Lose Yourself to Find Yourself
Updated: Apr 12
What is your name? What do you do? And Who are you? Are the most asked questions in all of our existence. In a lifetime, we will hear these questions asked several times and rarely ever think twice about the way we're answering them. I noticed that when I personally was asked these questions, the responses or titles would constantly change throughout my life depending on the lifestyle I lived, my state of mind, where I worked, or what I was doing. Over the years I spent a lot of time telling others that I was a United States Navy Aviation Tech, then a U.S. Veteran. After my years in the military I then identified as a college student studying for their Four year degree in Business. I then accomplished a bit of what the corporate world would define as, '"Gaining an additional rung in my ladder," when I applied for jobs, identifying myself back then as a Liberty University alumnus with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. The problem is that the entire time that I was entertaining & occupying all of these various titles, I was also doing music, but I never identified with or called myself a musician. The entire time I was singing, but I never called myself a singer. And the entire time I was writing songs, yet I never called myself a Songwriter. The truth is that I was all of these things & more, but also there was an esoteric & highly evolved state of mind that would be needed in order to unlock the secret to how all of this works.
All my life I looked at myself as the black-sheep, the outcast, & the overlooked. This was just the way things were in a tribal society that competes and places value & worth on inanimate objects, immorality, superficial lifestyles, & conformist behavior. This somehow was passed off as normal as I'd stand around and look at all the groups of teenagers in my school at the time, split off into groups, classes, factions, & cliques. Popularity was more of a concept rather than an actual thing, as people were given more attention, worth & value based off of the latest brands they sported, how pretty they were, who they knew, or if they behaved a certain kind of way. I remember not feeling pretty, and not having the money to sport the latest brands, I didn't know any cool people who could vouch for me, and I wasn't interested in hypersexual activity & drugs. As a result of all these things, I couldn't relate, and I wasn't popular. School always taught me that it was more important to fit in with cliques, conform to everything that everyone else was doing, and then to never question it. School inundated me with the future of the corporate-government world & the industry workforce. I was introduced & indoctrinated with the goal of chasing a specialized career field.
The idea of employment sounded amazing to me because I could work for someone else and earn money in return. The end goal was always the money. I was never taught to focus on my own unique set of personalized skills, talents, abilities, & gifts, nor was I ever asked to even remotely think about what made me happy. I was instead programmed for what the corporate & government sectors needed. I had many options to choose from: Lawyer, Doctor, Police Officer, Teacher, Financer, Politician, Scientist, Journalist, and the list goes on and on. The outline was this: Work fast food or retail to put yourself through college, pick a major, graduate, and then enter the government & corporate sector as a Specialized Employee. Even if you never went to college, you were always told to work for a corporation, punch a clock, and put on a uniform. You were told how much YOU were allowed to make and you couldn't get a penny more unless the corporation signed off on it. This is why you can work hard and still don't get a raise, and why someone else who barely does anything can get promoted to Supervisor. We've seen this happen all to many times. You work hard to earn that raise or promotion, and even if you get it, you're always capped. You only get paid whatever amount the corporation sets for "ALL" employees on that tier.
I was excited about working my way up the Corporate Ladder because school taught me about status and what mattered the most in the world. I learned that the objective in life was to get good grades in school, go off to a good college, pick a good major, get a few degrees, take the state bar, become a Lawyer, & have my own practice. It's not really mine, it's of course highly regulated under an association that controls all Legal Firms when you enter the Justice System as an "Employee." That sounded good to me, except I wasn't really cut out for that type of existence. I had to work several jobs from Fast Food, Retail, Administration, Warehouse & Government, just for me to finally understand that school did not prepare me for success or even teach me a thing about Passion economy. Passion economy is using what God has put in you and yielding a return. The concept of working for myself & doing what I loved seemed foreign & impossible, so the answer was to continue punching a clock and slaving away for the corporate & government sectors. At every job there was some instance of the tribal world that High School had indoctrinated and prepared me for. There were cliques, favoritism, racism, popular employees, less popular employees, trainers, supervisors, managers, & more tiers, more competition, more conforming, more fitting in. The people, just like in high school, were gossipers, liars, arrogant, stuck up, overly competitive, ass kissers, unindustrious, slothful, & mean. The environment at a lot of these jobs were toxic and inundated employees for hours on end with verbal abuse from either the customers or the bosses. Workers were treated as indentured servants who did redundant, demeaning, & menial tasks for excruciatingly long & exhausting hours that was sure to drive any ascended master insane.
The military eventually ended up teaching me my first real life lesson, as I was separated from the Navy because I contended with a 1st Class Petty Officer who was abusing his power as an Authority figure over me. I was studying and preparing for my Plane Captain Board that was coming up soon and he stopped me from studying to go outside and sweep loose gravel & rocks. I looked around and saw at least 4 other people who weren't doing anything at all and I questioned him because it didn't seem right. In the Navy, at the time, my job required me to certify as a Plane Captain by a certain deadline. In the line-shack department where I worked, our down-time as Trainees were to be used strictly for studying to become Plane Captain - Board Certified. It was a tremendously slow day and my Plane Captain Board was right around the corner. The stress and pressure of passing such a thing at 18 years old seemed like the equivalent of being thrown out of the skillet into the frying pan. On that fateful day I was asked out of everyone else to stop what I was doing, even when no one else was doing a single thing, just to go outside & sweep loose gravel. It seemed like this Petty Officer was acting a little "Petty," if you know what I mean. I never really had a good relationship with this guy the entire time I worked in the line-shack, so now, was he testing me? I don't know, but instead, I decided to speak up for myself and question his intentions. He of course didn't like that.
The military is all about chain of command & rank. You never talk back to someone who out-ranks you, even if he or she is dead wrong. It is an unspoken rule that the military takes very seriously and since this hadn't been my first run-in with this particular Petty Officer, he'd make sure it was my last. About 3 weeks later I was standing in a room attending my own Separation Board in order to give an account of myself. I stood anxiously before a large circular table with white men in decorated uniforms staring me up and down like a specimen. The decision was in the process of being made on whether it was appropriate enough to cut ties with my service or not. All I remember was that I was extremely sad because I really did want to please the "GOVERNMENT" and show them that I could be used; that somehow I wasn't damaged goods. I didn't know why I chose to take up for myself or speak out on injustices & abuses that were being done to myself, but I was sorry, and I realized that I wasn't in the field of Social Injustice. I was a U.S. Airman and the military was paying me for my service, not for my humanity. All I kept thinking about was all the people who were on my side rooting for me, that I had let down. My family who is steeped in military tradition, and then there was the Command Master Chief who resided over my duty station. A Command Master Chief is an E-9, a very powerful rank & position in the Navy. They are part of the Chain of Command who is Enlisted (started from the bottom) and have personally worked their way up to achieve this great status.
I had powerful people working for my good secretly in the background, but I was just too young to fully understand the complete set of rules. I clashed with authority figures all my life, ever since my adolescent years growing up in the school system just because I spoke out frequently, not because I was bad. School taught me that my voice didn't matter and that it was more important to conform, fall in line, and do whatever my superiors told me to do regardless of how insane or ridiculous it sounded. This forced me to internalize a lot of anger as a youth and as a result, I was able to channel & transmute a lot of that negative energy into creativity which later manifested itself for the first time in my love for writing, poetry, & eventually music. It was crazy that I had done these things all my life, but whenever someone would ask me who I was, I could only answer at the time, the titles or responsibilities doled out to me. I was my job. I was my career. I was whatever the world told me I was.
I went through phases in life where my actual dream job was to work at Best Buy. Then my family convinced me otherwise, saying that, "You know for a fact you've made it if you can get into the DMV. That's a government job, you're set for life!" So I studied for the exam and got into the DMV on a technicality due to the AB-60 Program being launched in the state of California. This was the Democratic effort to license what they called "Undocumented Immigrants" in order to give them a legal pathway to commute on the roads. The environment yet again was even more toxic, the cliques were even more common-spread, and the abuse of power & sex mixed with alcohol & drug use was everywhere. There was rampant drug use going on among the employees, as well as occasional smoking of Cannabis which wasn't anything new, and constant alcohol, including hard liquor. What was even more shocking was the Fraud that went on within the DMV, as well as the use of Cocaine, Opioids, and Promethazine, which was rife among the employees.
One particular act of Fraud that went on in the DMV was the use & abuse of the testing stations. The workers would accept bribes from other customers and would make what was believed to be thousands of dollars a day, tax free under the table, just by simply handing out "Passing" scores to buyers who were eager to exploit an already fragile system. The tests that were deemed the most particularly lucrative always seemed to be the ones for the Commercial Licenses and Endorsements. These DMV workers were charging as much as $400 per "Passing" test while the rest of the entire Office appeared to be absolutely oblivious to the entire thing. I remember feeling like I was back in High School again as I found myself naturally claiming every opportunity to right a wrong. I've had Supervisors & Managers at the DMV intentionally call the Police on my car in order to have it illegally towed just because they didn't like me. They didn't like me because I contended with the things that seemed hypocritical, or I'd challenge them whenever a situation seemed unjust. I've had Supervisors & Managers intentionally burden my schedule to 6 consecutive work days in a row with only one off day a week. They knew I commuted and lived the furthest from all the other workers, and that I also was enrolled in college full-time. I saw workers who were not in school, that the bosses liked, and many of them conveniently living right down the street from the job, get scheduled for consecutive days off in a row. This abuse of power caused me to be extremely tired and exhausted, but yet again, here I was being punished simply because I did not conform.
Eventually the DMV fired me and when I asked why, they did not have a reason at all. They told me that under California Law, as per the "At Will Clause" they had the right to terminate my employment and they did not need to provide any reason for it. I remembered crying and being handed my two week notice. It was in the middle of the work day and I felt like I had been run over several times by a truck. It was rather absurd that I was expected to continue working that day and serving customers, all while being emotional, stressed, and upset that my time was spent trying to figure out how I was going to pay my car note moving forward; trying to see in my mind if there was a plan B for another job, or where I would even look next for work. There was always State Unemployment! Realizing the final slap in the face was sitting there while still on the clock, knowing that they didn't even want me here anymore; still allowing them to use what very little time & energy that I had left. I needed to fix a looming income issue, and all my time was going towards them and that office instead. I sat there struggling to understand how continuing to give them 140 hours over the next two weeks of my life was really benefiting me. Out of 336 hours of my life, I was looking to hand over 140 of those hours back to the government sector, which translated into handing the DMV 42% of my time & energy just to stick around for two more weeks. I would theoretically be volunteering for a sickening pattern of indentured servitude that came rife with emotional and psychological torment. Being the advocate that I am, I of course chose to bypass the two weeks of paid humiliation and immediately start anew.
The entire experience at the DMV crushed my spirit so terribly that I vowed to never punch another clock, or be an employee to any corporation, entity, or individual ever again. I couldn't believe that it took the act of me accepting lies in order for me to realize that I wasn't cut out to live my life in the confines of a glass box. I certainly didn't have the genetic make-up to just color within the lines my entire life. I went from chasing the golden carrot in the corporate-government sector to chasing the same things and dealing with the same woes, if not worse, in the music industry. More cliques, more superficiality, more vanity, less authenticity, if any at all, & the rejection of who you really are as a person. The Music Industry is only interested in people that they can flip into disposable assets. I was told I wasn't good enough, I was told to create differently, to change the way I wrote, to write differently, to change my music, to change my image, to correct my compositions, and to pander to the tastes of the masses. I was rarely ever given real actual advice, but mostly just opinions on changing myself strictly to fit in with what was trendy at the time. More superficial tips and unwanted input about what was hot and what was selling dominated the music landscape. It was very rarely ever about pure talent. I was even told by an Ex-Manager of mine that if stripper music sold well in the clubs, to dumb down my songs just to capitalize off of the opportunity. These were very dark days spent chasing an illusion, and constantly shape-shifting myself to fit & conform into the industry of music. Because I had it all wrong, I wasted so much time believing that the rejections would eventually add up to an amazing & braggadocious story about my uncanny ability to overcome all of the odds that were stacked against me.
Eventually you come to finally understand the complete set of rules that I mentioned earlier. You come to figure out that life is just smoke & mirrors. You "ARE" what you believe. However you choose to see yourself, just know that you are NOT defined by the world, the corporations, the industries, the workforce, or the government labels. You started off as an idea. Your parents either wanted children, or love, or passion, or some combination, and now you're here. You spend your entire life trying to find friends, trying to find connections, trying to find out what you want to be when you grow up, trying to find your purpose, trying to find out what career field to enter. You spend your life trying to find out where you fit in, how to find a way to develop income, to compete against everyone, outclass everyone, and eventually out earn everyone. This unfortunately is how success is defined. In school we were never taught the definition of true success. But true success is as simple as doing something you love for a living. In that way, you'll never work a day in your life.
True success is the byproduct of using your gifts, not the end-goal to chasing a corporate career. And lastly, True Success is Losing Yourself so that you can truly Find Yourself. What does this mean? It means that attaining freedom in a world where you are taught that success & achievement is bottlenecked, & that it only comes to you one kind of way, will often require you to have to lose that very same corporate & government self. This is required in order to liberate the indoctrinated perceptions about yourself. The corporate & government coherence in which you have deeply become integrated with, to the point that it has merged with your own true identity, stops you from really seeing yourself for the true untapped potential that you truly are. The Education System is responsible for further ingraining these erroneous types of programming & indoctrination, only serving to exacerbate an already growing concern among the Woke, Conscious & Spiritual communities. In Conclusion, I end this exhortation with a final decree: Go on the journey un-learning absolutely everything that the world defined you as, and in it's place, take back your destiny by choosing to redefine yourself. Reclaim the life you were actually meant to live. The only way to really & truly find yourself, is to really & truly lose yourself.