The other day I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the film. I've always been a big fan of the book, read it more times than I can count using both hands (and probably toes, too) but until watching the film, I never realized what struck me. I never knew what connected me so much to Charlie and his friends, but I felt like I knew them. In fact, I always pictured them with the faces of people I know in real life. Patrick was my best friend (a guy) who struggled with cross dressing, keeping it under wraps, and attempting to have a semi-normal life in a small Texas town. He doesn't do that anymore. In fact, he's dating a girl who knows about all of it and loves him and they're happy. Sam was another beautiful best friend, (a girl) in high school. Everybody loved her and thought she was superb. All the guys liked her. She was smart. Into all the guy type stuff. In fact, she's going to college right now to be an engineer. I think she's pretty great, even though she's done some pretty crappy things. I guess we all have, though.
Anyway, there were people in my real life that I associated with characters in Stephen Chbosky's amazing novel. Still, that isn't it. I understood Charlie.
As a grown-up, I understand Charlie.
I don't act like Charlie. I was a bit of a wallflower in school, but never to that extent. I always was friendly, had friends, but I never really let myself participate. What I understood in Charlie is the self-hate. The self-doubt. The questioning of every little action and behavior and wondering, "Oh my goodness, did I just make myself seem even weirder?" and the WORST, "If people actually knew me, would they want to know me?"
Other people I've talked to who have struggled with depression go through the same things. Feeling alone, tired, worthless. In my case (because I've always been a big girl) I've always figured I felt that way because I'm fat. I don't think that's it, though. I think it's depression and anxiety and most of all, NOT LOVING YOURSELF.
I am more okay now than I've been, but it's because I've learned to love myself. I love Jesus. I love other people. It would hurt if I talked to other people the way I talk to myself. I would not be a nice person. Jesus died for me, and I know not all of you do, but I think that's a BIG DEAL. Clearly, I'm worth loving. Fat, thin, short, tall, pimply, we all are.
Charlie's friends teach him that. Jesus, and a lot of people, family, and friends, taught me that.
Perks... will always been one of my favorite books. Charlie is kind of great.