What I learned from “The perks of being a wallflower”


Earlier in the week, while trying to explain the term “Wallflower” to Luke, I came across the movie “The Perks of being a Wallflower”.  I was ecstatic; finally a movie that could describe me and make sense of this dysfunctional brain-to-mouth filter!

This morning Luke and I watched the movie and what I got out of it was completely different from what I expected.  Of all the issues covered in the movie, there are three statements in it that really hit home with me:

Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?

Is that not an age-old question?  It is one that has certainly been around for as long as parents have had to sit by and watch their children fall in love with the wrong kind of person.  Love is the one thing in humanity which will have a different definition every time the question is asked.  The one true description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  Unfortunately we are only human and it is tough to not allow emotions and memories and baggage to ruin that definition for us and we say “well, if only it was that simple”.  How many times have you, as an outsider, stood by and watch the definition of love being twisted and turned to suit the person in control?  Let’s face it all relationships have a dominant and a submissive.  There is always someone who needs to get more out of it and pulls the strings to his or her heart’s content in order to feel like they are getting a fair deal.  There is always someone who takes a step back in order to keep the peace or simply to make the other person happy, even if it comes at a costly price to themselves.  In an ideal world, it would be a complete 50/50 scenario, but how often does that really happen?

Let’s take a moment to look at how relationships start.  Men are visual creatures while woman are emotional creatures.  Generally speaking, relationships start out with the sugar-coated version of ourselves and there is no denying the fact.  How many second dates do you think there would be in everyone came out on the first date and said all there was to say?

Hi, my name is Suzie and I suffer from paranoid schizophrenic tendencies, but refuse to have myself tested as my denial is my stronger than my conscience.

Hi, my name is Mark and I have severe trust issues and it does not matter how far this relationship goes, I will never trust you.

Would life not have been a lot easier if you could plug into someone’s psyche from the get go and know all there was to know, the good and the bad?  Yes, discovering things about each other as love grows is a beautiful thing, but it would save us from a world of hurt if we could know beforehand that we would be wasting our love on someone who is not prepared to change or not prepared to settle down.  Unfortunately we only start to discover the warnings signs once it is too late and we are already completely and utterly in love.  Or, even worse, the warning signs are there from the get-go, but we choose to ignore them, thinking that we are over sensitive or paranoid or too judgmental.

So why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?  It is something that I have always wondered about.  As mentioned in the past, I am completely in love with love.  Unfortunately, however, I do not understand it.  Is it a matter of fate or life handing you a raw deal when it comes to love?  I don’t think so.  There must be more.  There must be a reason why some people meet the love of their life in middle school and live happily ever after, while someone else goes through four or five marriages to only find happiness at 60.  Why does that happen?

It is because we choose to only accept the love we think we deserve.

Now that is a loaded statement!  In itself, the statement makes it clear that we choose the relationships we are in.  Whoa, stop right there!  Do you mean to tell me that the woman who continually find herself dating an alcoholic or drug addict or wife beater, chooses to be in that situation?  No, you did not intentionally go out looking for someone like that to date, but when you see the warnings lights, you choose to ignore them, thinking that this time around it will be different.

Falling in love is easy, it happens in the blink of an eye.  As mentioned above, the initial sunshine and roses disappears after a while and we see the person’s true colors emerge as we grow on each other.  It is when the true colors emerge that we need to take a step back and decide whether that is really what we want or deserve, and this is the difficult part.  That is the part which takes a lot of character.  The problem comes in when we do not have a clear sense of what we deserve.  The little foxes that hide in the darkest corners of your soul all have different names: insecurity, low self-esteem, confidence issues, to name but a few.  These little foxes emerge and overcome reason, telling you that it’s not as bad as you think or you won’t find someone else who will be willing to accept you and love or it will get better once we have overcome this one bridge or, aghh, the list is endless.  So we stay and hope and dream and pray that we are right and that things will change and that the little voice inside is wrong.

Every time it happens, you fall for the beautiful lies and choose to believe that things will change.  Every time it happens, you put all your hope and dreams into that one little promise: it won’t happen again.  Until next time and the time after that and the time after that.  We think that you are not worthy of more.  We think that this is the best we will ever have.  We think that we have been placed there to make a difference.  So, we choose to accept the love we think we deserve and stick around for more of the same.

On the flip-side of the coin, could it then also be that we choose the fight the love we think we do not deserve?  How else do you explain it when someone is presented with true love and he / she then fights against it, fight to protect and guard themselves?  How else do you explain someone refusing to let down the walls built around their heart in order to let someone in and embrace the warmth of love?  Is it because they feel that they do not deserve that love?

It is one and the same condition if you think about it actually.  One the one hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve better and on the other hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve as much.  So they stay and try to make it work.  They love and laugh; they scream and fight; they try to make sense of it all and things just spiral more and more out of control until one day…

If you are one of the lucky ones, you wake up one day and you feel dead inside.  You wake and can’t wait to get to work, just to get away.  You dread the end of the day because you need to go home and don’t know what to expect because you are just so tired of fighting.  One day you wake up and you decide you need to get away for a while, just so you can put a temporary end to the escalating pain and suffering.

If you are not one of the lucky ones, you just don’t wake up and there is no time to fix it all.  You don’t wake up because you were killed in a moment of rage and you never have the opportunity to choose differently.  If you are not one of the lucky ones, the little foxes win and you are destroyed as was their intention from the start.

There comes a point when you realize you are not a sad story and that you are more and deserve better

The human nature intrigues me immensely.  It is just fascinating that, caught in one body, you can have a heart telling you one thing and a head telling you something completely different.  The conflicting emotions that inhabit our bodies can become so overwhelming that we just want to run.  Then you run and you run, but it doesn’t matter how far you run or what extent you go to, those feelings and emotions run with you, taunting you.  You think and think until you can’t think no more and still the emotions conflict each other.

When do you know that whether what you are doing is the right thing?  Is it right for you based on past experiences or based on where you want to go? Is it right for you out of selfish reasons or is it right for you because you are growing?

It would have been so much easier if there was a program you could plug your emotions into; a program which could decode the emotions until one true answer remained.  How simple would that be?  We would see a significant reduction in the divorce rate.  We would definitely see more tears of joy and less anguish.  Life would just be better all round.

If only it was that simple right?

Once you get to the point where you realise that you deserve better, you have reached the point where you can start to turn things around.  I personally feel that psychology should be made available free of charge (ya right, if only, I know!) to every person who wishes to enter into a relationship and couples therapy should be a definitely pre-requisite before things become serious.

Decoding the human mind and human heart is something which we will never be able to do.  Even the best psychologist can only base their diagnoses and treatment on what they are being told.  So how do we ever really know someone?  How do we ever really and truly understand?

I guess that is something which remains to be answered.