Alright, first off, I have never watched this popular Netflix series called “13 Reasons Why.” I will never watch this series. It's not because of the out-lash that has come out because of the series, and nor do I want to weigh in on that issue. I have been against this series way before it became popular. From what I understand, it is a series about suicide and the reasons that brought a particular girl to go through with this action. I have told people lies as to why I will never watch this series, but now it’s time to make a full confession. I cannot relive that again. This is my thirteen reasons to why I did not. Yes, I wanted to kill myself for a really really long time. I thought that taking myself out was in the best interest of everyone. That I brought nothing of worth to this world. I felt lower than dirt and pond scum. So I cannot watch this program because I do not want those feelings back. There was a life of pain I shrugged off and built walls against until it all hit me…

1. I did not do it because my mom would have killed me. Seriously, I am really worried that when she sees this article she will still kill me because I know she reads my Odyssey page (Hi Mom!). But she does not like this kind of talk. Even if it is an article on how I did not kill myself, she still might get upset. Let me say that I am fine, Mom, okay? I’m fine.

2. I am a squeamish individual. I simply cannot deal with blood (especially mine).

3. I was watching MASH on Netflix at the time I was in the Darkness* and I wanted to finish the show.

*The Darkness is the name I gave the place where my suicidal thoughts live. I thought that if I named it I could conquer it, and I did.

4. I am a role model. My family does not believe in pets; we just get younger siblings. So I have four younger people looking up to me. If I gave into the Darkness than what should stop them from doing the same? I must set a good example for them. I am not supposed to be perfect, but I want to show them that the Darkness is not stronger than you. The Darkness can bend me but it will never break me.

5. My family. (Oh, now he is going to get cheesy). Nope not really, There are people in my family that if I did kill myself they would not even notice. But then again there is the family I actually like. Last Christmas I was passingly asked one of the greatest honors of my life. My cousins asked me if I would be the adoptive Godfather of my little dude, Brayden. I have never been brought to tears faster than that moment. If I am good enough to be the Godfather to this kid and his mom trusts me to step into that role… I’m doing something right.

6. Brew Crew. Only it was not called Brew Crew at the time. Campus Ministry’s Men’s Group at Alvernia University. It is a support system that I could reach out to and tell my problems, and I was heard and not judged. These guys are my rock. Please, World, I have a message for you: Life is hard, so find your Brew Crew. Get a group of friends that you can unload your feelings with. It is necessary for survival.

7. A Snoodle’s Tale. This is an episode of the video series VeggieTales. It is the story of a Snoodle that is down on his luck and he finds the man at the top of the mountain and he finds the power to continue. It is similar to the message found in a book I have been carrying with me since I was about eight called, “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. It was given to me by my Aunt Jeanie who baked me cookies and mailed them to me at the tail-end of my time in the Darkness. You came in clutch, Aunt Jeanie! And I will be forever grateful. VeggieTales ends every broadcast with, “God made you special. And he loves you very much," an important message I never absorbed as a child.

8. Which leads to my next one, God. He would not be happy with me if I killed myself. I stood in front of a group of my peers and told them, “The greatest love story of all time,” the crucifixion. Think about it. He was fully human and could have said no to the will of His Father but chose to because of you (yes you). He loved you so much he took up his cross and died with you in mind.

9. My mom would have killed me if I killed myself.

10. At college, for the first time in my life, I had friends that actually cared about me. I have met people who were and are my Simons and Veronicas.** These people helped me in ways that they probably never knew. To someone who entered into the Darkness as well. I helped them out of the Darkness (While I saw still and resident in the Darkness). Caring for them got me to realize that I had something to live for too. Other person would not let me blow them off. Not matter how uninterested I seemed; they were right by my side. All the crawling, kicking and screaming could get them to go away. This person is still by my side today, stuck like glue it’s like married or something. But this one person has talked me off more ledges than they will ever know. I am eternally grateful. Who are your Simons and Veronicas?

** Think of the crucifixion story.

11. Quotes and songs. I love quotes and being an aspiring writer it’s a good thing to love. Through my time in the Darkness, I would find a good quote that made me whisper, “One more day.” One more day kept happening and then one day I was out of the Darkness. On the other hand, I also love lyrics. I found strength to continue in songs. “You Are More” By Tenth Avenue North is a good place to start. One from my favorite band Thousand Foot Krutch (TFK) and their song “In My Room” shows the lengths of God’s love. It also gives a lesson in prayer. But after my time in the Darkness there song, “Honest” tells my journey perfectly.

12. Honestly, is this kid done? Hey, listen, this sounded like a good idea but thirteen is a larger number than I thought. But “Honest” is a very special song to my heart. because of this thing called Search. On my Search Retreat my first semester freshman year I learned the lesson of love (Agape!). Search III opened my eyes. I also had the honor to be a part of the team for Search V (We Will Thrive!). But without Search, there would be no Eric Moran. It literally changed my life. I am crying while typing this sentence. Search is one of the best things to ever happen to me. This is why (if you are friends with me you know) I talk about Search all the time. In the Darkness Search was the first light I saw to find the way out. I love you guys! With all my heart. I owe my life to Search.

I will never give into the Darkness. I will never win in my life. This is why I have not watched this program. I took my pain and turned it into my passion for writing. This is why my style is a little dark in the fiction department. But life is the greatest gift God was ever given us. Please do not waste yours! Reach out and find those who care for you (they are there). And I am one of them. My passion for writing was born out of my pain. I was unable to deal with my emotions and a turned them into poetry and short stories (and an Odyssey page). Writing came from my pain and it entertains tens of people on my Odyssey page. If you ever feel this pain list thirteen reasons why not and take another look at life. Remember, God made you special and he loves you never much. In my writing, I have told my story. We all have stories and, “A closed book is never read.” Open yourself and tell your story. Be vulnerable and allow yourself to heal. Now in the current day, I do talk about suicide a lot. Mostly in the jokingly sense. I made suicide a punchline, something to be mock and laughed at. By making it a punchline I took away its power over me. Suicide is now only a joke to me. And it is never a good idea.

13. Did I mention that my mom would kill me if she heard me talk like this?