CHAPTER 6: Thirteen Reasons Why is not a Lie if You're a Reason
I"m watching the second season of 13 Reason's Why and I'm trying to find a reason why this show has gotten so much bad publicity, saying it is glorifying suicide. It is telling the god honest truth of what it feels like to be blamed for being someone's Reason Why.
Two years ago My Life changed forever at age 37 and I put on this show and suddenly remembered who I was. A Reason Why my friend wanted to die. I hadn't shed a real tear in over decade. I mean the kind of weeping where you wish you weren't alive. I began to feel these overwhelming emotions that made me want to put myself out of my misery. I wrote down a list of every person I ever hurt because I wasn't able to love or care about them but my list of people was more than 13 so I couldn't write my story around my 13 Reasons Why to live.
I wasn't Hanna Baker, I was Clay, and I was the jocks. I was anyone who didn't sympathize or relate to my friends. I had no ability to care about anything other than what was right in front of me. If they stood in my way of my goals I pushed them aside.
In June 2017 I was trying to come to terms with the suicide of Chad Raines, a father of who pre-teen girls. His wife Shelby was planning on leaving him after his drug addiction took over his personality and threatened the safety of their family. Scott and I could not believe the news but I noticed how everyone else had this look on their face like Chad had committed murder and did this terrible, selfish thing and I just went numb. I counted on my hands the number people I personally knew committed or attempted suicide. Six. It seemed like a lot if people are still freaking out any time the world is mentioned.
To me, suicide is equal to getting cancer. It's just going to happen to a lot of people...but instead of drugs healing a cancer, we rely on people to heal our emotional and psychological distress. So why is the person who feels alone and suicidal being blamed for being selfish? Would you tell a cancer patient they are being selfish because they got a fatal disease that can't be cured?
I AM THE ONE WHO WAS SELFISH. I didn't want my friend wasting my time every night she needed me to stay home to keep her from falling. I didn't want my friend ruining my grades because I had to be in the hospital at 4am after her suicide attempt. I didn't want my eyes to witness her body being splattered by a 50 mile an hour vehicle. I didn't want my boyfriend breaking up with me because she needed more of my attention. I just didn't care after I tried my best to help her.
That summer I was desperately trying to find forgiveness for my Stepfather who was in the hospital dying. I went back to Bluestone for 3 weeks to support my mom. My brother Andrew came back too. We sat out at the bond talking about our teenage years in the house. They weren't good. They were brutal. I had so much anger and hatred for my mother and step dad that was just swept under the rug after I moved out of the house. I grew up and decided I didn't want to fight with them anymore. We had a pretty good relationship for the next 18 years of my life...however, what happened to us when our brains are developing at a young age will forever scar us. It creates the recipe to our personalities and my two family values were to Win and Hate.
Flash forward to April 2016 when James Christian and I were trying to manage a business. He was dealing with the tragic death of his son Zach just a week after we received a multi-million dollar business deal. I felt more pain for James than anyone could possibly understand but I was too scared to admit my own mistakes in the past after Stephanie tried to take her life and Madison took hers. Was I ever going to come to terms with my need to keep running away from all the pain? Now I live with the regrets of not being there fore James when he needed me.
Then there was Scott. The more I tried to make up for my mistakes, the more I turned my back on him. I wanted to be a better friend to Christine than I was to Stephanie. A better friend to James than I as to Christine. Where did Scott fall into the mix? He always felt he was second fiddle.
But what if Scott was the reason I hurt everyone else? I walked away from Stephanie because I wanted to be with Scott instead when I was 19. I stopped spending so much time alone with Christine because Scott thought I was hooking up with guys in bands. I stopped running around Hollywood with James because Scott was afraid we were getting too close. I killed my business plans with Freddy because he wasn't exactly the most trustworthy guy. How did Scott not understand that I was putting him first?
I started getting angrier. Feeling like I gave up my relationships with Christine and James because he was jealous. He just didn't understand what it was like to be a Reason Why someone wanted to die. Why should a piece of paper called a marriage certificate prevent me from being able to live my life the way I wanted to? What happened to us? Was I finally feeling emotions I'd never experienced before?
Was I angry at Scott or was I angry at my parents for teaching me not to trust. For making me feel so isolated? For making me feel like such a terrible person? Every time I was sentenced to my bedroom I just wanted to get out. The first few months I was incredibly depressed and sad. I cried every day knowing I was never going to have a happy family like my friends. But then I just said FUCK YOU. I will do as I please.
I was always in season so I couldn't drink or do drugs. My best friends were the jocks so it was easier to go hang out with the stars of the football, basketball or track teams on a Saturday night than hang with my friends in a band who were drinking and smoking pot.
High School was both glorious and torturous at the same time. When I watched 13 Reasons Why after losing 2 people to suicide and having 4 people severely depressed and relying on me to pick up their Distress Call, I knew what my mission was in life.
I WAS A BULLY. And apparently I still am. I don't act that way to hurt people for my enjoyment, I act that way so I don't feel pain. I want people to stay away from me. I don't want them to love me. I don't want them to need me. And when they start wanting me to be their shoulder to cry on, I turn the other way. I runway. From fling to boyfriend to best friend, I want each and every person to stay away from my heart. When they start getting close I either ignore them or get mean. That's all I could see in front of me when I was with James.
Aren't guys supposed to just be after one thing? Being married made it so much easier. I didn't have to navigate that challenge anymore. The romance dies down after a few years. My addiction to the change shifted to business. Drama shifted to my friendships and bosses. Scott and I just had a very stable world...until we moved to LA.
I have at least 13 Reasons Why I want to find forgiveness for not being available. For pushing away my friends and family. For breaking anyone's heart because I didn't have one to give away.
I think this show is realer than anyone can imagine. I don't like the idea that suicide turned into a message of revenge but I have to admit that was what was going on between Stephanie and I from 1998 - 2000. She needed attention and I was angry at her for ruining my life. The guilt ruined mine in the end.
We can't keep blaming the person who took their life for being selfish for leaving their friends and family behind to deal with the aftermath. If they reached out for help an you ignored them or accused them of being selfish because if they are gone you will have to with the pain, then you are the one who is selfish if you don't try everything you can to help them find help.
Maybe you're naive like I was at 19, and don't think suicide is real. But trust me, when you become someone's Reason Why they want to die you'll look at life from a much different lense. You'll be in a club that not many people belong to. Coping with death is one thing. Coping with being a reason for death is another.
My message is to everyone out there who was just like me. Your story as a teenager bullying, betraying, belittling or ignoring your friends can come around to haunt you. Those of us who are adults need to spend more time helping the teenagers (and adults) who are not struggling with depression or anxiety, to learn how to be better friends. Keeping my secrets all these years prevented me from ever allowing anyone else to get close to me. It prevented me from allowing myself to be loved. I realized it was time to stop lying to myself and pretending everything was ok.
It's really, really, really, really hard to admit that maybe I do need someone to love me even if I run the risk of letting them hurt me.