embarrassing and weird as hell and there were plenty of times I just pretended not to like the guy rather than have to come clean with the real reason why he and I couldn't go to the movies alone together. The same issue arose with "modesty". Again my parents ended up being quite lenient in later years but god forbid I ever consider a bikini or a sleeveless formal dress. Oh hell to the no, man.  All the same, none of this was terrible. Just stressful and like I said, being a teenager is just stressful as it is. Throw in being regularly abused and then being some kind of crazy Mormon freak who actually wasn't crazy or a freak and was trying to successfully straddle both worlds. It's a nightmare.

When we lived in Swaziland the teasing and scrutiny regarding the church got even worse. There were a bunch of Evangelical missionaries in the area and those guys are VICIOUS man. Turf War! My friends soon became aware of the fact that I was Mormon and some of them nudged me relentlessly about it. I don't remember them being overtly mean or disrespectful but I do remember every goddamn thing being attributed to our Mormon-ness and it made me mental. Once a national magazine came out with a cover story something along the lines of "A Mormon Temple Bride Tells All". Holy shit-balls. Panic Stations! This was BAD.

 Look, let me explain something here. I didn't even know what went on for a Mormon Temple Bride. All I knew was the temple was awesome, I was going to have to be squeaky clean to go there, it was super risky dating non-Mormon dudes because there was every possibility that I would want to marry one and he wouldn't want to convert and then No temple marriage for ME and well was an unthinkable tragedy. No eternal marriage, no eternal family. Generations would be lost to non-belief. It was UNTHINKABLE.  All my non-Mormon boyfriends were immediately made aware that this thing would never go anywhere unless they converted. I'm sure they were all,..."haha, FINE WITH ME, escape route included!'' Anyway I remember hustling to the magazine stands at the store and hiding all the copies of that magazine. (Averting my eyes lest I inadvertently see some of the "SACRED NOT SECRET"  (another one for the Mormon Phrase Manual), information included in this fallen girl's account.   When you go to the Temple you make solemn convenants never reveal what you have seen or heard in there. Like on penalty of eternal damnation. Up until not long before I first went to the Temple you even had to mime slitting your own throat and disembowling yourself should you ever do such a thing. Holy shit.  DOES THIS SOUND OK TO YOU?  In fairness, apparently it didn't sit well with a lot of people 'cos they dropped that.

And then came the Gay issue. But that's for next installment because this one is already long and crazy enough and I gotta post this thing already. And here I go...editing be damned as I'm sure you have discovered by now ;)