December 11, 2013
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Dear Stephen Chbosky,

I pack my final possessions into a tattered milkcrate. As I say goodbye to everyone I’ve ever known, I also say goodbye to my hometown. My place of birth disappearing in the rearview along with the waving parents I left on the vacant sidewalk. I know they don’t understand the decision I’ve made to live with my Grandparents. But, it’s the only choice that remains. Vicious cycles would’ve pursued me everywhere I went if I didn’t get out. Now, similar to Charlie, I am beginning my senior year deprived of even a minor acquaintance. And since I also consider myself a reserved wallflower, I know that this year isn’t going to be a smooth ride

Although, I have enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower ever since the day I read Charlie’s first letter. It wasn’t until I began my senior year that I first-handedly experienced the flowing emotions of a true wallflower world. My new world didn’t consist of drug-induced parties or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It consisted of desolation and isolated observing. The kind of watching that labels you as “freak” and “weird”. But, in all honesty, I was watching in wonderment as my peers walked by effortlessly conversating while I had nothing to say. Nothing to contribute. Just idly reading at my lonely lunch table wondering how I could be normal. I could never come out to my Grandparents about these problems. I didn’t want them to worry about me. In fact, I didn’t even want them to bring up school whatsoever. Just the thought made my heart ricochet down to my feet. And as the nights got longer, the distractions needed to be bigger. Anything to keep my mind from wandering down the wrong path of perception.

As my reading progressed, I became more attached to the idea of Charlie. I finally found someone that could relate to my feelings and discomforts. Even if it was just a character, he seemed to understand me in a way nobody else could. And when Charlie took a risk and found friends, he influenced me to make an attempt at escaping my empty lunch table. Sadly, my nervous attitude made it difficult to approach anyone. But, instead of taking defeat, I devised a plan. This plan was to not sail into the sea of bodies, but rather to float on the calm waters around the edge. Here is where I found the kids who were also cursed with an empty lunch table. The ones that normally enjoyed their own introverted company. This is where I found acceptance.

As the pages ended I came to a sudden realization. I don’t need obscene amounts of friends or even popularity. These are just ideas. Ideas that we wrongly envy inside our brains. And as we near our last breaths, the amount of people that knew your name is just as irrelevant as what you ate for breakfast a week ago. The only thing that matters in the end is what makes you matter. No extreme amount of friends could ever bring that kind of genuinity. That is why I will never disregard the select few friends that I have, because they are the ones that notice my absence. The ones that enjoy my company. The ones that want me around.

After reading your book my perspective on life shifted profoundly. The whole social image that I was striving for seemed extraneous and new goals emerged from the old ashes. There isn’t any approval that I need anymore. All that I need is people that make me matter. This wasn’t my only realization though. I learned that no matter how bad life may seem to get, it will always get better. Life is what you make of it, as cliche as it sounds. But I know now that if I want to make it better, that I need to focus on the positive, because the negative only drags your foot farther into the pools of sorrow. The positive will get you to the shore and assist you through any situation that may arise. This is the point in my life where I understand that even if things aren’t good with me, they will be soon enough.

Love always,

Ian L.

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