Although I am still an incredibly small Youtuber, I do feel that I’ve had a bit of an interesting journey so far.
I uploaded my first two YouTube videos on my original channel back in late 2012 to show the world that I was moderately competent at the electric guitar.
Back then I was still in the Navy and was absolutely miserable on my second ship. I was dealing first with a succession of leaders with obvious personality disorders, the first with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and the second with Antisocial Personality Disorder. I was made into the black sheep of my division and was pretty much bullied for the entire two years on board. My current counselor told me the experiences I had on that ship were enough to induce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without any combat experience necessary.
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The initial videos were nothing more than an attempt at some type of personal solidarity to show myself and (hopefully) the world that I had some type of value. At the time I was nothing more than an “unsatisfactory” sailor and a heavy drinker. I had nothing to offer the world except for my own confusion.
I finally left that ship in May 2014 and went to my first shore duty and final command.
After five years of sea duty, I finally had a chance to think about myself outside of the expectations of the ship, ship’s company, and the image I was trying to maintain for my “parents” back home. Deep down I had no idea who I really was, all I knew was that whoever I was, it was not good enough for the people around me. I was at most a joke – and at worst a potential mass shooter. Justin wasn’t a person, I was nothing more than the accumulated perceptions of the people around me. Other people defined me. I did not exist. Nothing.
The first attempt at developing an identity came in between my transition from the ship to shore duty. I had thirty days of what is referred to as “transfer leave”. I spent half of it at “home” in Florida, and the other half in my real hometown of Yokosuka, Japan.
I bought an iPad at the Navy Exchange so I could make more of my guitar-related videos with better quality, but then I discovered an interesting app on the iPad, opened it up, and had the next two years of my life defined within minutes.
This app is called Garageband, and it comes free of most Apple products. For most people it is a toy, for me it was a revelation. For the first time in my life, I was able to do what I had wanted to do since I was a child: create. I spent the next 36 hours unable to sleep because every time I fell asleep a beat or a melody would pop into my head, the music now controlled my life – and I loved it. Honestly, I was way too hasty in releasing three albums before the end of the year, but it is not something I regret, I took my soul and finally projected it outward instead of letting it fester and slowly die inside of me.
How does this tie into YouTube? My first videos on YouTube were nothing more than still frames on top of the audio of my music track. I got no attention, nobody was listening to my music.
My voice still wasn’t being heard.
I did this for a year and a half before I decided to try a new strategy.
On Halloween of 2015, I decided to make my first video that had actual people in it. It’s the advertisement I still use in all of my videos to this day of my friends saying my hashtag: #pizzaboynizza. It was an attempt for me to get a video to go viral in order to try to get a record deal, so my music would finally be heard.
At the same time, I went to the Shibuya section of Tokyo, Japan, and took several videos with girls holding a sign with my hashtag in order to hopefully get people to search for it and find my videos.
This also failed, but at least I started being bold.
Following this, in November 2015, I made my first regular video called simply, “Introduction”, and for the next six months, it was the only video I made that was of any notable quality – but I was at least making YouTube videos now. Every video I was making was nothing more than an attempt to get a video to go viral with my music in it.
Of the videos I made during this, the only two I made of any value were a video targeted toward the graduating class of my high school and one I used defending the rights of transgender people against the judgment of fundamental Christians.
By May 2016 I had essentially given up on making a video that would get any recognition.
On June 17th, 2016, I had my first panic attack. I suddenly had an inspiration.
(To be continued…)
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