Yes. I hopped on the bandwagon and binge-watched all 13 episodes of the Netflix Original Series, Thirteen Reasons Why and I actually haven’t slept because I’ve been watching it all night. It honestly made me write this post minutes after I finished the series because the series as a whole is so fucking important to tell, especially in today’s society.
I guess here are my thirteen reasons why the series and storyline are super important and how honestly left me thinking about my own experience once being a 17-year-old teenage girl in high school.
I’ve read the book about three years ago during the winter break. I got the recommendation from an actress, actually, who I was following at the time. As many of you know, Thirteen Reasons Why is about a girl named Hannah Baker, a 17-year-old high school junior who commits suicide and leaves behind a set of cassette tapes, explaining the 13 reasons (and people) that caused her to take her own life. I warn you now, the last 5 episodes of the series is extremely graphic; showing scenes of rape, abuse, and a very graphic suicide scene. If you are triggered by these sensitive topics, then watch at your own risk, honestly.
This was me. I sometimes like to call her “dumbass Liz” because, well, you’ll find out.
I’ve experienced 23 years of life, but I can only remember 19 of those years because who can actually remember anything significant before they are four years old? I’ve had my ups and downs every year, but 2012 was a different type of year for me. Five years later and I can say this was the absolute worst year I’ve ever lived. That’s not an exaggeration.
This was me on my 18th birthday. My birthday was on a school day, and for the most part, I had many people show love to me and wish me a Happy Birthday. After school, I went out with a person who was really into and infatuated with, and we both had an amazing time out and about around the city.
A week later, everything turned upside down.
I am not going to sit here and tell you what happened (it’s all on my Tuesday post on the Importance of Mental Health) but I am also not going to sit here and play myself as a victim, because I wasn’t. I will take responsibility for the things I’ve done, for the people I hurt, and for the lies that I’ve told. I wasn’t the greatest person in the world. Not only was I starting to become depressed, I started to make drastic changes without any second thought about it.
In March, I made this huge transition to being completely blonde for the first time. The process of stripping out my brunette hair color to this pale yellow/platinum blonde literally took my sister 6 hours to do. I came to school that next morning and had everyone turntheir heads towards me. I can’t lie, becoming blonde was something I enjoyed doing because it was something different and something new, and nobody in my grade had the guts to even put bleach in their natural hair. I started to stand out in the crowd, and shortly after, I started to be in more social settings.
Despite still feeling the aftermath of what happened earlier that year, 2012 was my senior year of high-school which meant “Senior Spirit Week” was a thing:
Since I went to a performing arts high school, I was also in the vocal program; a member of the highest ranking choir within the entire program: Performing Choir.
It was my third and final year being a part of such an amazing choir with amazingly talented people. (Fun fact: Ariel Tejada, aka Kylie Jenner’s Make-Up Artist, was a member of Performing Choir as well.) Performing Choir traveled around these different places and performed at different locations over the years. In 2012 specifically, we performed at Carnegie Hall, Temple University in Philadelphia, The Statue of Liberty on ABC’s Good Morning America , and in Connecticut to some place that I totally don’t remember where exactly. In the midst of my depression, Performing Choir was really the only reason why I got up in the mornings to go to school. It was my way of focusing on something that wasn’t my thoughts and problems.
In an attempt to cure my depression, I took on a new hobby, which was spoken poetry. I became apart of an organization called Urban Word NYC, a place where teens were allowed to go to workshops and express themselves through writing and sharing poetry. For the most part, my craft in poetry was improving a lot and I finally felt like I belonged. To this day, I feel like some of my greatest poetry came out of this era, and sadly it’s one of the reasons why I don’t write poetry anymore. It reminds me of the dark times in my life.
But like everything else, my depression and my need for someone to heal me took over. I made mistakes that hurt the very few people who still cared about me after all that happened, and I decided to leave. I haven’t been back since… I want to say October 2012.
High-school finally ended, which meant I was finally going to part ways with old and toxic friendships and head into college with a fresh start.
Boy was I wrong.
My first semester in college was horrific. This new stress piled on top of lingering old stress and issues made it hard for me to focus in school. Although I passed my classes at the end, it didn’t mean it felt good barely passing. By the end of 2012, I wanted to drop out. By the end of 2012, I let go of the little hope I had for myself and simply began to just be there in dead space. I wasn’t me anymore and by this time, I was still holding on to toxic and abusive friendships, and all the help people try providing for me began to vanish.
The majority of my 2012 was me trying to simply fit into groups and places that I normally wouldn’t fit into and fake a smile along the way. 2012 was simply the start of my depression, and the start of one of the hardest process to live through. You see a smile on my face here, but this is what depression disguises itself to be. I look back at this and remember what I was going through this time of my life. I was on the verge of academic probation, the person who I was still infatuated with began to treat me like shit, my friendship with Obie was on its last legs, and I was still living in someone else’s shadow for my own protection.
I sometimes miss this girl because of how thinner, creative, and talented she was. But I know I don’t really miss her. I don’t miss spending my senior year of high-school crying on the bathroom floor when everyone else was out celebrating. I don’t miss seeing Obie, the person I was always secretly in love with, being with another woman and slow-dancing with her at Prom. I don’t miss the constant paranoia for my life. I don’t miss seeing myself as this awful person. I don’t miss the suicidal thoughts and self-harming sessions.
2012 was the absolute worst year I’ve experienced, but it’s the year that made me who I am today. Because of that, I am forever grateful to had experienced it that year.