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SXSW Live (Days 2-9)

SXSW Live (Days 2-9)

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Published by Amanda Chappel
By Amanda Chappel
By Amanda Chappel

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Amanda Chappel on Mar 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What about press?

SXSW 2012

I meant to write a live update about South by Southwest each day that it was going on, but wouldn’t you know it, I was too damn busy. One of the things that I already miss about SXSW is the fast-paced, non-stop action. I loved the fact that so many new people flooded our city for the sole purpose of sharing what they know, what they’ve created, what they love. You see, I’m not like most xenophobic Austinites. I don’t want to keep Austin all to myself. I don’t want to stuff it in my back pocket and never let anybody else see it. The more the merrier, I say. Through SXSW, I learned that there are literally limitless opportunities in life and that people are your greatest source of that opportunity. To see what other people have created expands your understanding of what you can create. By witnessing some of the amazing things other people are doing with their life, you can’t help but be inspired and to also reflect upon your own self-limiting beliefs about your abilities. Truthfully, there are so many more opportunities in life than you think there are. Believe me, you are limiting yourself in ways that you’re not even aware of. Yet, through all the excitement, commotion and inspiration of SXSW, I had couple of emotional trip ups along the way. They were slight, but they were present. One thing I really had to confront during the festival was my sense of worthiness. Since the only reason I got to go to SXSW was because I was approved for a press pass, I occasionally questioned why I was selected to receive this special gift. While I couldn’t have been more thankful for such a life changing event, at times, I felt uneasy about it. As I was passing people in line to get first access, enjoying complimentary massages in the press lounge, getting to the very front row of shows, enjoying free food and drink, those underlying thoughts of “why me?” kept creeping up. I had silent debates with myself more than once in order to find the answer. “Why me?” I would ask myself. “Why do I get to the head of lines? Why do I get to stand right in front of Fiona Apple at her show? What makes me better than all the other people who actually paid for a badge or wristband?”

The only way I knew how to deal with these thoughts were to put them out of my mind. But that rarely worked for very long. While I couldn’t come up with an intelligible reason as to why I, out of all of the people who attended the festival, was singled out to receive this special treatment, all I could do was assure myself that I did, in fact, deserve it. Since I did received a complimentary press pass, and since I did get to attend all of these incredible lectures, presentations and live events, I must have deserved it, right? When something bad happens to us, many of us don’t think twice about believing we deserve it. So why wouldn’t that work the other way around?

This internal confusion came to a head when I was in the press area of the Fiona Apple show at Stubb’s. Since I had a press tag on my camera, they let me go to the front with all the other press photographers. When I got there, I realized that everyone else around me had these huge, expensive-looking cameras. All I had was this dinky point-and-shoot that was on its last leg. I imagined that the others were looking at it, wondering why I was there since I obviously wasn’t much of a photographer. At first, I ignored this thought but as the press area filled up, I started feeling mildly uncomfortable. So I did the only thing I knew how to do: befriend the enemy. While we were waiting for Apple to take the stage, I started making small talk with my fellow colleagues. I asked them what media outlet they worked for and how they got involved in this line of work. I started cracking jokes and generally lightening the mood. I even pointed out how my camera was a pale comparison to theirs. All they could do was laugh and agree. The simple act of creating a dialog with that which was intimidating made me feel so much better and like I belonged where I was. Once Apple took the stage, all else faded away, and we snapped pictures as fast as we could. That’s when I realized all of my insecurities were in my head. The other photographers were too busy preparing to take their pictures to notice my camera. Yet, the size and quality of my camera became a symbol of my feelings of undeserving, as if I were some sort of imposter that didn’t deserve to be with the other members of the press. I think that’s how many of our insecurities come about. They start off as a distant thought. Then you start to imagine the people around you having those same thoughts about you. Finally, your fixation on these thoughts becomes out of control when they were never real to begin with. For the most part, I enjoyed the hell out of SouthBy and didn’t question it too much, as I was too busy taking it all in, partaking in the festivities and meeting countless astounding, creative and inspiring people.

When something bad happens to us, many of us don’t think twice about believing we deserve it. So why wouldn’t that work the other way around?


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