Saturday, August 27, 2011

Who is Devonte Antonio?

Ok, so I figured it was time that I wrote this. Never mind me not keeping my promise to blog all the time, I've been busy and going through some things and not able to look at myself from the outside to reflect and put things down, although I really should start, if not publicly, for myself. But anyhow, who the fuck is Devonte Antonio? Lets see...

I was born Joseph Thaddeus Marshall. I wasn't specifically or purposely named after my paternal grandfather, that just so happened to be his name also. I never met him before he died. He was a baptist deacon in the backwoods of Louisiana and didn't really care to meet my dad's bastard son. Eh, I got over it. But I grew up being Joey since birth. I liked Joey, I always have, I liked looking at my name, liked writing it, it was cool. Joey. But in junior high, things started changing. As we were heading through puberty, and social cliques started to form and define, I felt as if I needed defining also. I became daJo-E and later theJo-E. That was when everyone was on AIM so I created all kinds of funky screen names. I was to be an entity. I felt like an outsider, like no one wanted me around so I thought to become something that maybe people would like. But really, I just trying to ok with myself, convince myself I was a cool person. I was also closeted gay and was dealing with that. At the time, I thought I was actually going to be able to just hide it my whole life...yeah, that's another post.

So I was trying to convince myself I was cool and then convince other people. I have always been loud and quirky but that was the time I really made an effort to make people laugh. I felt good when people would laugh at things I said or how I said them. As I grew older, it came naturally to where I didn't really have to try as hard, but it wasn't really me. It was me putting on a show. I still felt like Jo-E, or Joey. Smart, quiet and calm-natured that liked to keep to himself. But whenever I was around people, I'd be loud, always cracking jokes, and usually making a fool of myself. I got to the point in my late teens where I'd consistently feel the disparity at who I thought I was on the inside and who I was showing myself to be. No one began to take me seriously and I still never felt like part of the crowd although I was beginning to be ok with it.

But still, being the life of parties and having visual and audible proof that people were enjoying my company was very pleasing to me. I have always had an artist's heart. I'm pretty creative and as noted, I do like to express myself, but I was never really allowed as a child. I graduated high school and began a long and arduous path at independence and decided that maybe I should explore my nack to entertain people and maybe branch out and use some of my creativity in other ways. I created Devonte Maximillian Studdemeier just being silly one day...and probably drunk. Devonte was going to be superstar. Yeah, I know, how gay, whatever, but I wanted to be famous so bad...well still do. I can't exactly remember where the name Devonte came from, but it wasn't from anything I saw, I just knew it somehow. I read later in some spiritual book how we can have true names that aren't given to us but just come to us. Well, I wouldn't call it a true name because also at the time, I created some other aliases that stuck around. Antonio Valdez and Edward Jo. I considered my true self, Jo-E, being very humble, nice, smart, and a romantic. The person you'd take home to mother. Antonio was the opposite. Very bad tempered and full of attitude. Edward Jo was just a name I created to do things I'd be embarrassed to do in the day time...enough said because that's def a different post. Years later I created Ricky Martinez, after I got into a good routine at going to the gym everyday, he was my personal trainer. The unique mindset I'd find myself in when I was working out.

But Devonte was always the future star. I started taking dance classes, working out, downloaded vocal lessons and started exploring my creative side. I wanted to see Devonte's name in lights. I had this plan all mapped out that I wanted to have Devonte perfected by the time I was 25, to have my shit together to go around through the right avenues and promote Devonte and start the road to stardom. Well plans never really work out. I did a lot of growing in the years between 18-23. Very much mentally. Reality hit me in the face like a brick. Devonte was put on hold so I could solidify a Plan B in the very likely case he wasn't going to happen.

I grew angry inside. Upset. My life wasn't going the way I wanted it to. My comedy started to become more bitchy. Slightly funny but not really everyone liked it. I lashed out at people that didn't deserve it. Looking back, yeah, I think I would call it depression. I had got so excited at this concept I created and it just hurt seeing that it wasn't going to happen anytime soon or the way I wanted it. I wasn't content being Jo-E. No one liked Jo-E. I had convinced myself that years prior. I grew into being witty and having attitude. That was my day to day. At one time, I did call myself Devonte, but I gave it up. No use trying to explain him when I was clearly on my grind and too smart of a person to be oblivious to the judgment and criticism that it just might not happen. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the grind everyday to make it big, what made me any different other than creating a pretty cool name.

I stop going to dance classes and trying to sing. It was painfully obvious I wasn't good at either. I did get most of my shattered life together and remained in school while working full time to support myself. Now, I wasn't completely depressed, I still had a nack to make people laugh and now I had a new medium that gave me really good feedback. Facebook. Being a lonely guy, I started to get comfortable just posting my thoughts online as a substitute to actually talking to someone. People would comment and show that they thought whatever crazy nonsense I was saying was funny. Devonte was starting to smile. I changed my name on there to Devonte Antonio. It rolled off my tongue better and made since to combine some of Antonio's sass to Devonte's shtick. I would go to parties, get drunk and assume the identity of Devonte. Devonte was a good time and it felt easier to be him and have a good time, than it was to be Jo-E. I don't want to say I was being someone else, because I have always felt Devonte was me, just another part. In the dissolution of Antonio, some of his sass went to Jo-E as well. Ask the people I work with, I'm sure they can attest. But I didn't feel a name change in the sense was necessary. People already had a hard time with Jo-E, calling me Joe and shit...PSHHHH.

I grew to accept that maybe Devonte won't be a superstar, at least anytime soon. I was having a good time being a star in the eyes of the people that laughed at me. I still have school to finish. But I think I am taking my faith in my talent to make people laugh. Who knows what will come from that but I have definitely not given up. I call my online persona Devonte Antonio because the stuff you read on Facebook that just so ridiculously out there but LOL worthy is Devonte Antonio. Now, I know what you are all probably thinking? Jo-E, Devonte Antonio, Edward Jo, Ricky Martinez, whoever else? It sounds like I'm schizo. Well...I will never refute that, but trust me, things have been working best when I separate my mindsets, because conflicts do and have arisen and man, it ain't pretty.

Lastly, when I did officiate Devonte Antonio into existence, I was considering getting a tattoo to show how serious I was to make him happen. I did ultimately decide to get it WHEN and if he happens but I found one that was so perfect for me I knew it was meant to be. Go to and type in DEVONTE and ANTONIO into the generator and look at the first tattoo that comes up. They work perfectly together. I would get it on my ribs going down so I could lay one way and you can see Devonte and vice-versa. I had really thought I had pulled these names out of no where, but I clearly it was destiny.

Again, you may think I'm crazy but this crazy is gonna get me somewhere, I feel it. Time is all relative, so no matter how long it takes, I'm gonna make it. Devonte Antonio will be a star.