So this afternoon I presented a work-in-progress reading of my Chapter Two: Part Two to my department (I love my department- Performance Studies- but I'll gush about how great and supportive they are later). For now, let me list the phenomenological reactions I experienced prior to and during my presentation today (nothing like reiterating the entire title of your writing in the body of the piece, am I right?):
-Flushed cheeks. This started yesterday during what can best be characterised as an eight-hour writing frenzy. I wrote a first draft of the paper I presented today (over 4000 words, high fiving myself) and it was good. And it led me to a constant state of heat in my cheeks which makes me look like I've been getting stuck into too much red wine but which is really just a product of my-
-Euphoria. After months of struggling to write anything you are satisfied with (regardless of how workable/accurate/interesting it may actually be, post-grad students always seem convinced that their writing is terrible, absolutely no good... until they go back months later and find that it's usually not as awful as they were originally convinced it was.) That was a long digression. What I was trying to say was that after months of struggling to write anything you are happy with, to have a mega-productive day where you're surprised at your own articulateness and ideas you didn't know you had are suddenly cohering with all the familiar ones you've been avoiding doing anything with for ages- well, it's a great feeling. An air-punching kind of feeling. The kind of feeling that means you can watch multiple episodes of Sex and the City Season Three on the couch with your housemate Grace and not feel guilty and like you should be doing something productive with your life, and just enjoy the moment. Ideally, you would feel this regardless of how productive the day was but let's be real. (Also: Yes, Sex and the City. Go ahead and judge me.) This felt like delight expanding through my limbs, kind of like how I imagine nebulae to expand, with rolling lilac and magenta clouds of starry gas- that kind of ceiling-less expansive happiness.
-Shining pride. In the work. It's not my constant habitus (Bourdieu fans, can I get an uh-huh? Also I know I used it incorrectly but it also kind of works, shh) so I revel in it while I can. But of a contented but probably irritating want-to-share-it kind rather than the self-aggrandising, intimidatory kind. I hope.
-Excitement. The kind that runs on the spot in your stomach because you're eager to get up and present what you've got. That kind of dry-mouthed happy anticipation. That sheer feeling of ability that surges through you- this is it. And then...
-The adrenaline hits. I don't know what this looks like for you- I often get it when I've been priming myself for a public speaking moment and then it arrives and halfway through I start jittering. My legs tremble- no, my whole body trembles. My teeth chatter like I'm a freezing waif selling matchboxes on a street in Siberia. This happened today- I was having trouble forming words without making a "shh" sound through my clenched teeth as I desperately tried to mask the shaking. I know I need to relax my body. I tried (well, I uncrossed my legs and then crossed them the other way- it was something, at least!) The odd thing was I wasn't nervous at all. Not in the slightest. Like any closet extrovert, I love performing, love the expanse of time you can figuratively stretch out in and inhabit. It was pure adrenaline. I had to interrupt myself to explain it to my colleagues, laughing as I did so, because I didn't want them to wonder what the heck was up with me. Thankfully they laughed along too.
-And post-seminar pride again. Thankfulness for a wonderful department where the academic staff are encouraging, interested and generous in their comments and time towards postgrads, and a lovely postgrad cohort who are in it alongside me, working on their own projects but making time to listen and share on my own. I received some great feedback and I am so psyched to work right now that even though it's 7.30pm, it's Friday night, I know I could clock off and have some red wine and rewatch Clueless (DON'T YOU JUDGE ME) but I'm kind of keen to just stay here at my desk and get started on Part Three. Have this chapter down by next Friday. Which I think is completely within reach and that is SO EXCITING because it means I've written two of my four chapters this year which was my goal.
Anyway I'm going to stop being happy and borderline braggy (not-so-borderline braggy? Please forgive me, moments of pride like this are few and far between- although the overall experience of doing a PhD is brilliant, really. I'm so lucky to be doing this and I really, really know it) -happy and borderline braggy and get cracking on what's next. But I kind of wanted to share. And for anyone who's interested the paper was called 'The Private in Public: Girls, Style Blogs and Living Online' and it was all about the blur-between public and private on the space of style blogs and the implications this has for girl style bloggers.