It’s been a couple of years since I’ve attended SXSW (South By Southwest). There are a few reasons as to why that is so but for the sake of not making this a 50 page dissertation (insert laugh), I will only address two of those reasons.
1) Anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am a lover of music who often roots for the indie artist. You know, that one with so much talent oozing out of the depths of their soul? The one that prepares for SXSW in hopes that he/she will be seen, heard, or perhaps discovered. And well, to me, the substance of SXSW isn’t much about that anymore. And so, for a while, I decided not to attend because of this but then I thought about it – what if others felt like me? What if we all stopped attending? Then who would be to witness to all of the great music out there? And while, I still have my feelings about the politics of it all, I am not here to criticize. Not at all. It’s a great experience and I am thankful to be have been a part of it.
2) A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus, although I had been battling the symptoms years before I was diagnosed. And without going into too much detail, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation — pain and swelling. It affects the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body (more information here).
With that being said, I recently had to take a step back (I love being busy!) and actually leave the career that I loved so much. However, I knew I just couldn’t sit at home doing nothing. Fast forward to today, and I have the privilage of writing for a weekly Houston publication along with contributions to some music blogs here and there; all from the comfort of my own home and at the leisure of my own pace!
So yes, it was time to tackle SXSW again but this time as an accredited writer/photographer. No lie, I was intimidated. Covering a festival this massive is fast-paced. Who can upload their write up first….who got that million dollar picture? How in the hell was I going to keep up? Please no Lupus flare up.
Upon opening day of the festival’s interactive and film portion, I had already been to Austin twice that week. One for a business meeting and the other for the Latin@s In Tech conference. For some, that 2 to 3 hour drive from Houston to Austin (and back) might be an easy feat but for one battling Lupus, not quite so. Needless to say, my first day at SXSW, I was exhausted yet thankful. Thankful for the clouds that beautifully shielded that sun from pounding down on me. Sunlight can cause a lupus rash to flare and may even trigger a serious flare of the disease itself. The sun has bought me down one time too many.
And I’ll be damned that on the very first day, I began to get a flare-up. My hands swollen, legs in so much pain – the pain I just didn’t know how I was going to get from one location to the other – would I give in to the pain in my knees? The arthritic agony when snapping pictures of iconic artist?
Unfortunately, in the end Lupus won but I didn’t accept defeat until after I got what I headed to SXSW for! I proved to myself that yes, I can still do what my heart desires, you’re never too old (or sick) to have some fun, and I got my picture of Molly Ringwald during the 30th anniversary of the Breakfast Club!