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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult


Posted on | April 11, 2018 | No Comments

Sometimes you think you know what the rest of your life is going to be like.

Days become predictable. And you relax into the repetition. With familiarity comes contempt. Because if someone is always going to be around you stop really watching them. You stop listening. Because you don’t need to. You think this is forever and you know them well enough that you can mad lib reality. Fill in the blanks. Hear what they’d usually say.

Then you hear the crash of the waves.

And you go for a ride. And you never get to go back to that place you loved until it atrophied. That amazed you until you stopped paying attention. And there’s this longing for it. Because it’s gone. Because it only happened once. Like everything else in your life.

As I get older I try to remember that a wave is always on the way.

That these little places of rest and seclusion you’ve found are temporary and sacred, poised as they are about to fall off the edge of the world. I try to keep my eyes sharp to disappearing details and once in a lifetime moments that come and go so fast you can’t always remember to treasure them.

The waves aren’t good or bad. They just rise and fall without giving thought to what you want.

A love is born and a love dies. A friend comes into your life and they move away. A job goes from a dream to a quiet nightmare of a life you don’t want to live. The present becomes a time and a place you can’t go back to.

Your childhood is forever and sacred and visits to Milford House, sleepovers with Jordi, musicals with Andrew and writer’s circles at the local chapters and rap sessions at Dave Plowman’s house and then it starts to move more quickly. You’re imagining what life will be like when you aren’t fat. Then you aren’t fat and life still isn’t solved.

You’re in university. You’re wearing a heart monitor at a rap show in the basement of your university. Blown away by how much pot you can smoke and how many bongs have names and freestyling in front of the library and dancing at Tribeca and your hands are in the air because the person on the stage told you to raise them if you care. And you really do. You’re at the public library with a group of crying rappers freestyling as hard as you can to make sure that life keeps going on.  Suddenly you have a diploma.

Didn’t mean anything. You need another degree. In journalism school where you used to go to see your dad. Meeting all kinds of strange people. Discovering how to write newspaper stories as the industry collapses. On weekends you’re drunk as fuck at Freestyle Friday. Your best friend is also named Mike but you never call him that. Only Hermit. You can’t stand still. You have to go forward.

It’s your birthday and your dancing with your friends as graduation approaches. It’s five days later. You’re at Karaoke in Bearly’s. You’re doing it because you want to go over someone. You do. Instantly. And suddenly you meet someone you’ll never forget.

You thought you were in love a dozen times and then you actually are and you realize why everyone was so crazy and you’re crazy and you’re in a nightmare you can’t seem to escape because you can’t sleep and a dream that you don’t want to wake up from of finding what everyone looks for their entire lives. You’re drowning. But just for a little while. You learn you can swim. And you’re stronger than you thought possible.

And then a wave comes and you’re in a different city.

And you’re okay and you’re swimming again. And suddenly you’re working on a documentary for Al Jazeera and drinking too much karaoke tequila with Jennica who somehow lived with you twice and still wanted to be your friend and you’re in a house with people from countries all around the world. Cuz is a Torontonian.

Holy fuck! You have a writing agent.  You get great rejection letters from people at the top of book publishing. Everyone says you’re going to be something special just not now. You say you’ll learn to be patient. You don’t. Not really. You never will.

You have a crush on a girl from Denmark, you dance and throw water on her at four in the morning, and you drink shots of tequila until you almost get alcohol poisoning raising a cheer to every single country represented in the room.

She’s gone and everyone is dancing to Macarena on New Years. Holy shit… have another home. A place that’s as amazing as Middle Bay. People come into your life and they are deported out of it.

You decide fuck it and you’re going to make a short film. You spend three months doing it. Until it’s done and then everything goes incredibly wrong and that house doesn’t exist anymore because of a fire and someone dies in that fire. And you have to wonder again and cry again and fall in love and you wonder if you’re broken.

And you sit on a mat in a house full of shitheads and do loving-kindness meditation until you grab hold of the broken pieces of your heart and you put them back together with the love of a woman from your past. You get on a train and go to Ottawa and fall in love for the second time. Wondering through parks with a dog named Sadie and you decide this is what life should be like.

Until you realize you can’t make a home together and you never see her again.

And you start making films with a guy named Elias. Who will become a best friend and partner in crime. You’ll start the relationship trying to convince him that he should work with you when you have absolutely no faith in yourself. And you’ll find that faith and you’ll make project after project together. For some reason, every conversation you’ll have with a stranger for the next two years will include a short segment about professional cuddling and your defence of it.

And the cuddler. Winter Tekenos Levy.

A girl you pitch at a producing conference thinking she’s a development executive will become someone you drink with and obsess about Kanye with and will be part of every creative endeavour you work on if the Gods are kind. And you meet Charlotte who will be an extra in the second season of Just Cuddle and become a main character in your actual life. And working a corporate job will bring Zamaan Sunderji and Stephanie Wu and a dozen others and it will end as well. As suddenly as a wave crashing.

The terror is that everything ends.

The blessing is that everything ends.

And you learn you can breathe underwater.

Long enough for the waves to crash and for your body to burst through.

The problem is that you can’t ride a wave forever.

The amazing thing is that another wave is always coming.

I can’t count the number of people I’ve gotten the chance to love. The places I’ve been that I’ve hated and somehow escaped. The feelings I wished would end and the ones I wished wouldn’t.

I can hear the waves crashing.

Building in intensity in the distance.

For greater loves and bigger heartbreaks. For hello and goodbye. For insane dreams and the work it takes to accomplishes them.

For being brought to my knees and standing up again.

For the people I love when they need me when the water drags them under. For the moments when they grab my hand when the swimming makes me so tired I can’t move another muscle.

I’ve lived so many lives in these 34 years.

I was born because I was a good swimmer. The best of 110 million options. Now I keep swimming. Because there’s so much more I want to see.

And I love where I am.

And the waves are coming.

And I’m going to find more and more and more and more lives.



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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.

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

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