the perks of reading “perks…” as an adult

I finally got around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky over the holidays because what says “holiday cheer” like a story about a depressed high schooler? Now, I’ll be real. I’m the woman who still relates to Holden Caulfield on some level. He’s supposed to be kind of annoying; he’s a typical teen who thinks he knows everything, but he’s also scared out of his mind and confused as hell. Congrats if you don’t really identify with that, but I always have and always will. I embrace it. Perks was like meeting a more modern Holden for me. Chbosky nailed Charlie’s voice so perfectly, it really does feel like Charlie is speaking directly to me. There is the backlash concerning the whole “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite” line, as if anyone who found that deep or affecting is a silly pseudo-intellectual hipster jerk, but I really don’t give a fuck. I loved the whole damn book. It took me back to that place where even the tiniest moment felt so important and being with the right person, listening to the right music, just meant everything, how taking solace in those moments provided relief from otherwise unbearable pain and confusion. I’m really glad I read Perks now as opposed to when I was younger. I was so walled off then, and I don’t think I would have related to it as much as I do now that I’ve confronted so many past demons. It was just beautiful, and I am so grateful that I had friends who encouraged me to read the book. I am really looking forward to seeing the movie, though I don’t know just how I will be able to handle watching so much beautiful heartache played out on my television screen.

In the meantime, I’ll be listening to this….

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ah, youth.

So, I was looking for some pictures and stumbled upon my old journals. One in particular had this amazing list; I don’t know where it’s from, but I clearly copied it from somewhere. Probably Cosmo. (I know, I know.) I was 18, so really, old enough to know better, and to some degree I did, yet for some reason this list was so important I had to immortalize it. I wish I would have  written where I got this from. There’s also a chance it could have come from one of my friends who liked to pretend to know everything about sex and love but really knew as much as I did. So, little to nothing, really. Without further ado:

10 Things you never (say to) (or discuss with) a man

10-Hairline, pot belly, or love handles

9-Don’t comment about too much or too little sex

8-Don’t battle over remote control

7-Don’t bother about too much porn

6-Turns on TV after sex

5-Sleeps after sex

4-Doesn’t make much $

3-Don’t whine about toilet seat

2-Too sensitive/too macho

1-Penis is too small

OH MY GOD WHAT WAS I THINKING? I realize that this had to be some sort of key to me; it was also around the time I finally had my first mini-relationship and the first time I had really stretched the limits and boundaries placed around me. I suppose I was trying to figure life out, and I was so super awkward and had absolutely zero self esteem. I wanted to be loved so badly. Good Lord, way to set up expectations and bury myself under heaps of pressure. I should mention that, directly under this list, in huge bubble letters, was the name of the guy I was kind-of-sort-of-dating at the time. Yeah, that was going to end well.

The good news is, I’ve broken every single one of those ridiculous rules. What fragile creatures some men in my life must have been that I felt the need to immortalize this list. Tiptoe around egos, no sudden movements. Clearly, I was also a Grade-A virgin when I wrote this down–a bit of a late bloomer, you see–and had no idea what went down in a real relationship. This was all based on high school douchebaggery and observing how many of the boys around me treated the girls in their lives. Also, how dumb is this fucking list to ignore the fact that maybe, just maybe, people are tired after sex and want to take a fucking nap? Girls get tired after sex, too, shit. What is this saying about women, that we have to be perfect pretty princesses that must be proper at all times in order to be loved? Fuck that.

I really just want to give that sad, desperate girl a hug. She deserves so much better than that stupid list. I want to tell her to not give a fuck what some idiotic article tells her, to tell this guy playing mind games with her to shove his ego up his ass and never call her again. Stop writing down dumb shit like this: “He said that nothing’s official YET but that he has hopes of us having a relationship–COOL!!” Ugh, really, boo? No, Jessa. NO. Don’t walk, girl, RUN! I want to tell her that it will all be okay. I want to tell her to make a new list:

10 things that are better than this fucking pathetic set of rules (in no particular order):

10-poetry, literature, writing

9-real love with someone who’s not an asshole, respects you as an individual and isn’t going to have such a fucking complex that he feels important by doing dumb shit like hogging the remote

8-traveling and expanding your universe

7-crème brulee

6-loose leaf tea

5-dancing and using your body with both purpose (ballet) and complete abandon (raving under the stars at Central Park)

4-laughing with friends and family who love you for you

3-self-respect

2-independence

1-the fact that you will get through all this nonsense to be a better person who doesn’t subscribe to any rules in order to be loved

There. That’s better.

[sic]

Strawberry Swing

I know, I’ve been gone for a while, sucked into work, work and more work (and, ahem, kicking NaNoWriMo’s ASS!), but I’m here now, needing this little bit of space I’ve carved out. So, I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean a lot, and Strawberry Swing, which has given me a lot of comfort this month. I’m just trying to find some beauty and light in the darkness.


Did you hear that alarm? Wake up! Arise!

If you need more inspiration to get moving, you should probably watch Junot Diaz on NBCLatino’s Cafecito: http://nbclatino.com/2012/12/12/cafecito-junot-diaz-on-finding-your-voice/

It’s time to create, to pull out the light and spread hope in this world.

[sic]