You didn’t know this before, but now I’m going to tell you. I cried three times at SXSW last year:
- When I was hungry and tired and waiting for a big group of friends to go to lunch, I cried.
- When I thought I was going to have to spend a lot more money than I’d anticipated on dinner, I cried.
- 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.
- 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.
- I am going to sleep.
- I am going to spend time alone.
- I am not going to worry about what other people are doing.
- I am not going to worry about what other people think.
- I am not going to the Boiling Pot.
- I am not going to wait for anyone but you.