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Are There Any Perks to Being a Wallflower?

I did a quick Google search to get an official definition of “wallflower.”

After I ruled out writing about the southern European fragrant yellow, orange-red, dark-red, or brown flowered plant of the cabbage family, I settled upon the informal second definition.

Wallflower – noun – informal: a person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party

That’s kind of more of a bummer than I wanted for a definition but we’ll role with it.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, the term originally came from an 1820 Winthrop Mackworth Praed poem entitled County Ball. For many of my fellow Millennials, though, the word gained popularity because of Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 novel, Perks of Being a Wallflower. The film, which was filmed in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, came out in 2012 and centers around Charlie Kelmeckis, a shy, introverted, and caring high school freshman.

I’ve read both the book and the movie and while I started to go down the road of analysis, I’ll leave the book reports behind and instead focus strictly on the title – all else withstanding.

To be a wallflower:

I enjoy a good people watching session. Sometimes, I take my notebook into Central Park or the public library or any of the other popular human gathering spots in New York City and simply watch and write. I stand on the subways in silence and make up stories about the people who are sitting across from me. There’s something deeply beautiful about silence.

Except when there isn’t…

Except when it matters.

What happens when you see someone getting picked on? Or when you see something that isn’t right? What happens when you have the ability to step up and make a difference? Have you ever felt the scream lodged in your throat? The scream that shifts into a guilty silence of nothingness…

Then there’s no perk to being a wallflower.

Be a voice for something. Find your cause. Fight for it.

If you’re not going to speak up, how is the world going to know you exist?

Love always,


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