[dropcap]I[/dropcap]recently watched this brilliant little film called The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It is a true coming-of-age piece that has the possibility to make people think. If you have not seen it or read the original book, it is basically about a teenage boy trying to find himself. When I say “basically”, I say it with a pinch of salt; for there is nothing basic about trying to find yourself.
When I was younger, the problems I saw myself having were so unworthy of the attention that they got. They started out with me not being able to walk or talk at age one, which was a bummer, and losing my stuffed animal while on a family vacation a few years later. Wanting a pet lizard but not getting one around my tenth birthday and not understanding math throughout school (that is actually an ongoing matter) were some that followed. Having little success with boys (also an ongoing matter) and freaking out over various clothing emergencies every single day filled up all of my time. Some might ask why I, every so often, would go with that tent sized yellow t-shirt picturing a green, drunk parrot… I would not know the answer to that question. I would neither know nor care since I have matured now. I am 21, graceful, respectable and responsible; an adult with prospect running through one vein and passion running through another. So why do I sometimes still feel like that tomboy with dirty fingernails and a clean conscience? Mainly because I want to remember what it was like to act and feel like her and also because I need it. I need my past to be able to understand my present.
Finding yourself could happen through films. Once you get lost in that scene or relate to that character, it could probably help you to direct your way of thinking. It is very important not to get entirely lost in the cinematic world though; you will actually need to participate in real life as well. However, to use movies as a source of inspiration would be both healthy and useful.
In this movie, the lovable protagonist Charlie is starting High School and feeling very lonely doing so. He has no friends, no idea what to do with his life and has plenty of rough patches to look back on. Time passes and the only person he has managed to befriend is Mr. Anderson, his English teacher. Then all of a sudden, he makes friends. Not the sort of friends that you make just to make some (believe me, it happens) but the ones that he will always have.
Sam and Patrick save Charlie because they gave him the chance to be himself for once. Even though Charlie had no idea who that self actually was, they helped him discover it. “So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” Now does that not sound like a person who is starting to get a clue?
I am in the midst of this complicated process. On one hand, I would love to foresee exactly how I would carry myself in every situation I will face. On the other, I have started to understand that it is good to not feel sure about what is yet to come. If I did not dread a job assignment, a visit to the dentist or even death, my emotional balance would be seriously messed up. We all need to stress out and feel miserable at least three times a week.
So when you feel like drowning yourself in your bathroom sink because of an uncertain future, please reconsider. I believe that the time of not knowing is the time when you actually learn about yourself. If you had your life planned out for you, where would all of your mistakes and stupidity fit in? Where would there be room for the challenging confusion, evolving idiocy and restoring distress? You would most definitely end up a satisfied person whose satisfaction was solely based on having a life with no setbacks. How would your accomplishment be real without problems? How could it beat the relief you feel when something good happens after something bad?
Embrace the in-between of utter instability and something wonderful. It can probably help you begin to understand why you are such an amazingly weird human being.
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