Why I Refuse To Watch 13 Reasons Why

Why I Refuse To Watch 13 Reasons Why

Because I could have been Hannah Baker.

On March 31st, Netflix debuted its original series based on the novel Thirteen Reasons Why. The story is about Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who has recently committed suicide, but not before recording cassette tapes about why she committed suicide. Then, a bunch of people she knew when she was alive listen to the tapes, have moments of introspection, feel guilt, and experience character arcs. That's about all I know of the story. Despite the praise it's getting on all platforms, I refuse to read or watch it.

I tried reading it when I was in middle school. I'd just been diagnosed with clinical depression, and so I thought I could relate with Hannah Baker and maybe find some solace in the book. I wasn't able to finish it. At thirteen years old, it scared me too much to think that I may be capable of doing what Hannah Baker did: end her own life.

Depression and suicidal thoughts go hand in hand, and I'm no exception. After years of therapy, I'm fine and have my illness under control, but one of the scariest and most important things I've learned while healing is that when you want to die, you will find every reason to justify it.

"My parents will save money by not having to buy me groceries."

"My therapist will be able to take one more client."

"My little sister can get her own room now."

"If I write letters/record videos/send deep text messages, all my friends will feel guilty. They'll miss me so much. People's lives will be upturned and by dying, I'll create waves. Nevermind that I'll be too dead to see my impact. I'll have an impact."

That last one is really common. If it sounds ridiculous to you, then you've probably never seriously considered killing yourself. The suicidal mind doesn't work the same way as a non-suicidal one.

The suicidal mind latches onto any little tidbit that will encourage it to carry out its goal: to die.

And the idea of leaving something behind is intoxicating, especially when you feel you are doing so little in your life now. The idea that people will listen to your last words, knowing that the things you say right before you die are guaranteed to be important to people, is amazing when you're suicidal. You'll be too dead to see it, but you'll know that by dying, you've impacted lives. Half the fun of being suicidal is trying to leave something behind.

Now, if someone who wants to die watches Thirteen Reasons Why, that last line of thinking will be extended even further: "My friends will have glorious character arcs and will become kinder. They will become better people. They will become stronger. All because of me."

When you focus on the people affected by suicide rather than the suicidal person themselves, you are showing suicidal people what will happen if they go through with it. Thirteen Reasons Why doesn't encourage suicide, of course, but it isn't going to help someone who is desperately looking for a reason to die. It's morbid, but I know that if Thirteen Reasons Why had premiered at a time when I was sixteen and still didn't know how to healthily deal with my mental illness, I would have held onto it and never let go. It would have scared me. It would have disturbed me. It would have helped me to believe that my death would help more people than my life did. You cannot create a story about suicide and let the suicidal person serve as nothing more than a convenient plot point. You cannot. It's gross. It's irresponsible.

I could have been Hannah Baker. When I was younger, I would have wanted to be Hannah Baker. I have no desire to watch what my life could have been in the worst possible scenario. I don't care how kind it encourages you to be. I don't care how nuanced their portrayal of a rapist is. I don't care. I cannot, and will not, watch this.

Cover Image Credit: Screen Rant

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Why I Listen to Depressing Music Even Though I'm Depressed

Music that's powerful, music that speaks to me, music that means something.

It took me a long time to find my preferred genre of music. In middle school, I remember listening to pop songs that I often heard on the radio. I could (and still can) rap the entirety of Super Bass by Nicki Minaj and I dreamt about my crush professing his love to me by serenading me with Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. 

By my freshman year of high school, those songs were no longer cool, so I went along with the crowd and started listening to the next most popular type of music: trap music. In my experience, these artists talked solely about fucking bitches and smoking ganja, even though, at that point in my life, I had no intent of having intercourse or "doing" the marijuana (boy was I naive). Though I listened to these genres to appease everyone else, I never felt completed like so many people claimed to feel when they listened to music. I did not have a passion for any bands or artists and I did not feel any sort of deep connection while I was listening.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to explore certain genres that I hadn’t yet explored. The first bands I really grew to love were the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and The Kooks. Their music not only sounded great, but the lyrics actually meant something. They spoke about relationships, internal struggles, mental issues, and societal problems. Their lyrics resonated with me, and, surprisingly, the most depressing of their material resonated the most.

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, though I was not diagnosed until a little over a year ago. I’ve been on meds and have learned coping techniques, but the most counterintuitive of those techniques is listening to these depressing songs.

One of the hardest struggles I have with depression is not being able to tell people how I am feeling, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words. I find that listening to others put into words the exact emotions that I have not been able to convey myself is quite reassuring.  These songs help me better understand my own emotions and give me an idea of how to turn those emotions into spoken language. 

When Alex Turner says “you can shriek until you’re hollow or whisper it the other way” or when AJJ says "everything is real, but it's also just as fake” I feel as if someone has entered my thoughts and put into lyrics the fears and feelings I struggle with on a daily basis. These songs make me feel as if there is a whole community of people out there who experience the same, seemingly-lonely experiences that I do. I feel more connected to the world when I listen to this type of music. I feel understood.

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Two Inspiring Movies Everyone Should See

Movies that take you on an emotional roller coaster.

I have always loved watching movies, especially ones with inspiring and emotional storylines. I get very invested and intrigued (maybe a little too much), but I love having that whirlwind of emotions throughout the entire movie.

Recently, I got the opportunity to see two amazing movies that I think are very important and had a huge effect on me. The films were “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name”. Both of these films came out in 2017 so they are fairly new. They are making a huge impact and receiving a lot of deserved recognition.

“Lady Bird” has such a special storyline. It follows the relationship between a mother and daughter in such a realistic way. As many girls know, a relationship with a mother is not always an easy one and the film really captures that frustration.

It follows the life of a young girl that is about to leave to go to college. So many things change for girls during this time and there are so many emotional challenges and obstacles. I absolutely love how this film displays this situation and many relationships in a very graphic and honest way. I think it is so important for young girls to watch this film and channel all those feelings. It is incredibly relatable and it reminds girls to be courageous.

“Call Me by Your Name” is seriously one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is a love story, which we have seen is countless movies, but this film displays a relationship in such a unique and beautiful way.

The best thing about this movie is that it is awkward at some points and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I admire this because love and relationships aren’t always magical and perfect. It expresses a type of love that is so unapologetic and pure. I could watch it over and over and still have the same inspiring feeling at the end. If you are a fan of emotional love stories or small independent films watch this movie. You will not regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Connor Limbocker

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