Speaking Up: 13 Reasons Why

I have been contemplating writing this for a few days.  My opinions on this miniseries/book run deep and true.  I think people are losing sight of what the actual series was/is about and what the book was/is about.  I also think that there is so much miscommunication with the interpretation of the book/miniseries.

Now mind  you there are many different variances between the book and the miniseries.  The “wow” factor as some would call it was put into the miniseries that just wasn’t there in the book.  I won’t go into details about the differences.  That is not what I want to focus on. can go read/watch to see the differences.

Now- if you haven’t read the book or seen the miniseries this will have spoilers.  So just stop right here if you actually don’t want to know what happens in them.  Because I will be going into details about that.  It is important because there is a sort of transitioning that is related.

I want to apologize in advance, I will be all over the place.  I can be a passionate writer but I am a writer that needs to write things as I think them…so if it gets a little confusing…that is why.  This is partially because of my ADHD…trust me you should have seen my papers in school.

Let’s start with this.  This is something I don’t share and I don’t think there are many people out there who know this about me.  So I am sharing this because 13 Reasons Why brought up so much in me.  I was “Hannah” in high school.  I went through much of what she did and I will tell you this….eventually it eats away at the soul.  And coming back from it is not an easy task.

Triggers…this show has many triggers.  Life has many triggers.  Talking to teens about suicide, sex, driving, college, and almost everything else is a trigger.  Learning to manage those triggers…that is what you need to be concentrating on.

Kids in high school are mean, heck even junior high. When you start out not being popular or “well off” or classified as a nerd (which wasn’t popular to be back in the day) things are much harder for you.  But then add in bonus CRAP and things go downhill quickly.

Rumors hurt….ALOT.  Once a rumor gets started, that is it.  Have you ever had a rumor started about you?  I mean a knife wrenching rumor that makes you want to never return?  I have! When I was in high school I was labeled as a slut, easy, and so many other things.  Guess what?!?! I was a virgin.  Granted, yes I did do some things…but never once did I have intercourse.  And there started the first problem.  Because I wouldn’t have sex (AND BELIEVE ME THEY ALREADY KNEW THIS) I pissed a few guys off.  So in return…they started calling me a whore, a slut, and that I was super easy.  I had to hear this almost every day.  It didn’t go away..it just manifested into so much more.  I didn’t date boys at my school because of this.  However, on the rare occasion I did date a boy from my high school…it quickly ended because they heard the rumor (the 2 times I dated someone from my high school they were both new students).

Now…with the rumors in true bloom came the next part of this devastating mess.  People don’t just pass on rumors.  People add to the rumors.  The rumors because something of their own.  You get bullied from the rumors and they hurt…even more.  There is no escape.  You try and talk to the guidance counselors and the teachers.  But, it is their word against yours.  Unless the guidance counselor or teachers hear the rumors themselves….it is just that….and you are kind of screwed.  So now what? Move to another school? Really, if it was that easy we would just hope from school to school.

Now that the rumors are in full swing and you are devastated to walk through the door of your school….you do it. You swallow everything and do it.  Why? You have to.  It hurts and some people can’t deal with it.  Now….a boy starts acting nice to you.  You seem like you are having a change …a chance…to actually be you.  Your stupid.  Why? Because this boy knows the rumors, believes the rumors, and wants to test out the rumors.  He isn’t stupid…he knows you have your guard up.  Who cares?  You do.  You want to feel love and you want people to like you.  You put yourself in a bad situation…next thing you know things take a huge turn for the worse.  This boy whom you invited over to study with is now climbing on top of you and no matter how much you say no, he continues.  He is bigger.  You finally give up.  Now, who are you going to tell? Do you even think anyone cares?

Go to school, rumors are flying even more.  You know the truth.  I mean of course no one believes you.  I mean why would they?  I mean I guess you could have went to the police, the hospital, your parents….but really is that how a teenager thinks?

So let’s see.  So far how has my story been like Hannah’s,  We both had nasty rumors flying around.  Granted they didn’t start the same way, but rarely do rumors start the same way.  We were both put in positions to have sex when we clearly did not want to.  We both attempted to tell people about things but …he said she said…We both because really depressed from the actions or others as well as our own actions.  Life around us wasn’t great.  I was a poor child with a mom who had been to prison.  Hannah was pretty well off and then they weren’t.

I will say that in the book her parent’s weren’t even a thought.  I think by them adding the parents in the miniseries it added more depth.  She wanted them to use college fund to help them out.  They refused.  Unrealistically there is a point where people tend to think…well if I am not alive then they can use that fund and get themselves out of debt.  True story, it happens!

Now…I wrote what I wrote because first and foremost….many people can’t deal with things like that happening to them.  They feel so hope. When you are in a situation where there is absolutely no end in sight….you want to sink away.  Yes suicide is a permanent fix to a temporary problem.  But when that problem is lasting 2-4 years…that feels like a lifetime.

Now back to Hannah.  She endured so many other things, and I agree with some posters…she brought some of her angst and turmoil on herself.  A friend hit a stop sign and knocked it down and then someone died because of a car accident.  Well, she called 911 and tried to let them know about the sign….however they thought she was calling about the accident that happened.  Regardless of if she actually did it or not, I think she is still responsible to say something.  That was on her.

Again Hannah….getting mad and hurt over a boy’s choice…while in high school that seems like the end of the road….IT IS NOT!  There are so many boys out there….don’t freak about one.  I promise if that is happening there is another for you and he is NOT the one.  Don’t hate on your friends either…I mean especially if they date someone you like….when they have NO IDEA you liked them.  Again Hannah, cmon.

MY BIGGEST ISSUE WITH HANNAH….if your friend gets raped and YOU KNOW…you are just as bad as the person who raped her for not telling.  I mean, maybe not literally…but seriously…it might suck and be hard to say but tell at least the person it happened to.

Ok so the last part of that posting was about what happened…so when your world is upside down and bad things keep happening…sometimes just wishing for it to all go away is common.

People think the miniseries was just about…well if you or you or you had just maybe possibly done this or that then she wouldn’t have done what she did.  No!  If that is what you take away from this miniseries you clearly have never been bullied, raped, hurt by anyone, had a rumor told about you that made you feel ashamed or like you want to die, or had thoughts of suicide.

This was about a girl…who over time…gave up.  Did she have mental health issues? I don’t think so.  Not by what most people are thinking,  Bad things happened and kept happening.  When things just keep happening they build up.  She didn’t take the time to actually try to talk to people while it was happening.  She let it build up and build up.  Talking from experience…NOT A GOOD IDEA!

NEVER EVER LET IT BUILD UP!  It is not good for anyone…including yourself.  How many times have you thought about ending your life? Once? Twice? A Dozen?  I can tell you I have thought about it more than a dozen times in my life.  I have tried AND FAILED on two occasions.  I was weak.  I was scared.  I felt I had no where to go. I felt it was never going to end.

People in general need help.  Help from friends and family or from medical personnel or help from a total stranger.  People have a hard time asking for help.  I mean, seriously have you ever been in a situation where people didn’t believe you?  It makes it worse.  Depression is a serious thing and with help managed but do you know? Do you know if you have it?

So have I confused you yet?  I am sorry if I have.  Where do I stand on this miniseries?  I firmly believe that whether in book form or miniseries form…all kids should watch/read this.  Why?  Because, you have no clue how YOURS/THEIR death is going to impact them.  Kids are frigging cruel.  All those nasty things they say about others builds up. Add other things to the mix and it becomes a ticking time bomb.

Say what you will about not letting your kids watch/read this.  But this topic is no different than any of the other difficult topics out there.  I mean just because you talk to you child about sex and how to protect themselves doesn’t mean they are going to go have sex right?  Talking to your kids about suicide doesn’t mean they are going to commit it.  Most of the time, you never know.  It is preemptive.  I think YOU NEED TO BE PREEMPTIVE.  Don’t wait til they give you a reason to talk to them…it is already to late.

THAT is what 13 Reasons Why is about.  It is about communication.  Help.  It is about knowing what you say and do can hurt others.  It is about saying things that are not true or that you aren’t sure are true can be devastating.  It is about telling the truth when bad things happen.  It is about asking for help from those around you.  It is about never giving up.

If you won’t show your children 13 Reasons Why, then find another way to talk to them.  Just because they may not be the one thinking of suicide, they may know a friend or they may be one of the reasons someone else has given up hope.  Remember it takes a village to raise a child but it only takes one person to burn the village to the ground.

Ok I am not sure if I got my thoughts out.  I am not even sure if you can even follow them.  But in simple terms…don’t focus so much on the whole “if someone would have …..” it isn’t about that.  One of them could have made a difference or maybe wouldn’t have.  But every one of those people caused her pain in some form or fashion.  People leave notes when the attempt suicide…she just went a little further.


About mylifemykidsourstruggles

Mom to 3 wonderful children with 3 completely different personalities.
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