Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Cure#14: Yoga Farts, Insomnia and the History of Music and Unicorns

Posted on | August 19, 2010 | 2 Comments

I’m surrounded by attractive incredibly flexible women and I don’t think I’m making the best impression.

While they are in downward facing dog, I’m literally slipping in my own sweat.

“You are doing well,” says my perfectly toned beautiful black yoga instructor.

I’m not.

Hot Yoga involves a level of flexibility I don’t possess and working out in a sauna for an hour and a half. I’ve drank a liter of water and sweat until it didn’t stink anymore.

“Just relax,” she tells me.”And breath.”

What the fuck do you think I’m doing right now?

I take a deep breath and move my body into a position called downward facing dog which loosely resembles someone who has decided to do a push up and stopped half way.

I have been practicing deep breathing on and off for the last month, lying on my back in my den as my roommates pretend not to find this strange. Every self-help guru recommended their own special breathing exercise for anxiety. I tried most of them and can say there isn’t much of a secret. Take in a deep breath, hold it and slowly exhale.

Why do this?

The physical symptoms of anxiety include rapid breathing and an increased heart rate. By breathing deeply and slowly exhaling you slow your heartbeat and change the rhythm of your breathing. The only problem is that you can’t take a shit load of deep breaths when you are feeling fucked up in a social circumstance. It doesn’t really inspire confidence.

“Now raise your leg and balance it on your thigh,” she says.

I do so.

The thing I like about Yoga Class is that it combines my two favorite childhood games: “Twister” and “Simon Says”. I find it useful for breaking the cycle of my anxious thoughts.   After all when you are trying not to fall to the floor, while focusing on your breathing, while staring at a perfectly shaped apple ass, you don’t have a lot of energy left to focus on what a piece of shit you’ve become.

“Now take a deep calming breath and focus on your goals for this session. What you want to take with you….”

I’m here because I found an article on the net that said Hot Yoga sometimes helps with insomnia.

At this point I’ll try anything.

I can tell that I’m getting more and more fucked by the way my friends and family have taken to asking me the same question at the beginning of every conversation.

“You sleep last night?”

The answer depends on the day.  Every second night I sleep for a couple hours. The next night I don’t sleep at all. Sometimes I lie because I don’t like to worry them.

Everyone has their own advice to impart.

“Exercise until you are exhausted,” says my sister.

I begin excercizing for an hour everyday. Senior citizens at the health club are impressed by my vigor on the workout bike.  A homely gigantic couple cease making out to watch me race through the pool.  Shortly afterwards they join me in a race from one end of the pool to the other and back. For some reason they make orca sounds as they lurch forward pushing tidal waves in their midst.

Doesn’t work.

I take to meditating several times a day and it substitutes for missing sleep. A friend gives me a cd of Yoga Nidra that apparently allows you to get the equivalent of three hours sleep in one 34 minute session. I play this CD until I know every word by heart. Still I’m not sleeping.

There is a constant tension in my temples from gritting my teeth in worry. The doctor says go to sleep every night by 12.  Which means I can’t go out with my girlfriend after she finishes working.

According to some pamphlet I found online an insomniac should sleep in their own bed. So I stop sleeping at my girlfriend’s place.

Slowly I’m losing my life in order to regain my ability to sleep. Only the anxiety grows with each appeasement.  And four hours becomes a good night’s sleep.  My couch becomes my office.

My depression worsens as I give up my life in an attempt to treat it.

I don’t find things funny anymore. When people make jokes that I know are funny I fake it.  Nothing makes you feel more like a robot.

My drug of choice is tryphotophan. A big shot of Christmas turkey medicine which puts me into a white fog and sometimes helps me sleep.

“Hold it. Don’t move your feet from your knee.”

I can feel my remaining foot slipping on my mat. If I fall I’m going to head butt the girl in front of me right in the ass. As enticing as this sounds I try to maintain my balance.

“Now put your leg behind your back and get ready for downward facing dog once more,” she says.

I do so.

Didn’t fall over. Hot damn. Staring eye to asshole with the attractive girl. Straining. Trying to make my breathing not so loud. Heart beating against my chest like an alien trying to burst out of Ripley’s ribs.

“Now hold it. 10, 9, 8, 7….”

I smell something.

Yoga farts are apparently a very common phenomenon.

Not to stereotype hippy hot chicks and yoga perverts that attend these classes, but they often have very healthy high in fiber diets. Beans are common protein replacements. Enough said.

Silent but deadly doesn’t last long.

Quiet farting is impossible when a river of sweat runs down your ass. What is momentarily quiet becomes a laughing duck and a stream of poison gas aimed directly into my nose.

“Now go into child’s pose,” she says.

This means curling up into a fetal ball. I’m at the front of my mat and she is at the back of hers. It smells like she took a shit.

My body shakes with suppressed laughter.

Focus on my breathing has a whole new meaning.

“Now go into corpse pose,” she says.

Corpse is lying on your back and watching your breathing. Making no effort to change or control it.  Just watching.

There is utter silence in the room.

I close my eyes.

About to fall asleep.

And then it happens.

Someone else farts.

And then another person.

And to be social, I let loose a little excess gas.

Suddenly the room is filled with vile shit stink.

Without choosing to, I begin to laugh to myself.

Quietly at first. Little louder as I pick up my sweat soaked towel.  Guffawing as I make my way out of the class. As sweaty asses play the trumpet in corpse position I can’t stop myself.

The attendant looks at me like I’ve gone mad.

Get to the bathroom and collapse against the wall.

Tears roll down my cheeks.

I’m crying and laughing at the same time.

As strange as it is, a room of beautiful female contortionist shit staining their yoga pants fills me with an epic joy.

I’m not focusing on my breathing, I’m losing my ability to breathe.

In the chaos of accidental unchosen emotion, for the first time in weeks I’m not trying to breathe. I’m not fighting myself. I’m letting myself be swept away in the tidal wave of joy and misery that makes up the best and worst, saddest and happiest time of my life. Shaking with hysterical laughter. Unable to believe the events great and small that have led me here.

Only Mike Kimber could be reminded of the joys of life by farts.

I’m alive in a way you can only truly feel when you have been on the edge of death.

I’m in love and I’m insane.

The borders of my happiness and sadness are constantly expandin.  Somehow one year had both the best and worst events of my life in it. I often think to myself how unlucky I am that I fell in love and lost my sanity at the same time. Yet the breakdown was destined to happen. Genetics and a lifetime of mistreating my body wer going to catch up with me. Yet somehow I was blessed to have a girl strong enough to love me through the hell we had fallen into.

So I laughed until my sides hurt, until tears covered my sweat soaked face.

When I go home, inspired by the ass orchestra, I begin to write of a musician and the daughter who loved him more than anything in the world. The story of the Alacorn continues and Christmas is less than week away.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

We are about to focus on Frank, patriarch of the family and Budweiser bastion of sanity in this fantastical little world of ours.

There are a few great musicians in this world who choose their families over their art.

One such was a man named Frank who would, upon occasion, explain that the most important thing a man can do was look after the people he loves. Frank also often made gestures where he shot himself in the head with his finger but this is not relevant to our tale.

What is relevant is that he was one of three people who knew that little Stephanie was also an Alacorn. He could not help but remember her falling out of her mother’s thighs and balancing herself on the retractable horn.

Few things excited Stephanie more than spending quality time with her old man. He would play his bass in the basement, sip on a Budweiser, and sometimes a little rye and she would be in her bed pretending to sleep, straining to hear the music he made.

Her father was hip.

Whatever expression expresses how a man’s hands touch strings connected to an instrument and connect to the heartstrings of those around him.

As a musician Frank could drive crowds into freakish insanity where they licked floors, consumed rivers of alcoholic beverages and filled nurseries with ill-gotten bastards. But like most musicians his magic did not translate into bank accounts stuffed with gold and diamonds.  He was paid in the groove and a lifetime of memories he almost remembered. He could have made it but that would have meant sacrificing time with his family.

His child loved him so much that she wanted his dreams to come true. And once she was asleep she had the ability to make this so.

So one day she transformed into a Unicorn and made her way down to his studio.

Frank pretended not to recognize her, greeting her with a friendly and slightly stunned grin.

“Well, hello, there,” he said, feigning shock. “You want to go for a trip, sparky?” he would ask, his face twisted to resemble early Jack Nicholson.

As a music fan, there were many concerts he wished he had seen. With a flutter of her laughing wings, time would stagger and they would float through the mists, the sound of clapping, and mega loud music cutting through the present, into the smoky delight of a past where musical festivals weren’t just about the expensive hotdogs and long lines to the bathroom.

He climbed up on her massive back and she leapt to the sky. Frank let out an expletive when they left the ground.

Clouds become mud pits and hippies celebrating their ultimate day in the dirt.

Their first trip was to the mud filled campground of Woodstock.

Few commented on the man riding the Alacorn in drifts of laughter through the sky.  After all LSD was plentiful in those days and the hippies thought their third eye was expanding into true consciousness, whatever that might mean.

Ravi Shankar smoked magic leaf with Frank, flying through the clouds at a million miles an hour sitting on a sithar. He burped and Frank told him that’s cool man, whatever you want to do Ravi Ravi. Janis Joplin vomited Southern Comfort on Frank’s shoes and he was filled with mirth and then Southern Comfort when he removed the bottle from Joplin’s clutching unconscious hands.

Over the years, the musician and his magnificent daughter would go back in time and experience the greatest shows that music had to offer.

The duo were there in 1981 in Central Park when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel played Bridge Over Troubled Water after eleven years apart.  Garfunkel attempted to avoid the concert at the last minute. He was urged back on stage by a quick punch from Frank’s fist.

The Alacorn did not understand the words “Fucking Hippie” but did understand that her father was right to punch the pretty man.  Upon waking to consciousness Art agreed and celebrated with Frank and his daughter after the show.

The  twosome went to Peter Frampton’s 1974 concert at Marin Civic Center and Frank belligerently yelled at Frampton during the touching rendition of “Baby I Love Your Way”.

British quartet Led Zeppellin were treated to a backstage guitar solo which would inspire their work for years to come directly before their three consecutive sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in 1976. To sneak into the Rolling Stones concert at Wembley Arena they painted Stephanie black. This would inspire a song that would change a generation.

During the Last Waltz the two danced hand and hoof, just out of view of the drunken hippies and high cameraman.  If you watch the video tape of the Last Waltz at 33 minutes and 12 seconds you can see their shadows on the stage.  After the concert they partied with The Band. The Band does not remember this. This is unsurprising.

Many musicians would get the visitation from the Alacorn and her father. None talked about it, believing they would be committed to an insane asylum.  Buddy Holly waved to them from his plane before it crashed.

Since Frank’s primary interest lay in guitar legends, they spent much of their time seeking out the greatest strummers of all time.

Jimi Hendrix said their spirits were yellow and green as the acid took over and he rocked cafes in Greenwich Village with his psychedelic magic. Duane Allman had a drinking contest with Frank and won.  His daughter quickly booted the man in his face.  Eric Clapton would lose a beard contest to Frank and be declared most likely to look like Stephen Kimber circa 1991.  Robert Johnson made no deal with the devil to play his tunes, only a deal with Frank for lessons every now and then. He paid him in whiskey.  Chuck Berry came up with Johnny Be Good, when the Unicorn and her daddy took him to the future and watched Back to the Future with popcorn, soda and all the trimmings.  Ry Cooder decided to play Bahamian Folk after Frank told him how much he appreciated his diversity. This meant more to Cooder as a result of being thousands of feet in the air galloping with Stephanie through the clouds.

Things tend to mean more when you are flying.

After a long night of watching the greatest music ever performed, her father would tuck her into bed, kiss her on the forehead and say, “Stephanie you saved the music.”

She would wake up a few hours later and he would try not to comment on the urine stains.  He often failed at this.

She had a habit of making the dreams of the men in her life come true. It only made sense that she made his dreams come true first, the man she loves most in all the world.

Welcome to the Colony of Losers, a world of quarter life crises, anxiety, depression and the friends and the failures on the way to finding your future. This is the story of Michael Kimber’s panicked fall into adulthood.

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2 Responses to “Cure#14: Yoga Farts, Insomnia and the History of Music and Unicorns”

  1. Randall Sykora
    August 19th, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    The yoga farts cure made my sides split. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. Great job, you are a super talent..keep it up! R

  2. Tum
    October 28th, 2010 @ 3:55 am

    I suffered with insomnia for quite a while. It was due to stress at work, and a lot of stress my my partner, whome am not with any more. I tried several remedies, but none of them really worked,. It was only when i sorted out my problems that my insomnia went away.

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  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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