17th October, 3:33pm
I saw on Lana Parrilla’s Twitter account that this week is the Anti Bullying Week so in honor of that, I am going to share one of the books I love – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s a YA novel, but I think it’s one book everyone must read. It’s actually sad that some libraries ban this book, simply because it’s the perfect depiction of how our words and actions affect other people.
Here in the Philippines, the suicide rate between pre-teens, teens and young adults are less compared to the growing (alarming) rate in the US. However, bullying here is as common as it is in every country, which is very sad.
Some say that a person’s actions and words only matter when the person saying or doing it matters. So why do bullies (almost) always win? Why are teens being led to thinking that taking their own life will solve everything? Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why perfectly sums it up for us:
For some people, bullying starts right at home. You know how, sometimes, we’re too careless to call our sibling, nephew or niece a loser, fat or ugly? I’m not saying that you should sugarcoat everything you say to a child, but everyone must be careful with the things they say to them, especially if you’re the parent. Calling them autistic or weirdo or crazy wouldn’t help them, especially when they’re really just a quiet, introverted kid.
Growing up, and while I was in school, I was never bullied because I was one of the popular crowds. No one can touch me because I was a dancer (and our choreographer will get them if they try to cross us), but that doesn’t mean I never cross paths with a bully. When I was a senior in high school, one girl confronted me in the middle of the school quadrangle while I was on my way to our dance rehearsal. She stopped me in front of everyone and said, “Do you have a problem with me? What the fuck is up with your eyebrows (because my right eyebrow is up, like, all the time)?!” I was stunned and alone. I was never friends with this girl and we weren’t particularly enemies, but we were never classmates so it freaked the hell out of me when she did that. When I didn’t answer, she told me to lower my eyebrow and never look at her ever again, then walks away laughing like a mad girl.
This is true, you know. We don’t have the slightest idea how our words and actions affect other people until it’s too late sometimes. (Some of the) victims of bullying think that everyone is against them, especially when the rest of the world is not doing anything to stop the bullies.
Sometimes forcing them to speak up makes them pull away even more, but making them feel like they’re alone is even worse. Don’t be like that. If you know someone who is being bullied or being a bully, keep an eye on them.
I hope that everyone – young and adult – get to read Thirteen Reasons Why. Physical scars heal in time but the emotional ones, those scars that cannot be seen by the naked eye? It stays with you forever. So, if you know someone who is being bullied for whatever reason, don’t turn a blind eye on them. Talk to them. Let them know you’re there. If you are being bullied yourself, don’t think about committing suicide. You may think it’s an answer to all your problems, but it’s not. You may not feel like it but always remember that there’s someone out there who will always care for you. You just need to find the strength to speak up and let it all out. And if you are the bully, think again. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself this: Can you take it if someone kill themselves because of something you said or did? Something you thought was just a harmless prank? This isn’t Pretty Little Liars or Mean Girls, I’m sure you can do better than that.
I’m excited to see Thirteen Reasons Why to be turned into a movie. Although I prefer Demi Lovato to portray the role of Hannah Baker, I hope Selena Gomez and Logan Lerman would give justice to the role. Here’s a preview of Thirteen Reasons Why. Listen. Just listen.