By: Julia Tuck
My name is Hannah, Hannah Baker. If these words sound vaguely familiar to you, then there is a high probability that either you’ve watched “13 Reasons Why”, read the book, or seen the Netflix ad or are planning on watching the show very soon.
As for me, I watched the show a few days after it came out on Netflix because I previously read the book and was excited to see what the show would offer. I immediately began to watch the show on Netflix, where a season’s worth of content is easily available, and although it is hard to watch in any other format–I did feel a lot of emotion at the end. I found myself feeling very sad that Hannah made the choice she did, because she seemed like a vulnerable girl with the potential for a brighter future after high school. Hannah couldn’t get the support she needed; there was a lack of communication which cut her off from friends and family alike during a vital time in her life. Hannah did seek help but she also did not allow people the chance to heal her. I think the major downfall for Hannah was that she did not give those who cared most for her a chance to understand her feelings, especially from characters like Clay and certainly her parents. I think that parental communication and openness is vital for teens at all times since high school is a tough time for students, who have to struggle through the ups and downs of stress from school work and grades as well as the juggling of friendships and how they fit into their school environment.
My mom this past week also finished the Netflix series and we had an important discussion on the show which I believe is necessary for all teens who can somewhat identify with Hannah’s experiences. The point which was brought up during this discussion revolved around the fact that high school is four years long. Four years. This may seem like a lot to a teenager but four years is nothing if you consider the blossoming possibilities of the future. In fact, 4 years out of a possible and hypothetical 90 is 4/90 which correlates to 4.44% of one’s life. In Chemistry terms, this number, 0.04 compared to 0.96 is considered insignificant. Would you really want something insignificant to stop your entire existence? Every four years, the Olympics occur, a new Leap year appears on the calendar, and another World Cup happens: your life shouldn’t end in four years.
As the saying goes, there’s always a rainbow after the storm. It’s important to know that if things are bad, they won’t be for long. The storm doesn’t last forever and things will get better. Hannah, however, in the show was so focused on trivial matters that she couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and allowed those who hurt her to hold power over her. Hannah’s act of committing suicide not only shattered the lives of her parents, but she also further gave up power to those who hurt her by allowing them to get to her. Hannah also did not realize her potential and let what others thought ultimately ruin her. She should have told her parents what bothered her and they would have assisted her in seeking help and therapy about her problems. The fact that Hannah bottled up her feelings contributed to why her pain drove her to do the irrational deed of killing herself.
In closing, if there is one thing I have to say, it is this: Suicide is never an option. No matter how bad things get, there is always hope and you may not see it now but there is. It is also important for teens to be accepting and respectful of their peers because they do not know how their words can affect someone or manifest into a monster in someone’s head. So please, be cautious of what you say and do and also be careful on social media like Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat because what you say will almost always get back to the person who it’s about. Therefore, I ask you: start talking to your parents about touchy issues, rethink that text, and certainly press pause and ponder all the beautiful wonders of life. So forget 13 Reasons Why and think of the hundreds of reasons to live instead.
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