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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

The Thing To Get To The Thing

Posted on | December 31, 2017 | No Comments

It’s easy to forget that creating art isn’t the most important thing about being alive.

We all have our all consuming obsessions. Compulsions that get us out of our head for a short time and allow us to project majestic images of how we want to be seen.

One of my favorite shows, Halt and Catch Fire, declared the work the “thing to get to the thing”. In the case of the show the actual thing they are trying to get in all of their Silicon valley innovation is connection.  We watch four friends build the future, in the form of personal computers and chatrooms, and even the world wide web. What matters to the viewer is how they grow as people. How they are able to reach through decades and grab a hold of each other in the moments where you fall if someone doesn’t catch you.

For a long time I thought of writing as this all access pass to a better life. If I could write something wonderful I’d be afforded power. I’d be known for what I wrote. I’d change lives. I’d change the world. I’d feel worthy of all the kindnesses that can be accrued to a human being. There is a law in science that is connected to all religious belief. Something cannot come from nothing. However I believe all art begins in a feeling that we might be nothing, that we might be worth nothing. That we have to change ourselves and our indifferent universe by creating something better.

Writing has been the thing that has gotten me to the thing more times than I could count. I lost my virginity because of my skill at freestyle rap. Yes, I just said that and it’s true. Later on my  my first love was a spoken word poet and my intense childish love for her was captured in a million poems and the invention of this blog you’re currently reading. My second love read this blog and loved the way I say the world and chased me down years later because somehow my words lodged in her in a way that couldn’t be deleted. My best jobs have come out of my creativity. Creativity is my USP (unique sales proposition.) It is the source of much of my value as a commodity in the world.

As I get older I’m less interested in controlling how I am viewed in the world and more interested in changing the way I view the world.

I have been watching Friday Night Lights and stumbled upon a commandment from its creator Jason Katims. The concept is called Best Foot Forward. Conceptually it’s the genesis of his compassionate universe. The idea is simple: humans are trying their best, make sure you’re characters are doing the best they can in any given situation.

Ponder this idea and you’ll find a world that’s more enjoyable to live in.

The barista who fucks up your order isn’t incompetent. Their mother is dying, they’re heartbroken over the end of their first love, this job is in not the fulfillment of their childhood dreams and each moments reminds them of how much they have failed. They are doing their very best to get your order right and are embarassed at their failure and their cavalier behavior in light of your outrage is camouflage. The alcoholic who ruins your Christmas party with inane anecdotes and then attention consuming arguments and drama is dealing with something they struggle with. Something they are burying with alcohol and this is the best they can do at this moment.

I use art to train myself to be compassionate. When I write a scene I have to think about why this scene is happening. What pain is fuelling it and I’m reminded that everyone I meet is dealing with a mind as complicated as my own. They all deserve mercy. From the horrors of their own minds. From their expectations. From the cruelties the world does to them without their permission. For the past and the wounds they have that can’t be fully healed. Writing trains my brain to look at people. To search for what’s beautiful, what’s absurd. Not because my point of view is so important that the world needs to share it. But because my point of view is the only way I can see the world.

I can make my eyes more patient and see with greater depth. I can catch moments and keep them for when I need them. I can look at myself in the mirror and imagine what words I would say to myself if I was stranger and I needed to hear something to make life less lonely, less terrifying. I want to use my art to train my heart to be more loving, more forgiving, more present.

It started as a way a thing to prove to the world I mattered. Then it become a way to connect to other people. Now it trains me to enjoy my life more.

Best foot forward.

 

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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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