This individual, who no longer has poison ivy, also did not attend SXSW. She’s happy about both.

Well kick off your Jesus sandals and pour yourself some granola, because this post is about to get hippie!*

(*Note: Only moderately hippie. Hippie enough to include mentions of yoga, terms like ‘ego’ and ‘craving,’ and possibly – though not definitely – smug references to the author’s juicing program. Which for the time being is an imaginary one. But still.)

OK, so. I didn’t go to SXSW. Let’s just get that out of the way.

I did moderate a panel for SX Interactive — one on producing web video, and it was fabulous — but I was still dealing with poison ivy, and pretty much took myself right home after it was finished. Oh contact dermatitis, you are a cruel spotlight stealer! (But not so cruel that you can completely stop me from camera whoring it up. Long sleeves = I win.)

Poison ivy wasn’t really my reason for skipping SX, though.

In truth? SX does too many weird things to my ego.

Listen. If you have any sort of creative career — not just online/music/film, but in graphic design, app development, fashion, food — chances are, SX is a prime place to network. And that’s just the thing. I’m currently in a place where I feel allergic to words like “network” and “branding.” I know, me!  A blogger. Let’s face it: I’ve subtly, and not so subtly, have asked you (wonderful) people to support my shit time and time again. I’ve redesigned my blog twice, I did two web TV series last year, and in the past, I was all over SX like flies on honey. What I’m saying is, I’ve branded myself up and down.

And that’s just the thing.

My best experiences at SX have been total accidents — not self-branding successes. Walking down the street, hearing music drift through the air, wandering in to catch a random small show and drinking with the band afterwards, hearing the story of their crazy road trip that ended with a dog adoption and bail money: That stuff is magical.

But so often, I go to SX stuff because of peer pressure, plain and simple. I want to be hip and cool!  Or at least, I want to assume the guise of hipness, and coolness. Because I’ll be honest with you. I know some hip and cool people.

Wrapped up in wanting to be hip and cool, though, I start craving more than I have. I start asking myself questions like: Did I network enough? Did I brand the blog right? Did I get a helpful business card? Did my traffic go up? Will my blog ever get as big as X blogger’s blog? In other words: ego. And it just makes me feel douchey and exhausted by the end, caring about those things. It makes me feel like this.

I’ve written about this kind of thing before, but this year, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and see if I could skip SX without having heart palpitations.

Here’s how it went!:

-I did yoga. Fifteen hours of it!  (Totally bragging.)

-Ross and I visited our insanely adorable and brand new baby niece, Claire.

-We also visited our nephews, age 3-5, who are obsessed with dinosaurs. This resulted in many requests for me to draw them T-Rex, Spinosaurus, Bracchiosaurus and several other members of the dinosaur family, all of which pretty much came out looking like this.

-We watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with my in-laws and coincidentally, also inherited a juicer! Then I proceeded to buy a bunch of juice instead of making my own, but hey, baby steps.

-I realized that I don’t fully understand the power grid. Not just the city of Austin’s: ALL power grids.

-I got this book and this book and am dorkily reading away.

-We celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday!

-I realized that I have to teach my very first 90 minute yoga class in the next two weeks. Want to come? No seriously.

-I pet my cat copious times.

-I laid in a field.

-I stayed up way too late writing this blog post, but decided to soldier on through and finish it anyway, and am so happy if you stuck around and read it through to the end. You rock.

I’ll probably hit up SX again in the future. I still dig shows. I still dig panels. I still dig serendipitous, accidental SX fun.

But if you’re a person, most likely an Austinite, who has ever asked themselves, what would it be like if I just skipped it? Would I suffer horribly from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? Would I regret it? Would I, would I?

I’m here to tell you that it’s actually quite lovely on the other side.