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.

a few more things about sxsw

1.  everyone should watch house of cosbysandy was shocked when i told him i still hadn’t seen it.  shocked!  jaime was surprised too, and set me up with his laptop and headphones right there in the convention center so i could watch it immediately.  it’s hilarious!  i never download or watch any videos online, probably because i had dialup for so long that i’m still stuck in the “videos will take for fucking ever” mentality.  but house of cosbys was totally worth it, if only for cosby team triosby.

p.s. if you are my mom or dad, you should not watch house of cosbys.

2.  this year kevin had a silent auction to raise money for 20×2.  he picked six people, each of whom made a shirt based on one of the previous questions.  the one i made was based on “what is interactive?” and you can see it here.  i added some velcro to the front of a black shirt, and made a bunch of magnetic poetry-type words with velcro on the backs so that they would stick to the shirt.  essentially it was a magnetic poetry shirt, with a little handmade cosmetics bag to store the extra words.  the guy who won my shirt at the auction (as a gift for his girlfriend) asked me for a swear-word expansion pack.  why didn’t i make any swear words in the first place?  you’d think i would have.

3.  everyone (even my mom and dad) should play apples to apples.

4.  during the conference i was interviewed by a lovely woman named andrea and her husband christopher.  they were filming interviews with bloggers for andrea’s masters thesis.  andrea had a series of questions to ask me, which she said i could answer as briefly or elaborately as i liked.  i’ve never been interviewed on film before, so i was a bit nervous at first.  but then my penchant for long-windedness and bizarre jokes took over, and the whole thing ended up taking at least an hour.  you can see pictures of it here and here.  i had fun!

afterward andrea and her husband said that i was articulate and well-spoken.  which of course made me launch into a ridiculous story about an ex-boyfriend who hated that i spoke in complete sentences during arguments.  but it also made me more confident about my public-speaking abilities.  my relative successes in the interview and on the panel are leading me to believe that i might not be as terrible at it as i’d always thought.

5.  not about sxsw: i’ve had this keyboard for over six years and i’ve never really cleaned it.  theoretically, it could contain the dead skin cells of four of my ex-boyfriends.

6.  every year i’m delighted to spend time with this creative, funny, interesting, talented group of people.  that these people seem to enjoy spending time with me is what pushes me to be more productive and try to accomplish new things.  these wonderful people must like me for a reason, right?  maybe i can do things, too.

i’ve been feeling sorry for myself for a long time now, and i think this year’s sxsw has helped me to realize that i’m capable of doing some of the things i’ve been meaning to.  to wit: if my new plan works the way i want it to, i’ll be seeing many of my sxsw friends before the end of the year.  keep your fingers crossed.