Sean Badger is OnyX
Moving as a child from the inner city to a small town, Sean Badger found himself as the only black child in a small white neighborhood. His parents were in the army and a prison guard. He has found himself constantly treading in a world of extremes, looking for balance. OnyX is a persona, an alter ego he’s constructed to help him find balance in his polarized world. It has since helped him cope with his military experiences, and even raising children. Listen at BeAlterEgo.com/itunes to hear his story.
Follow Ony-X: Zion Studios
I want to thank all of the listeners that have been subscribing and giving us feedback through ratings and reviews on iTunes. I love hearing what you have to say. If you haven’t done it yet, please head on over to iTunes and leave a rating and review. Let me know what you think!
Sean: I don’t want to be who they think I am, I don’t want to be the token black guy. I also don’t want to be the thug, gangster that came from the city that moved here. I don’t want to be the stereotypical black guy. So I want to be me. But I don’t know who I am.
Athena Rosette: Welcome to Alter Ego with your host Athena Rosette. Welcome to the Alter Ego podcast. I am Athena Rosette, your host. On the podcast, we explore the secret world of what makes us who we are. We acknowledge our Alter Egos. The sides of ourselves that exist outside of norms and expectations. I want to know who those Alter Egos are. Why we have them and what they give us access to. Today I have Sean Badger on the podcast. Moving as a child from the inner city to a small town, Sean found himself as the only black child in a small white neighborhood. He has constructed an Alter Ego named Ony-X to help him find balance in a polarized world. It has since helped him cope with his military experiences and even raising children. This week we only have one episode coming instead of two because I am at Burning Man, a place where Alter Egos come out to play in droves. I promise. I have got a cool series and works about it where I follow my friend Michelle through what will be her first burn. She has been a Mormon through her whole life and couldn’t have seen herself coming to this place two years ago. Make sure you listen in for that next week. I want to thank all of the listeners that have been subscribing and giving us feedback through reviewing and views on iTunes. I love hearing what you say. If you haven’t done it yet, please head on over to iTunes and leave a rating and review. Let me know what you think. Make sure to connect me to Twitter and Instagram at @BeAlterEgo and FaceBook at @AlterEgopodcast. Follow us to get the latest pictures of our guests and exclusive content. All right, let’s do this. Here is Ony-X.
Sean: My name is Sean Badger. I am originally from Grand Rapids Michigan. I joined military and had been in San Diego for the past nineteen and half years.
Athena Rosette: Cool. Who is your Alter Ego?
Sean: My Alter Ego is Onyx or Ony-X
Athena Rosette: Tell me a little bit about this Alter Ego, where did he come from, how was he created.
Sean: It’s a bit of a spiritual background. In the beginning God made the earth but he has all his angels with him. Well, Onyx being one of the angels, when God and Satin had their battle, he didn’t want to pick sides. He said, “I am not going against dad but I don’t want to go against brother either because he is still my brother.” So because he never chose a side, he was cast our as well. He has got a little animosity because of that but he despises his brother because he got lumped up with the whole world.
Athena Rosette: Interesting. It’s like a place of conflict.
Sean: Exactly. His other brother Gabriel reminds him, he says, “Father is what he said, be either hot or cold.” So be either hot or cold. But look warm and you will be vomited out. So you decided to be warm. Instead of choosing a side, whether right or wrong, you are not choosing, decided for you. So his brother still talks. He still talks with part of his family but his resentment has caused him to become an anti hero. So he is never going to be the demon like his brother satin. But he is also never going to be like the archangel he should be.
Athena Rosette: Interesting. I have never heard about this angel, onyx. Where did you learn about him?
Sean: I created him.
Athena Rosette: Cool. Okay. Tell me where the storyline came into you?
Sean: I was actually doing a Bible study one day. I was just reading about the dark angels and each one specific talent trait and what they were doing and why they are so … What about the ones that obviously when satin was whirled to earth, he took only a third with him. Only a third of the angels followed him. So he still got two third in heaven with God so that out of the third that went, how many of them actually followed and how many of them tried to play neutral, thinking that was safe.
Athena Rosette: Got it. So what made you identify with onyx?
Sean: He had a temper, aggressive attitude, force or feisty.
Athena Rosette: You make up with attitude or …
Sean: It was raised by mother was a prison guard, father was in army. So got the militant background following orders and what orders to follow and chain of command and how to understand. So I kind of identified with him because he is no right or wrong. We are all born with innate knowledge of right or wrong but in the world that we live in, the line between right or wrong is so skewed. Things that we are as a child we knew to be more realistically right are looked at in society as being wrong for the most part. So just a human being, just American walking around the streets, you see things that you decide that’s not right, why is that socially excepted or why is that which is right lead to wrong. So if everything morals and ethics are being skewed, how do we as people get to a day to day life? If I know right and do wrong, then I have sinned. People like to put labels on this. This is a sin, this is a sin. If you know the right thing to do and you do wrong, then you have sinned. I was like it’s actually a lot simpler.
Athena Rosette: Do you perceive yourself as onyx? Is it part of who you are or is it something that you step into in certain situations when you need to figure something out, is it a mindset, or is it something more substantial than that?
Sean: I would say I would identify more with him. It’s like flipping a coin. I know I probably should do this. But this is what they expect or this is what needs to be done but how will I be viewed if I do it. The right way society means necessary.
Athena Rosette: That’s so interesting. I think my first reaction to onyx is it seems like it’s this response to being stuck between a rock and a hard place like you have got the super polarized view of … Or not you having a polarized view but there is a very polarized existence that you are navigating through, right and wrong or maybe even mom and dad’s ideas or culturally acceptable, not culturally acceptable and what’s the middle ground? It seems like onyx is this walker in between the world that decides what’s the middle ground or what’s the path like your independent choice? Is that kind of along the line of how you identify with him?
Sean: Yes. How do you navigate in the grey area?
Athena Rosette: What’s an example?
Sean: Being in the military, a grey area is a good example of rare end. You are setting over-watch on a tall, probably on an elevated platform and your job is to ensure protection of either convoy or a patrol. You see a woman who seems to be carrying a child or excuse me with maybe 8 year old with her. Now as they are passing through the checkpoint, one of detectors goes off, so now you have to make the call, is she carrying a baby or is she carrying a heat round which is a tank round, which you can refit as an IED.
Athena Rosette: Explain that for me. I don’t know the terminology for it at all.
Sean: So imagine a bullet about the size of a baby and it’s wrapped in cloth to look like a baby. The detonator is placed on it. So they are actually going to use the actual shell, the explosive round to detonate the checkpoint. So now when the detector goes off, either with explosives or certain types of metal. So grey area. That’s the scenario. So either she is experiencing something or the child next to her is. Grey area is do you as over-watch take the shot killing a woman and child or do you allow her to come through and detonate killing 5 personnel standing watch on patrol.
Athena Rosette: How do you make that decision? That seems like such a challenging thing to have to weigh and assess.
Sean: It is for about the first two months. So something bad happens because you did make the choice.
Athena Rosette: Do you feel like at that time, did you have onyx as an alter ego as well?
Athena Rosette: How did that help you during that experiences?
Sean: Honestly without that personality shift, I don’t think I would have made that choice because raised as a gentleman, take care of women and children this and that. But your enemy will play on your weakness and they consider that weakness. So they send children and they send women to die for their cause.
Athena Rosette: Yeah. That’s a really hard thing to have to face and have to reckon with. You know what I mean.
Sean: Onyx has got me through many things, in the different positions that I have held in the military actually. Onyx has been with me since before military.
Athena Rosette: Really? Was there an event or is it something that formed over time?
Sean: I think it was a slow formation over time. Everybody has got an Alter ego. Everybody but not everybody or acts with some ego, forget who they are and become that.
Athena Rosette: That’s so interesting. So tell me more about the beginning of when onyx came into your life?
Sean: Group in the city largest city of Michigan, and her parents were tired of the area in which we lived in, gangs and drugs and they just wanted to get their kids away from. So to cope with certain areas and certain aspects of life in where we lived, even though I was raised as a gentleman, still have the attitude and the temper. So I always had a switch, always had a ledge that I knew how far I can push myself to before either fall over or jump. After living in that area for so long, her parents finally quit their jobs for making more money and instead of just moving us to a better area in the city, we completely left moving to lake which is tiny. We were the only black family in the entire city. So you think of John Hughes movies one of those 80’s Movies with Freddie Prince Jr. where you had “that one black guy”?
Athena Rosette: You were “that black guy”?
Sean: Yeah. That was me. So I had to adjust form intercity gang life to rural green acres, there were farms everywhere. I switch and I wouldn’t say confusion but having a deal with not being urban anymore was a twist. Onyx was there to cope, track, football, and a great deal of friends. It didn’t matter for the most part because I was still the toke in black guy.
Athena Rosette: Yeah. So at that time were you onyx solidified into an alter go in your mind or was it just a summation of feeling and coping strategies or things like that?
Sean: It was coping for the most part but it was like I have to make the world a stage. I don’t want to be who they think I want to be. I don’t want to be the toke in black guy but I also don’t want to be the thug, gangster that came from the city, that moved here. So I don’t want to be the stereotypical black guy. I want to be me but I don’t know who I am.
Athena Rosette: Which is such a hard thing just for teenagers in general. I mean much less putting on top of it that the fact that you were culturally displaced and moved into this new environment where a foreigner basically even though it’s your language, it’s your country. You are the only black guy coming from different background. I have no idea what that experience is like but it sounds like it can be, it’s probably pretty intense and could be challenging to get used to.
Sean: It was. After years of my playing a role, not wanting to be one extreme or the other, that’s where you came from.
Athena Rosette: This is so interesting. It’s like you have this world of extremes that your life has been, from one side to the other and so you are constantly trying to find your place in that like constantly trying to find what’s the middle ground, what’s the balance, what’s the neutral, and that’s where onyx comes in. Is that right?
Sean: Yes. He was a balance, he was able to walk that line to navigate the shallow waters few years ago. Those working in Kuwait and I was actually assisting with warrior transition program which is sailors, soldiers who had been deployed with the army and marines for a year or more who are literally coming home after being on that long to their families, to regular life. We get them for a week and I don’t that doesn’t sound like much but a week of decompression where they can stop being military for a while because they go home to their wife and kids, or husbands or significant others and mom and dad. We break down all barriers. We take their gear, weapons. We literally let them decompress for a week. A lot of the issues are some of them have seen so much that we are actually monitoring them for PTSD. Some issues that come up aren’t just some of the things they have seen but things that they have to deal with. Some worse than the stories I told you about over-watch. We had a canine unit. They were literally … They were on patrol. The canine sensed something and ran ahead, grabbing an insurgent and take that insurgent down. Then the entire portion of that room that they were in ignited, the dog saved the unit’s life but the guy who was actual canine trainer had raised that dog from a pup, trained it, that was their fourth deployment together.
Athena Rosette: Tell me how has onyx helped you as a parent?
Sean: That was easy. I have three daughters.
Athena Rosette: So you had to find a middle ground. Is that what you are saying?
Sean: Oh God. Yeah. It was worse when we became teenagers. How do I let them have fun and make mistakes without them making the mistakes and sticking with them for the rest of their lives. You know go out and have fun. Go with your girlfriend, find the guy that I don’t want to kill and enjoy life, but remember I have a lot of guns. I teach people to shoot and if they see a red dot it’s not friendly, it’s daddy.
Athena Rosette: Thanks dad. I am sure that was interesting, dynamic for both father and daughters.
Athena Rosette: Is there a situation that comes to mind where either your daughters or sons really stands out that Ony-X really helped you through?
Sean: Yeah. Kind of. Slightly jaded relationship with my oldest daughter. Let’s see, how do I deal with the fact that it’s like no matter what she does, when she is 18 and she is moving out, how do you deal with the fact that you are still angry but you don’t want your anger to push her away anymore. Okay, so I want to see my grandson. So onyx has helped me which is why I hang out with my son. He is not my actual … He married my daughter.
Athena Rosette: Can you give me an example of how onyx has helped you through that?
Sean: Because he is so middle room. He is never high or low unless he needs to be. It’s like okay, he didn’t steal your daughter you gave her away. When you gave her a choice to act right or find something else to do and she decided to leave… months later when she got married, what did you expect? You have given her the choice to make the choice. It’s not up to your anymore. You have to let go because if you get angry at the choices, she makes as an adult, that’s only affecting you
Athena Rosette: That’s so true.
Sean: I was like. Dang it Ony! Literally without the switching personality, I would be angry all the time. She is my first daughter. She is my little girl. Now, she is a mother. She is a wife, she is on her own. That’s married for two years. I have a five month old grandson.
Athena Rosette: Yeah. I picture it like it’s a spirit guide type of thing, what would you do, what Jesus do. What would onyx do and you are like okay. All right onyx, let’s have a talk because my mind is going a little bit intense right now. You seem to be at the neutral one. What would you say about this? Is it like that?
Sean: Back in the day, Hollie used to draw like one on each shoulder.
Athena Rosette: Angel and a demon.
Sean: Well, he came and said “Both you and He need to go. I got this.
Athena Rosette: Does he sit on top of your hat or something, like in the middle ground?
Sean: It’s more like an envisionment.
Athena Rosette: Do you ever see yourself as onyx or is it kind of a guide?
Sean: We will sit down and see for it. I want people to say, “You know what, that’s me in some aspect. Maybe not as a whole but that’s me always wondering left or right.” Sometimes instead of going left or right, you seem to go through.
Athena Rosette: I love that by the way. That’s a really good quote right there. Where did the name onyx came from?
Sean: Onyx is Japanese for demon and x as in past tense because he didn’t choose, he was still cast out and so he sees himself as even though he doesn’t want to be, he sees or he feels, they see him as a demon. So though he isn’t a demon with his brother, he feels he is not good enough to still be considered an angel.
Athena Rosette: Well, do you have a place where people can follow you and check out what you are doing?
Sean: See the Twitter is zeinstudiollc777 or @zeinstudiosllc2 or @zeinstudiosllc.com
Athena Rosette: All right. Well thank you so much OnyX.
Sean: Good. This was nice. Thank you for the opportunity.
Athena Rosette: If you liked today’s episode, make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast to get all of the episodes as I release them. I am Athena Rosette, your host, and I want to hear from you. If you want to share you alter ego with the world, go to bealterego.com/contact. To get show notes, links and pictures of onyx, go to bealterego.com. Thank you so much for listening. If you dig the show, please let me know by leaving a rating and review telling what you think in iTunes or Stitcher. It really makes a difference. Special thanks to Melissa Sobey and Corey Jones for voiceover work in the intro and to Mike Garcia for engineering the soundscape of our intro. Next week, I will be back with the Burning Man series with Michelle and with some of my experiences as well. So make sure you check in.