I’m not going to get into a long, drawn-out, detailed explanation of why I am literally angry at this crapdaptation Netflix series. I’ll keep this short, and simple.
I lived this show, actually lived it in almost every way except for the literal dying. I wanted to, though, many times. The things people did to me, said to me, and said about me, made me feel so sick to my stomach that the pain, the helplessness, and insidious nature of the bullying I went through made the idea of being dead – of being nothing – more appealing than being in a world capable of this much depravity. I was taken advantage of, intentionally sabotaged, and more, as an adult, nevermind the emotional, mental, and sexual abuse I withstood as a child. Abuse becomes a pattern, but that’s a whole different topic for a very different time. I’m going to try and stay focused here.
I thought at one time that if they (my “adult bullies”) were given the chance to walk in my shoes, they would understand that I was a human being and that the things they said and did actually were hurting me a great deal. Obviously, once they understood how much they were hurting me, they would stop, right? They would apologize, because what kind of a person isn’t sorry for hurting someone else? I assume that to be true because I know that while I am a flawed human being who has (unintentionally) hurt others, when people have told me that I’ve hurt them, I listen, I apologize, and I make damn sure to not continue to hurt them. Unfortunately, not everyone has a conscience. Some people are so narcissistic that they can’t see past themselves, they have no moral compass and no concept of basic right or wrong, and nothing you say or do can change that.
I tried to do what Hannah did in this fictional book/Netflix show did; minus the suicide. I didn’t make verbal tapes, but I wrote a book, an actual and complete memoir about what I went through. I held nothing back, I was honest, vulnerable, and I told the truth. I didn’t expect the people responsible for my emotional turmoil to suddenly explode with regret and sorrow, but I thought, surely, they’ll at least leave me alone now, right?
I was attacked even worse after they read my memoir. They denied the things they did and said to me (despite me having proof of much of it), and they said I was the liar, instead. People believed them without giving me a chance to prove the truth. They weren’t interested in the truth.
These despicable people even contacted my publisher and told them my book was making false claims against them. (It wasn’t, at all. They literally did and said every single thing I wrote about, verbatim, no exaggerations for drama, just the truth.) The most disgusting person in this world that I know of besides our current US President, Jen, even went so far as to contact a family member of mine to try and talk trash about me, literally making a comment about how I “speak horribly” about another family member of mine (who abused me throughout my childhood, and she knew that.) I can’t even write about this, two years later, without feeling sick to my stomach at the depravity it must take to do/say something like that, to go so far as to spit in the wound of someone’s childhood abuse. I don’t know that I will ever truly be “over” the shock of that, it’s one of the sickest, most insidious things I have ever seen someone try to pull. Fortunately, this family member saw right through the sick game this person was trying to play, which was the first time I felt any true relief from this bully in years. Someone FINALLY saw what i saw, without knowing anything about this person or my situation with them beforehand. I know that in theory, we shouldn’t need validation from others to know that someone is treating us with far less respect than we deserve, but still, it was nice to know that someone else saw the same ugliness in that girl that I did.
My point is, this show is an infuriating bag of bullshit because it’s trying to tell others that if people are hurting you, you should tell them your story and show them your vulnerability. Doing so will help them see the light.
The reality is, there’s nothing that you can say or do to cause a bully to grow a conscience or a sense of right or wrong. The ONLY thing that you can do in a situation like that is to walk the hell away from them, cut them out of your life one hundred percent, and find a way to convince yourself that their behavior truly has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with their own issues. Believe me, I know that while that’s true, part of the insidious nature of bullying is that you can’t help but feel how they want you to; invisible, worthless, less-than. But don’t mistake the fact that you are powerless to change them into people with kindness and a conscience, for your own worthlessness. “You are NOT someone else’s opinion of you” is a quote someone else said, but I want to one-up that by changing it to, “Your worth as a human being is in no way connected to anyone’s attempt to depict you as worthless.” The only way you’re going to actually believe that is to turn your back on the bullies completely. That was the hardest part for me because I felt like if I did that, they’d win. I took me a long time, and I had to hit rock-bottom first, to realize the truth is the opposite of that.
When you go through a situation like that, karma OWES you, and it WILL pay up. It did for me. Religious people would refer to this as letting go of control and giving it to God. I don’t personally believe in the modern depiction of God, but I do believe in the natural order of things. See it however you need to see it, but I know that as soon as I “gave up” my life instantly got better. Good luck practically piled up in my lap, and the only thing I had to do was accept it. Life was practically screaming at me, “FINALLY, you emptied your overflowing trash can! This is great, now that you’re not preoccupied with overflowing trash, I can give you all of these pretty things and you’ll be able to see and enjoy them!” That’s when I realized that all the time those people tried to spend making me feel worthless, life was telling me the exact opposite.
It’s irresponsible, and wrong, to try and tell people that they can change anyone’s behavior. No one can change another person’s behaviors no matter what they do, and that’s the truth. All you can do is choose what and whom to allow in your life, and if someone does not treat you with kindness, you have every right to choose not to allow them to have any power over you whatsoever. If they need to put people down to lift themselves up, that’s THEIR depravity, and you can’t fix that.
Life has told me the opposite of what Jen and those girls did. It has shown me that I -am- worth something, that I have gifts to offer this world. “13 Reasons Why” wants to tell you that the enlightenment of your bullies somehow atones for the pain they’ve caused you. It doesn’t. Do NOT crave their enlightenment, you do not need their validation to restore your self-worth. People like that don’t deserve the privilege of being able to determine ANYTHING about you.
Decide that you’re better than that. Live your life treating others better than bullies treated you. They wanted you to feel invisible? Turn THEM into the invisible ones. They wanted you to feel powerless? Make THEM powerless to effect your life. Turn your attention toward the willingness to accept the natural good things that come into your life, and away from the negativity they feed off of by trying to hurt you. As far as them having consequences for how they treated you? Let karma, or God, or however you view it – sort that shit out. I promise you, it will, but that’s karma’s responsibility, not yours.
I don’t write personal blogs often anymore, but sometimes things need to be addressed. The very WRONG message “13 Reasons Why” is sending out is definitely something I needed to confront. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on ANYONE, and I hope that my experience and advice can count for something, someday.
I actually do plan on, at some point in the future, re-vamping my memoir with the added knowledge and perspective I have gained a few years after I walked away from my bullies. I have experience, and a message, that I believe is important, but this time, my bullies are not my intended audience. I want anyone that has been victimized to learn how to rise above it without making all of the mistakes I made before figuring it out. When I’m ready … I’ll tell my story, for the right audience, and for the right reasons.