"Dear friend," Mr. Chbosky,
I once was a girl that sat with her hands folded neat. Yet, I had a way of making other people's emptiness feel complete. I once was a girl who was trapped in a box. Yet, I was the one who latched the millions of locks. I once was a girl who was not quite awake, who didn't touch the world because she feared it might break.
It seemed simple enough to start out. I didn't know his last name, nor did I know exactly where he lived. He began small enough that I could have fit him inside my pocket. I could wrap my fingers around him. But as the pages that I held in my left hand grew thicker, Charlie's complexity did also. I've recommended this book countless times, but only to those who I thought would understand him. I look out for Charlie, I don't like him to be misinterpreted. I find myself repeating the same words to each person who questions the green book on my shelf, "You can't read it for the story, you have to read it for the message. And if you do that, it's amazing."
As I read, most problems in life were depicted as I explored The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the downfalls. Some days you cry over someone, some days you realize you're one person's excuse to cry. Some people care too much and hate it, others don't care at all and love it. Everyone commits the deadly sins, yet no one can admit to them. Lies make you feel sick, the truth makes you feel raw. Most people have the strength to keep tears within, but few have the power to let them go. The people that say nothing wish they had the courage to stand up. The people that say too much wish they had the compassion to sit down. We all fall down, and we all get helped up. Some people find a hand earlier than others. I fell down, and the hand that I found was Charlie's.
Cold, wet, metal bars rooted themselves around me and held me captive. I couldn't reach out to anyone, and the cage that I was curled up inside prevented anyone from reaching out to me. I was safe inside of those rods, no one could hurt me. While I lay isolated inside of the shell I created for myself, I seemed invincible.
I was sought out for advice, for comfort, for warmth. I provided all of those things through words, speaking to save came naturally. I would touch my fingers to theirs to replenish their empty insides with what they were missing. I helped them to sustain a sense of stability and strength, but I was not strong. If I was strong, my emotional muscles would have lifted the contraption I created out of the ground. If I was strong, I would have had enough of a liberated soul to slip through the slots and envelope them in embrace. I would have given them warmth through my skin, comfort through feeling my heart beat. Simply me talking them through something wasn't enough, that is never enough. They don't need to hear how they should rescue themselves. They should see, smell, taste, and feel another person salvaging their wreckage. For the period of time I lie in the liver of this body of metal, I realized each particle of this enclosure was made up of fear. Though I realized, that my cell didn't keep others out, it kept me in.
Charlie lived in the same crate as I once did through almost all of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Each time my thumb turned a small, white page, I experienced exactly what Charlie felt. As many times as my perceptive self had put itself in the shoes of others, this was one of the first people that shared the same shoes as me. One of the first people I didn't have to make any sort of effort to understand. I absorbed the book more than anything I had before, I engulfed the pages must like I should have been engulfing my own life. I saw myself in Charlie, I saw Charlie in me, and I trusted Charlie with everything I had. I dove into someone for the first time, and even though he was a character, he gave me comfort through his heart beat and through his rescue of me. I saw the world through a different lens, I tasted the air that surrounded me, I felt the change in my skin.
Charlie was to me as Bill and Sam were to him. He taught me to participate in life. He prepared me for when the time comes that I feel infinite, and to cherish the exhilaration so much that when I have wrinkles I can still paint the picture of that moment. As I sing the melody in each of my days, Charlie's lessons that were taught and learned hum the harmony quietly in the back of my mind. Blame erases nothing, sometimes a person needs more than a shoulder, reaching out to people is just as important as letting them in, no one can feel what you feel for them unless you show them, and many measures more. When I turned the last page, I was overwhelmed. Many would say overall the small book was a little off key, faced with homosexuality, abortion, drugs, and overall confusion. You didn't dance around anything, Mr. Chbosky, which made Charlie's life relatable to any young person anywhere. I believe the book was a beautiful symphony because over the course of wrapping myself inside of its covers, I uncovered one universal lesson your book seemed to drum into me overall. You need to believe in something, in someone. But most of all, you need to believe in yourself, or nothing counts for anything at all.
I now am a girl with her hand locked on others' hearts. Instead of making them feel complete, I fix their aching parts. I now am a girl whose box was knocked to the ground. Instead of searching for answers, my answers were found. I now am a girl who might not have aggression, but now mightily pushes on the world to make an impression.