one year ago today
Happy Friday! Woo woo! It’s almost the weekend, babayyyy!! How are you doing? Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, paddle boarding, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, refurbishing furniture, tooling around with some new tools, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “my Irish love, Cork: Blackrock Castle” - you can click here to read about how much I enjoyed the castle-turned-science center! Otherwise, if you’re all caught up, buckle up and let’s continue this journey together! We’re taking a short break from Cork, but you better believe you’ll be back!
One year ago today, I handed in my hard copy of my dissertation for my Masters Degree. After moving to Ireland, settling into my flat in Rathmines, immersing myself into the culture with actor and comedy friends, as well as my basketball team and fellow Masters program friends, writing and handing in my dissertation felt like the ultimate mental marathon (thank god I ran two actual marathons, which I think really did prepare me for the mental aspect of researching and writing my dissertation). Stealing myself away in my flat or in the library at Trinity or at my favorite little booth in the Arts Building on days after I hit the gym, writing my dissertation, “The Evolution of Women in Comedy: Taking Up Space and Tearing Down Societal Expectation in Post-World War II USA,” truly felt like the culmination of a near thirty years’ worth of work - even if I only wrote it over the course of a few summer months. Focusing on the work of Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Amy Schumer — three women to whom I look up and admire and three women with whom I fell deeply in career-love — I learned about the challenges they face(d) in their respective, generational versions of the United States, as well as the challenges they faced as women who subverted cultural norms, both personally and professionally. Ever since my dad showed me my first Mel Brooks film when I was 8, I began a life-long love affair with trying to find the funny in everything. Watching clips of “I Love Lucy” and “The Carol Burnett Show” - things I hadn’t seen since I was a little girl watching reruns with my parents - felt like coming home. So many times in my own comedy journey and my larger career path, I have looked to these women and their bodies of work as guides for staying true to my own voice while taking important, calculated risks.
Spending my summer in Ireland with Lucille, Carol, and Amy was like spending time with three glorious women who became my best friends, but who I’d also never met. It’s a complicated way to feel at times, but it’s also incredibly satisfying, knowing just how much I learned about not only their stories, but also how their stories reflect(ed) back the lived realities of so many American women in their audiences. By working their butts off and eventually earning a platform, each woman used her own brand of comedy as a tool to speak unspoken truths, even if otherwise considered taboo, giving a voice to the female members of her audience - a voice that was otherwise not represented or highlighted in its own respect, a voice that had otherwise been defined in its relationship to man instead of having its own beautiful and complex self-definition.
It’s hard to know what else to reflect back on in my dissertation-writing process. It was a year ago, but it also feels like it was yesterday. I will say that I made sure to balance my dissertation with other things in my life. While I researched and wrote, I also continued playing in my Tuesday and Thursday night basketball leagues, continued to take time to travel (both solo to other countries and with friends and family within Ireland), performed comedy both inside and outside of Dublin, saw theatre performances and comedy shows in and out of the city, and made time to meet up at the pub for some pints with friends (hopefully with some trad).
Life is about balance, and while I loved spending so much time with L-Dawg, C-Breeze, and A-Town over the summer (as I affectionately called them in my self-driven, loopiest of research and writing sessions), I would advise anyone writing any sort of dissertation or deciding to go after any larger intellectual pursuit to remember that what truly helps us conquer our own personal Everests are the people in our lives who cheer us on in our goals or who give us a break from the grind. So thank you to my family and my friends who helped me hand in a paper copy of my dissertation a year ago today. Thank you for supporting me, for pushing me, for listening and letting me talk myself out the road blocks and writer’s blocks, and for letting me off the hook when I wouldn’t let myself off the hook, grounding me in the reality that there are always other things happening in life - things that are more difficult or challenging and, more importantly, things that are worth enjoying and worth the momentary distraction from work.
Have you felt that sense of gratitude for anyone in your life who helped you achieve a goal or distracted you from the mundanity of the daily grind? It would make me so happy to know about it! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
55. 13.1 in Dublin
70. the Kingsroad
75. Dear Nana
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