A Very Personal True Story: Laughter, Physical Fitness & Music are the Best Medicine.

in life •  9 months ago

I think this will move you to appreciate what some people take for granted. I don't think that I can be any more "real" or "original" than this, so I'd appreciate it if you could kindly read my post and offer some positive advice. I've debated writing about this for months, and feel it's finally time to see, first-hand, how "Steem Power" can potentially help others outside of influence, upvoting, and value. I hope this message can inspire others to express themselves for their health when there is pain, because this helped me release a lot of feelings that were buried inside.

Opening:

It’s good to take a step back and appreciate how laughter can play a vital role in our lives when we need it most. When faced with dark times and despair, it can truly be the best medicine. Trust me on this. The same goes for taking care of our bodies while we're still in control, and for the gift of music, whether through performance or just listening.

Story:

I know someone whose Dad has been fighting stage four terminal brain cancer for 2.5 years. This disease has no genetic predisposition and strikes out of nowhere like a freight train. It's ruthless and merciless. People often don't know they have it until symptoms arise to warrant a brain scan, when it's often too late.

When news hit that there was a massive inoperable brain tumor found in a healthy man who often went the gym, it made no sense. I'll never forget the call when I found out, where I was, and the feeling of terror that they might have a few weeks to live.

As it stands today, 2.5 years later, it’s a medical and statistical miracle that this person is still alive. No exaggeration, embellishment, or additional drama is needed here. Other powers were undoubtedly at work. According to the chairman of two brain cancer centers of major city hospitals, this is one of the best survivor cases they’ve ever seen. It's in the 99th percentile, so there's plenty to be thankful for.

For those who don’t know, glioblastoma multiforme (“gbm” – not capitalized to give any proper respect to this disease), is an incurable form of the most aggressive advanced brain cancer that exists. It resembles randomly seeded carcinogenic grains of sand that sprout into new tumors over and over again. When you stop one that just exploded into existence, it’s usually just a short matter of time until the next one does the same. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

After two rounds of intense radiation and chemo, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, an invasive biopsy, brain tumor surgery, clinical trials, and medical marijuana, the fight is coming to an end. There’s only so much the human brain can take before treatment does more harm than good, whereas whatever quality of life remaining should be preserved for the final phase.

This Dad lost vision in one eye and experienced numerous unpleasant side effects. The amount of medical visits was innumerable, but necessary. All credit goes to his Wife for her unending support and strength during this process, as her children are not based nearby. While unimaginably difficult for everyone, the family was also hit hard. Their daughter was pregnant, so it was critical to shield her from bad news, which could potentially harm the development of the child.

The worst part of this experience was going through constant waves of hope that new tumor growth was halted and that life could return to normal. It wasn't that anyone was lying to themselves, but it was important to be as positive as possible. Words can’t express the relief when a monthly brain scan came out clean, with doctors' jaws dropped, and everyone sighing in relief, finally able to breathe for a few more weeks.

Unless you’ve been through this, every brain scan appointment feels like a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown to win the Super Bowl. After years of that roller coaster, one eventually learns to manage the anxiety and expect the worst, while hoping and being thankful for the best as a gift. It's not always just a cliche.

As home hospice is currently just being set up, everyone except the patient knows that the newest tumor can’t be fought off. His mind can no longer grasp that he has another tumor because his short-term memory is severely damaged from repeated radiation. At some point, a line has to be drawn to drift off a bit more comfortably into heaven. God knows that they've seen enough hospital beds and white coats.

Checkpoint & Plot Twist:

You may think this is more than enough to explain why comedy, fitness and music can help people involved in this struggle find solace, but it’s just the beginning.

Things take a turn for the worse for one of this Dad’s sons, the subject of judgment, criticism, resentment and emotional abuse for as long as they can remember. This is no first-child syndrome scenario or pity party. It was extreme, consistent, and never justified. It was far beyond unfair.

As his Dad was heavily absent from their childhood due to corporate work demands and emotional issues from his own upbringing, his first son grew up sure that he’d never want to follow in some of those footsteps. For example, as a child, his son once called his secretary to schedule an appointment to have a baseball catch, not knowing any better at the time...

While this son excelled in academics, sports and music, and always stayed out of trouble, his Dad unfairly held something against him that never added up. The resentment would show itself in countless ways and through passive aggressive criticism, but the son rose above it because he knew it was impossible to deserve any of it. Sadly, it led to the son passing on college baseball recruitment letters to pursue higher-level academics as the priority informally mandated on him. To this day, it's still his son's biggest and most painful regret in life. This pressure also influenced the son to make some unwise career and relationship decisions after college to prove himself and meet expectations, while losing sight of the pursuit of their own happiness. Fortunately, some of those life lessons paid off down the line.

As brain cancer forced itself to center stage, the son figured that some form of conversation and resolution would transpire, as no Dad would ever want to burden their child with their repressed issues. Sadly, radiation damage can truly be brutal, whereas healthy brain tissue can residually be damaged when killing the cancer cells. As a result, brain function can be drastically reduced. In this case, the healthy tissue associated with emotion control, rational thinking, and short-term memory was severely impaired. On paper, this may sound inconvenient, but when it's time to pass on, it can be rather problematic for those seeking their own peace and closure in that process.

Over the course of treatment, this was evidenced often enough when the Dad would emotionally and verbally abuse his son in front of his family. There was never a good reason. It just happened and did more damage each time. Fortunately, the son held his head up knowing it wasn’t worth worrying about when it was more important to focus on the entire family coping with the larger situation. He knew how to walk away and let it go.

When visiting for his Dad’s last birthday, the worst case scenario happened while at a children's nature center for his nephew of all places. Since paranoia is a side effect, the Dad accused his son of lying to the family and being deceptive about asking to borrow the family car. After decades of patience, the son finally and calmly stood up for himself that he was undeserving of the verbal abuse and that it needed to stop.

What happened next was a tragedy for the son. In an immediate uncontrolled rage, his Dad spit hatred, resentment, blame, scorn and criticism. Statements were made that he had a laundry list of things that he hated about his son since childhood, that he didn’t get his money’s worth for the portion of college tuition he paid, and that he hated his son's home business. Ouch.

Understanding the bigger picture of maintaining peace toward the end of his Dad’s life, his son calmly tried to talk his Dad down from the madness, but that infuriated him more because he thought he was being mocked. The only offense his son took in the conversation was telling him that almost everything he's done in life was to be exactly unlike him, and to make sure he knew he was verbally and emotionally abusive. I personally think those were fair statements to make. His voice was never raised.

After 20 minutes of onslaught, bulging eyes, a red face and unbelievable rage, the son finally told his Dad that he was going to burn the bridge between them. After learning that his Dad's love and encouragement was a façade, it felt like the necessary step to no longer associate with someone who clearly felt this way for decades behind their back. It was time to protect himself and his own health.

He warned his Dad three deliberate times that he was going to lose his son if he didn’t stop the harassment and apologize, as no child should ever be subject to having this burden forced on them. Ironically, this is the child who had been to nearly every brain cancer and treatment visit, who sacrificed income and months of sleepless nights researching for him, and was there in person for all of the good and bad news.

To each warning, the Dad said he was aware that he was burning their bridge with “yes", "I know,” and “good”. The son would never be able to forget that moment. He said "you just lost another son" and walked away knowing that his life would be changed forever.

[You may have already guessed it, but this story is about me and my Dad. I wanted to try to surprise anyone who didn't pick up on that or confirm it for those who weren't sure.]

Since that horrible day, just a few days after I joined Steemit, I’ve never received any form of apology, reparation, conversation, or remorse. All I got was a generic and worthless ~3 sentence email that admitted no fault. The tragedy is that the Dad I respected and loved my entire life was living a lie toward me, and when I need to be able to talk to him most, I can’t. I now knew why he was always too tired to play chess or disinterested in having a catch.

The worst part is that he has no memory of what happened or what was said. I'll never have closure. I'll have to deal with this for the rest of my life. It’s one of most difficult things I’ve ever had to face knowing that it's all on my shoulders now.

On one side, I’m relieved that the truth came out. I wouldn’t have wanted to be naïve and fooled by him anymore, even if that would've protected me. My Mom confirmed that all of his thoughts were true, and has spoken with his siblings to understand that it stems from his own parents and struggles after an ugly divorce with children in the 70’s. He hated that I valued baseball and music so much, and that I had no interest in following in his footsteps for the corporate grind. After all, he had two stress heart attacks from work when I was in my teens, so I was raised thinking that it's probably healthier not to strive to be an executive worrying about office politics and emails over the dinner table.

I eerily have some peace that it wasn’t me all along, that my self-awareness and sanity stood its ground to not be brought down by him too much all along. It makes me feel better than any resistance in the past was beyond justified, so I can release any guilt from prior arguments where I was cornered and had to defend myself.

I'll admit that I chose to quit my solid and secure corporate job at a top bank to work for myself, and even to earn all of my Steem Power, because I’ve been wired to prove myself to my Dad my entire life. To some degree, I wonder where'd I'd be if my Dad treated me better, but I can't complain.

I've since realized that he was resentful that I found a better way to pursue my happiness and freedom, that I wasn't going to struggle exactly as he did. Truth be told, I built myself from ground zero in a different way than most, have earned every penny with my bare hands, and never accepted anything in the past when times were tough. As my cryptocurrency investments have also significantly changed my life and provided me with comforts he'd never understand, all I can do is hope that he’ll look down from heaven and somehow let me know that he's sorry for doubting my ability to be successful on my own terms.

Maybe he'll also read this one day to know what he did...

Conclusion:

Back to laughter and comedy! I was barely involved in social media before Steemit, and started posting about my home business and drumming, but didn't get much traction. I thankfully stumbled on the comedy and punchline community to find a niche where I could distract myself from everything above. To any of my original followers who may not appreciate the short slapstick content, hopefully you’ll see why I’ve been so active with it in recent months. I’ve laughed quite a bit and had fun joking around with others. I’ve felt encouragement from them, as well as been rewarded more than I could expect to give me more hope for success in the future.

As for fitness and health, I started my daily 100+ rep fitness challenge after not going to the gym in over a year. I decided to do this because I wanted to get back to my strongest and healthiest shape when my Dad sees me for the last time. I wanted to be be strong physically for myself as well so I could inspire my family to get active again, and my brother to stop smoking. If I didn't take a picture of myself shirtless to hold myself accountable and piss me off to change my appearance, I'd probably not have touched a weight yet and be weak once again for my baseball season. This challenge was also a way for me to relieve stress and surround myself with encouragement from others who participate. Since not working out in over a year, I've now worked out 47 straight days in a row.

As for music, I've never recorded myself drumming for social media except a few clips on Facebook many years ago. It's unlike me to put myself in any spotlight, but I've done so because it's also helped me keep my mind on myself and enjoying a passion of mine. There's a reason I don't want to face the camera. Playing my electronic drums for openmic has helped me get lost in performing for others, regardless of prize results, and have fun. Hopefully the judges will now know why their feedback is so important to me when I ask for it. It's nice to continue to improve and be appreciated.

One nice note to add is that my quitting inspired my senior boss (who recruited me there years before) to also quit shortly after I left so he could pursue his own home business! I helped open his eyes by being true to myself in an environment where most people are afraid to step out of line. This blew me away, and validated my instincts that we're not meant to live with golden handcuffs, unable to spend time with our families and stressed by things outside of our control.

Thanks to everyone who read this and has supported me along the way.

Please no bad words about my Dad...

This obviously isn't a punchline post, but I wanted the crew to see this. Even after writing all of this, I almost deleted it. Hopefully some good will come out of this.


Source

@steemmatt

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Wow. That's something else.

I can't bring myself to upvote this post, even at 100%... it's not enough. to say that this is worth the same as some of the other post's I have read is to greatly diminish it's value and effect. Instead I give you 1%. A token to say I read it and you touched me (not like steemnsfw but touched nonetheless). I will await a Steemfest where I can say hello, I'll give you a hug and we will go get shitfaced (I may forget but luckily dj123 seems to act as a backup for the blockchain incase it goes down, I'm sure dj will remind me).

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I can't respond fully now because I'm running out for the night, but here's a placeholder for a MASSIVE thank you for your generosity. I wrote this so the main people who I interact with could understand where I come from, and what makes me tick these days (if they had the patience to read it), but didn't expect to get through to many people. I thought it'd be more for my own closure. I'm glad you appreciated it! To think you did all of this after I made a joke post about you is even more priceless. Salute.

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In my defence I only saw that post after this one.

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hey idikuci can you get sexymatty to make a few more heartfelt replies so I can give him a couple more 100% upvotes?

I know I'm not capable of writing an appropriate reply to this post. It's an amazing display of vulnerability and touched me deeply. It takes a lot of courage and strength to share something like this and my respect for you is off the charts.

I will say that I find it inspiring that you've walked the path you have. That's a lot to shoulder and carry and, as you said, will be for a long time. Thank god for laughter though. Sometimes it can seem like the only thing that keeps this rock sane! Well, that and connection. And it's posts like this that really allow us to connect with you.

The funny memes aren't total shit either ;P

If there's anything some steemit guy from the northwest can do to support you, just let me know.

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Thank you for reading this and your comments. It all helps.

I had to go home to help take care of him for my Mom for a few days after writing this, so I wanted to separate myself from some of these thoughts while I was there. It was very difficult to help with some rather uncomfortable tasks, but also an eye-opening experience to see how strong my Mom was. Her resolve renewed my understanding of what strength truly is.

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Well said, it's really amazing how in those really heavy life moments you usually see both the light and the dark.

I had a similar experience with my mom when I watched how she handled the death of my step dad. It was just a staggering display of strength, vulnerability, weakness and love. I think in those moments, who you truly are has no choice but to come through completely and it's always magnified because of it.

That was incredibly strong of you to share. There is no love we crave as much as that from our parents. But as the story tells this problem roots back in previous generations like many other problems often do, and therefore it's important to realize that you probably endured something similar to what your dad once did, and thus it doesn't have to do with who you are as person. There could have been a thousand different versions of you that all would have had to enduare the same thing.

In this terrible process that I can only imagine how painful it must have been you have as you said built yourself up brick by brick. This kind of strength is now a part of you. A part in your life and determination to be the best version of yourself .

It's easy to see that you are very liked in the community as you are smart, funny and a genuinely good person - some things shine through.

All that matters is the future and what you choose to do with it. I think your decision to live life on your own terms is the best decision you ever made. Success is completely meaningless if we are not living a life that's makes you happy and that has meaning.

We have a cool gang of comedians here an moving forward I think we will have a pretty awesome time on Steemit in 2018 and the years to come !

ah matty you're healing, that's what i see

you're gettting stronger, that also true

in a way our parents can't truly give us what they don't have

and in a way if you find something out of this, you can give the next generation a gift you were not given

i read somewhere that even an 80 year old is bothered by what they still think of their parents, maybe we can never escape it, but then again, we need to love who we are the way we are

i didn't read the other responses and probably won't, i think it's just each person own message to you, but i hear you and i see you

you're sexymatty believe it an own it, i'm glad cryto gave you the freedom over the last 1 year, i hope the next 5 will transform and magnify the good and great in you even more so

peace, kindness, and love to you :)

Your story is incredibly touching, it made me cry.. having just read it I honestly don’t know how to express my respect and admiration to you as a person and a son, for your limitless patience, kindness and unconditional love to your dad.I agree with @dandesign86 that the problem roots in previous generation.You are a good person, living your life the way you want and choose to live it.I’m new to the circle of comedians here, but I really love it here, it sure does make my day better😊Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us!

Come on, you're a hero!
Enjoy your life.

life is always full of problems, whatever the problem is, can we seledai right, hope you always give success in hidu, keep friends comrade,🙌👍

People have to face various problems and forget about these problems and go ahead and move forward.

KEep the good work loving it 👍

This was such a moving and heartbreaking story to read. I read it last night, but wanted to wait until I would have time to fully respond today.

Reading about how your relationship finally came to a close with your father made me wish I could give you big hug. What a devastating emotional loss. You are very self-aware to be able to notice he was probably acting out of his own pain and lack of fulfillment in life. That’s such a hard thing to do. Not to mention the undeniable patience and grace you showed him through those many difficult moments.

We cannot change the past, and I’m impressed by how much you were able to pick yourself up off the floor and start creating the life you want. Building a successful home business from ground zero and learning to flex your creative muscle here on Steemit (see what I did there), really takes a lot of courage.

Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. That’s not easy to do, and I commend you for taking the risk. Big hugs my friend. ❤️

Wow man Id just like to say thanks for sharing. I cant even begin to comprehend what that feels like. Hey man I'd just like to share with you that Jesus Christ can give you closure! Jesus can give you the peace and meaning that your dad no longer can. Comedy and fitness is great too, and has blessed me in so many ways as well, but having a personal relationship with the person that died on the cross for my sins and yours can give you more peace than you'd believe. I'll be praying for you and your dad.

This was painful and and deeply touching read. Much respect for sharing such a personal story.

It's terrible when parents act like this towards their own children. But as @dandesign86 stated, it's a big probability that he went through something similar when he was young. The big difference between you and him is that you were always aware that his behavior was unacceptable. You saw that clearly from the beginning, and wanted something better for your own life. I can't even begin to fathom how hard it must have been with the disease appearing on top of all this.

I do know my share about trying to live up to other peoples expectations and agendas. It's exhausting, both mentally and emotionally (even physically). I always admired you for quitting your job and pursuing your passions. In my view this is the way to go in life, something I've been thinking since I was quite young myself (although this belief has not always been followed up through action).

Just wanted to say that I have an enourmous respect for you as a person, for your work here on steem, and that I much enjoy your comedy. It appears you've found an excellent niche, and I'm happy to see the handome support your jokes receive. As for your music, I'm always looking forward to hear more. Just heard your zelda theme drum cover, loved it!

I understand how you must feel with all this.

I have two adult sons who did not achieve the dreams that I had for them when they were young.

They threw away the many opportunites, available to them, that many other families would sacrifice an arm to have.

Instead of criticising, them, I changed my goals for them. Now I just want them to be happy, healthy, and net contributors to this world. I think they are achieving that.

Now I have a new baby. My ambitions for him are already less. He will be what he will be. The opportunities will be his -like my other sons - to keep or throw away.

You couldn’t change your father’s behaviour before and now you certainly can’t. It is so dissappointing to know that he harboured these grudges and could not change how he thought. His brain is built like that.

A bee stings, an ant bites, and a thorn pricks. They cannot change their behavior. Some human brains can change, others not. Some have empathy, others not.

All you have to worry about is your behaviour to your family, so they don’t end up feeling the same as you felt. Love love love.

You write extremely well. Style, grammer, spelling, punctuation, layout and so on. It is a pity that journalists don’t write as well as you. However, I must point out one possible style error (or maybe it was intentional?).- or maybe I missed something? You started this blog writing “I know someone whose dad....”, but much later you are writing about your dad. Do we have two dads with similar relationship issues, or just one? I am assuming only one, - it is your dad? - or if two dads, I missed the moment where you shift from discussing a family friend and his dad to where you are now discussing your family and your dad.

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I was hoping for some wise advice like this from a parent out there, and you really came through!

I appreciate you sharing your own personal experience to help. What I've learned in my life and relationships is that people have different value systems, and they can often be misaligned to cause inadvertent friction. Sometimes the disparity might not make any logical sense, but that's what makes everyone different and themselves. None are right or wrong, even if it seems as such. I've found that some people simply learn to appreciate certain things in life at different stages, and some may never appreciate them at all. The same applies to change, as you alluded to.

While being a parent and a child growing up are difficult journeys in their own rites, it sounds like you're all in a solid position to see it through with peace and closure. It's great that you were able to see the bigger picture to adjust your ambitions for them. Happiness is everything and life is a long journey where maybe they'll come around to surprise you in the future. Additionally, you've learned lessons that will help a great deal with your new child to make parenting easier and more rewarding.

On my side, the rest of my family understands the situation, so the scope is limited to just my Dad. He generally acted "normal" with my other siblings, so they were fortunately spared. If anything, it's better that one person deals with it in its entirely than having three equally impacted. If I truly played a role in why he behaved as he did with me, I'd accept it, but I know deep down that I didn't do anything. Since I'll never be able to address it with him, that's the only peace I'll have.

I actually debated writing on the point you highlighted that this experience will help me know how to treat my children best in the future. While I feel that I would've done this naturally anyway, I can consider it deeply reinforced, and a positive takeaway.

I appreciate your comments on my writing. I claim to be no expert or author. I just flow that I write and read it out loud a few times afterwards to make sure it has a good flow to it.

As for your fully justified confusion, I clarified the "reveal" part, which was initially styled with strikethrough text. It was my Dad I was talking about all along. I thought that some people might assume this as they read along, but wanted to introduce a little surprise if people didn't see it coming. I updated that "reveal" paragraph to the following below per your feedback to make sure that this stands out better. Thanks for letting me see it from a reasonable angle I hadn't anticipated.

The fix:

To each warning, the Dad said he was aware that he was burning their bridge with “yes", "I know,” and “good”. The son I'll never be able to forget that moment. I said "you just lost another son" and walked away knowing that my life would be changed forever. [Some may have sensed that this was my Dad already, but I'm clarifying the subtle reveal in case it didn't come through.]

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I saw the strikethrough, and did not understand why it was there, so i read on.

Whilst i guessed at the beginning that you could be writing about yourself, the strikethrough isn’t an obvious confirmation that I was right.

It would be much more obvious to write either in the middle “In case you haven’t already guessed.......” or continue writing about the friend until the very end, when you can add the following: “ in case you didn’t already guess, I know, because that man was my father. ‘

Even more difficult, but perhaps quite satisfying and rewarding to the reader would be to write the story through the eyes of your brother, mother, or even your father. Then you could end the story a bit like that song from Kenny Rogers about a soldier caught playing cards in church. The song finishes with “I know, I was that soldier.” Or something like that.

I can imagine it would be extremely difficult to write the story through the eyes of your father without putting your bias on to it. It might though provide you with more release.

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That's a good point, thanks for the advice. I went back and cleaned up that spot a little bit to make a separate break along the lines of what you suggested. This does make it a little smoother and more logical in the flow.

Maybe I'll rewrite this down the line after some years to see how I can reflect on it then. It's all fairly fresh so it'd be interesting to see how my view changes over time.

Thanks again for taking plenty of your time to help, and for your generous vote.

Matt, Wow, so sorry to hear that you had to go through all the verbal abuse from someone you love. Stay strong and do you’re best to keep positive.

Thank you @idikuci for making a transfer to me for an upvote of 5.66% on this post! Half of your bid goes to @budgets which funds growth projects for Steem like our top 25 posts on Steem! The other half helps holders of Steem power earn about 60% APR on a delegation to me! For help, will you please visit https://jerrybanfield.com/contact/ because I check my discord server daily? To learn more about Steem, will you please use http://steem.guide/ because this URL forwards to my most recently updated complete Steem tutorial?

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Hey Jerry, I'd love it if you would also please read this post for what its worth, if you have the interest and chance. I think you would appreciate it since you're often one to be very open with the community, and I'm taking a real crack at it here in my personal life. Thanks for your vote through a very generous @idikuci. You should follow their posts if you like comedy.

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Jerry, there is nothing in your comment to suggest you read this blog. Most other people poured out their heart.

I know you are busy, and can’t read everything, so perhaps an upvote here, (which you did give), would have been sufficient, and your comment could have been better placed in steemit chat.

Everyone appreciates the efforts you make for the steemit community.

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This is an auto comment. Jerry sells his upvotes as a bot. I just used his bot to give our sexy Matty some love.

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Selling upvotes? Is that like selling your body? Or maybe your soul?

I wanted to sell my first-born to the devil, but he said “Dad, I’m 27 years old now. You can’t sell me.”

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it's the same as all the other accounts down here, boomerang, minnowvotes, msp-bidbot, levitation, shares, getboost and there are a few more that didn't leave comments. Basically you send them SBD or steem and they vote for you.

I'm surprised the devil was only 27.

This post has received a 5.88 % upvote from @boomerang thanks to: @idikuci

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You got a 17.06% upvote from @minnowvotes courtesy of @idikuci!

Keep the good work my friend. may all good thing should come to your life..

This post has received a 18.69 % upvote, thanks to: @idikuci.

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