Just saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower last night for the first time, which was written in 1999 and made into a movie in 2012. In 1999, I was a 16 year old-and dealing with a similar catalogue of inner fears as Charlie, the main character, and 16 years later (half my life later), I still harbor them.
Mainly, “would they want to be my friend if they knew I’d been to the “hospital”?”.
The older I get, the more I realize what an isolating, unique experience it has been to be someone who has been mentally ill enough to be hospitalized as a teenager. My blackouts were not psychological, like Charlie’s, but physical, alcohol-induced ones. The more “normal” I get, the more isolated, and isolating my memories feel of being that other person. The older get, the less wallflowers I know.
I’m a very lonely wallflower around Christmas and the roots and petals of other people’s success (mainly procreatory, occasionally career-wise) contrast the small pot of my life. The roots of a wallflower a map of shame, an unlovable design. I just feel so, so unaccomplished.
Maybe this is why I need AA, not that I have gone since I was 15 and court-ordered to go a few times (a field trip from a mental hospital). Maybe I need a place where just being sober is something to be proud of. Normal people aren’t proud of that, and its tactless to ask an alcoholic like me how their “Sobriety is going”. And yet, this is the thing that takes all my energy, and isolates me completely, and makes me want to leap out of your house the minute I see your holiday spread of alcohol. A very good case for me to try AA.
I am like a houseplant who can only grow under very special lights and conditions. I can’t be moved. And though I will making to the spring, I falter in the darkness of December.