“I wanted people to trust me, despite anything they'd heard. And more than that, I wanted them to know me. Not the stuff they thought they knew about me. No, the real me. I wanted them to get past the rumors. To see beyond the relationships I once had, or maybe still had but that they didn't agree with.”
Disclaimer: This isn't a TV show or book review, just my personal thoughts and feelings. I'm not writing this for attention of any sort, I just.. I guess I want to talk about things I never had the courage to share before.
I just watched the last episode of the Netflix adaptation of 13 Reasons Why and I have so many thoughts and feelings, that I'm not quite sure if I want to share, but I feel like maybe I should. Like maybe, I need to. So, I'm going to sit down and let it pour out of me (which is so not something I would normally do and is a huge effort in itself). And then maybe I'll even find the guts to post it?Who knows, guess we'll see.
I've never read the book, though I have a signed copy on my shelf. I knew what it was about, and I even heard some great things about it, but for whatever reason I stayed away from it. So I can't tell you how the book compares to the series, sorry. I wasn't planning on watching the show either, but with so many people talking about it, I guess I figured, what's the harm? Binge watching (or Netflixing) is one of my favorite past time activities after all.
I watched all the episodes in two days. I was transfixed. I was literally frozen on the couch and glued to my iPad, unable and unwilling to pause and get on with my daily activities and responsibilities, and mundane shit like fixing dinner for the family. And it was a different kind of obsession than my regular interest in highly entertaining shows like The 100, or Supernatural, or even Westernworld. I just.. I guess I just really couldn't separate myself from the show. It got under my skin, it resonated with my own experiences and feelings, and struggles. It hit too close to home. It made me feel uncomfortable, it triggered anxiety and a pretty big panic attack, and I ended up curled up in a ball, lying in my bed for the rest of the evening. (So yes, please be careful. If you're in a bad place right now, consider watching it at a later date, or maybe even not at all.)
Watching 13 Reasons Why was not easy (an understatement). It wasn't entertaining, and it was the farthest thing from relaxing you could imagine. It was, however, really insightful and emotional, and important to me in so many ways. And there are two sides to the story, the way I see it (for me, at least).
First of all, I believe it's so important to realize that everything we do, every little interaction we have with another human being (no matter how meaningless it may seem), every comment we send out into the world, every statement we make, every mean thing, every compliment, every action or inaction can affect and probably affects people around us in ways we don't even begin to comprehend.
Every time we choose to look the other way,
every time we take something for granted,
every time we listen to one side of the story and make up judgements based on that,
every time we shut someone away,
give them a judgmental look...
every instance of that happening could be meaningless to us, but life-changing to the person on the receiving end.
And that happens a lot, to all of us, every day, because that's just how life works. We don't always realize the impact we have on other people. Sometimes, we have no clue whatsoever that we even make an impact at all. Heck, it happened to me last year when I didn't realize the impact my words would have on another person's life and I fucked up really bad. And a person got hurt, because of me, because of my selfish reaction to something that hurt me. It was a ripple effect that went beyond just the two of us, and I'm still living the consequences of that. It still terrifies me to think of that. It still weighs down on me SO MUCH. Because action have consequences... Some are bigger than others, and everyone is affected differently.
On the other hand, the show made me realize that though we may sometimes feel completely worthless, useless, unimportant, there are always people around us who care. It sure doesn't feel like that's the case sometimes, I know, believe me. And when you're struggling with anxiety, depression and self-worth, trying to convince yourself that there is someone who cares and will listen to you and maybe even help you, is like the most impossible thing ever. But it's important to try. It's important to care enough about yourself to let others show you that they care. Let others help you.
Last year has been the most difficult year in my life.
So much bad has happened, my own body turned on me. I had serious health issues, and even more serious personal issues affecting every aspect of my life. I was drowning in fear, depression, anxiety. I contemplated ending it all. I was so fucking close, you wouldn't believe it. And no one knew. No one had a fucking clue how I was feeling. How I still am feeling sometimes. I can have a good day when I feel my normal self, I spend time with friends, have a play date for the kid, have sex with my husband, read a little, work some and then go to sleep relatively happy, and then I can wake up in a whole other place the next day.
And I don't feel like I can tell anyone.
Because I don't want to bother people,
because I'm scared what they'd say,
if they'll shrug it off,
if they'll take it too seriously,
or not seriously enough?
What if I'll disappoint them?
What if they'll look at me differently?
What if they'll think I'm overreacting?
And I am so ashamed of being like this, feeling this way. So ashamed.
And I am beyond terrified to share all this with the world. To post this post. I'm scared. You can't even imagine how much, because I've never shared any of this with anyone.
In the back of my head, I hear the voice telling me not to share this. To keep it to myself. That it's too risky to post it. That someone will twist my words, and use my own pain to attack me. And I can't take it, it'll break me. Am I being paranoid?
I think my closest friend, Amanda, is the only one who knows that I even struggle with this shit, and yet I don't think she knows just how much. She has her own shit to go through, I can't constantly ask her to pull me out of the hellhole of my mind, right? My parents are across the ocean, they worry enough as it is, what kind of an asshole daughter would pour her shit out on them? My husband is so not a person who understands anxiety and struggling to get out of bed. He's practical, he's here to make money for the family and not much beyond that. When I tried telling him about how I feel, I only got "get over it" in response, and that made me feel so much worse. So now I just keep it to myself.
I understand 13 Reasons Why more than I want to.
I understand Hanna, I relate to what she went through. I could make a 13 Reasons Why list myself, right here and now, you guys. People in this very community would be on that list, people I've worked with, people I went to school with, heck, a blood relative or two would be on it as well. Those who abandoned me and then demanded to be let back into my life. Those who thought they could touch me without my permission. Those who used me. Those who judged me without ever interacting with me, or knowing anything about me. Those, who keep judging me and talking about me behind my back. Thinking I can't see? Or not caring if I do? Hoping that I will? It all hurts, but hurt isn't a strong enough word when you're already drowning and shit keeps getting worse. And you feel like you truly have no one.
I don't know who I am anymore sometimes. I tell myself I am a mother, and a wife and a book blogger, and a designer. I am Evie. But all this shit keeps piling up, you know? Not just the online stuff, but real life stuff. Always having to move and start over. The stress from my husband work which he brings home, the fights, the uncertainty about the future. And all the horrible things I can't bring myself to talk about even now, all those things I keep to myself only. I see my own happy, positive tweets about books and my designs and other stuff and it takes me a moment to believe that this was actually me who tweeted that. Like, you wouldn't have guessed that this person is going through some heavy shit right? I wouldn't have guessed it. But it's easier to pretend than to explain.
13 Reasons Why made me think about all that. It's a powerful story told in a very impactful way, it was so incredibly hard for me to watch it, but I'm glad that I did. Because, in a way, it made me hopeful. It opened my eyes to things I've never considered before. It made me realize that it's okay to open up, to talk about feelings, to ask people for help.
It's also okay to feel all those things and maybe sometimes get lost in them as well, as long as we don't give up and keep trying.
It made me think that perhaps I'm not the only one who feels this way.
That, maybe, we all go through some heavy ass shit.
And that we never truly know what the other person is going through.
Even the people who hurt us - they don't know us, but we don't know them either.
And maybe that's something worth remembering.
"It has to get better. The way we treat each other and lookout for each other. It has to get better somehow."
P.S. Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. You matter more than you know.
PPS. Take care of yourself and the people around you. And if there's ever anything I can do to help, if you ever need to talk to anyone, I am here. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm always here for you.
Thank you Jay Asher, Netflix and 13 Reasons Why.