Personal Essayist and Popular Culture Critic

Jude is most interested in writing personal reflections that expand the individual experience into a larger, universal understanding of the human condition. 

Jude also enjoys writing about gender and LGBTQIA+ issues in popular culture and media representation. Jude affirms the right of queer people and other historically oppressed groups to shape their own narratives and tell their own stories.

Bitch Media

For more than a week, I’ve been scrolling through post after post of the #HowHardDidAgingHitYou challenge, a Facebook and Instagram trend that has users posting a photo from 10 years ago next to a more recent one.

 

Each time I saw another photo, I reflexively imagined myself at a similar point in time. I was overwhelmed with the memory of my old image—before I realized I was queer and nonbinary, before I knew I had a choice in gender expression, and before I could finally breathe and be myself. I didn’t want to unearth those images, and I certainly didn’t want to promote them online. Just one click to the left of my profile picture is an express train to dysphoria city, and that’s not a place I’d like tourists to visit. Removing the photos or thoroughly scrubbing all social-media accounts seems like a simple solution, but deleting traces of my younger, closeted self feels like I’m agreeing that I should be ashamed of who I used to be...

As I reflect on the progress I’ve made, I’m not saying, “look how far I’ve come.” I’m saying, “look where I am now.”

Let me start off by saying, this is not a story of someone struggling with alcoholism, or someone who has moral convictions against alcohol consumption. Quite the contrary! I experimented with alcohol when I entered college, and yes, I was underage, but I would never say I had a drinking problem...While college is often a time for experimentation, it is also a time for self-discovery. My story revolves around the discovery and confrontation of mental health issues I had been silently battling for years, and how choosing sobriety ultimately meant choosing my happiness...
 

...In some ways, it feels weird to be in my early 20’s and choosing sobriety. It’s a hard thing to explain to people; no matter how succinctly or casually you refuse a drink, people still notice, and wonder. And it’s hard to find the words to describe my situation without launching into an exhausting story and becoming the downer of the party, or being seen as some damaged fragile person who has an unstable psyche. Sometimes, people feel guilty for drinking around me, and start to question whether or not they should. 

 

At the end of the day, I can ask myself – what am I missing out on? The answer is, nothing that is more important than my right to happiness.

Jill Kamler's personal Medium publication

"I think it’s a safe bet to assume that most of us are aware of the fight against stigma surrounding mental health in our current culture. We now acknowledge World Mental Health Day on social media, right after National Donut Day. 
We’ve all seen those billboards, watched those videos, read those articles. There seems to be a cyclical nature regarding these things: a tragedy happens; people cite mental health struggles; people wonder what could have been prevented; people beg for awareness; videos, posters, articles surrounding mental health start circulating; people click, nod, shake their heads; people move on. And the cycle repeats...

...In some ways, I think we’re making progress. Awareness is sign of progress. But awareness is not action, and action is the agent of change. What can we actually do to change this situation and its current obstacles? It’s not enough for me to click “Like” on a post that shows support of people with mental illness. We need more than digital awareness, more than short-lived sentiments of support or sympathy, more than media coverage after a mental illness-related tragedy. 
So what can we do?"

Please reload

Samples

Jude as a Writer