Why I Refuse To Watch 13 Reasons Why

Why I Refuse To Watch 13 Reasons Why

Because I could have been Hannah Baker.
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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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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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