30 Days of Women: Kathleen Ostrem
I met Kathleen during the most wild, carefree and honestly selfish years of my life. I spent my days drinking, dancing biking and being as me as I wanted to without any care about how it may effect others. During that time, Kathleen, walked past my stoop, where my and my friends drank and tried to convince strangers to hang out with us. Without any sort of convincing, Kathleen immediately took our advances for what they were. Us seeking out friendships from people who enjoyed life and its simple beauties as much as we did. She walked up the stairs with Jamison in her hand and love in her heart. That in itself had me in awe. Meeting people nowadays willing to take a chance on random friendship and potentially the best, most random night of your life, don't come along too often.
Kathleen has been one of the greatest friendships I've ever had for 3 simple reasons. Shes honest beyond measure, smart as hell and genuine.
We should all be so lucky to meet someone who is wiling to give themselves and believe that the world is filled with great people.
So, to that I say, thank you Kathleen for continually providing that little hope that strangers hearts are as big as you would hope. -Flow Johnson
Kathleen Ostrem.How old are you and where do you live?
I am 25 years old. I live in Evanston, IL.
What's the hardest part about being a woman in your shoes?
I pride myself on the ability to get along with almost anyone. But often my "extroverted" personality gets miscommunicated for flirtation, especially with members of the opposition sex. I've seen it in someone's eyes while I'm talking, that lustful look, and it takes away from a conversation. This is not exactly a confession of facing adversity as a woman, but it gets difficult to converse or make a point and you start to sense that people are telling you what you want to hear just to get in your pants.
Who has been the biggest motivation for furthering your goals and
living the life you want to live?
I'm inspired and motivated by everyone I've ever interacted with, - and I don't mean to be profound in saying that because I am not the first one to say that. There is a quote by author Chuck Palahniuk, he admits, "Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known." I can relate to Palahniuk's broad description of self.
My biggest inspiration and motivation comes from those who challenge my own
ideas of myself, those who make me question my idea "right way" and
"wrong way" especially with respect to creativity and art.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my parents. They have given me support and guidance throughout my entire life. My parents helped me refine my artistic focus by encouraging me to stay in school where I eventually discovered medical illustration.
How do you combat male ignorance day to day, and does your
intelligence make it difficult to find men worth talking to?
One day I was walking to my local bank and I wasn't wearing a bra. As I exited the bank and stepped outside, a man walking by turns to me and exclaims, "No bra, nice!".To which my response was a prolonged eye roll and exasperated "uggh". My philosophy at this juncture is this: Interactions like this are not worth combating. This man, this random 'guy', has to live out his days in his bubble of ignorance. I, on the other hand, get to interact with
more refined minds and solve greater problems than some ignorant fool. I have beautiful or helpful conversations with people everyday. If I find myself in a situation where I am being looked down on, ignored, or objectified because I am a woman, then I am not meant to interact with the ignorant parties. Thus far, it seems that for every ignorant person I've encountered, there's a far less ignorant person on the next block. I see a general trend of improvement of the treatment of women, at least in my day to day. Modern women and women in history have paved the way for progress in the fight for equality. It's our job, in the information age, to grab the baton and run with it and keep striving for respect and equality.
What is something, good or traumatic, that has changed your point
of view on the world?
I think heartbreak and rejection have been the driving forces for my most recent take on the world. Sometimes I still don't share certain artworks I've done because a remnant of me is still afraid to be vulnerable. But I have come a long way. I've been
rejected and betrayed but I can say that I'm still going. And I will keep working and discovering until my heart stops beating.
Who was your first love and do you still speak?
A relationship in my recent history comes to mind but I believe what seemed like a first love was actually just infatuation. He did not feel the same love that I felt for him. I believe real, 'true' love has no emotional boundaries, hangups or mismatches.
In May of this year, my first dog passed away. It still makes me inconsolable when I think of her. I have never grieved a being as much as I do her. Simply putting this thought down is bringing tears to my eyes. I would say that my first dog was, and is, my first true love.
What is something about women that inspires you/leaves you in awe?
I am always impressed by women that I see as the silent type but I already know they're badass females; like they're emitting cool from their pores. In the artists' world there is lots of ego and hype that turn potential talent into jackassery. I am inspired by women who can act like they've got it all together and still be a genuinely caring towards others. I enjoy the type of personality where you know their confidence doesn't come from "perfect" selfies, but when it comes from trying to make the world a better place and looking cool af while doing it.
What's your profession? Does it reflect who you are?
I used to hate this question. However, upon discovering medical illustration I
changed my tune. I believe art and science are two sides of the same coin. Medical illustration is a career that will allow me to simultaneously practice both art and science. It is a challenging career path and I look forward to seeing where it will take me.
Who is someone that inspires you creatively? What pushes you to keep going?
Mother nature inspires me. Seeing beautiful things inspires me creatively. I love nature's whimsy, colors and sounds. I am inspired by landscapes, animals, and music from all over the world. I am inspired by wanderlust and the vast unknown of outer space. I am boundlessly inspired to create by the creation that is us.
I am an aspiring medical illustrator. I love to draw and learn. I have an Associate of Arts
degree with a focus in Graphic Design and am an undergraduate student
in the Biological Sciences program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ultimately, I plan to attend graduate school and earn a Masters of Science in Biomedical Visualization at UIC.
During my early 20s, I was uneasy about the idea of settling down
into a single chosen career path.I can't recall the exact moment I decided to invest in a biomedical science-based career. But I can tell you that feeling underwhelmed in life, being completely broke, and binge watching 'Scrubs' on Netflix probably brought some biomedical career ideas to mind. I've worked in the Emergency Room at North Shore Hospital in Skokie, IL. I went on to work in the biology and chemistry laboratories at school. Art has long been one of my greatest passions. My love of being creative and a curiosity for scientific discovery continues to elevated me as an artist and a scientist.