The Netflix phenomenon, better known as “13 Reasons Why” has taken the practice of binge watching to the next level. The brilliant concept unforgivingly shows how a lack of love can irrevocably destroy a person’s world.
Surrounding Hannah Baker’s suicide are cases of high school drama that the majority of us have experienced to some degree. Unfortunately for Hannah, she had piles and piles of trash repeatedly dumped on her heart, all because people forgot how to love, or just didn’t care to.
- Spite bites back
Remember in high school (or maybe you’re currently in it) when someone would spread a rumor or purposefully make you look less than in front of a bunch of people? It created a fire inside you. It made you want to humiliate that person in the worst ways possible. How could they destroy your reputation? How could they say that about you when you’ve never even hurt them? But now you will. Spite doesn’t just make you just as bad as the person who hurt you in the first place, but it also bites – deep. You may think you’re simply protecting yourself, but instead you’re causing a bitter taste that can stay within your stomach for years. Learn to love yourself no matter what the haters say.
- High school passes
Now, as a 23-year-old, looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have cared so much in high school. Everyone wants to be cool, popular. Every compliment or degrading comment stays with you during that time period like inkless tattoos. Although high school passes, it’s vital that while we’re there we learn to love, especially ourselves.
- Suicide is real
“13 Reasons Why” is receiving a bad stigma based on the thought that it glorifies suicide. Yes, the last episode of Season 1 does show the graphic departure of Hannah Baker, and it’s not for the weak stomach. The scene where Hannah takes her own life, is meant to show the ugly truth of suicide. To quote Selena Gomez in Entertainment Weekly, “This is happening every day. Whether or not you wanted to see it, that’s what’s happening,” she said in a radio interview on Elvis Duran show. Society tends to undermine suicide and treat it in ways that are ineffective, for example the posters in the school on the show. Sure, the actress probably cut open fake bags of blood for the cameras, but there are people out there, people that are your friends who have either seriously considered this route or have already taken it. Let’s be the generation who fights for life, who makes every single person realize that they have a purpose and NO ONE is worth wasting it.
4. To all the Clay Jensen’s – Quit holding back
If you’re a fan of the show, then it’s clear how many times, how many freaking times, Clay just doesn’t do anything. Instead, he takes all of that out on everyone else on the tapes. If you’re holding back from standing up for someone because of your reputation or because your scared or for any reason, take a leap of faith. Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means risking your shallow outside persona. So many times Clay could have ran after Hannah and talked with her about what was going on in her life. He was too worried about his crush on her to move. So, I’m saying to you now, MOVE.
- Your sexual status doesn’t matter
Everyone in high school seems to focus on sex status. How many bases have you ran? How far have you gone? Did you go all the way? And sometimes these questions don’t even get asked. Sometimes rumors get broadcast all over school. And for some reason, everyone cares when they do. It’s like an endless game of torture telephone that no one wins at. Instead of tearing each other down based on physical actions, let’s build each other up and know that whatever someone has done is between them and the person they trusted enough to do it with. Let’s stop placing labels based on accusations. They really do hurt.
- Love changes you
When you spread love, even if it’s forced at first, it becomes habit and begins to change you from the inside out. Once you turn this awkward process into routine, what once were simple compliments or musings, turn into genuine feelings of love towards people, towards new friends, or maybe even old ones. It can be difficult to change your thinking. It’s hard to change the pattern of judgement that we’re taught to inflict in school. But, once you tackle that monster, love is like breathing, second nature.
- Hey Hannah Baker’s and Jessica Davis’, you have worth
For those of you who have seen the show, I’m referring to Bryce’s and Justin’s second tape. I can’t speak from experience, but you are a gem, a diamond in the rough. It’s like breaking a bone, once it heals, it’s that much stronger. I’m not saying that rape is equivalent to breaking a bone by any means, but you can, you will get through this. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. If not your parents at first, than tell a trusted friend, someone who won’t judge you, someone who will comfort you. Above all, tell God. In the words of Taylor Swift’s “Innocent”:
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not what you’ve been
You’re still an innocent
A plethora of resources exist on the interweb, but here is one to start: https://centers.rainn.org/
- Screw comfort zones
You know how in high school and even middle school, everyone has their clique? Even though I love Drake’s song that spotlights this exact occurrence, they freaking suck. Some people branch out, but others stay in their comfortable space with people they know. What if instead of living mediocre, comfortable lives, we stepped out of our little world and actually made a difference. No matter what age you are this is for you! We can do this. We can go out of our way to make someone’s day. We can spread love by simply extending a helping hand or acknowledging somebody’s existence. Even if we get rejected, at least we’re trying. That’s what Hannah needed, and I bet someone that you’ve come in contact with does too.
- We all make mistakes, kick your own ass and own up!
When Bryce took Justin’s phone and sent out that picture of Hannah on the playground slide to the entire school, Justin just let it happen. He didn’t own up and say that nothing but a kiss happened between the two of them because it made him look cool, but at the expense of Hannah. We have to begin stopping rumors before they spread. When Justin showed all of his friends the picture, that was his first mistake. He knew it could potentially hurt Hannah’s reputation, but he cared more about himself. It’s pertinent that we start putting everyone else above us, especially those who are prone to get hurt.
- Find a Tony
Although we only get a glimpse of Tony and Hannah’s relationship, it’s pretty clear he’s a standup guy. He’s a protector, a promise-keeper. You can trust him. Everyone needs a Tony in their lives. It could be a family member, close friend, accountability partner, someone you completely trust with your entire heart and life. Especially if you’re feeling like you’re spiraling like Hannah, then hold onto someone who loves you, who’s got your back. Tony’s can be hard to come by, but usually they’re right under your nose, they’re there when you need them.
- Give your parents a break
Parents can be invasive. They can drive you crazy and make you feel like you have zero privacy. Like you’re a left over dish covered in saran wrap, rather than foil. But, they love you. They wish they could be your Tony. Parents, at least most of them, just want to make sure you’re okay. They love you. I’m sure I’ll understand one day when I have kids of my own, but for now I do know that I love my dog, that I’d do anything to keep him safe. I’m sure with a human, that feeling will be even stronger, and I’ll want my kids to give me a break, cut me some slack, and talk to me. You don’t have to share everything, but share enough. They need you just as badly as you need them.
- Everyday counts, remember Jeff
Every decision you make, every word that leaves your lips, every action you do or don’t take makes a difference. It can change someone’s life, in this case Jeff’s. He lost his life due to the decisions made by Sheri, which were caused by the sequence of events that occurred that night. Chain reactions. Control what you can. Push for others to do what’s right. It just might save a life.
- Our creator designed us for love.. Retweet that.
Whether cyber or old school, face-to-face bullying, you were not designed for hate. You were outfitted with love. Each and every one of you is made to do great things in this world. We’re all made by design to love. To love our friends, our family, our enemies, those who betray us – who hurt us. We are made to love each and every human being, no matter the circumstances. It’s time to step up and learn to spread the love. It’s part of our innate being. So, stand up for people, get over YOUR wants, and focus on the needs of others. Let’s come together and not give another person even ONE reason to turn on themselves. Instead, let’s give them a million and ONE reasons to rely on God.