Somehow, not everyone in America knows about 13 Reasons Why, a series recently released on Netflix. You need to. I’d like to make it mandatory viewing in every middle school in America, but more importantly, I’d like to have every parent everywhere see it.
The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel by the same name. It’s the story of Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who experiences the very worst (but far from uncommon) that high school and growing up have to offer.
It’s a modern-day Breakfast Club that unflinchingly delves into bullying, trauma, mental health, sexual violence, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and suicide. It pulls no punches. It’s well researched and it underscores some of the most important ways in which we’re failing kids in public schools, but moreover, as a society.
The depictions are raw. This series is not for the faint of heart, but even as I type that, I’m mindful that the six o’clock news isn’t either.
The take away from the series is that we need to do better by each other, and it provides some very specific ways in which we can all do that.
My mind relates everything to music. 13 Reasons is a combination of Macklemore’s “Wednesday Morning” and The Bleacher’s “I Wanna Get Better.”
It’s about choosing to be aware of suffering – others and our own. It’s about owning our brokenness as the key to overcoming it. It’s about choosing to love more in response to hate. It’s about patience, love, and tolerance. It’s a powerful reminder that growing up is a bitch, even under the best of circumstances.
Watch it. Talk about it. Then muster the courage to really listen and really notice how those around you are struggling (nearly all of us are) (most of us are just really good at hiding it). Then just practice more frequently and fervently showing people that you care about them.
Go find the most scarred up kid you can find and show them that somebody gives a damn.
If you’re f’ed up like me, please know that you’re not alone and that it can get better. I promise it can. I got better. If I can, you can. Middle school and high school were the worst years of my life. Bullying and abuse led me to depression, drugs and a multitude of bad choices.
Today I get to help people like me overcome.
If you lack people that care, connect with me firstname.lastname@example.org