Recently over winter break, I was cleaning off my nightstand and sifting through the books I had stacked on it, the ones I had promised myself I would read…last winter break, when I came across Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I have been hearing about this book since I was in high school and never found the time to read it. Honestly, my interest in it grew once I found out that my boyfriend had read it when he was 15 for fun. He doesn’t really read for fun.
He had been telling me recently about the main character, Charlie, and how his character is similar to the main character in my novel.
I finally decided to open the book and give it a read.
For the next 48 hours, I did not put it down. It was as though Chobosky had ripped pages from my teenage diary and shared them with the rest of the world. The pain. Confusion. Joy. Anxiety. Love. All of the things I felt so intensely as a 15 year old were all told so beautifully through the eyes of Charlie.
I finished the book on a Sunday night and couldn’t get it out of my head. I also couldn’t help but feel like I had just spent the last two days with my 15 year old self, which was both exciting and sad.
Exciting because I could see how far I have come from the shy 15 year old that I once was, but sad because I realized how much I missed feeling like everything was within my grasp.
I decided to write this post to talk about who I was at 15 years old. It would be interesting to have people comment and talk about themselves at 15.
When I was 15…
I was just about finished with my freshman year of high school. I turned fifteen in May and our semester was over in June.
Freshman year was interesting. I had started it thinking that the people I had been friends with in junior high would always remain my friends. That was only partially true. While we remained acquaintances, I realized how much our lives didn’t match anymore.
I spent the summer before my sophomore year really assessing the person I had become versus the one I wanted to be. I no longer felt comfortable wearing Abercrombie and Fitch and listening to pop music. I wanted to listen to punk rock.
I decided that summer that we are not what we wear, contrary to what I had been told for the past 15 years. If I wanted to wear Abercrombie one day and dickies with a band t-shirt the next, then so be it.
Looking back, I am proud of how brave I was for making that decision. A lot of people I knew at the time didn’t understand what I was doing. I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal, let alone any of their business. Some days during my sophomore year, I came to school in a denim Abercrombie skirt and halter top while other days I wore all black with my converse and studded belt.
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but when one of your old friends asks you in front of your entire sophomore history class “what are you wearing? You used to be so pretty,” it becomes a big deal.
15 is the age I met my friends, the ones who would remain my closest confidants for the remainder of high school. These people were my Sam and Patrick. If you’ve never read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sam and Patrick are Charlies’s best friends. They show him what it feels like to be infinite.
I went to my first warped tour at 15, too. It was unreal to see New Found Glory raging onstage as I tried not to break bones in the mosh pit.
15 was one of the greatest times in my life. It’s when I first began discovering who I wanted to become, who I already was.
Although I have no desire to go back to my high school days, it was nice to be reminded from The Perks of Being a Wallflower of how infinite I felt at 15.
Who were you at 15?
Favorite songs at 15:
1. “Hit or Miss” by New Found Glory
2. “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional
3. “You’re So Last Summer” by TBS
4. “Sucker” by New Found Glory
5. “Hurricane” by Something Corporate