Thursday, May 25, 2017

13 Reasons Why


If you've watched the much raved about Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, then you probably have some feelings about it yourself. Some of my friends who suffer from depression and anxiety have said before that they found it very disturbing and they wish they never watched it. However, they said that they could relate despite it being disturbing. Friends of mine who don't suffer from anxiety and depression however, similarly said that they could relate to it and it got me thinking....

The setting is in a high school, with very real problems that you and I may have probably have once gone through. The thing is that with anything, when you're going through it, it always seems to be the hardest thing you'll ever go through and as much as you're trying to run away from the reality, it is difficult.

Our main character, arguably could either be Clay Jenkins or Hannah Baker. However, if we look at either one of them, they both suffer from some sort of mental illness and understandably the stigma of mental health disorders is prevalent in high school. Hannah Baker chose to end her life and left with her 13 tapes which outlined 13 reasons that led to her killing herself. The entire series was very well planned, the 13 tapes very well organised and the pain inflicted to everyone around who still lived, very much real. Arguably, there is the opinion as to whether or not she should have killed herself, and also, when she decided to kill herself, why did she feel the need to torture the people who caused her to end her life by making them suffer? Was this a form of justification? Why did she feel like justice would only be served by taking her own life? Hannah was traumatised by the way she was objectified and sexualised at school when she was betrayed by her crush, Justin Foley, who then goes on to date her best friend at the new school, Jessica Davis.

As heartbreaking as the whole series was, with many crises such as unrequited love, rape, ownership someone feels towards another person for providing for them, the feeling of "owing" someone something for being taken care of, the drinking culture, betrayal, depression, anxiety, isolation, taunting and things that you could possibly piece together if you've been to high school before.

However, the still remaining situation here after the death is that of the suffering that Hannah Baker's parents and her friends go through, not being able to see the tell-tale signs of her feeling isolated and being scared on her own. The story implies a lot of things, like how her mother was really strict with her, and was always at the pharmacy, Hannah however, was also filmed at the pharmacy with her mother. Hannah worked with Clay as a cinema attendant and she was showing signs of withdrawal from society, but she had hoped for a better life, and, rape was the final straw which made her want to kill herself. She did try to speak to her school counsellor about it and noted that it was the final chance she was giving towards living and to life. In the situation, we see how the school counsellor's personal mobile phone was ringing and we point out that this is the case with a lot of us, we sometimes don't listen to our children, to our partners, to our friends, because when we're out, we feel the need to be on our phones and we possibly ignore our friends, and/or the person around us who could/want to open up to us.

The series definitely brought forth the teenage dilemma that we all face as young adults trying to fit in. A lot of people think that this is limited and most specifically focused on teenagers being self-centred, arguable and most importantly disconnected to society. The teenage years of a child is considered the toughest time for parents and the pinnacle of annoyance for society. However, teenagers, adolescents, adults, we all go through difficult times and although 13 reasons why is very much a relatable series where we face difficulties, but all of us have different capacity for tolerance and what could make or break someone could leave the other unfazed. We are nurtured by the environment that we grow up in and in many aspects, we see some of the characters, such as Justin Foley and Jessica Davis being somewhat insensitive about the situation and saying that everyone goes through these kinds of things, she just chose to end her life. Whereas Alex Standall sympathises with Hannah Baker and understands why she did it and blames everyone who was mentioned in the tape as the culprit, including himself.

Hannah Baker could be considered to being a narcissist by people, but I beg differ, mainly because the narcissism comes from the series being centred around her, which basically is the point, to reveal different aspects of her situation. A lot of us don't think about the parts of other people that we don't see. So, if we don't know them on a personal basis for example, we somehow just compress their whole identity based on what we know about them. I guess the whole series really got people talking because how most people can relate to this. I don't think I would watch it again like other movies or series that I have watched before. The reason why is simple, I don't particularly want to be reminded of my teenage years, they're not particularly something that I look back at, I was a school nerd, but I had many good times for sure. But it was also a time when I struggled with my identity and how I wanted to be popular but it is also some elements of it that I face with today. So, sometimes, I personally do want to shut those emotions out because they're irrelevant if they're not affecting me.

13 reasons why was definitely a series that brought about a real thing that have plagued teenagers for years. Now, with the second season of 13 reasons why, I somehow can imagine Tyler Down, the school paper photographer as a school shooter, perhaps Clay now being back on his pills, Bryce Walker in jail, and maybe a few new characters that were previously unheard of. Now, with the release of the tapes and it being an incriminating evidence as well, the school would be going through very tough policy change not to mention being poor and not to mention that Kevin Porter may be fired from his post. Although the series teaches us of the dangers of mistreating others, it also highlights that a lot of other things could be going on in someone's head. Clay loved Hannah, but we know that Hannah did like Clay, perhaps even loved him as she imagined a new chapter of her life with Clay, but Clay who had no clue on how to date someone, he took Hannah's words at face value and perhaps that is also a factor to consider. Sometimes, girls yell at a man, asking him to go away, but really, expects him to hang around. Maybe sometimes, the person may stay, but a lot of times, we don't expect to be treated that way nor should we be treated that way.

Hannah's death is a reflection of silence, but at the same time, a cry for help that was unanswered. Although the plot had many interesting aspects to it, which was very real, but it also lacked detail in terms of just skimming the surface when it comes to emotions, and this leaves the viewer with a lot of space for input of emotions. It is a very emotional series, but it was mainly due to the personal attachment that we have to a time in our life that a lot of us remember being one of the most difficult. Perhaps teenagers who are still at school may see this in a different light, but being at University, I can't personally say if this is true, although I believe this to be very likely. High school is a time when you discover a lot of emotions which you may have never gone through before, you learn about love but you also learn about the love that was unrequited, you think back to a time when some joke that was started by someone that got you embarrassed and how at that moment, you felt isolated and you thought about suicide. People say that committing suicide is a cowardly act, but the graphic content in 13 Reasons Why, which I personally skipped, just goes to show how terrible it is. I suppose there is some courage to taking your life, but at the same time, there are a lot more reasons than the 13 as to why someone should choose to end their life.

I think everyone has thought about suicide at some point of their life at least. But, I'm also in no way advocating suicide and if you or anyone you know is thinking about this, there is always help. In the UK, the number to call would be 116 123 , they're the Samaritans. There are also student run societies that offer free listening services and you can call them and speak to them if for whatever reasons you may feel like you can't go on or if you just need someone to lend an ear. I think the series is educational but in some aspects, gives people the idea that after someone dies, people would remember them, this should not be a motivating factor, AT ALL.

Till my next post. xx

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You're terrible, I'm not

"Why can't you take out the trash for even once?"
"Do I have to do everything?"
"Why do you have to be around when I'm speaking to my friends, I leave you to your own device when your friends are around?!"
"When are you leaving?"
"You never text me first"

These are just a few things that I could come up with at the top of my head as to what we may have all probably have gone through at least once in our lives. Do you ever find yourself thinking how some people are just insensitive? Do you ever find yourself just telling yourself probably you're overreacting, but then you think, but why can't they even have common sense? Do you ever find yourself just wanting to physically choke someone, but you know that you're not a murderer and you're just too nice to ever hurt anyone? Or maybe you just say everything that you think?

Either way, my point is. Sometimes, we all go through things and we imagine things to be worse than it actually is. We spend so much time in our head, just justifying things before we even say anything. But ever sometimes thought that maybe you think too much and maybe you have even been told that? See, sometimes it may be true, but other times it may not be. What is thinking too much? Or over-thinking as others would put it? Sometimes, we just have a lot of things that we consider to be normal and are perplexed when people don't adhere to such norms. That is when you or me or anyone else starts to think about what drives someone's actions. 

Sure, call it overthinking, but in many ways, I think someone who overthinks is better than someone who doesn't give a second to ponder upon their thoughts. The reason why most people think and try to rationalise someone else's actions is because their trying to understand someone's behaviour and yeah, it may get them upset, but it's because as a person, they truly don't understand what drives another person's behaviour and hence, it leads to them just making up possibilities which can be detrimental to their mental health at times. But, also is a good example of how some people are more prone to "overthinking", shall we say and others just take things at face value.

The point is, we always spend time looking at other people's flaws before looking at our own and that's just a fact that really, I don't have to tell you, but we all do that. It's human nature. We often look at someone's flaws first before acknowledging their good attributes. You know when you say, "Yeah, she/he's just really annoying at times, especially when she/he doesn't listen but you know at the end of the day, she/he doesn't do it out of spite, I think she/he just doesn't know it". But ever think how we feel the need to share with others what we think of others? If we were aware of the fact that they weren't being malicious, then why share a negative point about someone anyway? It just doesn't make sense when you actually think about it. But you and I both, we are at some point guilty of having done this.

It's easier I suppose to lash out at everyone and point out their flaws, but I think a lot of us don't realise this, that we have flaws too and sometimes some people have a shitty personality to top that. But a lot of people are kind and never reveal those habits that probably grate on their nerves but some people really feel entitled, like everything should be the way that they want it. I am guilty of asking people to do things a certain way, for example, to put down the toilet seat after someone has used it. But the difference is, if I tell them twice and they don't do it, I'm not going to say it again because I know they're never going to do it. Some people just have it hardwired in them that they can't possibly change. The struggles with living with other people is that you have to compromise. But sometimes, there are some people who literally get annoyed over every little thing, such as the noise, your breathing, or unclean table tops. 

I'm a strong believer of being a person who adheres to the saying "You practice what you preach", but I'm also practical in terms of knowing that some people will never change. But I constantly have to hold my tongue when someone tells me something that they don't like, maybe just one thing, because they just do point out your flaws, not only in terms of your habit, but your personality and it drives me insane, especially when the said person has 10000000x infinity flaws of themselves but they just think they're perfect, or perhaps they don't but think that just because you don't say it, there's nothing about them that bothers you. I personally, to these types of sorry excuses of a person, never utter a single word that is negative, I just choose to ignore it, because in my experience, if you're sharing a house with someone, assuming you're not married to them, are only going to be living with them for perhaps a maximum of a year. So, I'd rather just not say anything that would make me regret ever saying some things than to say anything at all. Because in the long run, it's your wellbeing and your reputation that is on the line. 

Sure, they may fabricate lies about you, but if or when confronted, you never feel guilty but rather you'd have a smile on your face because you know how sick of a person they were. Okay, maybe some parts of my writing is fueled by cynicism and also laced with annoyance, but I'm just very honest. I never believe in lying and when I write, my point is to get people to see a different perspective. It's like looking at an object from different angles. You know people are nice, because they say few hurtful things but that doesn't mean they don't think it. 

So, I leave for you Machiavelli's advice on being nice. I very much agree with his ideas, do watch this short video to attain a slightly different perspective on being nice. Key note: Know the evil but don't associate yourself with the evil, twist the perspective but never have that outlook on life. Your mirror image does not have to be pure although your intentions are pure. Treating someone with goodness when they are in fact devious, does not prove you are a better person, you are good, without having to prove it, but counteracting their devious feats are what would make you successful and dissociating yourself from their annoyance will grant you freedom. Often times, it's not ignoring or shutting yourself from them, but for me, I suppose I have a different approach, I know the person that is terrible is for a fact just terrible and unkind, but I don't treat them unkindly, I just choose to not discuss matters that are personal to me or let them speak to me in ways that I don't like, by training them psychologically, yes, you can condition people and I do that all the time. It's not being cunning if anyone's wondering, it's being tactical. At the end of the day, it's your well-being that matters and of course, being nice will help you sustain that but NEVER let anyone step all over you. Learn from your lessons, never have to go through them twice, EVER.

Till my next post. xx