Show Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Speechless.

Disgusted.

Brokenhearted.

Angry.

T-minus twelve hours since I finished the first season of Thirteen Reasons Why and I am still reeling from the emotional aftermath.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a Netflix Original Series based off of the 2007 young adult novel by the same title by Jay Asher. The show is the story about why a high school junior took her life. Instead of leaving a single suicide note, she records thirteen cassette tapes explaining the events that led up to her decision. Each tape is dedicated to a different person who she feels is partly responsible for her decision due to their actions or inactions. These tapes are left with strict instructions for the person to listen to all the tapes and then pass them onto the next person responsible.

I won’t lie. This story is a powerful one if you give it a chance. With its Pretty Little Liars meets Degrassi feel, some viewers may waive it off as another melodramatic teenage story that tries to deal with tough issues, but fails. I think Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautifully horrific embodiment of the worst-case teenage suicide scenario.

Certain topics are just difficult to talk about and/or portray, but Thirteen Reasons Why dives right into the heart of suicide, sex, rape, bullying, and teen culture including drinking and partying. Having only been out of high school for four years, the behaviors I witnessed and experienced are still fairly fresh and so far this show is the truest depiction of how high school actually functions; the so-called popular kids aren’t all perfect nor were they always popular, friendships suddenly end with no warning, the social groups interlace, and the school staff brushes off opportunities to engage in students’ real lives.

I love how Tony, the “keeper” of the tapes, keeps telling Clay that the tapes are Hannah’s truth. I think that one phrase is so important to situations like these, because how actions are perceived by another person are a complete mystery and we never really know how someone will react to them. The events leading up to Hannah’s suicide are brutal, sometimes hard to watch and sometimes hard to hear, but the events are brutal and hurtful enough to push Hannah over the edge. Some of the events might seem harmless or stupid or petty, but when these events are all stacking up on one person it makes a difference.

Thirteen Reasons Why makes you sick. You feel sick because you want to binge-watch it, but then feel guilty for feeling entertained by a real problem. You feel sick because some of the images and events will haunt you to your core. You feel sick because once it is over, you will be begging for another season.

For Book Readers:

It was very creative the way they incorporated this book into a television show. The original book probably could have successfully been made into a movie, but to make into multiple episodes and possibly other seasons, the writers had to do something to draw it out. I was pleasantly surprised by what they came up with. Instead of leaving it from only Hannah and Clay’s perspectives, you get to see what happened from multiple point of views as well as get background information on the supporting characters.

I read Thirteen Reasons Why probably seven or eight years ago during my first year of high school. Back then I had not experienced much involving the tough topics explored in the text, so I read it in one sitting and raved about it. It made me think twice about how I treated people for awhile, but the effects didn’t last as long as they should have. Now, having watched the show, I felt it not only did the book justice, but it was incredibly impactful!

The ending was remarkable. It was tragic yet had an air of lightness. The setup of the story was that you get to experience the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide through the different supporting characters’ lives. More death. More lies. More drugs. More drinking. More hurt. More depression. There was a lot of spiraling out of control that is easy to miss while you are watching the first twelve episodes, because you are so focused on Hannah, but the season finale brings to light how everyone else is reacting and coping to the tragedy. It was provoking and brilliant.

If you choose to watch Thirteen Reasons Why, I hope the story stays with you for a long time and I hope it changes the way you see the people around you and the way to treat others. Let this story change you!

 

Related Articles:

  1. http://www.teenvogue.com/gallery/rape-culture-in-tv-movies
  2. http://www.tvguide.com/news/13-reasons-why-ending-spoilers/
  3. http://www.tvguide.com/news/13-reasons-why-netflix-differences-book/
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Bombarded

It’s never fails that right after I post that my life is all peaches and cream, something bad happens…

Background: This past weekend, after a very long Saturday, my best friend asked if I wanted to go out – low key, one drink max. I agreed, but even after I got home my day just kept getting worse, so I texted her back that I “kinda want to get drunk.” Note: It only takes about two drinks in an hour to get me drunk. I left Winnie out in the living room under the impression we were only going to be gone for about an hour, plus I was tired and wasn’t up to being out all night. Well she thought me kinda wanting to get drunk meant I was ready to go out on the town. We parked and as we were walking to the bar, she asks if it would be okay if we met up with some of her friends. As much as I didn’t really want to, it was a little too late to say no and to make matters worse I had left my phone in her car. I agreed to spend some time with her friends, but after about half an hour I realized that she was not planning to take me home any time soon. She got really drunk and so did her friends, so I had to get her to open her phone, so I get in touch with Jeremiah to come pick me up. When I opened her texts and pulled up his name, I saw some texts about them meeting up to discuss him proposing to me. I should have read them, but I am human and I apologized for seeing them, but I did not maliciously go looking for the information. Around midnight (three hours later), Jeremiah came to pick me up and I was really upset and exhausted.

The next day I texted her asking how she was and all seemed fine. We met up on Monday to have lunch and had a great time and then yesterday she texted asking if we were grabbing lunch. I told her I was taking Payton for a birthday lunch, but I could meet her after. Well, she joined us about an hour into the lunch which was fine and I actually thought it went great! We shared a few snips at each other, but I thought it was normal friend stuff. I texted her once we all went our separate ways asking if everything was okay and apologizing again for not communicating well about my expectations of Saturday night.

Present Day: She responded to my text with a novel about how upset she was with me. I expressed my thoughts and feelings regarding what she had said as best I could, but she just kept unloading on me. A lot of it was untrue or blown out of proportion. I was trying to stay calm, but for me this was deja vu. I didn’t want to impulsively text back something that would hurt her, so I was reading through it slowly and writing out my response to make sure I would be understood, but I never got the chance. She just kept sending text after text and by the end I was crying. Before I got a chance to apologize or say anything else, she said she wanted space and didn’t want to talk to me.

I was distraught about the whole thing. I had no idea she was so mad at me and she didn’t clarify what the root was, but I was glad she had finally told me so that I could work on it and do better. What hurt the most was that she never gave me a chance to respond. I don’t think any good can come from her unloading on me, but not giving me a chance to acknowledge any of it. When I got through my work shift and my night class, I got home and sat in my closet. I haven’t spent any time in my closet in months, but this was warranted. I had no idea what I had done wrong and she just kept going over and over what she had said and trying to figure out what was going on. Jeremiah came by later to talk with me and get me to calm down. I decided that I would go to her house to show her that I cared and really wanted to fight for our friendship. Well that was a huge mistake. She refused to talk to me and then was very rude regarding my choice of trying to resolve what was going on.

Then today during my first class she decided to unload on me some more. Text after text after text. I got a few words in to explain my actions, but she just twisted them into something negative. I wanted to start crying again, but then I realized I was more angry than anything. Yesterday I was hurt, but I understood that she needed to get all of these feelings out, but today she was just attacking me and bringing stuff up that had nothing to do with me. I am also angry that she is just unloading all of this on me, but not letting me say anything to apologize, acknowledge, or defend myself. I do not appreciate being portrayed as some dramatic monster bitch.  In the past few months I have literally had no drama. I can count all of my friends on one hand and everything was going great until lunch yesterday. She created this drama, but wants to blame me for it and I won’t take it anymore. I have vowed not to spiral into a depressive episode about this, so she can have her space, but I won’t be dragged down by any of this.

Conclusion: I have decided that she can have her space. Please take from this that you cannot just unload all of your feelings on a person and not let them say anything; that will not resolve anything. You have to let that person try to fix the things you brought up. So yesterday when I said everything was swell with me, because I had my boyfriend and best gal friend… ignore that. All is wonderful with me and Jeremiah, but apparently not with the best gal friend. The cool thing about all of this is how quickly I have bounced back. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

Finding My Fire

In the throes of trying to make everyone in my life happy, I not only failed, but I also lost the very essence of what made me me. I used to be a quirky, loud, upbeat, and outspoken person. I said whatever was on my mind whether it was through words or facial expressions. I drove with my windows down and music up while singing at the top of my lungs. I wasn’t ashamed to speak my mind or do things my own way. I would always be lost in a book no matter where I was. I was different, but I was proud.

Then people decided to criticize who I was, alter my personality, and shame me. It ranged from serious to simple, but all of it affected me the same. I could see their judgement on their faces and hear it in their voices. So little by little I would just agree with what they said or apologize for doing stuff my way and eventually there was none of me left. Because of this I became confused; I didn’t know what to do or say. I became self-conscious; I tried to pinpoint everything about me someone did or could have a problem with. I became sad; I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just be accepted as is.

Through months of depression, of hours spent in my closet, of crying myself to sleep, I thought I was lost for good, but God provided me with one person who has the most understanding and patient spirit and who did accept me as is. Little by little, I started feeling more and more comfortable around him and letting him see little glimpses of who I really am and what I really think. He would encourage me to outwardly be that version of myself, because there was nothing wrong with it. Although I still have fear that I will end up doing something that makes him run, but so far he has only been a blessing!

I am no longer going to let anyone or anything alter who I am. I am an outspoken, honest, and blunt person; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I am a loud, tone-deaf, colorful person; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I am a bookworm, binge-watcher, and country music lover; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I will not apologize for or change myself. If you have a problem with who I am or if what I do bothers you, then keep on moving, because this is me and that is how it is going to be.

Little Attacks

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I deal with depression. It is not a one and done thing. It cannot be cured.

For almost a whole year it was really bad. A few weeks I would cry myself to sleep every night and then there were a few weeks that would be [almost] good where I would smile or give a laugh. I went to counseling for two months, but didn’t feel that changed much. There were a few times I thought it had reached its peak only to figure out another bad day was just around the corner. During those really bad weeks, I spent a lot of time in my closet. I found comfort there. But it was false comfort; it only lasted for a moment and then it was gone.

Through lots of looking inward, I realized that my depression stemmed from fear of not being good enough and not being accepted. During this time, I developed anxiety and so many new insecurities. There were days I didn’t even want to leave my room from fear of failure and the anxiety of people watching and judging me.

I knew I came off as weird, a little stand-offish, judgmental, and smart, but I just wished that someone could see me as I was: struggling, hurting, spiraling. Not many people wanted to be around me once I started taking a turn for the worst. It was understandable, but it didn’t hurt any less. I felt so alone. I had shoved my religion to the wind and literally felt I had nowhere to turn.

October was when things started to look up. Someone reached out. I found a Bible study, a church, friends, a support system. It was exactly what I needed. Eventually, I stopped having such depressing thoughts. November and December were some of the best months I can remember. I was genuinely happy and excited. I hadn’t felt that in so long and it was long awaited! It wasn’t perfect, but the good days were really good!

The truth, though, is that it doesn’t take much to crack the shell you have been so delicately gluing back together. I thought the next year was going to be the best, but then came my first breakup which rocked me to the core and brought back so much of the insecurities that I thought I had shaken. But this time when I had my meltdowns, I had people there for me. People wanting to build me up and keep me company. This time I didn’t feel so alone.

Well now I am dating one of those people and he makes me so incredibly happy (most of the time). I am so grateful for his patience and silliness, but sometimes those little unwanted thoughts seep back into my ears and I freak out over little things. It happened last night. We had spent basically the better half of the day together: napping, lunch, errands, The Secret Life of Pets; but after the movie he wanted to go home. This was totally normal, of course he is going to go home, but after I dropped him off and got back on the road, I started tearing up and by the time I got to my room, I was sobbing. I had these thoughts that he was getting tired of me and that I exhausted him and that he wanted a break. I told myself that everyone feels this way eventually and it was a miracle he had lasted five months. I sat in my closet and cried. I ignored the text from him and later sent him this overly melodramatic text expressing how much I got it and he responded informing me about how much I didn’t get it.

For some amazing reason, he never gives up on me and I never scare him off. It is incredible how much he understands my insecurities and accepts me for them. Needless to say, the rest of the night went fine and all those thoughts have gone away. But those little attacks can be so scary and so frightening for a person “recovering”, more like fending off, depression.

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
-Ephesians 2:22

The Flip of a Switch

Depression is a sly thing. It can creep up on you when you least expect it and cause your emotions to go haywire at the flip of a switch.

Just two days ago, I wrote to all of you and said how great I was doing. I wrote about how excited I was to return to this blog and start writing again. I hadn’t had any depressive episodes in about a month. I had been doing so well. It’s funny how it only takes one moment to destroy everything you had worked so hard to become.

If it isn’t obvious, this post is to tell you to please disregard that last post, because I have fallen. Yesterday I had a major breakdown and it hasn’t really stopped since all of it went down. Granted, it was a deserved breakdown, but a closet-bound evening of tears no less.

I never got a chance to tell y’all about my first official relationship. It lasted all of three weeks and as of yesterday it is over (sort of). That’s the thing: it was going so well. Carrot was wonderful, cheesy, sweet, weird, nerdy, tall, Christian. We got along so well and had lots of fun together. Then Saturday night he decides to tell me that he isn’t sure if he wants a relationship with me. It isn’t that he doesn’t want me, it’s that he’s not sure if he does…. um WTF! Isn’t the opposite of one, the other? Of course it cannot be that easy and here I am (again!) left not being good enough to be chosen, fought for, or sacrificed for.

Every time I would go to leave, he would say that he didn’t want me to go, that he didn’t want me out of his life. I assured him I wouldn’t just disappear, but you can’t have it both ways. He wants to just be friends while he figures it all out. That’s great, except I can’t just flip the freaking switch and go back to just seeing him as a friend. No freaking way! But I am me, so I agreed to give it a shot. I don’t hate him, although I probably should, but I feel like he is trying to do the right thing in his own way.

We agreed to meet at the library today to study as friends between our classes. He said he would call me and tell me where. I got to the library and waited 15 minutes. No call. No text. No him. Deep down I knew he wouldn’t show. I called him. No answer. I called him again once I left the library. He answered, said he slept in and was getting ready. I knew this would happen. I knew he wouldn’t make trying to be friends with me a priority. So here I am, back to where I always am.

On Saturday, after he told me all of that, we agreed to still go to his friend’s game night. We had a great time and he started acting normal again, so I thought all was well and we were going to make all this work. I showed up the next morning to take him to church. We sat together, we joked in the car, all was well. Then as we are pulling up to his house, he says it again: he isn’t sure if I am what he wants. So we have this conversation again. This time we conclude that we are going to scale back on how often we see each other and all that jazz; all is well. We go inside, make lunch, watch tv… and then a couple hours later we are having the conversation again.

This time it was harder. I cried. I didn’t want to, but sometimes I can’t handle being told I am not good enough over and over again. At least this time I was worth a conversation (or three), because last time I wasn’t even worth a goodbye. It is just hard to hear that he cares about me and that I am wonderful, but still he isn’t sure. We migrated outside. Still can’t let go, but still not sure. He hugs me. It’s warm and tight. But he still isn’t sure. I finally get to my car and as he walks back inside, I absolutely freaking lose it.

I lose it, because I want to be good enough so bad. I lose it, because I know we would have been great. I lose it, because he is pushing me away, because I am something good he doesn’t think he deserves. I lose it, because I knew this was bound to come. I lose it over and over again for the next hour just sitting outside his house. Then I finally leave, make it home, and lose it again curled up in my closet. The tears just wouldn’t stop.

I know what y’all are going to say. That I deserve better. That I should let him go. That I should hate him. That I should walk away and never look back. That I am worth it. But right now I just want him to make a choice. I want him to choose me.

❤ Lauren