Friday, March 7, 2008

Who is BlueZero?

I am Blue Zero. It's hard to explain where that name came from or why I chose it, but I'll try my best.

I spent two years in the US Navy as an Aviation Electrician Mate working on the P3-C anti-submarine aircraft. Part of enlisting is taking a series of tests: the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), the Advanced Sciences Test, and some other vocational tests that depend on your choice of job, such as the DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery). I took those three and got a perfect score on the ASVAB, a high score on the Science Test, and an extremely high score on the DLAB.

When I entered bootcamp I did amazingly well, earning awards and medals, including two of the highest awards achievable in boot camp. Then I entered technical school and became the honor student in the class with consistent perfect scores on the tests. I was actually challenged by my teacher with the hardest problem to troubleshoot that he could come up with and I was the only student in the class who could discover the problem.

The reason I mention this is not to brag, but to show that I had an exemplary record. After I left tech school and entered my squadron, I was immediately treated like crap. This is actually not common in the Armed Forces, regardless of what people might think. Over the course of 10 months I was given all of the worst jobs, pigeonholed in the most labor-intensive workshop (which doesn't get any credit for the work accomplished), and hounded for any slip in performance. After taking a look at where my life was going, I realized that I had become almost completely diminished. I was nothing. I started writing and drawing under the name Zero as a way of documenting my anguish.

Slowly I started to realize that I really wanted to die. It wasn't just some ambiguous feeling of depression (which I have struggled with since I was 5), or just a cry for help. The feeling that grew within me was a true desire to end my life, which would have been a final end to my pain and an escape from the terrible prison that I had gotten into. There is almost no way to get out of the military without some adverse records or effects, so I felt it was the only way. Also, being I worked around dangerous equipment and processes, it would be easy to make it seem like an accident. One day I realized I had made all the plans... and then I made one last attempt to save myself.

I wrote a letter to my Master Chief, who is the last defense in the enlisted chain of command before the Commanding Officer, detailing my entire experience in the Navy from beginning up until that point. I told him, in a nutshell, that I'd become careless and detached and that eventually I'll make a mistake that either causes mine or someone else's death. That raised the red flag pretty quick, and within 2 days I was evacuated off the base and a month later I was back in my bed at home in Ohio.

I'm still alive, obviously, but I still have this feeling of emptiness. I still feel like the Zero. However, I've made a lot of progress in understanding myself and my life. I call myself Blue Zero because I love the color blue and I really needed to reclaim myself, even if it means accepting my zero-ness.

I am Blue Zero.

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