‘Perks’ prompts editor to step out of comfort zone

I expected to come out of the theater the same person I went in, but I was wrong.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was not the first on my to-watch list last weekend, but my experience was not disappointing.

Very few movies remain in my mind and trigger my thoughts for more than the initial 15 minutes of post-movie excitement. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” however, left me wondering about the way I and everyone around me lead our lives.

While the idea of the movie was not the first of its kind, the way it was produced and presented was definitely original.

The movie, based on a book with the same title, is about a freshman who struggles to find friends in his high school. He is smart, focused and shy – he screams unpopular.

Fortunately for him, he encounters a group of seniors who, despite being shunned by their peers as well, managed to survive high school together.

I won’t go further into the details, but the movie struck a nerve in me. I was very lucky to have been in a high school full of nerds. The pressure of fitting in was never present; we were all alienated together, and that alone gave us a sense of community not found anywhere else.

Many thoughts started circulating in my mind the minute I left the movie theater that night. I was especially moved because I knew the experiences the characters have been through are in all probability real-life ones.

One character is gay, another is “old school,” one is a “goth” and the main character is too smart for his own good. Yet, they were all people with incredibly interesting personas; they were just never given a chance.

The reason I was upset was because we, as teenagers going into adulthood, were never trained to deal with those who do not share our beliefs. We learned about it in theology and cultural classes, but we have rarely been encouraged to act on it.

We preach about being tolerant and accepting, but in reality and when it comes to actions, we shy away from those whose uniqueness causes us initial discomfort.

We, understandably, hold everyone else to our own standards, our own understanding of what is normal. We all think our way is the normal way, and everyone else must be weird for not following it.

But when we think about it, who in their right mind will ever think they’re the “abnormal” beings? There is no middle ground; we all think we’re the sanest of them all.

The good thing is, high school is over. As we emerge into adulthood, we understand it’s not always as black and white as we thought when we were younger.

Many of us have gone unnoticed or were never given the chance to be ourselves when we were younger, but now that we are adults, I think we should work less on staying within our comfort zone and more on letting people inside them.



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