Growing Up With Charlie
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Growing Up With Charlie

The Perks of Being a Wallflower taught me how to grow up

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Growing Up With Charlie
Yes movies

Our Lady of Mercy High School for Young Women is made of solid brick on the outside, but the doors always squeak, so it never seemed quite so strong to me. Walking inside for the first time as a newly enrolled student in the ninth grade, the olden smell of the wooden furniture and the dim florescent lighting was uncomfortable and foreign to me.

I sat alone at lunch for the first few weeks at school and often ate nothing, but instead wallowed in my own self-pity as I waited for someone to come and notice me.

On one of these various days, I found myself wandering the halls instead of sitting and sulking in my own loneliness. I happened upon the school library, where I hadn’t had the chance to browse quite yet, and gazed down the rows and rows of filled bookshelves.

Running my fingers across the spines of different people’s stories, I found one whose indented words caught my attention. I hesitated on the spine and flipped the book off the shelf to look at the cover.

The book was worn, so much so that the cover had been reattached multiple times by layers of silver and clear masking tape. I ran my index finger along that indented spine as I became transfixed by the plain, lime-green coloring of the cover. It was barren except for a small black and white image of a pair of legs in the right corner of the book. The title’s font looked like a typewriter and I noted how I disliked the lack of capitals used.

The book seemed lonely at this moment, used and then hidden away deep in the recesses of the library, and I found myself right at home in the warmth of the color green.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky became by lunchtime companion for the next few days. I was that strange new girl who read while she ate instead of trying to make friends, and I liked to romanticize myself as the resident wallflower. I related to Charlie and his inability to have close friends and I pretended that I was him, going through the adventures with his new companions Sam and Patrick. Charlie knew this feeling already, though, because he told me: “It's strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book” (Chbosky 15).

Scientists have advocated for the positives that delusion can bring to a person. Those who are a bit more out of touch with reality than others are, statistically, more optimistic, happier, and have better relationships with people. Yet, at this very moment of delusion in my life, I still felt incredibly lonely. I suppose it could have been because I wasn’t completely as delusional as I thought, and was still able to grip onto reality too well.

Although I was still lonely, Chbosky brought me peace of mind in a time of my life where I felt so incredibly small and insignificant.

Strangely enough, now I find solitude to be a comfort to me. “He's a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand” (Chbosky 37). I think that I understand now more than I did back then. In a time of being a teenager, worrying about fitting in and having friends, I didn’t have the time, or the want, to understand. I only saw what I had always wanted to see, but now I don’t.

I’m not a wallflower. I’m too loud and obnoxious and nosy to be a wallflower, but I observe and I absorb information. I guess you could call me a flower in a sense that I take in and process information like the sunlight or carbon dioxide, but I don’t sit idly by on the wall anymore.

A few weeks after I finished my reading of The Perks of Being a Wallflower I found a friend to sit with at lunch. Emily Teator, every much as bit of an awkward person as I was, and I bonded in French class, complaining about not understanding anything that was being taught.

I often used humor to combat uncomfortable situations, as I still do to this day, and made so many lame jokes that Emily believed me to be the most hilarious person she had ever met. She invited me to sit with her friends and she at lunch that day, and with them is where I stayed for the next four years of my life.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower had been my pseudo-friend for these first few weeks of school. It was something tangible that I could hold, hug, talk to, and learn from. I had carried it around wherever I went, holding hands with the spine, and telling secrets behind the cover page.

Now I had a new friend, a real friend, and I didn’t need this book any longer. It had done its job. I had grown a little stronger and was able to walk a little taller now. Emily became my new book, my new friend and companion.

Sam, Patrick, and Charlie, all grew apart as college took priority and the same has happened with Emily and me. We talk every once in a while when it is convenient, like right now, when I asked her to remind me how we first met. Our friendship, though distant and sparse, is alive and well. I recognize that kind of friendship and I value it. “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite” (Chbosky 47).

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