hi, I'm julien comtois,
but if for you, like for most people,
it's a confusing mouthful, just call me jay.
I understand it is important to know the who and the why behind something before trusting in it. i know it is to me anyway, if you've come to this page, it likely is for you too.
for this page, i didn't want to use "we" like i use everywhere else and write some bullet points in the third person. IT FEELS STRANGE Pretending that i'm not the person wRITING WHEN I'M TALKING about myselF.
ONE DAY I HOPE TO HAVE A WHOLE TEAM TO WRITE ABOUT, but SINCE IT'S JUST ME for now, i didn'T know how to put pictures without it looking like a dating profile, but just the long text without them is very dry, so this is both a humorous and serious depiction of who i am. please enjoy.
DOUBLE-CLICK TO ENLARGE
overly detailed bio
My parents split up when I was less than a year old. For the first thirteen years of my life, I lived in relative poverty with my terminally ill mother and three younger siblings in the suburbs, where I attended a creative alternative school. When came high school and college, I lived in relative wealth with my white-collar father, attending strict private schools in the city.
This is important because it made me experience life from two dramatically different perspectives. Both my parents had studied and worked tirelessly to achieve a successful career and financial stability. My mother had gone poor, through no fault of her own, because of successive pregnancies and a debilitating illness that would leave her unable to work for years and take her life at a measly 42 years old. My father on the other hand, had succeeded quite well by being competent and diligently overworked, leaving him little energy for much else, also through no fault of his own. Neither of them had ever seemed happy of their choice, regardless of the outcome.
I was fifteen years old when my mother passed from an auto-immune disease, and I quickly realized (and by quickly, I mean after three years of self-destructive partying) that I did not want to follow in my parents' footsteps, that money was not a worthy pursuit. My mother started dying at 34, that was leaving me a good fifteen years. I wanted to invest my time in being rather than having. Pursue my passions, gather experiences and knowledge. Master my body and my mind. And so, I did.
At eighteen, I quit college to go live in Dominica for a year, mostly spending my time reading books and doing physical and martial arts training. Healing from a couple years of substance abuse. It got me deeply interested in the human body. Upon returning home, I studied professional personal training, nutrition and kept training in martial arts. I traveled through Europe for a summer, then decided to go back to Dominica to train more seriously for several months.
After focusing on physical training so much, I realized that western martial arts were too focused on it in their practice. I decided to go to university to learn mandarin so that I could go live in China and train in Kung Fu with Shaolin monks to experience a more spiritual side. After two years of preparation, I went to live there for a year, but only weeks after my arrival, my master was wrongfully imprisoned and our school closed. All student left, except me and one other.
When he got released after a few days, we fled the Shaolin Temple area, to the remote mountains of Jilin province, where we started a new school at the Sangsheng Temple. When the other student left, I was alone for weeks training one on one with a warrior monk until we slowly got new students. I learned immensely from my master, Shi Xing Long, training ever harder, but also developing better mental and spiritual balance. Unfortunately, as the time progressed, my body was painful, and at the end of my trip I injured my knee.
I went to Utah to see a specialist I had learned about from a fellow student to address the immediate issue. He fixed me up really well, but upon returning home and investigating further the cause of my injury, I was able to deduce that I had an underlying problem. I had always felt something was off with my body. I had pains and aches everywhere, but as a "tough guy", I had always disregarded much of it as normal, and all the specialists I had seen, had told me my imbalances were caused by my sport. I just couldn’t accept this as an answer anymore.
My condition made me want to acquire the skills to help treat myself and others, since so many so called specialists had failed to understand what was wrong with me. Since we had no internet at the academy in China, I had downloaded the largest medical textbooks I could find and read them all. It had given me advanced knowledge of the human physiology, but I didn’t know any manual techniques to evaluate and manipulate the body. So, I went and studied kinetic massage and fascia therapy.
After careful analysis of my body, my hypothesis was a leg-length discrepancy. I managed to convince my doctor to give me a full lower body x-ray. Long behold, it was revealed that my right femur was quite shorter than my left. Through the years, walking and training had caused my hip muscles to tug on and deform my lumbar spine. This in turn resulting in other spinal compensations, in my injury, as well as explaining much of the pain I had been feeling all over my body for years.
After having been in peak physical condition for many years however, recuperating from the injury was like starting from zero and it made me realize I didn’t care to get back on top. Not because it would be long, but because it would be redundant. What if started getting sick already, best to explore a different avenue. Instead I became interested in more cerebral activities. Learning about many languages, about coding, pursuing art, be it painting or writing, enjoying video games, lots of television and movies. After a couple years of this, I felt like I had reached a point where (almost) all my personal growth objectives had been met, and I had lounged enough. I started looking for a way to give back, leave something behind.
That is when I initially created resave.org (you can read that story, here), but my initial idea didn’t pan out. Some time later, getting into coding led me to learn about and invest a little in Bitcoin, which gave me a good return. I had a new idea for resave.org I could finally fund, but the company I had most of my capital stored into (Quadriga CX), fraudulently collapsed, losing me the lion’s share of my holdings (I cried). But you gotta get up and move on. The next year I decided to invest what was left in a small restaurant, with one of my best friends and her husband. I had been working for a couple years in a row without vacation, so before we started, I decided to reconnect with Dominica after 10 years.
After witnessing firsthand what hurricane Maria had done to the island, I was shocked. It looked worse, 2 years after the fact, than it did the very week following hurricane Dean when I lived it in 2007. And back then, Dean was the biggest storm to hit in decades. Now, Maria was just one of many super storms that we were seeing every year, it was just a question of when the next one takes the wrong path. I knew then I had to move forward with resave.org to give them a hand. And hopefully help many more people in the future. I used what cameras I had with me to shoot a little bit of what I saw, with the idea of using my restaurant as a venue to show it and do fundraisers to launch the project.
After I came home, I focused on opening the restaurant. We opened in October and got a busy few months up to the holidays. Then we got hit by COVID-19, just as I was getting time to work on the events. A depressing blow to both my endeavors that had me pulling my hair for days. But never mind all that, no time to waste, the goal was always to leverage the internet eventually, so when the whole am-i-going-to-be-bankrupt fire was tamed-ish by government relief, and I was officially on unemployment, I rushed to launch online instead and voilà.
So here you are, a specific person, that I may or may not know, in the present, reading this rather intimate account of what drove my core principles and my desire to create resave.org.
And me, in the past, writing this, wondering if you will know that you can trust me to do right by those principles.
Because this is the only purpose of this long text, for you to know me enough to decide if you’ll entrust me with your support in any form.
I hope you will.
P.S. : Rereading this, it sort of feels like I just carelessly breezed through all these lovely things, enjoying life without working real jobs. I always had a home to go back to if I needed, but that's all the help I ever got and it was plenty. So without rewriting everything, for all the experiences I got to have, here are the experiences I had to have:
handyman, farmer, painter, sad starbucks barista, construction worker, angry demolition worker, wood worker, dishwasher, busboy, waiter, cheeky bartender, restaurant manager, restaurant owner, annoying phone survey person, hotel clerk, front desk manager, operations supervisor, security guard, lazy call center representative, personal trainer, painful massage therapist, teacher’s assistant, slow transcriber, translator, freelance writer, freelance artist, video editor, bad forex trader, crypto trader.