I, like many Millennials these days, have been binge watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix.
This show confronted the realities of the darkest part of high school head on. Many have critiqued it, saying that she was being too dramatic. The truth is, we need to stop writing depression and people’s feelings in general off as “exaggerating.” Instead, we need to listen to them before it turns into an irrevocable tragedy.
There is so much more going on in every high school behind the sports highlights you see in the paper. At times, it was honestly so hard to watch, but the truth is, we all need to watch this. What you say and do, it matters. Your actions hurt people. Being cruel to someone crushes their spirit and has the power to take someone’s life. Remember that. Be kind, always.
There are Hannah Bakers everywhere, struggling to find meaning and purpose every day. You never know what battles people are fighting or how your words affect them. So let me be the one to offer these words to the Hannah Bakers of the world, the people who need to hear these things.
I only wish I could have told Hannah Baker these 13 things:
1. I am so sorry these things keep happening to you.
Seriously. You are having some incredibly [crappy] things happen to you again, again and again.
2. I wish I could have been your friend.
Monet’s all day, every day—and I wouldn’t bail. And I would have let you know Clay is super cute and way into you.
3. You are a talented writer and could have such a bright future in journalism.
You are clever, smart and wise. You are funny and you have an amazing gift through your creativity. I am so sorry your work got shared without your permission and you got screwed over, big time, but I wish someone could have made you see how beautiful your writing is. There is so much more for you beyond high school.
4. Your thoughts matter.
Trust me on this one.
5. You’re a great person and a true fiend.
Jessica, Justin, Alex, Clay, etc. were blessed to be touched by your friendship. They were the ones that [messed] up. Not you.
6. Life is so much better after high school. I promise you.
This might be most important one. If you do nothing else, just wait and see what comes after the living hell that is high school.
7. Talk to your parents. Tell them how you feel.
You’re lucky to have, what looks to be by all accounts, amazing parents. Utilize them.
8. High school kids are so cruel, but guess what, you’re better than them. You are.
You’re being punished for having more emotional intelligence and being an old soul, and that’s not fair. But use that awareness to weather this storm.
9. I’m so sorry for every time you have had to ask yourself and your class mates why you were treated so terribly.
It’s nonsensical so it’s a shame your life was dependent on making sense out of it.
10. I’m so sorry that everyone you tried to reach out to didn’t recognize the signs and grab your hand.
In retrospect, they all know they failed you.
11. Keep talking to people until they listen.
I don’t pretend to know how you feel. I can’t imagine. I know people have failed you, but please, don’t give up. Keep fighting, keep reaching out. Someone will listen to you. They have to. You matter, your life matters more than you could ever know.
12. I’m so incredibly sorry for every time you cried out in heartbreak and hurt.
I’ve been there and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone once, let alone several times.
13. Your life matters.
You are not worthless. You are not “nothing.” You are loved and you deserve to be loved and to feel accepted and happiness just like everyone else. Those people who tear you down have battles of their own. It’s not your fault that they target you, or take out their issues on you. Your life matters. My heart breaks thinking that you didn’t believe that.