A Different World

Truth - Sometimes life actually feels like situational comedy, better known as your classic sitcom. Things just happen, and somehow we end up in the most ridiculous happenings. So much of it ends up being laughable because of just how absolutely absurd it is. Sometimes you can take things in stride and call them out as you go, other times you have to look back to realize the humor in what has gone on. Each day we have the choice to either laugh along with the chaos or let it consume us. No two days are the same. This is a different world.

"I feel now it's useless to keep hoping. The way things are today, we live in a world that needs laughter, and I've decided if I can make people laugh, I'm making a more important contribution" Paul Lynde
One of the most iconic shows that is prerequisite for you to be woke is the Cosby Show spinoff where Denise goes to college (and leaves real fast) A Different World. Let me just defining being woke while I'm at it. Woke - adj. - the state of being conscious, perpetually pissed, educated on the struggle, systems of oppression, social justice terminology, and an expert level shade thrower. Ex. Nicki Minaj was woke when she went zero to 100 real quick with #MileyWhatsGood at the VMA's highlighting Miley's cultural appropriation & reinvention using black culture and off-base tone policing. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post. The show was set in a fictional HBCU (historically black college/university) called Hillman and was one of the first to not only be a successful show set in college, but showed the diversity within blackness, black culture, and educational experiences. It tackled ground topics like the Persian Gulf War, mammy imagery, the AIDS epidemic, and the LA riots. The show took serious things and made them accessible with a socially responsible humor. It gave voice to minoritized people and gave a glimpse into a unique educational experience. It also served as a reminder to find the humor in all that goes on around you.

Television may not be real life but it does give worthwhile insight to the ways in which we see, understand, and move through the world. There's a reason that sitcoms were so big back in the 90s and the early 2000s. They took mundane matters and made them funny. As we nowadays, they were totally relatable. If you couldn't resonate with the hilarious antics of your favorite dysfunctional families, the friend groups, or the school squads then you must have been living a not quite so mainstream life. What they pointed to were values, morality, and the unbreakable bonds that people formed with one another especially through humor. Some of their most powerful episodes were where the background music stopped, there wasn't a resolved ending, and the emotions drowned out the laughter. Through and through, those moments were few and far between as they managed to hit strides, jokes, and scenes that had you laughing out. It's that insight that is worth emulating. It's a different world.

More and more I am reminded of how much this blog is my outlet for self expression and reflection. Particularly with not having the people I usually talk to around, it's become even more imperative that I make the time to share my thoughts about what I go through. I love the phrasing of go through, because it signifies a moving forward, a change, and understanding that nothing lasts forever. In that same way, I've been trying to find the hilarity in all that I do. I find myself chucking and just pointing out the moments where a laugh should have just come in. My life is too funny, if only I remember that it's okay to laugh from time to time.

Last week I started grad school and my first day was nothing short than a classic opening sequence a la MTV's Awkward. It was sweltering. I was dripping sweat. I saw this ravishing woman and proceeded to walk into a door on my way to pick up my parking pass. I almost received a parking ticket but the enforcer said I looked like lost puppy and let me go scotch free for being in the wrong lot. I powered through class and headed back to campus to advise my students in their weekly exec, general body, and newbie meetings. I look forward to spending time with them each week and someone always says or does something that gets me rolling. I strive to bring my best self and to bring authentic energy for them. I will admit, after class I'm tired but they deserve nothing but my all and so that's what they get. The week progressed it was work in both the Greek Life and Student Activities offices for me. I enjoy my work, and I think it's really because of the people I am able to be around. Everyone has such a unique personality. My two supervisors are characters to say the least. One of them has a big laugh that gets me laughing in response, and the other is a goofball in the most endearing ways possible. Sometimes I'll just sit across from him and he'll make these silly faces, or draw little smiley faces on my notepad, or nudge me. He pretty much harasses me on a daily basis. He just looks at me and I break out into a smile. I've grown fond of him so fast and I am beyond grateful for his presence in this point of my life. It's funny because he is exactly who I needed. He lets me make mistakes, be creative, and supports me in all I do. I look forward to seeing him daily, hearing his ironically outdated jokes, and getting to collaborate him. I guess it makes my weekly man crush. Working with him has been one of the most stabilizing yet haphazard things about being this different world.

Fast forward to the weekend and that saw me bringing back my favorite playfully antagonistic self in making friends, meeting new people, and getting invested in my grad program with our orientation. A picnic followed where my hidden extrovert came out to crack jokes, socialize, and liven up the atmosphere. I don't even notice when I'm doing it and all of a sudden I surrounded by people hanging on to my every word waiting to laugh or listening intently. I'll admit, it's taken some time to find my groove but my humor is allegorical references, outrageous incidents, and some serious storytelling prowess. I'd like to thank my family for gifting and honing it as one of my best qualities. It was great to get to know people a bit and see who I'd be spending the next two years with. In typical me fashion, I ended up passing out mid-conversation in the backseat of my carpool. I'm telling you I can sleep anywhere and remain perpetually tired. I packed my bag, jumped into my car, and took off for Ann Arbor to see my sister off to college and visit my sister-in-law. My parents are funny people because they absolutely lit up when I can through the door at midnight. It had only been a month since I had seen them last but I lowkey missed them. Morning came and I spent the afternoon helping my sister decorate her room, figure out the laundry machines, and deal with wonky doors. I still cannot believe she's going in college. There is no one in the world I love more and all I hope is that daily she is able to laugh, to be surrounded by people who care about her, and to excel. I had cried the day before but a few tears leaked out as I pulled away. We spent the evening playing with our beloved niece who is hands down the funniest, best dressed, and all around most beautiful child I have ever known. She really is though and she walked for the first time too while I was there. Night fell and I was made to roadtrip back to Cleveland when I remembered I had forgotten my textbook for my online homework that was due the next day. I lost my voice singing in my car too hard. These the things that happen in my life.

Monday was more of the organized chaos. I cleaned up like I was living in a music video before the afternoon came. There was a miscommunication and I ended up making the hour drive to Kent for a BBQ alone, but my car dances are the stuff of legend so it was everyone else's loss. I definitely was not in my zone but it was good just to be around people interested in the same career path. It was cool to see how close the second year class had become and notice their social dynamics. Back to Cleveland I went and started my process of cooking for the week when a campus wide power outage occurred in the middle of it. I actually just cried laughing because it would happen at 10pm on a Monday night. The house erupted with uproar at the game being turned off and we all evacuated. Outside was nothing short of chaos with sweaty football manhandling fraternity brothers dancing comically to music being blasted from cars. Frisbees flew in the dark, other neighbors climbed on the roof, and the verbal roasting of everyone reached it's peak. There was me standing in the dark talking to college students in nothing but boxers. What could I do other than laugh at the whole situation. The power was restored and hour later. Each and every day shows me I'm in a different world.
Lissa is the new Miley.
Everything about my life experiences lets me know that it's one of a kind. In the worst of times it can be a lot to handle but more often than not, I get to be part of memorable things, and know people who add profound light, goodness, and most of all - laughter to the world. This week I've learned to embrace the anarchy, dance in your boxers like everyone else is watching, and to smile for other people to know it's all going to be okay. It's a different world but it's ours to make our own. X

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