The Glorious Experience

I’ve always been skeptical about reading books.

But don’t get me wrong here. I love reading. If I had my way I would read 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But its that feeling that I get right after I do read. It’s a sort of hollow feeling that builds up inside of your stomach and swallows you whole. Because the fact is, books are only a temporary escape from the cruel reality known as the “real world”. Right after I close that book, I’m faced with countless things to do and countless things to study for.

So I took a short vacation from books.

It took a stranger, some tears, and a friend to get me reading again.

So it was like any other Saturday. I had spent three hours in the library working on unfinished homework when I hear this quiet sobbing. It wasn’t the kind of crying where you have to have a tissue box right next to you at all times. This crying was different. It was a secret kind of sobbing. The type where you don’t want anyone else to see or hear you.

It was a woman, who was crying, about in her late thirties, reading a bright green book, that was actually, relatively thin. On closer observation, I picked up on the title. The book was called “The Perks Of Being a Wallflower.” I was immediately intrigued.

So I asked my friend about the book and this was literally her reaction:

It did nothing to satisfy my growing curiosity about the book. In fact, it only made it worse. So…. I started reading it.

Words cannot explain how much I loved this book. After reading it, I literally held the novel to my heart and stood there for at least a minute. I’d felt such a mix of emotions holding that book in my hand, because I know in exactly 213 pages, my perspective on everything around me had changed completely. No joke.

The book is centered around a teenage boy, who goes by Charlie. He’s not the biggest nerd in school, but he is by no means considered “popular”. He’s a wallflower. A socially awkward freshman, who sees things, understands them, and keeps quiet. 

Along the way, he meets two people,  Patrick and Sam, who essentially encourage him to “participate” instead of being an observer, watching from the sidelines. In an instant, Charlie finds himself stranded in the world of first dates, family drama, friends, and drugs.

What I love about this book, isn’t because its a coming-of-age story. It’s genuine. There’s no sparkling vampires involved, crazy love triangles, or “good girl falls for bad guy” sort of nonsense. It’s all too real.

It’s simply about a 15 year old boy trying to find his place in the world and making the best of his high school years. Charlie’s story captures the aching, confusing, and glorious experience of being a teenager.

I feel that too often, high school students forget about the fact that high school is one of those moments they will look back upon for years to come.  It’s the experience that every teenager will remember. Memories that will eventually become stories we tell.

But nowadays, high school students shove so many things onto a plate, trying to balance all of it, believing that accomplishing the impossible will get them into a good college. It’s in these four years that people forget what it means to be happy. They focus on their immediate future rather than the here and now.

I’m no exception.

Every single day of every single week is filled with stress,tests, and mountains of homework. But this book made me realize something.

stars

“Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We will all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening.“-Stephen Chbosky

I want to make the most of my teenage years, create lasting memories, and telling these stories someday. Because once it’s gone…it’s gone. I don’t want to be THAT girl who just sits on the sidelines, watching everything pass by. Maybe I should “participate” more too.

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