Cruel Summer

This has been one grueling summer. I remember a similar summer when I was 22, having been struck by a series of panic attacks that forced me to call “time out” on my life, and go on a treacherous journey inwards. I dug into ghastly places, pulled out unsavory memories and met my most frightening fears. I’ve always been plagued by an inability to ignore my gut and plow ahead. When my subconscious calls, it will do everything in its power to paralyze me physically so that I have no choice but to listen. I listened when I was 22, trudged through the shit, and ushered in the autumn panic-attack free and a whole lot happier. The lesson learned was that no matter how much I wanted to look away, the only solution was to welcome in the very unwelcome fears, insecurities, and uncertainties, feel the pain, and dig deep to uncover the source. I’ve been trying very hard to remember that brutal process and its rather awesome outcome, but I’m currently in the “feel the pain” stage, and so it’s hard to envision a happy ending.

I’ve also been so torn about Cha Cha Charming. Do I just neglect the site whilst I go off digging? Or put on a happy face and write about that incredible Massive Attack versus Adam Curtis gig I attended last weekend? (I tried this, but the words wouldn’t come out). Or do I take my brother’s advice and get a bit more personal with the world? I used to have few reservations about revealing my own vulnerabilities when I was writing my first fanzine Plume, and the print version of Cha Cha Charming, but the internet feels a lot less safe. It seems like a place where everyone strives to be the perfect versions of themselves as opposed to where one would admit to their troubles. But if I let go of the fear, I realize just how much I need more personal communication. You wouldn’t believe how many hours I’ve wasted trying to impersonate other writers, attempting to take a more detached, objective viewpoint to ensure a safe distance between myself and my writing. I seemed to think that being detached was better. But somehow that doesn’t feel right anymore…..

I just took a quick break from writing to check in with my favorite site–, where photographer Brandon Stanton uploads daily pics + snippets of conversations with those he meets on the streets of New York. I am always blown away by the honesty, advice, and words of wisdom imparted by these New Yorkers, and I was especially excited to find one of today’s snippets discussing the very same thing I’ve written about here. Now over to this very wise gal hanging out at Grand Central Station (courtesy of

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“When a wave comes, go deep.”

“I think I’m going to need an explanation for that one.”

“There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that’s how you get through the wave.”


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