I may or may not be late to the game with writing a "Thirteen Reasons Why" article but oh well, it may or may not be straightforward. It will be real though, because even though it's a Netflix show, it is still real. Before I get into the important aspects of the show I'm going to tell you all a little story about my face to face encounter with suicide. No, it wasn't me, it was someone else. You are going to understand why I think this show is important, so sit back, relax, and I warn you, it will be graphic.
I'm going to take you back to the summer of 2013, the month was July. It was a pretty comfortable day, nothing too exciting about it besides that it was summer. I had been hanging out with my best friend and her daughter, singing songs, taking pictures, it was a normal and beautiful summer day. Fast forward a few hours later, it was now nighttime, almost midnight. I had to leave abruptly to take care of a situation that I put myself into which is another story in itself. I remember my cell phone ringing, it was my best friend, I answer and I remember her voice; it was barely audible that I had to strain to understand her. All she said was, "Can you come?" And then she hung up. Without even telling the people I was with where I was going I end up getting into my car, and speeding to her house. When I got there, her door was slightly ajar, I push it open and the first thing I notice is the blood, a lot of blood, and a extremely large kitchen knife laying by her side. She was sitting up, leaning against a bedroom door. She had cut her wrist straight down, blood was on her arms, on the floor, her clothes. I could see the muscle and tendons on the flesh of her arm. She was pale, but she was conscious. I look at her and say, "What the fuck did you do?" I run into her kitchen, grab a wash cloth and run over to her, I wrap the cloth around her arm. It had coalgulated enough that the bleeding had stopped somewhat, but the blood that was spilled was what made me incredibly nervous and insane. She had tears streaming down her face; I take her face in my hands. "Look at me, why did you do this? Why?"
She looks up at me, her eyes in a daze and says, "I just want it to stop." I couldn't understand what she meant by that; what did she want to stop? She had a beautiful little girl that was asleep in the next room, not knowing about the horror that was happening just outside. That's when I notice that her boyfriend was half conscious on the floor, he was incredibly drunk, he had punched a hole in the wall, and had frozen peas on his knuckles. "We're going to the hospital." I tell her.
"I'm not cleaning up the blood." Her boyfriend mutters drunkely; if my eyes could shoot daggers that's what would've happened. When I look back at my friend she had taken the cloth off her arm and began wiping off the blood that was on the living room floor, and went into the bathroom. I stand up, grabbing the cloth from her. "No." I say loudly, and I throw the bloody cloth at his face. "If you want it cleaned up so bad, you fucking do it." He doesn't say anything to me, I carefully pick her up and she struggles weakly in my grasp.
"Stop. We're going to the hospital."
"No, just leave me here. Just let me die." She didn't wail when she said that, she sounded completely calm, her calmness caused me to lose my temper.
"I'm not fucking leaving you here! You have a DAUGHTER. If you died right now she is going to grow up WONDERING why her mother was dead, why no one saved her mother, why there was no one to help! Well here you go sweetheart, I'm here, and if you don't get up willingly I'm dragging you by the hair, and out to the car. Now, GET UP."
It was a blur after that; I felt like I couldn't see straight. It felt almost like a running dream, where your feet can't move fast enough as you're trying to get away from the monsters. After a silent car ride, she told me what her boyfriend had said to her to push her over the edge. "He lifted up my shirt, showed my friends my stomach, grabbed it and said that I was fat." To a lot of you, a comment like that might not sound like something someone would attempt to kill themselves over. Unfortunately, it is. My best friend, in my eyes, is flawless, beautifully structured face, beautiful eyes, a beautiful body with curves in the right places after giving birth. In my eyes, she was beautiful. The thing is though, he didn't do that to her that night, he had done it a few days ago, and it's been an ongoing thing for awhile. His words, were permanently etched into her brain until it exploded and that's all she could see and feel. His words almost cost her life.
1. Hannah Baker could be anyone you know, anyone you're close to, and you'd have no idea.
She never told me what she was struggling with on the inside, not in full detail. I also completely missed the signs. What signs were those? I still have no idea. I just know that when I received that phone call, she was crying out for help, taking a risk . When you have an intense gut feeling, go with it.
2. Clay Jensen is like you and me, oblivious to it all, not knowing, and when we find out, it hurts just as worse.
The second worst feeling in the world is feeling helpless. When I found out what my friends boyfriend had been saying to her, how he had been mentally abusing her, I got so angry. Angry to the point where after I dropped her off at the hospital, I wanted to turn back around to beat the shit out of him because those would've been the last words she would be repeating in her head if I didn't get there in time.
3. When reviewers say that watching Hannah's suicide was "too graphic" they don't know what "graphic" looks like. What I saw was just as bad as Hannah's suicide scene, if not worse: that's how pretty close it was.
Suicide is graphic. There is nothing pretty about it, especially when you're the one that sees it.
4. My friend was being bullied at twenty-three years old.
Yes, my young loves. Bullying doesn't stop after high school, it continues and it grows and it consumes you but you have the power to stop it.
5. It makes you really think.
I remember when I first watched the show, and I most likely said this after reading the book years ago: "High school was never that bad for me, I mean people would tease me but that wasn't so bad. It stopped after a few years." My boyfriend goes, "I mean, it might not have been bad for you but...who knows about anyone else that was in your grade." And that hit me hard. No one knew. No one knew how hard it was for someone because you didn't think to ask because how could you have known? You can't. The prime example on the show is Clay not understanding why he's on the tapes that he's literally driving himself crazy to rush and find out why. And when he's finally on his tape, he doesn't want to listen because he'll know the answer, and that alone would cut someone deep. Because if he had known, if I had known, if they had known, it wouldn't have happened. And no one actually really knows until the answer is in front of them.
6. This show doesn't glorify suicide. Just like the movie "Thirteen" didn't glorify drugs as many people think.
The movie "Thirteen" came out when I was twelve years old. I can't remember if I told my mother to buy it or if she heard she needed to watch it with me. I had to watch it with her regardless because it was rated R but I remember she kept holding onto me as we watched it. I didn't understand why, I was watching the young actresses on the screen and almost a little horrified. I would never do that stuff to myself. I would never do a drug because it made me look cooler. I would never have a girl "friend" force me into something that I didn't want to do. As I find out years later, I did have a friend like that...and I stayed away. My mother looks at me after the movie is over, she doesn't say a word. I could tell she was just as emotional as I was after watching that movie. She says this to me finally and only once. "If something like that ever happens, you come to me. I don't care what it is that you did, who you did it with, if you can barely walk on two feet, you come to me. I won't be angry. You understand me?" All I did was nod, and I realize now that she was not only telling me this because of her own teenage years but as a mother who watched something that can happen to her daughter and how incredibly important it was. That is why I think it's incredibly important for parents to watch things like this with their children.
I'm only giving you six reasons why in this article, because some of you may already know the other seven reasons why. This show was not only incredible, it showed the viewers how the actions of someone towards another person can turn into something tragic. It shows the real rawness and gut wrenching pain of a parent losing their child to suicide or a friend, who will wish for the rest of their life what they could've done to make it okay.
I am very lucky that my best friend survived that day because if she didn't, I would drive myself crazy trying to understand why. If I didn't walk through that door a thing that exact moment, I would be in Clay's shoes, in her mother's shoes, in every single person on that show shoes.
Take the time and watch this, it will open doors you've kept locked, it will spread the awareness. It will save someone's life.