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Katie Kerl: Backlash

 

 

Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018

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BACKLASH, 34 What’s Normal?

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In today’s society the motto is “do what makes you happy”, until what makes you happy makes others uncomfortable. Growing up catholic in the suburbs it was ingrained that you cover up, go to college, get married, and you have kids. Pushing us all to be the same in that regard, and expecting a lot of someone by the time they are of a “certain age”. 

  I never wanted that conformed life.  I have always leaped head first into things regardless of what I am “supposed” to be doing. When Tony asked me to write a piece for his blog and take photos of course I said “YES”! That also led to a slew of negative remarks from my more cooperate friends who must keep up “appearances”. My more creative/fit friends thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to express myself on so many levels.

A few of the women that criticized me fight their own insecurities and the inability to communicate feelings through tight dresses & plastic surgery. Just to gain social acceptance.  I do not judge them either because at the end of the day, it is your life. The only regrets you will have are the chances you did not take.

Being comfortable in my own skin and communicating raw feeling through blogging seems to be worlds away from that zone of heavy judgment. Your job title does not make you a good person, the amount of money you make, or the level of education you have received. None of that has to do with your personality, or comfort in passing judgments on people you barely know.

My own mother thought she did something wrong in raising me because I chose to do something so far outside of her comfort zone that was the only explanation she had. Instead of her realizing she raised an opinionated self confident woman. 

At almost 35, I like to think I make good decisions in my own time. I have made enough wrong choices early on to know what I’m getting myself into, what I like, don’t ,  and will more than likely be vocalizing that regardless of what other people think. I’m always in disbelief when older women cast a look of horror on me when I tell them how old I am, I’m not married, and childless. I would love to see the look on some of their faces at the photos from these blog posts.

Moving to Philadelphia was the best choice I could have made. I have learned so much about myself here. Philly is such a melting pot of cultures, history, art, sexual acceptance, random nights, and fast paced life. You can go from black tie gala to save a playground, to an underground house music party that goes till 7am all in one night. Not to mention all the amazing food this city has to offer.

The people I met over the last 8 years that have stuck around for all of my head first antics completely blow my mind. Being accepted for who you are is an amazing feeling. That is why I keep my circle of friends small and grateful for every one of them.  I will continue to find that level of acceptance from people who I let into my life. One of my favorite quotes: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Einstein

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Katie Kerl

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About The Author

Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. 
Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .
Occupation : commercial/ residential  design 
Philadelphia resident since 2011 . 
Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . 
Instagram:  @beatz_eatz_n_freaks 
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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here:http://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-epidemic/
 
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Vote: November 6, 2016

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Vote! November 6, 2018

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Portrait of the Day: Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!

 

Photograph by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018 

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To see additional photographs from Tony Ward’s Wasteland portfolio, click herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/wasteland/

 

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Katie Kerl: Epidemic!

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Dissection. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 1977.

 

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018

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EPIDEMIC!

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In 1998, I was getting migraines and excruciating jaw pain almost daily. In and out of the emergency room every other night with my mother not knowing what was happening to me.  I felt like I was getting stabbed in the face. The doctor prescribed me Dilaudid pills three times a day and a muscle relaxer until they could figure out what was wrong with me.

After months of this back and forth the doctors finally determined it was a severe case of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. TMJ causes pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. It’s almost like having a herniated Jaw. The discs that separate the bone, muscle, and nerves so you can chew get pushed out of place. My mouth would get locked open and closed.  I was to have surgery to re-align my bite. I also needed braces to shift my teeth into that position. At that time I was 15 in high school, Participated in tournament softball/ cheerleading, had friends, and a caring family.

Taking those pills I could not participate in sports or concentrate in class. I had fallen asleep so hard in class the one time, I woke up and there was no one left in the room. Teachers knew I was having surgery, was on all this medication, and left me there.

I dropped out of every sport after having the surgery. They had inserted a mouth piece which made it difficult to talk. I ate through a straw for about 6 months in 10th grade. A Liquid/soft diet, opiates, and muscle relaxers. I was 5’7 and 110 lbs then. I was tired, hungry and high. Sounds like an amazing combination for High school success right?

Being so young and in that kind of a fog was a really confusing time. I’d get myself into Saturday detentions, just to get suspended, so I could be at home and do the work there. The days did not count against me that way. I was tired from being high at school from my own prescription the doctor said I “needed” to take.

I was not alone in this though, I asked questions. My friends all had similar medications for things that did not require the strength of morphine or oxycontin to treat, all of us walking the halls of Upper Darby High School like zombies. Some of them ending up with way worse addiction problems and not finishing high school. I did manage to complete all of the work and get into Drexel University. Going to college saved my life. I went to school full time and I worked full time.

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Illustration by Thomcat23. Copyright 2018

Illustration by Thomcat23. Copyright 2018

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I have lost a 1/4 of my high school class to opiate/ heroin overdoses, jail time, or death .Raising your kids to believe marijuana was a gateway drug in the 90s was the most false accusation. It was your own medicine cabinet. Pharmaceutical companies writing long term opiate prescriptions addicting your children. In school districts that have 9-17$k school taxes, you’d think they’d have better drug education not abstinence programs. Fast forward16 years, their children are now being left behind. It’s truly heartbreaking.

Most recently, my little cousin was admitted to a rehab for a lot of the same substances. I can only hope that she will find it in herself to want to feel life again as well. Ask your friends questions if you think they are using. It will be uncomfortable, they may get mad, but at least you cared enough to let them know you are there. Feeling alone and isolated within your own family, friend circle, and co dependent relationships are just a few of the reasons they will continue to use.

Marijuana is legal in many states including Pennsylvania for medical use. I have a marijuana card for PTSD and chronic pain from an accident. As I stated in my first blog post, throwing all the pills away and feeling again was the realest statement of my life. I will happily use something natural that has no addictive qualities. Well, perhaps to the fridge. My friends know I can cook and they are happily around for my foodie adventures.

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Portrait of Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018.

Portrait of Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018.

About The Author

Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. 
Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .
Occupation : commercial/ residential  design 
Philadelphia resident since 2011 . 
Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . 
Instagram:  @beatz_eatz_n_freaks 
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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-clothing-tattoos/
 
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Vote: November 6, 2018

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Vote! November 6, 2018

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