Austin, Film, Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture

Does SXSW Give You Anxiety?!

Does SXSW give you ragin’ anxiety like it does for me?

I have something to clear off my flat chest.

After all this talk of blogging about SXSW- I can’t do it.

You know why?

Because I’ve already fizzled out.

My little motor has died and I already buried it in the backyard along with the feral cats of East Austin.

I don’t care enough about the hottest app, movie, party or show and scrambling back to regurgitate it all to you. I pretended like I cared a lot, but I’m realizing I don’t. Maybe that makes me a bad blogger, journalist or social media whore, but so be it.

When you live in Austin and work in or around the creative industries, you feel as though you’re supposed to squeeze SXSW by the nuts and get every last drop out of ’em. As a writer, screenwriter and social media nerd, it would be silly for me not to take full advantage of the festival, right? To go on 3 hours sleep every night, be drunk most of the time and trying to nudge my way into the hottest parties, RIGHT?! Everyone else is and it’s hard not to feel a sort of peer pressure.

SXSW is a time of year that causes great anxiety and joy for me- as I’m sure it does for everyone. The joy is knowing that something exciting is going on in the city, that I will meet new people and run into old. The anxiety is that there is SO F’ING MUCH GOING ON (and it’s only getting bigger), that the overwhelming thought of having to be at this party, or this meeting or this event makes me want to abandon my vehicle and crawl into a deep cave.

Yeah, I sound like I’m whining and I am because I just woke up and I can’t feel my feet. I think I lost them somewhere on 6th Street this weekend. I’m sure some kids are enjoying make a found footage film about my feet right now.

The truth is, I’m getting old… or I’m developing into the curmudgeon that I’m meant to be. I’m not sure.

I like meeting people; I don’t like running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I like running into an old friend in line; I don’t like waiting in lines for hours. I like accidentally happening upon a small, but awesome film; I don’t like being stuck watching something that everyone is jizzing their pants over and I’m left wondering what is wrong with me for not exploding over it. I like spontaneous drinks or dinner with new friends; I don’t like eating breakfast tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it gives me gas and the last thing you want is gas while sitting in a movie theater next to famous people.

Anyways, it has nothing to do with the festival. I think the festival is awesome (i.e please don’t take my badge away). It’s just that after years and years of denial, I need to finally admit that my DNA does not include loving the festival-going experience. I should have learned better when I went to Coachella 2009 and tried to kill myself and everyone in my car after careening off the interstate in search…of a cave to crawl into.

If I had to do a weekend recap and share with you all my SXSW knowledge, it would be this:
-I’ve seen one documentary about underage models from Serbia called Girl Model that I got motion sickness in (3/5 stars)
-I’ve seen one midnight shorts screening that I got motion sickness in (2/5 stars)
-I’ve seen one found footage horror film called V/H/S that I somehow didn’t get motion sickness in (4/5 stars)
-I’ve interviewed a talented filmmaker and producer who are younger than me and made me question where I went wrong in life
-I had dinner with some festival programmers and folks from Alamo Drafthouse
-I had drinks with buddies at Citysearch
-I lost my feet
-I pondered if I suffer from social anxiety and need to finally address is

Maybe one day I’ll learn how to handle this kick ass festival right.

How about you? How does SXSW affect or not affect your mental well-being? PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT ALONE!

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  • Reply Lia March 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I don’t have SX anxiety only because I JUST moved to Austin and this is my first festival so I’m kinda both in and out of the know. I have a few good parties/shows lined up and don’t mind waiting around because I’m still stoked on people watching here as I’m new to the scene. I WILL say, however, that during TIFF (I’m originally from Toronto), I experience the exact same feelings. Excited and anxious (mostly anxious) for the entirety of the fest. I’m a homebody at heart and 9.9/10 times, will always want to curl up on the couch with my man vs. brave the crowds of scenesters. It’s totally normal and actually makes you more likeable, I think. Hang in there!

  • Reply Cathy March 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve been here my whole life and I was about 19 when I accepted that I am not a festival go-er. Whether it’s SXSW, ACL, Eeyore’s Birthday, or Cupcake Smackdown…. I am just not built for crowded, harried, cramped events. I personally think it’s because I am inherently uncool. It also doesn’t help that I have a gigantic personal bubble (ie I don’t like people touching me) and I hate doing things simply because they are cool. No matter how awesome the entire city thinks it is, I’d much rather be sitting at The Domain drinking a raspberry-tini and hanging with a few friends.

  • Reply clevelandpoet March 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    there is a real fine line when it comes to festivals. They can (and probably should) get overwhelming rather quickly. Whenever I’ve gone to any type (especially coverage wise) I always have to find a way to balance my need/enjoyment of just going with the flow.

  • Reply clevelandpoet March 13, 2012 at 12:32 am

    also (and this is kind of scary that I NEEDED to come back to post this because I forgot to in the initial comment.
    “I’m sure some kids are enjoying make a found footage film about my feet right now.”

    made me laugh and laugh and then spill my water and scare my cat.

  • Reply Caitlin DeWeese March 13, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I have no response to this because it is dead on.
    Also, I loled a lot.

  • Reply Mai March 13, 2012 at 3:02 am

    You are not alone.. I ask myself.. why the heck did I sign up to do all this work when I have my place rented out and can just sit in a lawn chair in my back yard and do nothing..I AM CRAZY. Next year just chillin’

  • Reply Scott W. March 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    After 3 years of trying to go all-in, like you, I get burned out very quickly and the thought of participating in more than just a casual outing seems exhausting.
    It is also getting bigger and bigger every year which adds to the overwhelming feeling of the event.
    The way I enjoy our city’s festivals now is to just pick what I want to see and sweat it if I’m not going to the biggest/best thing out there or if I get in or not.
    If there’s a stupid big line and there is no guarantee of getting in, I’m out.
    I think you do feel much the same way an increasing segment of us do.
    One of my favorite blog posts I’ve read in a little while.

  • Reply carrie March 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    YES. i feel like the lamest musician in town. all i’ve done is pick up my wrist bands for two parties, and i’m ready for a nap. brb gotta go whore myself out.

  • Reply Tim March 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I love SXSW. But I started loving it more once I realized that it should be about discovering new things. You should just find an unharried venue and take a seat. Listen to some bands you’ve never heard. The magic for me is when I’m watching bands from all over the world, that I’ve never heard of and I’m falling in love with new music.
    I think Year 3 was when I gave up trying to get in anywhere trendy. It’s not worth the effort. And a wristband is a waste of money. You can have a wonderful experience paying covers and seeing free shows. And you don’t have to go out every day/all day to have a magical experience.
    Maybe it’s just a function of having kids now, but it’s still a pretty magical time even when I only get to attend one daytime showcase.

  • Reply Eric March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Having lived in Austin a little over a year and experiencing only a teeny weensy bite o’ SX last year, I decided to get a wristband and go balls out this year because it was my duty as a newly minted Austinite (also because I got my band for a major discount, bro-in-law is in band that played the event). Sooooo, day one, picking up the wristband, after three hours of going insane trying to find parking downtown, standing in line forever to get said band, then trecking back to car (that I paid a valet 30 bucks to park in exasperation), I was utterly spent, went home and took a nap…until the next day. Not a good start. Soooooo, the next day, after standing in lines for endless hours to see packed-to-the-wall shows of varying degrees, paying hiked-up beer prices and sweating off many pounds, and yes, eating far too many tacos, I decided to go home and take a nap (until th enext day)…all in all, I only really went out and soaked it in one night while bro-in-law was playing, and even then I went home early. It was just too crowded, too crazed, too hot, too hyped, too nuts, and yes, it made me completely anxiety ridden in a mad dash I-have-to-be-here-here-and-here-by-so-and-so-time-and-meet-up-with-him-and her-and-them kinda way, It was chaos, my nerves were shot. So yeah, it was my first and last, BUT now I can say I did it. I’ve learned, that yes, I’m old, and that B) I’m a nerd and vastly prefer Fantastic Fest.

  • Reply Kate March 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I have avoided going to coachella for this reason exactly. Large, drunk and belligerent crowds can make me nauseous and overwhelmed. Can I just say that when you said tacos give you gas, I died laughing and even snorted.

  • Reply Janeberlin June 15, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Man, you sound like me!
    I look back at myself five years ago, and honestly, I dont recognize the girl I was in the thick of a full blown love affair with Austin Texas. What happened to me? I don’t understand

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