Austin City Limits

My S.O. organized a trip to Texas for our anniversary. It was mostly a surprise and mostly a nice surprise. I have been to two music festivals and one concert in my lifetime. All were relatively small compared to ACL. I was uncomfortable around so many people at these events that I did not enjoy myself as much as should have. These were some of my favorite bands and still the constant pulsation of people caused anxious discomfort. ACL and this writing exercise offered the opportunity to explore the causes of anxiety and ways to overcome while enjoying the presence of my favorite bands.

Having my darling S.O. drive and organize everything had my stress level at 11. The day of driving down to Texas was bad: He would not let me help with navigation; and, well, he was driving like a Missourian in Texas. However, once we reached our destination (S.O.'s sister's place), we found out that she had hooked us up with V.I.P. passes. These passes were completely free and included access to the V.I.P. Grove. Which had air condition bathrooms, free food, free alcohol, free water, free massages, free spa treatments, free hair stylists, and swag out the ass. (By swag I mean the free stuff that is given at events, not the youth term for, what I can only assume, idiocy). I was looking forward to having a place to escape.

....S.O.'s sister got us parking and a golf cart escort to the main gate.....stress level at 2.

Free alcohol is not limit and paired with some of the most amazing food.

Feeling a slight buzz we ventured out into the larger music festival populace (about 75,000) and headed for Electric Six.

We were up front about 30 feet away from Dick Valentine (Tyler Spencer) and the band was amazing. I heard all my favorites, the set went by in a whirlwind.

Next Vampire Weekend....we are really far from the stage. People are moving back and forth on all sides of me, I can't see the stage, it's really hot, I don't have water, the girl behind me is singing so loud I can't hear the band and she is singing the wrong lyrics....I am beginning to panic, I can't cool down, I can't breath.....

Back in the V.I.P. grove: I am ok again.

Clearly I have control issues, but I also have a sanctuary to go to. I resolved that I would just return to the Grove if I started to feel panicked again.

Having a place to go, away from everything else, I settled in to enjoy the festival. It was one of the best weekends I have ever had and it is the first time doing something completely out of my control where I did not have a complete meltdown. I need to construct a Grove that I will always have access to when I need a place to get away from the pressing masses.