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I’ve tended to look inward, a lot, over the past few years. The writing that I do, in that book, every day has been a major catalyst in the process. There is a lot of mental debris but I find ways to navigate and find the clearings. I was incapable of even thinking about a statement like that, a few years ago, but I am a new person today. I recently found out that Rocio got engaged. That’s huge. I saw it and I thought to myself “Oh shit!”…I searched inward for the rest of the emotions that surely were trailing right behind, but there was nothing. No anger, no jealousy, not an ounce of resentment. I’m happy for her and for that guy. I really hope that it works out. I asked my brother about his past relationships, namely one in particular, and I wanted to know if he still thinks about them. He does. Everyone does, to an extent. I do too, but it’s changed. I used to have this nostalgia about what was. Stuck in the self-created euphoria of my past love, all the while ignoring the fact that there are always two sides to a coin…It wasn’t always love. There was a lot of hate. A lot of negativity. A lot of pointless situations that we could have both done without. Overreactions from both sides. If all of that is taken into context, then I get to where I am now, which is content with the result. Plus, I am in such a better situation that it’s ridiculous. When that whole thing ended, I was really down because I was not able to get closure on it, in a way that I felt comfortable with. It was refused, to me. It haunted me for years. I am no longer in need of any validation from that situation or that time in my life. I am ready to lift-off. I have done my penance.To myself. And now, I am done with that.I told myself over and over that I wouldn’t allow that situation to define who I am as a person. It was the starting block to my story, for a while. I clung to it, as though the pain was somehow symbiotic, but no. No. This blog started on account of that part of my life but it was never meant to be sustained as such. I am ready to take a transformational step. I thought that I was ready for a while but I was not. My heart and mind are lighter, these days. Other hardships are coming, let’s not act like they aren’t. The positive in that? I can now have a much clearer head, to take on those coming issues. Whatever they are. Stephan is here. And the fire burns fierce.

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Mental

I would like to talk about something serious, for a minute. Our mental health. How often do we work on strengthening it? I’ll readily tell you that I thought that I did work on it but I’ve come to realize that the time invested has been minimal. I’ve been through a few things that really tested my ability to move forward and I’ve had to truly get in touch with myself and work. Not on how I was going to get out of the situation that was bearing down on me, but on how I was going to strengthen my mind in order to deal with the situation at hand. I feel that the only prevalent mentions of mental health revolve around sports and concussions therein and  there are very little mentions about it for every day citizens living in this world of increased pressure to succeed and a severe stagnation of necessary outlets to help us cope with our every day issues.

I was speaking to a friend, this weekend, and I could see that she’s worked very hard on that aspect of her life. Looking into her eyes, I could see that there was nothing this world could throw at her that she wouldn’t be able to deal with. Strong…It was incredible to be looking that in the face. I don’t think that I have ever seen that in anyone before. She mentioned that, although she seems calm and collected on the exterior, she battles with her expectations and that she has to work on herself constantly in order to regain control of the issues she faces. And that’s when I realized it. I think. Now, disclaimer: You don’t have to believe this. This is my personal opinion.

It was incredible to be looking that in the face. I don’t think that I have ever seen that in anyone before.

I realized that there is a pattern between the amount of things that are thrown at us, on a daily basis, that distract us from working on ourselves. We are in a world where we are the most important commodities and, as such, companies spend millions of dollars, each year, to try to gain our attention through inventive ads, salacious pictures, and basically manufacturing a perceived need for what they are offering. We run after a lot of different things, and assume that we’re mentally strong and that we can deal with the obstacles that oppose our progression but I don’t think that our mental acuity is tested enough for us to really know what we are made of. We’re distracted by everything around us and if we can take the time to really learn about ourselves and strengthen our minds, we will realize that the power is within each of us. That it has been there the entire time and that we don’t need anything exterior to harness it. It starts with taking the time to do it, though. Instead of trying to look for the next thing to spend your money on, invest in yourself.

The Growth

Believe it or not, this is going to be my first post of the year. Now, I have been writing in my book, which I carry around with me everywhere and document thoughts in, on a daily basis, but for some reason I have been having a kind of mental block when it comes to this thing. As a result, I just don’t write, because I don’t believe in posting things with a lack of substance. Also, I have been dealing with a sort of dueling thought process. On one side, I don’t want to talk about myself at all. I want to keep my life completely private and have no one know anything about me. I want to be utterly anonymous. In my mind, it can be done. But on the same note, I have grown so much in the past three years and want to take you along for the ride. I went from not being able to trust my own decision making to executing exactly what I have in my mind, in the exact way that I see it. I believe now. I have been dealing with those two processes of thought since I started writing and shooting clips for this website. I cannot say that either thought has grown more than the other, though. I think that they have both kept pace with each other. I went from posting something every so often to writing in my book every single day and it has helped me change a lot. But I have to keep going with the site. Francois Toulour has simply evolved but I still want you to come along with me and share in the evolution. I have always thought of this as a way for me to connect to the people that I have not been able to see, touch, talk to, etc… I care about everyone. I don’t mind that some find that pointless or useless. For better or for worse, I want to bare it to you because, at the end of the day, I am going through the same things that you are. Maybe not at the same time but how different are you from me?

“I care about everyone. I don’t mind that some find that pointless or useless.”

I will say this: I have heard, for a long time, that I have “something”. That I am “weird” but in a good way. I hated that shit for a long time. I didn’t want to be any of that. Because I couldn’t find the like-minded individuals that were similar to that. I identify with a small portion of a lot of people but never enough to feel comfortable. I used to want to be a part of a group. Like a group of close friends. For a while, I thought I was a part of something like that, but after a bit of self-reflection I have realized that I probably never did. Even when I actually had a group of dudes that I hung out with on the regular. Even when I was in grade school and everyone knew who I was. Everything always felt just a tad bit off. So after the breakup, I decided that instead of killing myself, which I have briefly debated due to a very deep depression, I would learn to be alone and understand who I actually am. Once I got the strength to do so, I started seeing traits that I never really knew that I had. The other traits that I had been aware of, blossomed into different things altogether. I am still in the embryonic stages of learning about myself. I think that it will be a project that will last a lifetime. In this life and the next. But I love it. I love it partly because I get to show you. And maybe, by me expressing myself, you may take something and implement it in your own life Or maybe it may spark a thought that you probably would not have had, otherwise. That’s really all that I want. To contribute in that way.

I am now accepting of the accolades that have been given to me and I am going to do something that I have never done consistently; I am going to channel my spirit into specific parts of my life that I haven’t ever tried to focus on. I’ll let you know what happens, for better or for worse.

Tact

noun \ˈtakt\

: a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense.

I feel that this is a very underrated ability. One that, in my opinion, a lot of people overlook. I was speaking to a few people the other day, we were discussing music and the reasons why the majority of artists cannot sustain the greatness that they enter the industry with. I like having these types of conversations because there aren’t very many ways that these convos can go wrong. We were all in agreement that it happens and so the next step was to determine why. I was enjoying myself greatly and then a girl that we all know approached us and started talking. She was greeted with great energy and she had made it clear that she was not going to be staying in our company for very long. Then, she did something that I still don’t understand. She turned her attention to me and went on to say something personal, that I didn’t really want to be known by the other folks around me at that moment, in the vicinity of the group and others, preceded by “I hate to burst your bubble”. I had to let her know that what she said didn’t have the specified effect and I shrugged it off but it was a little strange, can’t lie about that. Now to be honest, what she said wasn’t really that bad but it was the timing of it. And I would have assumed that she would have known that. She didn’t see any problem with it but I couldn’t understand why she would have mentioned it the way she did. So there is the reason for this post. Tact. Understand the situations that you are in. Know that just because you feel comfortable saying something to someone at a specific time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right time to say it. You may think that this is a very obvious thing and that everyone knows this but if that were the case, this post wouldn’t be.

I don’t really expect to create any change with this post but I feel that if I don’t say anything, I’ll be complicit to this lack of subtlety. It’s all love. Just think before you say what you wanna say.

Transparency

I grew up reading a lot. It was a way to escape things. Turmoil, boredom and many other things that I just don’t feel like mentioning. The books were sometimes adventure books or sometimes I would just memorize a GQ magazine but the looks of the people or the hero profiles were usually very similar. They would both, essentially, make the subject as perfect as possible. No faults to the human eye. The hair was always perfect, and the suits always tailored. The women always disposable and the cars always top of the line. It was all I saw and somewhere along the line, I started thinking that these were the ideals that I had to hold on to. The model of perfection. I guess that’s why I gravitate towards “Le Chiffre” and “Francois Toulour”. But that shit doesn’t exist. I don’t believe that it does. No one is perfect like that. Not to say that you wouldn’t want to always wear the best clothes or date the most beautiful people but I don’t think any of that stuff even matters. So I am creating my own version of these egos and trying my best to cultivate my realness. I think you show more character to walk around and take pride in the fact that you are not perfect. That there will forever be things that you have to work on. I’ve grown to enjoy that. I love walking around seeing people and knowing in my heart that the sense of expression that my eyes have noticed is really who these people are. No gimmicks. “My clothes are my skin”. “This is how I feel”. It gives me a happiness that I can’t describe and yet I know nothing of these people, but I root for them. I wish them the very best because I believe that they are being honest on a level that people fear. Everyone seems so scared of everyone. Walking around, I get more “mean mugs” than anything else. And I know people will say “Oh, but that’s just how my face is”. Haha, nah, mean muggin’ someone ain’t your face. Look at your passport picture and tell me if that is the face you make in the streets because THAT is what your face looks like, when indifferent..

Anyway, in the spirit of transparency, I just wanted to let folks know that Episode 2 will be the last vlog for the season. There will be more in the future though. Just enjoy the videos that are upcoming. They’re gonna be kinda cool.