this is not nam, this is SXSW. there are rules.

You didn’t know this before, but now I’m going to tell you. I cried three times at SXSW last year:

  1. When I was hungry and tired and waiting for a big group of friends to go to lunch, I cried.
  2. When I thought I was going to have to spend a lot more money than I’d anticipated on dinner, I cried.
  3. When it was over and everyone was gone and it was time for me to pack for my roadtrip, I didn’t pack for my roadtrip; I sat down on the couch and cried.

I’m making these situations sound much less complicated than they were, but still! What was my problem? I wasn’t being robbed or mugged or attacked by bears or even poked in the eye or anything. I was at an internet convention downtown in a relatively safe city, where there are no bears and people don’t poke each other in the eye, at least not when they’re unprovoked. Why did I get so upset?

(In retrospect, it probably had to do with this.)

The point is that I do this sort of thing to myself pretty often. I get worked up about problems that don’t really matter too much, if they even exist at all, and I convince myself that everything is just awful and whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing I’m not doing it right and my hair looks stupid and I’m never going to amount to anything at all, ever. When I’m in moments like these, I’m often unable to stop myself and remember that it’s all in my head, that none of it is true, that my hair is fine, that I’m going to be okay.

The sad(dest) thing about this is that the crying is what I remember most vividly from SXSW last year. All that crying and I didn’t even have a good time. This year we are not going to do that. This year, there are rules.

The rules:

  1. I am going to make the best of wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, and whoever I’m with, and not worry about what I should be doing instead.
  2. I am going to sleep.
  3. I am going to spend time alone.
  4. I am not going to worry about what other people are doing.
  5. I am not going to worry about what other people think.
  6. I am not going to the Boiling Pot.
  7. I am not going to wait for anyone but you.

12 thoughts on “this is not nam, this is SXSW. there are rules.

  1. As your roommate, you should know that at Blogher I skipped several !!!!ZOMG CRUCIAL EVENTS!!! so that I could sit in my pajamas and stare out the hotel window, rocking back and forth a bit to calm myself down. I invite you to join me in this activity at SXSW if you like.

  2. Yes, please do stay away from the Boiling Pot for me, as I will not be there to stay away from it myself.

    Hope this year works out better for you than last. Though, it probably can’t, what with me not being there and all.

  3. I think alone time is something everyone needs a lot more than they let on, or give themselves. At least, that’s true of me. And more and more I’m giving myself alone time, and I’m rewarded for it. It can be a damn hard thing to do, especially if you’re in the middle of a Big Social Event, but man does it ever pay off.

    Hope you have fun!

  4. Alison…crying isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Maybe you’re just sensitive to things…which is why you’re such a great writer and photographer. Would you trade that? I didn’t think so. :)

    I just finished reading a book by Spike Gillespie called _Pissed Off_ (it was awesome) and she talked about crying a lot. She said people used to always tell her, “You’re TOO SENSITIVE.” Eventually, she decided that THEY weren’t sensitive ENOUGH. Let’s go with that.

    Someone once gave me a great piece of advice for such moments:

    “You’re right. They’re wrong. Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

    Anyway…I like your new “rules” for SXSW. Just do your thang girl. Fuck what anyone thinks. Whatever happens The Sundance Kids love you.

  5. I was thinking that it might do some good
    If we robbed the cynics and took all their food
    That way what they believe will have taken place
    And we can give it to people who have some faith
    So please be careful with me, I’m sensitive
    And I’d like to stay that way.

    Yes, I totally just quoted Jewel.

  6. Yay Jake, i totally love that song! /singing it in my head/. and go alison! be sensitive, we love you!

  7. I hope you’re holding it together. You seemed pretty Zen last night, and if not then you were faking it pretty hard core.

    And why have we never talked about Effexor before? I’ve been on it for 7 years and I feel like a complete heroin addict. I’ll have to tell you the story about when I was on vacation in Florida with my ENTIRE family and my Effexor got lost with my luggage and I stalked my doctor. Good times.

  8. i’m glad the comments section is back, though I hope it doesn’t turn out like last time…

    I like the ducks on top, I wish they would stay forever.

  9. No problem, Andrew. Getting sleep and eating properly turned out to be the actual issues, and having those taken care of this year made the waiting pretty easy. Plus you’re totally worth it!

    Kristin, we will definitely talk.

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