Of course, when I came out as a lesbian, a lot of people were all, “Oh it’s because she was never close to her father, blah blah blah.”  Which makes no sense because Lauren had the same situation and she’s straight and feminine.  And some of the butchest dykes I know have great relationships with both of their still-married parents.

Now that I’m starting to go by “K” in daily life, of course, I’ve noticed the connection to my father, Karl. The first time I signed something as “K. Kriesel,” I hesitated because it looked like he had signed it.  When I sent him a email this past fall, the first time we had conversed in eight years, I came out as a lesbian to him for my own closure.  In one of his many rambling, disjointed and angry replies, he suggested that I’m confusing my sexual orientation with my gender.  Hardly, they are unrelated.

But I have wondered what impact he has had on my gender exploration.  My healing from everything he’s done and my coming out as genderqueer/androgynous seem to be unrelated at their sources, but help each other along now.  I have come to realize, though, that he contributed almost nothing to my hyperfeminine childhood.  I visited him on most weekends and during a few weeks every summer when I was 4-14.  The vast majority of the time, he acted like I wasn’t there.  But we did hike, swim, boat and fish, he taught me about woodworking and archery, he tried to teach me Latin and how a carburetor works when I was too little to understand.  We built a model car and a model biplane.  It was only in the places under my mom’s influence that I was hyperfeminine, I was scolded whenever I deviated from that.  It has become clear that he left his first wife and my mom, at least in part, because he wanted a son.  Since he was elderly and my mom was unable to have another child after I was born, I guess he figured that I was the last chance he’d get so he treated me androgynously.  Then I hit puberty, changing from his child to his daughter, and he kicked me out of his life.

He has been the most prominent masculine role model on my life, of course.  And the times he spent actually teaching me to be self-sufficient, hard working and academic are great examples of positive masculinity.  As difficult and painful as he has been in my life, how androgynously he raised me provided balance, relief, and even an anchor from the ridiculously Barbie-like standards of school, church, my mom and my baby-sitters.  It has only been after I separated my actual self from that heterosexist role that I’ve been able to see all this and to actually be grateful.


Now that I’m finally settling into post-undergrad life (NYAH to Brandie, Jennie, Kelli, Anna, Lyda, and everyone else still stuck at Alverno!) in the city where I belong, I guess it’s about time I start . . . you know, figuring out what the hell I’m doing. With all these la-de-da grad school people around me (you know who you are) and considering the requirements of jobs I actually want, I’ve been thinking more and more about starting grad school within three years. My super-cool uncle once told me that he thinks that one should go through hell in your 20’s in order to live well for the rest of your life; that’s beginning to get more and more appealing . . . except that I’m still in my 20’s lol.

After researching several schools in the Chicagoland area, only one stands out: The School of the Art Institute. I want to attend a specifically art-centered institution – that was a mistake I made with Alverno – and the only other place that’s really appealing, Columbia College, is too business-based for me. SAIC is IT!!! Their MFA in Studio (through the painting and drawing department) program is almost like it was made for me. http://www.saic.edu/degrees_resources/gr_degrees/mfas/index.html It is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, but I think I would regret going anywhere else. It does have great job opportunities. However, most of the jobs that require only a BA are suited for people who actually go there already. For example, I couldn’t be a competent SAIC representative to high schools if I haven’t had the experience of being a student there. In any case, grad school at SAIC is even in my dreams, I think about it so much.

I would need to be in more exhibits, sell more pieces, get more experience in the art world before even thinking about applying to any grad school for my MFA. The Chicago Artists’ Resource is fantastic so I’m getting a great start less than a week after moving here. And before getting back into any school-like program, I want to take advantage of several artist-in-residence offers in the West (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, etc.), Zion National Park being my #1 preference since I’ve already been there three times and because . . . well . . . LOOK AT IT!! http://www.nps.gov/zion/supportyourpark/artist-in-residence.htm

Here is my ideal 1-4 year plan:

1) Get a job, saving up enough money to travel
2) Participate in juried shows, art fairs, gallery events, workshops, etc. to build my reputation
3) Attend 4+ weeks of artist-in-residence programs
4) Apply to SAIC

Let me know what you think

In two months and three days, I will be FINISHED with school!  And I will move to Madison, a new city.  Big life changes ahead!  I’ve already started by getting an apartment.

It’s really scary.  Exciting, too, but it’s pretty hard to be excited when the security deposit takes a chunk out of my account.  And it’s even more scary that I’m doing this all alone.  I do have fantastic support from family and friends – THANK YOU!!

Life changes usually correlate with some kind of change in appearance.  When I came out and broke up with my high school boyfriend, I chopped off my waist-length hair.  When my ex dumped me and kicked me out of our apartment, I . . . got a different kind of haircut.  I gave myself a haircut the day I signed the lease and the check.  One more change and maybe I’ll just shave my head!!!

It really looks like I’ll be moving to Madison. I’ve checked out both job opportunities and apartments and it looks pretty awesome! The jobs I’ve found are looking for people who are available a.s.a.p. and I won’t be until May. I’ve done as much searching as I can do now; I have the first week of March off and I plan on going to Madison totake care of all that can be done then – applications/interviews, apartment inspection, etc.


Since whatever job/apartment searches I do now will be fruitless, I’m blogging about another fruitless search: stuff to fill my future apartment! I am well aware that I probably won’t be able to afford all this cool stuff for a while, so let me dream.





There’s just something about a 60’s/70’s themed apartment that is so . . . . Ron Burgundy






While walking to campus to get a few things before work, I began thinking about my final speech at Alverno – my art gallery presentation.  I am still rather bitter at Alverno’s art department.

It seems as though the authoritarian mindset is very highly valued.  The idea that, because Prof. So-and-so is a professor, she must know what’s best for me, is a sick mindset that is praised because it surrenders autonomous thought.  The value of the dollar isn’t the only thing that has been going down, the value of the idea has gone down.  The worlds of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation”, Richard Adams “Watership Down”, Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” and “Fountainhead”, and George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” are all correct.  And the probability of those references not being understood only proves my point further.

The speech I would prefer to give at my final presentation would include something like this:

‘In “Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, a brilliant architect explores new thoughts and theories in his field.  His peer, who adheres strictly to the classics, though, exceeds far more in both funds and praise.  The curious-minded architect gets few jobs and much ridicule.  After many ordeals landing him in infamy, he disappears to a faroff quarry.  The hard, physical, repetitive labor brings him to a world free of valued ignorance and numb minds – he is better able to flourish outside the coop of fools and the only way to do that is to work with only his hands.  Upon my graduation, I am going to my own quarry.  Aside from a few situations, most of the education I have received has occurred by my own hands; I will better be able to continue that path in a place devoid of harsh criticism for doing so.’

But I won’t give that speech because I would most likely receive a resounding FAIL!  Empty-minded lip service gets one by more than bitter individual declarations. 

To sum it up into a more understandable form:
You are most likely familiar the the Bible story of Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  I’m Jesus, but I’ll be staying indefinitely and I’ll be free instead of fasting.

Quote of the Day: “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” – Delores Ibarruri

In my Contemporary Topics in Art class this morning, we discussed our art as activism.  All five of us who showed up went around in a circle and they all agreed that I have the most socio-politically active/aware work.  Alright!  When my turn came around, I explained that I wanted to use my art and art therapy as social activism while I was an art therapy major.  I wanted, in particular, to work with people who are trans, genderqueer, intersex, etc. as both art therapy and as social activism.  The art therapy department here frowned on that; apparently that is the “wrong” kind of art therapy and the only “right” art therapy occurs in schools and nursing homes. 

I realized that the way I feel about leaving art therapy is how I felt about leaving the church: LIBERATED!! 

Since all this dad crap went down, I’ve been trying to get a return to normalcy.  After I originally came out to basically everyone, I wanted to get to life after coming out – something that was difficult to do with all youth-oriented LGBTQ literature and organizations focused almost entirely on coming out!  Now that I’ve come out to the last person, I have to get back to my post-out life.

Last night was the Thanksgiving feast on campus and these four old ladies sat at my table; one asked what I was thankful for.  All I could think of was that I’m not pregnant.  But finally focusing on something other than dad crap has greatly improved everything.  I’m also thankful for not being in art therapy any more!

Monday, Voldemort/Karl/my dad emailed my half-sisters, who passed it on to me, that he thinks he’s dying. His previous emails and letter for the past . . . his entire life have been long and drawn-out, taking about five pages to make one point. This email was different, it was just two Bible verses, a Latin phrase, and song lyrics all about leaving with Jesus. Even though he’s apparently in good enough condition to write an email, I think he might really be dying.

Many of you IRL have probably heard me say that I couldn’t wait until he dies, that it would be a big relief, etc. Due to the uncertainty, though, it isn’t a relief, it’s more like emotional turmoil. I feel like, by referring to him as “Voldemort” and keeping him at such an emotional distance, he became more of an archetype than a person. Now that it’s probable/possible that he’s dying, it’s like he’s turning back into a person; not just a person, but a father who was there, went crazy, and then left. I haven’t been sleeping well since Monday, when I also wasn’t able to eat well.

When we know that he’s actually dead (how we’ll find out is anybody’s guess), I will be relieved. And then we’ll probably go to excavate his house and go to court with the State to take Power of Attorney over his will since he didn’t live up to any of his divorce contracts. Right now, it’s depressing because it isn’t depressing: I’m sad about it because this experience with death, the death of my father, is so different from the deaths of my grandparents, cousin, and great aunt. When Gramma died, my entire family was there with her, talking and praying with her and holding her hand. And, at her wake, we shared stories about her. My experience with the death of my father should be something like that but, because he rejected his role as father, it can’t be. It was a relief when Gramma died because she was in a lot of pain, but it will be a relief when he dies because I won’t have to look over my shoulder everywhere. And I’ll be able to forgive him because he won’t be able to use that vulnerability to hurt me any more.

I do plan on writing him an email just for my own closure. And I’ll finally come out to him! If it’s too late, whatever, I’ll still have closure just from him being permanently gone.

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