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Well let’s see. I was born during the Blizzard of 1978 in Lima, Ohio. I have lived in Ohio all my life. I like it here. We have corn fields instead of oceans, overpasses instead of mountains and fog instead of smog. Sure it's not the promise land, but sometimes one doesn't need postcard worthy beauty on the outside to have it elsewhere. I'm a writer for fun, a Paralegal for profession, and while one pays the bills, one feeds my imagination, or perhaps my imagination feeds my writing...either way, Writing is as much of who I am as the color of my eyes, or the way that I smile. Blogs are great communication tools, and I'm here to communicate with YOU...yeah, you who's reading this right now....*assuming anyone's out there* *crickets chirp* Alrightee then, IF anyone should find themselves here, be it by accident or on purpose, welcome, glad to have you aboard. Throw anchor, stay awhile! Sunshine & Smiles, ~Heather Lynn~

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thirteen Reason’s Why

I, like so many others, have binge watched “Thirteen Reasons Why” on Netflix.  I too have read the “controversy” articles on the internet about how it sets a bad example for our youth, some even say “romanticizing” suicide.  Didn't Romeo and Juliette already do that?

I thinking about the people on “the tapes” and who did what to whom, I think it paints a painstakingly portrayal of the life of a high school teen.  It sheds light on the various TYPES of bullying and/or struggles, from romantic advances, to petty jealousy, immature behavior, and other issues that teenagers will face in their high school careers.  If it’s not happening to them, trust me, they SEE it happening to others.  Maybe not the character Bryce’s rapey behavior as that usually occurs behind closed doors and NOT in a high school hallway, BUT, nonetheless, kids can be ruthless.

I could write here about bullying, I could write here about the fact that the character who played Tony looked like he was about 35 and from the 50's era and not at all like a high schooler, or about how every single kid in that school was tatted up like no high school I’ve ever seen, but I won’t.  What I will write today about is the ONE major thing that kept running through my head over and over while watching the show, and that’s that #1) I would have tore through those tapes from start to finish without pause.  I would have faked being sick the next day if listening all night wouldn’t have gotten it done.

Here’s the one thing I think that you don’t know when you’re young, and that’s that “THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE”.  I didn’t know it when I was a teenager.  I can think back on my younger years and all the elaborate lies I told to get out of getting into trouble.  The GREAT lengths I went to, to NOT be found out.  The secrets I had, the lies I told, the deception that happens between parent and child during our adolescent years….but what you don’t know is, is the wonderful feeling of the truth!  Now I’m not saying that as a young person you won’t lie to your parents.  I’m sure it’s going to happen.  But I will tell you this, when the shit REALLY hits the fan, when your world hangs in the balance of something big like what this show portrays, you have to TRUST your parents enough to know that the very best thing you can do, is go to them.  LET them help you.  I know I know, kids are so smart today, they can run ipads at a year old….they know how to do things on smart phones that adults have to google to find out how to do.  But one thing that you can ONLY get in time and through life’s experience, is maturity and wisdom.  Something most parents are chalk full of.

And let me tell you this, owning up to your mistakes, while sometimes mortifying, sometimes embarrassing, the feeling that owning up to them will give you, is unlike anything a lie will ever get you.  When you take responsibility for yourself, your actions, you grow.  You mature.  You LEARN that life has consequences that ARE NOT the end of the world.  They can be addressed, tackled head on and maybe even solved if you’re BRAVE enough to do the right thing in life’s difficult situations.

The thing that made me so sad, is that Hannah had parents that loved her, they could have helped her if they had known.  She never told them she was hurting, and as much as parents CAN be mind-readers, sadly, they aren’t always LOOKING for something to be wrong with their child.  There’s a reason that God made parents.  There’s a reason that children don’t fly the coop until they are older.  It’s because parents are there to protect, to teach, to love that child until they are fully equipped to go out into the world on their own.  Hannah Baker HAD good parents, parents that would have done whatever needed done to help her, but instead she took her own life, and reached out from her grave to hurt those who had hurt her.  After all they say that Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Clay had good parents too.  As we watch them struggle to understand WHAT the heck was going on with their child, we see how deeper and deeper into despair Clay descends.  In the end Clay begins to seek retribution for Hannah.  He wants justice done, after all, he loved Hannah.  But imagine if he hadn’t had to go through it alone.  Imagine him handing those tapes over to his mom and be like, Mom, what do I do?  Imagine if he had had his mom listen to those tapes and asked that question that he had asked Tony:  “Did I kill Hannah Baker”….Tony said yes, but his parents would have said no.  Handing those tapes over would have taken the burden off his shoulders, it would have alleviated the guilt, and the pressure of feeling like he HAD to do something.

Nearly EVERY single pitfall in Thirteen Reasons Why could have been completely different had there been better communication.  And that’s what I’m wanting so very much for people to understand like I do now.  Doing the right thing, can never be wrong.  You can have complete faith in “doing the right thing” because doing the right thing, is always the BEST thing to do.  It’s better to get into trouble for knocking down a stop sign, than to not report it and have someone’s death on your conscious for the rest of your life.  It’s better to lose your best friend because you stopped him from raping your girlfriend than to live with the guilt of knowing you ALLOWED it to happen…after all, who wants a rapist for a best friend?  Courtney had two gay dads, tell me she couldn’t have came out of the closet to them instead of destroying another human being like she did?  Tony from the get go, should have gave those tapes to Hannah’s parents.  They deserved to know their daughter, know why she did what she did, they deserved to have been told what was going on while she was still alive.  Sadly many of life’s challenged our young people are faced with DO NOT have SECOND CHANCES.  There are some bad decisions that you can never get back.

For all the 13 reasons why, there COULD have been a complete and distinct different outcome, had things been done even slightly differently.  If people would have communicated instead of insinuated.  If people would have been KIND in the face of being scared.  If younger people just KNEW the FREEDOM that comes from being honest.  To being accountable.  To being BRAVE in the face of situations that we sometimes find ourselves in.  Isn't it Ironic that we have more ways to communicate than ever before in history, yet we are really probably no better communicators than before?  We can speak in emoji's, but we can't talk to our parents when we're in trouble.  We can text, email, hire a plane to fly a banner behind it, yet we feel we can't say what we sometimes really need to say.

Kids need to know that they aren’t alone.  That whatever the case may be in ANY situation, that the punishment from your parents is better than the repercussions of whatever lie you might use to save your own ass.  I DO NOT discount the intelligence of today’s youth.  My beloved step son was talking to me last night about College Math and I was like, “dude it’s like you’re speaking in a different language.  I had NO IDEA what he was talking about.  He laughed and in that moment, he knew he was smarter at Math than me.  But he too knows that I’m no dummy.  He knows that I love him, and he knows that we know he’s not perfect.  He’s made mistakes.  He’s made some very bad decisions in his young life, we found out, he was punished, he faced consequences I wish he had never had to face, but he’s a better person for it, I can tell you that.  I am so proud of the person he’s becoming.  I see such potential in him and I’m not going to lie, I get all misty eyed when I think about how far he’s come and all the struggles he’s overcome!  It has been such a great pleasure to be his step-momma…I cannot even begin to tell you in words JUST how wonderful of a gift it has been.

So when I think about Hannah, ending her life, before it ever had a real chance to even begin….I think about that dark haired boy who I’ve loved and watched grow into such an amazing young man and I cannot imagine a world where he didn’t exist anymore.

Life is short.  Death is forever.  Whatever pain that comes with today, can always be replaced with an unexpected joy tomorrow. You just have to be brave enough to stick around for it.


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