21st April, 2017. 3:52pm
HEADS UP: If you haven’t seen and is planning to watch Thirteen Reasons Why or read the book, please proceed with caution. It contains spoilers.
I first read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why back in 2013, about 6 years after its publication. I loved the book; it totally changed my perspective on things. However, it wasn’t one of those novels that made me want to reread it like I did my other favorites such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games series; it was just too heavy. So, when I heard that Netflix are turning 13 Reasons Why into a TV series I got excited. I waited anxiously for it. I didn’t reread the book prior to watching the series. I already know there’d be changes, and I don’t want to get disappointed just because they took out some details and replaced it with another.
That was 4 years ago when I read the novel so I’d be lying if I say I still remember all the details from the book but the lesson it taught me never left my brain. I watched all 13 episodes with my cousins, but I thought I should watch it all again by myself to understand the series better. I’m glad I did, because it brought a whole new meaning to the story. So today, in this post, I wanted to share the 13 lessons I learned from Thirteen Reasons Why:
- Don’t be a dick, or if you are, make sure to be mature enough to be held accountable for being a douchebag
- Don’t ignore a cry for help
- Words hurt just as badly as pushing someone off the wall, sometimes even more
- Learn how to read between the lines, before it’s too late
- Just because you see someone every day doesn’t mean that you actually see the real them
- Some people are fucking delusional and would believe in their lies to save face
- Not doing anything about something hurts just as badly as being the culprit
- Just because someone is “popular” doesn’t mean their life is so much better and easier than yours
- “When you did something wrong, you can’t just ignore it.” — Hannah Baker
- There are always two sides to every story: the truth, and YOUR truth. You decide which side you choose to believe in and what you’re going to do (or not do) about it
- “There’s some truth you don’t wanna face” but one way or another, you gotta
- We don’t know what’s going on in someone’s head until we do, and sometimes, it’s too late
- It’s never too late to do something, even if it is already too late for someone else
Since the episodes aired, many websites and mental health organizations said that the series went too far in showing Hannah’s suicide. They raised concerns about it because, as they say, the scene might start a trend. Even some viewers think that the show’s depiction of suicide is too much. They say it’s too heavy. Or that they should’ve shown Hannah’s mental state before earning the right to show how she killed herself. To be honest I don’t see anything wrong with it. Don’t get me wrong, they do make a point, but I still think showing Hannah’s suicide is important. This is something that happens all the time, and it is important to show all sides of the story, or why a suicidal person decides to take his or her own life. Showing Hannah’s suicide is important not just to someone who might be under the impression of taking their own life is the only option, but especially to the bullies. Also, I don’t think that the show failed to show Hannah’s mental state. You can totally see it from the beginning, like when she asked Clay if she can be pretty like Jessica and Clay told her she was special. Hannah took it the wrong way, which means that she thinks being called special is something that one only associates with “special kids.” To me, that alone says how poorly Hannah thinks of herself, and when someone like her has a low self-esteem, branding her with names can mess with her brain even more. The butterfly effect, as the show said.
I agree, this show might be dangerous for someone who is suffering through depression or having suicidal thoughts, teens or not, but that’s also the beauty of it. It shows you that killing yourself is not peaceful, and often, you felt more alone than ever. If any, this show encourages people to speak up, which is why I encourage parents to watch this with their kids. I once read a comment on Facebook about a Mom saying how, while watching this show is extremely painful and uncomfortable, it also allowed her to talk to her teenage daughters about the topic; what they are going through, their thoughts about the show, and possible solutions in case they go through what Hannah went through. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jay Asher and the team explained why they showed Hannah’s suicide. Brian Yorkey, the show’s screenwriter and creator said, “We worked very hard not to be gratuitous, but we did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide,” which, in my opinion the show did a great job of.
Remember when Katelyn Nichole Davis’ suicide video went viral because she livestreamed it on Live.me app? That girl cried for help as well, and wrote about it in her blog just like Hannah writing a poem about it, but it was already too late when people realized that she was actually on the verge of giving up. This is exactly what makes Thirteen Reasons Why so important; it aims to open this can of worms so that people who normally take small cries of help for granted to pay more attention. It shows the importance of life, empathy and compassion.
It’s funny how people are okay with the grotesqueness of other shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead showing death and murder but Thirteen Reasons Why gets flak because they showed the truth about suicide. To me, Thirteen Reasons Why is an important show not just for teens, but for every age and gender. It perfectly shows how words and actions (or inaction) can mess someone’s life and, oftentimes, it’s already too late when we realized that we are actually responsible for causing someone to take their own life.
**Think twice, thrice, infinite times before pulling a Hannah Baker. I know life sucks, but do remember that there are people out there that would be forever sad if you take your own life. If you feel like you can’t talk to someone close to you, try these international suicide hotlines and seek help.