Fun Fun Fun Fest: Being Healthy Is More Fun Fun Fun!
One of the things that I love about Austin is that nearly every weekend brings a chance to go to a different festival. We have festivals for hot sauce, bats, race cars and live music. Sometimes I think that Austin should change its motto to “Live Festival Capital of the World.”
The problem with going to all of these festivals is that there was always a price to be paid for my attendance, often with my health.
For many years, going to any festival has meant getting a cold afterward. Sometimes my sneezing would progress into a sinus infection, requiring a trip to the doctor and some antibiotics. Even the doctor didn’t always help. After I spent a weekend in the dustbowl of Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2011, I was sick for a solid month.
Being under the weather after a festival didn’t surprise me as I’d always been sickly. I’ve always been the person who had a cold, the one who had to leave the opera in a coughing fit, the reporter who had to concentrate on not throwing up when talking to musician Fatboy Slim.
In the hope of being healthier, I went beyond western medicine and visited everyone from a naturopath to a neo-shaman. Nothing seemed to help.
A bout of reading on the Internet led me to try giving up dairy for a few days, armed with little more than a childhood allergy test where I was told that a milk allergy indicated that I shouldn’t drink milk when I was sick.
Three days later, I was feeling well enough to start cleaning my attic.
It has now been a year since I gave up all forms of dairy, including butter on my vegetables and my beloved Cheetos. I feel so much better that it’s a small sacrifice for a larger gain.
Earlier this year at the South By Southwest Film Festival, I managed to walk by the grilled cheese stand without stopping and go to a screening of “The Punk Singer.” The film details the health struggles of Kathleen Hanna, onetime lead singer of the bands “Bikini Kill” and “Le Tigre.”
The film revealed that Hanna had stopped touring when she started being repeatedly diagnosed with minor illnesses. She struggled quietly with her health for a long time, before finally being diagnosed and treated for late-stage Lyme disease. Hanna credits her health insurance for making her treatment possible.
While Hanna was recovering, she put together a band called “The Julie Ruin.” The band put out an album, and has even played “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and a few tour dates, including Fun Fun Fun Fest this past weekend at Auditorium Shores.
Hanna’s show at Fun Fun Fun Fest had a lot of sass, including joking about the fact that she was wearing her business outfit (a leotard) for our “business meeting” on the edge of Lady Bird Lake.
I was surprised to find myself crying during the song, “Girls Like Us” when Hanna sang about girls who carry their passports around because you never know where you’ll end up, and writing poetry in highlighter pens (guilty!)
I like to think I was crying because it felt like someone on stage might understand me. Or maybe, in an alternate universe, Hanna and I could go out for juice and bond over the suckiness of doctors who weren’t interested in looking hard for reason why we both kept getting sick.
After three days of Fun Fun Fun Fest, I’m tuckered out and my feet hurt, but I’m so thrilled not to be nursing an earache and a tickle in my throat after the festival. It’s more Fun Fun Fun not being sick all time.