Think VS Participate
….I look at people holding hands in the hallways, and I try to think about how it all works. As the school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to “their song.” In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys’ jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.
Bill looked at me looking at people, and after class, he asked me what I was thinking about, and I told him. He listened, and he nodded and made “affirmation” sounds. When I had finished, his face changed into a “serious talk” face.
“Do you always think this much, Charlie?”
“Is that bad?” I just wanted someone to tell me the truth.
“Not necessarily. It’s just that sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.”
“Is that bad?”
“I think I participate, though. Don’t you think I am?”
“Well, are you dancing at these dances?”
“I’m not a very good dancer.”
“Are you going on dates?”
“Well, I don’t have a car, and even if I did, I can’t drive because I’m fifteen, and anyway, I haven’t met a girl I like except for Sam, but I am too young for her, and she would always have to drive, which I don’t think is fair.”
The Perks of being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I’m halfway through the book, but this part is my top favorite. It got me putting myself in Charlie’s place. Because my place is usually in the background enjoying watching people enjoy themselves. It got me asking myself “Am I participating enough?” I, too, tend to think a lot, and I use thought to advance to places I’ve never been and to things I’d never do. Thoughts often prevent me from encountering these things. Either because it didn’t go well (in my thoughts), or I’ve advanced far enough to discard the thought and the effort I mentally exerted. I decide I’m satisfied with my simple present condition.
I know it’s bad, and it influences me negatively. I have no idea what’s lying ahead for me, nobody does. And I have no plan, I put too much weight on external circumstances, I feel like I have no tight grip on my life. And I fear it will slip within my fingers as time goes.
I don’t know if watching others will do me any good, or whether it will teach me something. I know that I need to participate, but I don’t know how to do it without thinking of the ups and downs, the gains and losses and how to maximize the gains and minimize the losses. I can’t even stop thinking if I can maximize these and minimize those!
Shall I ask someone? To be my guide?
Help me through this bumpy ride
Who could this someone be?
If all seem far ahead of me,
Are there many others, beside me and Charlie?
We’re eager to participate, and we’re trying hardly