I’m up way past my bedtime. You see I started watching this show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix earlier this week and when I got home today I had to finish it. I needed to know why it happened, how it happened, I wanted someone to blame. It scared me and it made me uncomfortable and sad but I needed to watch it.
Marc actually watched a lot of it with me. Each night after we watched a few episodes we would talk about what happened in the show and how we felt about it.
I felt so conflicted a lot of the time. I analyzed this fictional character’s life, her actions, the people in her lives actions. At first I was mad at her, because I thought it was mean of her to leave behind these tapes to torture the people who tortured her. Because yes, what they all did was wrong, but does that make what she was doing with these tapes right? To blackmail these kids? Is that right? Do two wrongs make a right?
Then I was mad at her because she was mean to the one person who was nice to her, she picked on him and made fun of him and got mad at him because he was clueless. But I didn’t like him either because I wanted him to just tell someone that he was upset and I didn’t know why he didn’t just communicate with his parents and I talk so much and I’d don’t understand why he couldn’t.
I was mad at the guidance counselor, I was mad at Hannah not stopping the guy from raping her friend, I was mad at Tony for hiding everything from Hannah’s parents, I was mad at Clay’s parents for continuing to jus let him run around the city even though he was clearly going through things. He’d get in trouble for something and then they’d just let him leave on his bike again. He was SUSPENDED, and he had no restrictions from his parents.
The last couple episodes scared me, because things that I see on shows that actually happen in real life that are horrifying scare me. And when Netflix puts up disclaimers in front of episodes you know it’s a big deal. I’ve never seen anything like that before.
And when the show ended and I felt like things weren’t resolved and this was such a real situation but I didn’t feel how I thought I should be feeling, there was this half hour after the show, where professionals talked about the different parts of the show where I felt conflicted. They said it was okay to feel that way about this character, because she wasn’t perfect either, and there were things she could have done, and the guidance counselor could have done, and they discussed how kids today had such a hard time communicating.
I consider myself lucky in that I am the most comfortable talking about my issues. When I lived at home my mom would come down to my room and stand in the doorway and we’d talk about our days and some days we would stand in the kitchen eating chocolate chips out of the bag and I would always feel so much better after talking about anything and everything and analyzing every part of my day.
But then I also remember my mom picking me up at prom and sitting in the car in the parking lot and not knowing at all how to describe what I was feeling and why, and I cried because it was just this overwhelming feeling of being uncomfortable and surrounded by people but still feeling alone. It’s terrifying.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teenager now, with everything online. That was all sort of starting up when I first moved to Florida. Social media at least. Even now social media for me is overwhelming. It didn’t used to be until I started to let it run my life.
It’s so hard to keep up a fake happy appearance all the time. To compete with everyone else’s highlight reels. It’s exhausting to put on that show constantly. I gave up social media for Lent, I did the same last year, and it’s been so nice not feeling like I have to compete with anything or anyone, or to paint this picture of our lives being totally perfect. Because that’s not how life is.
I don’t have to post funny statuses all the time, I don’t feel obligated to do things on days when I’d rather just hang out at home. I do things because I want to do them, and not because I feel like I need to post them online for everyone to see. I’m barely on my phone anymore. I never have to charge it during the day. I read more, I write more, I talk to my family more.
I know, you’re probably like “well you don’t HAVE to post things.” I know, but it’s my personality that makes me addicted, to knowing what people are doing, to wanting to know what they think of me. How many likes did I get, how my notifications do I have? How many followers or friends?
I don’t want to be lost behind my phone anymore. I eat breakfast with the curtains open and I watch the sun rise. I feel like I’m allowed to have bad days, on social media you can’t have bad days. I want to be cut off from everyone so I can stop living in my past life and in everyone else’s lives and try to work on my present life and what I want out of my life here in Ithaca.
I’ve been struggling with what I’m going to do once Lent ends. Sometimes I miss my Instagram and Snapchat. I will probably download them again. I don’t ever miss my Facebook. That I probably won’t bring back. I’m going to try and limit my time on them, because I like who I am without my social media. I like not feeling like I have to put on a show, it’s tough to be “on” all the time.
Anyway, I got way off track here. The show. In the end I was very upset with Hannah Baker. I was mad at her for what she did to her parents. That scene where they found her destroyed me. It bothered me so much I covered my ears and closed my eyes. I was mad at the other kids for getting her there. I was mad at the counselor for automatically assuming that whatever happened at the party was her fault. What did SHE do to cause someone to rape her? Because that’s always where everyone goes first, isn’t it? Well maybe if she didn’t wear this or maybe if she didn’t do that. It’s disgusting.
This show made me think, it made me feel, and most importantly, it gets you talking. Because that’s the most important thing is to get people talking about issues that no one wants to talk about because they make you feel uncomfortable. I recommend watching it. Decide on your own how you feel about Hannah Baker. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say.