1 Reason Why To Watch '13 Reasons Why'
By: Nicole Weaver
Maybe you guys were familiar with the best selling novel "13 Reasons Why." I wasn't. I knew nothing of this novel until I found out Selena Gomez had part in a Netflix series dealing with it. True millineal, right? Anything Netflix does, I'm a fan. Stranger Things.. Orange Is The New Black.. The OA.. Bloodline. I like it all. After watching the trailer for '13 Reasons Why,' I was hooked. I knew then that I had to watch this. By "watch" I mean binge watch & by binge watch I mean my dog accepting the fact we won't be leaving the couch for the weekend unless it's for kibbles or potty breaks. He kindly accepted the offer.
Looks intriguing right? It is. As I'm writing this I'm half way through the series. I just finished the Valentine's Day episode. Don't worry - I'm not going to spoil anything for you. It's just good. Not only is it good but it's hard to watch. It's actually really hard to watch. I think they wanted it to be. Why? Because high school is hard. High school is really hard, especially if you're different. It's been seven years since I graduated high school. Which doesn't seem like that long because four of those seven years were spent in college which means I've only been done with the school system for three years. During the binge, it was like those seven years weren't there to separate high school from me. I was in those halls again.
Those halls are brutal. I played a Varsity sport all four years in High School & those halls were still brutal for me. Why? Because I was different. I knew I was gay but I hid it. I hid it from the kids in those hall ways and I hid it from myself for as long as I could. This isn't about me though. This is about you... Every. Single. One. Of. You. Whether you are a current student, a former student, a parent, a sibling.. doesn't matter- you need to watch this show. For one reason.
Bullying. Rape. Rumors. Shootings. Fighting.
These are all real things that we want to ignore because we hope it doesn't happen. But it does. That's the reality of it.
Bullying happens. What can you do to stop it? Don't laugh. Don't encourage it. It's not cool to be a bully. Not now, not ever. If you see it.. don't be scared to stand up for somebody who may need help. What if you needed help and you watched people pass you by? Don't do that. Take a stand.
Rape happens. Don't skim past this part. Whether you know it or not, somebody you know has been raped. Realize that and do not sweep that under the rug. Self-recrimination is a common reaction among victims. A recent study found a full 62% of college rape survivors blamed themselves for the attack. "What did she expect if she was wearing that?" "She was too drunk." "She seemed into it at first."
Drinking is going to happen in high school more than likely. Stop acting as if teenagers don't experiment and stop acting like you or your friends never did / wanted to. Just because someone has been drinking does not mean they all of a sudden give their consent. If a guy decides to take his shirt off at a party- that doesn't give women the right to just go up to him and caress his chest. If a woman shows up somewhere showing some cleavage or wearing a short skirt- that does not give men the right to assume she is a slut.
PARENTS. Raise. Your. Kids. No means no.
Rumors happen. End them. The only type of people who start rumors are the insecure who need to put others down to lift themselves up. It's easy to think about rumors as an adult and shrug them off or be confident enough to ignore them.. but as a middle or high schooler one simple rumor can change everything. It can change the way people look at you. It can make people not want to be around you. It can also start other rumors and escalate. Don't contribute to that. If someone is starting rumors- shut them down.
Shootings are possible. Know the signs. Everybody has a breaking point. What if we were nice to every kid we met in school? What if we didn't bother with commenting on what kids are wearing or how they look? What if we minded our own business instead of wanting to bring others down? What if instead of spreading rumors we spread compliments? What if the hallways were safer for those who felt different? What if people only dreaded going to school because of the tests and not because of the treatment they endure? What if? Could things be different? Could shootings be prevented?
Fighting happens. Don't just stand there. If you see a fight, why watch it? Why do we pull out our phones? If you can't help- go get help. There's nothing comical, viral, or worth somebody getting hurt for someone else's entertainment.
At this point I guess all I am trying to say is listen. Listen to people. Life is precious and everybody deserves a chance. People not only deserve a chance but they deserve a second chance. Your life is not a burden. Your emotional pain can eventually get better. Times WILL get better. I told myself that so many times in high school, and it did. I promise you it will get better. High school can be the worst four years of your life if you are different. Different people make the world beautiful. If you are different. I see you. I hear you, and I am here for you. Everybody deserves a future.
I'll listen for now on.. will you?