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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Eyes closed searching for miracles

Posted on | February 15, 2018 | No Comments

We are a society of people looking for a miracle with our eyes closed.

We are armed with a million tools to make sure we’re comfortable.

Ensconced in our narrative and with the knowledge we know ourselves like actors typecast after their first performance. With headphones over our ears. Our eyes on things that haven’t happened or rehearsing moments that are already past. Eyes securely locked on our cellphone screen.

It’s so true it is a cliche.

You watch people on the street.

Even though it’s not polite to do so. You watch them on the subway. And you see the weight they carry. That they don’t share with anyone. And you know how they pose when they know you’re looking. How they make sure you’re looking. Even when they should be alone.

Five minutes after an engagement photo is taken you see the picture of a perfect private moment boiled down to “I said yes……”  I love you more than anything in the world, and we are taught to give that feeling away. As soon as we can. So that other people can praise our happiness.

We perform.

We perform being genuine. We perform by participating in every conversation. We hope that our condolences get likes. We hope that our love gets approval.

The personal is political. You know how to respond. Society trains you to be a laugh track. When you can laugh. When you can’t. An emoticon of a heart breaking for a dead parent of a friend. A sad face for a bad day. A little song lyric for when a famous person dies. A pithy angry cry of indignation for a school shooting. We know how to do this. We have life completely under control.

You are running for office. You are running for your right to be a good person. You are running, running all the time.

It’s not simply that I watch TV.  I am TV.

My story is here for you to be a part of. And that’s all there is. Just stories spinning to their inevitable high gloss conclusion.

And you puke all over your computer screen. All the horrible things you want to tell people. That you want to tell yourself.

There’s a meme that really hits upon much of what irritates me in life. It says something along the lines of, “Some people aren’t worth loving. Some people are just lessons that teach you what love is….”

Yes…..some people just live as examples to teach you things. They don’t have their own agency. The reason they are alive is to teach you what you deserve. Their parents raised them. Their hearts were broken. They loved. They failed at love. To teach you to look harder for better people. The majority of people don’t matter. They exist as a plot device to help you achieve self revelation.

The way we express our love as a culture is through hate and shared preferences. If you love social progress and diversity you hate conservatives. If you are a conservative you hate liberals. If you believe in natural medicine you share literature about how stupid big Pharma is. If you are on antidepressant that’s saving your life maybe you share an article about the lack of scientific proof for homeopathic medicine. If you love Star Trek you hate Star Wars.

Secure your narrative.

I recently was in a discussion about what starts love.

Was it the way the couple met? The interests they shared. The sex. How funny they were.

For me it’s always been something different. Something unquantifiable.

Weren’t there a million people who looked like the same, liked the same things, even had the same experiences. Can you realize what it is besides for some reason you noticed it and you didn’t put up a million barriers before you let yourself feel it?

Is it maybe for just a little bit you let life be something you lived, then a story you read or a play you performed?

Did you put down the camera? Just for a second. And stopped watching yourself. And actually looked at someone else.

In polar bears we find love in scent. In something unconscious as pheromones. In humans I think it happens when the right person comes along and we are paying attention. To what is right in front of our eyes. Rather than dreaming of what life could be.

I think we miss people who could love of us. There’s a lot of love that no one ever claims.

Because it didn’t fit with what we were supposed to want.

And I get it.

You don’t want to place trust in something you can’t understand.

In a lot of ways that’s the hardest part about being alive. Placing trust that life will take care of you when there is every bit of evidence that it won’t.  So in our insecurity we turn to the tangible.

When we are depressed we create stories to justify our worst feelings. Because we think if we can just understand it, we can control it. When in fact by creating these narratives we tuck ourselves into our worst behaviours so that we can comfortably toss and turn. Just like we always do.

It’s scary.

Because if we don’t know what we are looking for, how in the world will we able to find it?

There is a famous picture of Ophelia my friend Charlotte  showed me. Where the painter had the artist submerge herself in water. In the hopes of capturing the desperate innocence of Ophelia and her tragic death. The painting is undeniably beautiful.

The model  died because she stayed under the water too long and caught hypothermia.

The question is was it worth it? For a moment we both tried to be deep and wondered.

And then the truth become obvious as we started laughing.

It certainly wasn’t worth while for the model.

She died before her picture was immortalized. And it was a picture that lasts forever. That robbed her of decades.

She defied unbelievable odds to be born and was lucky enough to get to live this life. And she died for something as a stupid as a picture. Because if she’d lived, she could have seen sunsets and sunrises, drank wine, screamed as she jumped off a cliff into water, danced in a field, fell in love,  had children, cried until her eyes hurt, been heartbroken and felt better, and experienced moment so intangible and specific they cannot even be described.

We try to pretend that being alive isn’t the greatest miracle because it hurts too much to admit it. How lucky we are. How quickly we’ll be dead. How much pressure we place on ourselves because if life is sacred, how can we possibly profane it with our stupid egoistic bullshit.

So we have attached a belief that what survives is more important than what will die. We are willing to slave over the images we collect rather than truly be alive. Because that feels safer. Because maybe it robs our life of meaning. But at least we don’t have to think about how our lives end for no reason at all.

What I feel when I think like this is anger.

And a simple truth hits me. So fully it chokes me up.

Love is for the dying.

It’s the gift we get because things end. Not because they live forever.

Love is only for the dying. For those who need that mercy.

For the flowers that bloom and lose their leaves, wither and disappear. For the high school dance that becomes a senior citizen home in the blink of an eye. For the unfiltered beauty of music as it enters your ears in the knowledge that one day you’ll be deaf. For the lovers who will one day be strangers. Love is for those that dance when one day they’ll be in the ground.

For the moments that don’t come again. For the people that are precious that we inevitably lose. For the moments that dance on the head of a pin before disappearing forever.

Things we can only see if we are paying attention.

How are we going to find each other when our eyes are closed?





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    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 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.

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    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 I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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