I recently finished watching the programme Thirteen Reasons Why. I will discuss why I loved this show so much, including personal opinions and experiences.
Because I have seen the whole programme, there will be SPOILERS. There will also be trigger subjects such as bullying, anxiety, rape and suicide.
I would also like to mention that I do have wonderful people around me who are supportive, understand my fears and are patient with me, an amazing fiancé who I love more than anything and a beautiful and special dog who I love so much. Thank you ❤
Hannah’s relationship with friendship was realistic to my truth.
In life I am bombarded with ideas that friendship should last forever. That you should have the same friends through life and build on that. My sister has had the same few friends since senior school. But that’s just not how life happened for me. And because of that I have always felt weird, strange, that I am wrong. But for Hannah she had a similar relationship with friendship. Very close friends, extremely close, and then gone, and not even just gone, now hurtful to her.
People always ask questions, expecting you to know the answer.
This is a huge trigger for me. When people think something is wrong, they will just ask questions, and when you question this they will say something like “I can’t help unless I know.” Why do people need to know exactly? For their own selfish reasons? Don’t they know that just being with you, just sitting in your company, is more helpful that knowing the exact specific reason to why you are upset in that moment? When people bombard me with questions my brain explodes and I get so frustrated I lash out. Which then makes people think even worse of me.
In the programme I really related to when Hannah pushed Clay away and yet wanted him to stay. Many times in my life because of fatigue or other reasons I have shouted at people, pushed them away, but all I want is for them to stay. Just sit, wait until the frustration fades. But that push hurts people, and it is hard to see past your own pain and lack of understanding. I was always left alone, or that just instigated a huge argument. Many times people said “not this again” like I was crazy. Sometimes, like Hannah, you can push people away even though nothing bad is happening. All the things which have effected you so far appear in your mind and crush you.
Tv programmes always cover up the harsh reality of these subjects.
The pure visual prowess of this programme struck me to tears many times. I welcomed finally seeing the truth on screen. It is miserable. It is scary. It is lonely. It is painful. It is cringe worthy. It is sickening. And every time a programme brushes over these realities, it hurts me. It is like they are the same as those people who belittle your pain. That it isn’t that bad. But it is. The scene in episode 12.. I think I will see her dead eyes in my head forever. But that is the truth! That is how it feels.. that is what is happening day in day out. Now I saw somewhere that some people have had issues with the more visual scenes, because it is triggering. I understand triggering, of course I experience it myself. But there are warnings at the start of the episodes and if we plaster over everything like most things do, no one will ever see, feel, the truth of the matter. It helped me to see these scenes. It is far more dangerous to hide this truth.
Unless you fit into the cookie cutter shape you’re expected to be, life is hard.
Ok so I was not popular at school. I love video games and anime, and that made me an outcast. There was a small group of guys who liked Pokémon, but guys don’t understand girls at that age especially ones who have things in common with them. I have known guys over the years who have thought of themselves as social outcasts, but have had a small group of friends who had things in common with them. They would hang out in the IT room at lunch and play games, they would go around each others house to play on the video game console they don’t have themselves at home. Even growing up, these guys never truly understood when I tried to explain to them my absolute loneliness at school. My hobbies and likes were never understood at home either. I’m a girl, why do I like all that stuff? My sister grew out of it, why won’t I? Growing up taught me one thing, to value my own company. I didn’t know that later in life I would lose even that.
People always belittle what is upsetting you.
I have huge social anxiety, and because of this I find it hard to express my feelings. I am fearful of phone calls. Some people do not understand this. They don’t understand why you can’t just pick up a phone and call them. They don’t understand why you are so blank that you don’t even have an opinion anymore, because they drove you down with their mocking of your pain. Is it so hard to *try* and understand? Or even if you can’t understand, to just listen?
They don’t even try to understand your hobbies.
As I grew up I remember closing myself up more and more. Trying to get the TV room when no one was around. I would wear my headphones even in my own room so no one would hear my music. If I was playing a game downstairs and people were in the next room I would have a lump in my throat, hoping they wouldn’t walk in. I felt like my hobbies became ammo, to hurt me with.
In Thirteen Reasons Why Hannah’s hobbies became hurtful for her. She had exactly this scenario. When she opened up and showed someone her life, her poem, they betrayed her, used it as personal gain for themselves and screw anyone else’s feelings or wants. She did not want it to be published, but no one understands when you *don’t* want to display something.
After fighting for a while you just give up [Social Anxiety]
People who have never experienced it will never truly know. To be afraid to pick up a phone. To be afraid to hang out because “hanging out” is so.. vague.. what will happen? Who will be there? What if I don’t know what to say, what if it is awkward, what if I become fatigued and need to leave early but can’t? And with every “what if” your throat is tightening and a golf ball is rising up from your chest to your mouth. You try to explain, but no one understands so you just stop. You stop calling. You stop meeting up with people. You stop talking. You basically stop existing. I certainly lost who I was along the way. Every time you had an opinion and someone slapped you down. Every time you showed someone something with excitement and they didn’t care. You stop. Stop having an opinion. Stop sharing things with people. You stop being excited. You stop feeling. Hurting people is so devastating to you that you stop talking. The fight in you is just gone.
I feel like women are just looked down on in society.
As I was walking home from school once a guy riding in the back of the school bus spat in my face. I don’t think he knew me, I think it was purely because I was a girl. If you are proud of your looks, of yourself then you are a slut, too outspoken. People like it if you are constantly questioning yourself. If you did something you are proud of, you can’t say so, it’s deemed unsightly. You must point out mistakes and say what you will do better. And if you feel like you are nothing, people want you to stay that way.
Purely because you are a woman, people will assume certain things. For Hannah this was the picture of her on the slide. For me this was about ownership. He owned her. No one looked at the picture and thought Justin was a horrible pervert, no they looked at Hannah and thought what a slut. That immediate plane of thought is sexism out in force today. No one even thought to ask Hannah the truth. Absolutely everyone assumed, even the people closest to her.
Now I am human, so of course I am guilty of some of the things I mention here.
Guilty of not listening. Not sticking around. But when you realise, when you see.. how things effect others.. if is easier to see when you should stay.. what you can do to help.
Thirteen Reasons Why shows you just how serious these things are. Just how much they effect you, how hard they hit. It doesn’t trivialise anything. It shows you how you could help in a situation.
I honestly haven’t been struck by a series like this in a long time. Even the pacing, how at the start you are listening along with Clay to the tapes, but as time goes on, to show his increasing anger and upset you start hearing the story after he has listened to the tape, to show what he is doing about it alongside hearing the story from Hannah.
It wasn’t just Hannah’s story.
Everyone involved was effected. It was striking to see how being faced with the truth effected people. So many people live their lives and are never faced with the truth because the people who are hurt just stay quiet. But not this time. The open ended ending.
Everyone facing their own truths.. and futures.