Why “13 Reasons Why Not” isn’t THAT Bad

I was skeptical at first. Really skeptical. And not because of all the controversial talk about how the series glamorizes teen suicide. I wasn’t worried about that – mainly because after doing my own reading on the internet, most articles who claimed professional psychiatrist stated this show could spur real life copy-cats, no where did they even give any reference of credibility of such professionals or case studies. Once again, alternate facts looms over us again.

And of the few supposed copy-cats that surfaced on the news after the series aired, there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship tied to show and real suicide victim. And the fact is – leaving a suicide note is not a new thing. Of course, with modern-day technology, letters are, I suppose, old school. Video and/or audio recording is probably more realistic these days.

The show, 13 Reasons Why, was not a great show and had mediocre acting (though I will say the main actor, Dylan Minnette, who’s character, Clay – who we watch as he unravels the mysteries from each tape – was my favorite). It captivated my attention enough to get me to watch all 13 episodes. Yet, 1/3rd into the show, I really was just wanting to get to the end so I could find out what lead to her suicide (the tapes gradually explained how they were all connected – but there appeared to be this looming doom which broke her soul at the very end).

Why I continued to watch the show was basically because of this:

While the suicide was a main focal point of the show, the issues that surrounded it was what people should be talking about: drugs, alcohol abuse, bullying and rape.

Especially the last two – bullying and rape (or assault of any kind).

So while the masses are upset with the show, fearing teens will be easily swayed to end their lives in a dramatic, revenge-like “trend”, I ask this… Would our teens feel a need to even consider suicide if they did not have to go to an institution day in and day out, facing such risks? When they go home, with social media being such a huge part of their lives, can they even escape it when they are not at school?

What are we as parents, the community and the school doing to prevent this warped, criminal behavior from happening? I say this because before this show even existed, this sad reality has happened before. The one I can’t get out my mind was the teen girl who was gang-raped by four of her classmates. The rapists took photos during the act and the photos went viral. Shortly after, she was bullied. Like 13 Reasons Why, she was called a slut and her reputation from good, sweet girl, flipped 180. Just like that. This poor teen suicide victim not only endured a horrible and criminal act, but then went through significantly, cruel bullying.

So for all the parents out there, outraged by this show, I ask this – what are WE doing to try and prevent this from happening in real life? If the issues on the show were not a real concern in our society, would there even BE such a show? Did we shape our culture/society to basically, give birth to the plot line of 13 Reasons Why?

I’m a bit dumbfounded why everyone seems to be pointing fingers at the show, stating it is too dangerous for teens to watch and lacks any accountability of the message. Yet what about the discussions this show has cultivated? Are we going to continue and point fingers at a fictional show (or novel which it was based off of) and ignore the fact that we have the power to make a change in society? What about the good that has come from all this controversy? What about the teens who created a project called “13 Reasons Why Not?”

People are also upset about this fictional teen leaving tapes – as if she was being selfish.

She was in pain. People who commit suicide are not thinking logically. They are not behaving normally. To blame the victim (for victimizing others in the aftermath) is a moot point. However, let me ask this – what if those tapes stop these people from making the same mistake to others? What if it is enough to bring charges down on the rapist(s)? What if it saves another life?

Honestly, before I watched the show I did not have a strong opinion of all the controversy surrounding the topic of 13 Reasons Why because it sounded like a pretty bad show. I don’t mean bad in that the subject was a horrible subject. I mean… it just sounded like a really bad show!

And, while it was not as bad as I imagined it to be, yeah, it was still bad.

I am not too swayed with this fear of teens glamorizing suicide. If they were in a suicidal state to begin with, the problem was there way before even watching this TV series.

The topics, however, were important to me. As a parent of a teen who has started discussing this show with friends (even though she has not seen it yet – she told me she is not interested at this point), I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to know what exactly happens so when she has questions or want to talk about it, I am hopefully, more ready than not.

Perhaps this show sort of sucked – but the topics are very real. We must stop the ignorance and get to the root of this problem. Increasing teen suicide rates are NOT due to this show. And we need to do something about it.

“Well… the truth is… actually… I’m in love.”

You know that scene from Love Actually? The one where the stepfather is trying to now be THE parent after the son’s mother dies?

And then the next scene we see these together, they have the following dialogue:

DANIEL: We can definitely crack this. Remember, I was a kid once, too. So, come on, it’s someone at school. Right?

SAM: Yup.

DANIEL: And what does she/he, feel about you?

SAM: SHE doesn’t even know my name. And even if she did, she’d despise me. She’s the coolest girl in school and everyone worships her because she’s heaven.

DANIEL: Good. Good. Well, basically…you’re fucked, aren’t you?

I loved how the father did not make any assumption of his step-son’s sexual orientation. Why would he assume Sam is straight when they have never had this talk before?

Let me tell you something, though. Talking to your kid about crushes and boyfriend/girlfriend relationships is not easy. Not easy at all. And it’s not that, I, as a parent, have problems talking to my 13-year old girl about it. It’s the getting her to open up to me part that’s not easy.

She’s at this age where everything is embarrassing. EVERYTHING! And she’s developed this physical tick in response to most of what I say. Some people call it the ‘eye-rolling syndrome.’ I just call it annoying.

The thing is last night, at the pub where we watched the Toronto Raptors kick ass in the NBA playoffs (see? I told you I like basketball more than hockey), I got to talking about what’s going on in her love life.

And I sort of pulled a Liam Neeson-Love Actually thing. I said, “So last year you liked so and so. What about this year? Do you have a crush on a boy… err… or girl?”

“Mom,” and of course she says this while rolling her eyes.

“What?”

“I’m not… you know.”

“What? Gay?”

“Right.” More eye-rolling.

“Okay – well, I didn’t want to assume! There’s nothing wrong if you are you know?”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore…”

I probably screwed up that conversation. In fact, she is probably mortified – and hence will be in debt in the future from all the expensive therapy sessions I will have caused her.

Spoken from a Past Abusive Relationship Escapee

I mentioned in a previous rant – the one where I just loathed not just Monday mornings, but the anticipation of Monday mornings being somewhat far worse – the numerous co-workers I have to deal with. And the stories I can tell. And yes, I realize that the title of the linked post is about zombies because that’s where the post was heading, but there was, still, a point there somewhere of the ‘werk jerks’ I sometimes I have to deal with.

This subject, however, is one close to my heart. Because in my late adolescent years lasting to my early 20’s, I was in an abusive relationship. I’ve brought this up before when describing the psychological win an abuser has over their victims. I won’t go into it further in this post except just to emphasize it’s not about the victim being weak in staying in a relationship. The victim has been weakened over time through extremely strong mind-control which is a skill an abuser has.

So at work, I have heard more than once, sadly, more than many, many times, of which each time I say something and each time I get a dirty look, where people question WHY the victim stays in their abusive relationship. Accusations and questions come flying out: Don’t they love their children to leave their husband? Why doesn’t she just run away? It’s not like we’re in a third-world country that has no support/shelters… what is her excuse for staying?

When I try to combat each of these accusations, I am met with an angry and frustrated, “Yes, I know. That’s why I started with saying ‘I know it’s easier said than done…'”

It’s easier said than done, BUT…

I’m not racist, BUT…

Not trying to sound sexist, BUT…

When will people learn that just because they use mere words to say they aren’t something doesn’t mean that what they are about to say is negated and excused… and clears them of all notions of being a fucking asshole.

I am probably not in the minority of working with dicks like this. I am aware of this being all-to common in the workplace. And everywhere else. It never makes me give up, though. I will always try to educate whomever will listen to reason (if possible). with a steady and patient voice, I always try to give them information (founded, scientific information, whenever possible) to just try and make them think.

Still, I admit, I get so tired of hearing these words. The worse are the women who say, “If I were in that position, I would grab my kids and walk away right away!”

I have heard this many times myself. So naive and immature – I wonder if these people realize they are basically saying, I am better and stronger than SHE is. Look at me! I show no empathy to the weak because they should be strong! Like me!

It is tiring. I need to try and distance myself from these conversations. Which is why I am such a loner at work. Thank God.

Being Chased by Evolved Zombies

Most Mondays are pretty torturous for me. Monday mornings being the worst part of the day.

As most will agree, it starts Sunday afternoon. By 4pm, I’m starting to do that mental countdown to the inevitable. You see, 4pm marks that time for me… That time where I know there are only a couple of hours before Sunday dinner and having to clean up and prepare everything for the start of our weekly grind… That time where I know the weekend is pretty much coming to an end.

The saving grace for Sunday nights is me looking forward to my AMC shows which includes The Walking Dead, Into the Badlands (currently overlapping with the end of the season for The Walking Dead), and Fear the Walking Dead (which will take place of both first two shows in the summer). I thank AMC for continuing my TV show addictions. Because there’s also Better Call Saul (starting soon) and Preacher (sometimes this summer). All year long violence at its best! High Five!

walkingdead_rickgrimes_zombies

Rick Grimes and a bunch of zombie from The Walking Dead

Of course, these shows also give me weird dreams. Last night I dreamt I was running around with Rick Grimes – we were swinging through the forest top trying to escape these evolved zombies whom were pissed off at us for killing a zombie friend of theirs named, Joe. They were grunting, “Joe! Jooooeeeee!!! AAUUUUGGRRHH!” as they gained speed to catch up to us.

I then wake up in the morning, partially relieved it was just a dream, but also partially upset to NOT be in the dream anymore because: a) my life is nowhere near that exciting and adventurous and I’m worried I am running out of time to be adventurous; and b) I was with RICK GRIMES FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD! I love him. In that alternate reality, I would like to have his baby. Though maybe not in a zombie-apocalypse because babies cry and make a lot of noise. Noise attracts zombies like fire to a moth. Scratch that off my want-list.

The real painful part, though, is getting to work. As I walk into the office, I am dreading the ‘good mornings’. I am dreading the same faces I see every single day here. And I dread having any conversation I have to have with most of the people I work with.

Why? They are weird. I mean, I’m weird, too. But these people are both weird and not afraid to share it. And frankly, I don’t want to have them share their weirdness with me. I really don’t! You don’t see me sharing my weirdness with them, after all. That’s why I keep a blog. So I can anonymously share my weirdness to the unfortunate souls whom stumble upon my little space on the internet and are brave enough to venture through my posts. At least they can choose to participate with my weirdness at their own convenience.

I have examples. I have so many examples of why these people are weird. But it’s Monday morning and I’m too tired for examples. Maybe another time…

A Mundane Post

I say this is a mundane post because that’s what my life has been like these past few weeks – mundane.

Free time has been spent cleaning, sorting and chucking. Work time has been spent… well, working. And some free time has also been spent working. So much to the point where I found myself emailing back and forth with a co-worker from Miami at 10pm on a Thursday night. It’s okay – albeit it was regarding a project we’re working on together, he’s a cool guy. So I like helping him. I like helping the ones who deserve the help. Even those who do not deserve help, I do end up helping them for the good of the company.

Why the fuck do I care so much about this God-damn company???

Anyway… The good news is that in between all this has been filled with moments of other mundane yet pleasurably mundane things like hikes, drinking prosecco or cava or really good red wine, reading for pleasure (The Lovely Bones) and chewing on a really good thick piece of medium rare steak.

The cleaning, sorting and chucking has been quite an ordeal. We’re making progress but every time I devote some time to this, I realize how much we have to do. How much more we have to go before I am satisfied with our living space. And while my husband has so much more time between his shifts, it’s become evidently and painfully true in that he can not do this alone. He will look at something, study it, think about it, and rather that put it in either the garbage bag, recycle box or donation box, he will redistribute it back to another area of storage. It might be a better place of storage, and it’s now been clean of dust, but the point is, will we ever need it?

That’s his problem. He is unable to let things go and while I love this man with all my heart, I have had moments of panic were I question what I have married myself into. For, I am the complete opposite of my husband. I will take a look at something and make what I call an executive decision where I ask myself two questions:

  1. When did I last use this?
  2. Do I see myself using this?

If both answers are “not for a very long time” I make a fast decision to get rid of it. And I answer myself very honestly.

For example, we came upon a pair of large feathers. I am going to guess they are geese feathers (from the plethora of Canadian Geese we are surrounded by year after year). He takes them and moves it from one shelf to another. And I stop him and ask him why he is keeping a pair of feathers. His response? Some feathers need to be kept.

Why?

Why???

Why must some feathers need to be kept? For what purpose? While I do not remember exactly how we acquired this pair of feathers I can guarantee my parents had something to do with it while babysitting Chaeli. They found the feathers and thought Chaeli would like them. Which she probably did. When she was two.

*Sigh* So it’s been a tough battle… and I wonder if I should just do it all myself. And let my husband be the one to haul the bags to the bins or to the thrift store or donation centre of some sort. And to shred the personal documents we no longer need. Because this is why our office is unusable. Since he went onto shift work (as a firefighter), he’s so much more home then I am during the week. And he’s spent the last several year “organizing” the office. Each time I look at it, though, it’s just moving piles around and not at all close to being organized.

I am, therefore, the bad person. Because I want to stay home during our vacation to clean and sort while he wants to go skiing.

It’s been somewhat a tough battle. He’s been grumpier. And I am trying to lighten his mood. But you see, people like me, who suffers from anxiety like I do, really needs to live and work in an organized space. I am more productive when my living and working space is clean. I can not cram myself in a corner in the office, which looks like a hoarder’s paradise (I’m not kidding as it is the one room I turned a blind eye and let him do what he wanted to do with it – I regret that now).

Pray for us – that our marriage is strong enough to survive this!