Okay, so I finished watching “Thirteen Reasons Why” last night. Probably not the best idea, especially since yesterday was already emotionally heavy, given everything that was going on with our fifteen-year-old cat, Klaus, who we had to put down for eternal sleep yesterday.
I will admit over the past couple of weeks, I most definitely spoke up too soon in trying to “defend” or even argue certain points (albeit I was very clear about aforemetioned chiming in, whilst still being only halfway through the series), because my heart most certainly imploded during the last 30 minutes of the final episode.
Honestly, I thought the first 12 1/2 episodes were a fair depiction and (most likely) accurately captured what it’s like to be a teenager in the 2010’s. It can’t be emphasised enough, how powerful mass text messaging, private + public forums and chatrooms, basically any and all social media platforms can be. They can be very damaging towards people’s esteems and reputations, and they can really “destroy” a person’s image in a matter of minutes.
That’s high school and gossip though, however, what we experienced doesn’t hold a candle to what kids have to endure now. What’s even more frightening, now that I/you/we are on the parental end of things, is seeing how spiteful kids can be, as early as elementary school.
Kids are much more rude, entitled, you name it — I can personally attest to this, because I’ve got one myself. While I/we have done everything in our power to raise a child with a good moral compass, who will practice compassion and provide empathy to others, to stand up for themselves and for others when they’re being treated unfairly… all we can hope, is that we’ve taught them well and that they abide by these same things while they’re in the world without us physically by their side.
Anyway, back to my original message, the final 30 minutes of “Thirteen Reasons Why” and what I took away from it. I’m in NO WAY trying to justify, defend, rationalize…whatever… suicide. At the end of the day, no matter your circumstance, no matter what religion or ideology you believe or follow… YOU are your own “God” (your conscious is, anyway) and you have nobody to answer to but yourself, when you lay your head down at night. Applying this same thought process to suicide: it is a 100% personal decision that only an individual can make for themself. Suicide is the most permanent decision one can ever make, and it’s a pretty fucking selfish one at that.
There will ALWAYS be tens, more like hundreds, of days where it will feel like:
– It is YOU against the world
– No one else can possibly understand how YOU feel
– No one else can possibly understand what YOU think
– No one else has time or energy to actually LISTEN to you
– That there is no point or purpose for your existence
– You want to cry out but feel there’s no hope or no point
– You’re merely existing and not living
You have these days, I have them, your next door neighbor has them, strangers you’ll never meet have them… it’s a part of life, and that’s all there is to it. Some days will hurt WAY more than others… it’s also a part of life, and that’s all there is to that as well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to TALK TO SOMEBODY and realize YOU ARE NOT ALONE and IT IS OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. Do not wait, don’t say to yourself “next time” — asking for help, or feeling weak does NOT make you any less of a person, if anything else it makes you more of a person, and a strong one at that.
There are so many more intricacies that I could go off on, but I won’t.
I feel like following the “story of Hannah Baker” and her “thirteen reasons why” was a very intimate, fresh take on what it’s like to be a teenager — more matter of fact, a teenage girl — in the 2010’s. (Yes, I am aware the book was written in ’07.)
I felt myself becoming as consumed and intrigued by Hannah as much as Clay was, and I felt myself silently cheering for him as he took it upon himself to be some sort of vigilante in Hannah’s honor. My heart broke several times throughout the series, I cried quite a bit… look, it was an intense take on adolescence. One that stuck with you well after you powered off your television for the night.
Then I found myself at the last 30 minutes of the final episode. We all knew what was going to become of Hannah… but then we started seeing more previews into the lives of Justin Foley, Jessica Davis, Tyler Down, Bryce Walker… oh yeah, and we caught wind about Alex Standall.
My point is — they should’ve just left it at Hannah’s story, in my opinion. I felt like that was a powerful enough message to send, that cries for help really can “look like nothing”… and I do NOT feel it was necessary to start showing open-ended story lines as they were beginning to unfold.
It’s not the suicide portion I necessarily take an issue with — it’s the idea of shining a spotlight on self-harm and vengeance that makes my heart shatter.
Example : We got to see the impact and toll that was being taken on Tyler’s character… now we’re left to wonder what he’s going to do with those guns, and what’s the true significance of those black and white photos he was stringing along in the dark room. Is that going to be his “artistic” take on retribution? Hannah takes herself out, and leaves behind a collection of reasonings in the form of a “lost art” that is cassette tapes… So, are we to think that Tyler is going to hang these beautifully taken portraits, as a way to highlight his perpetrators and soon-to-be victims? Hannah left behind a string of stories about her “reasons” which turned some of those people even further against Tyler, which I imagine was already a tad emotionally unstable, and now as a result of his “role” in Hannah’s death makes him the next bomb about to blow. Main point of reference being Clay, who sought revenge on those who wronged Hannah, but in reality made him no better than some of the others — because now he, too, is tormenting others…
We got to bear witness to what can take place in the aftermath of a high school student’s suicide, but I really don’t find it tasteful to leave things up to the imagination of the viewer, what’s to become of some of these characters. Especially, if the viewers are also impressionable, vulnerable adolescents who are trying to figure out who they are and what is the meaning of existence in a world we all know offers many beautiful opportunities and is bountiful in deeply caring souls, but also has many grotesque facets hidden in plain sight and an infinite amount of wolves in sheep’s clothing.