Voiceless Rant: The Series

A Voiceless Rant: June 2018 Edition.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

It’s that time of the month where I get to write my favorite posts on the blog:

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June has been a crazy month. It’s been a month of trying to relax and trying to give myself a break, but alas: most of the time I was all over the place. One consistent thing that happened in June was really me just going to therapy once a week and talking about these same feelings (its why a lot of my recent posts are so mental-health related, and surprise, this one is too.)

Since I started therapy, I’ve become a lot more self-aware of my behavior and the way I’ve been feeling. Slowly but surely I am trying to get some control back into my life from my anxiety, I’m trying to feel better after not doing so for a year now, and yes, I’m even trying to get a better understanding of the behaviors I’m not aware of because they are second nature to me.

Therapy sorta taught me that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is simply “because it just got worse.” I always thought something major and big had to happen in order for me to feel the way that I do, and to a certain point, there was, it just didn’t happen within the last 6 months.

Sometimes, you get “worse” because you’ve been on a downward spiral for years without even knowing it. So, how do you expect those around you to understand what happened all of a sudden?

Recently, I had a discussion with my therapist about something extremely personal that I haven’t spoken about with anyone besides my family and my partner. Sharing it with a person who I’ve only known for a month was scary but when I did, it seemed like things started to connect. Despite being anxious in social situations and with other people, I tend to become extremely anxious in confrontations, arguments, fights, disagreements; whatever it may be, I’m always on edge. I mean, everyone feels this way, it’s normal, but when you instantly feel your heart sink to your stomach, don’t remember what you’re saying, and feel like you want to give up on yourself and on life, then it’s not normal. It’s now a trigger.

Although it coexists with my social anxiety, triggers are most likely linked to trauma. Of course, people assume that trauma is only considered when something horrendous happens to a person like having an almost death experience, you fought in a war, you were sexually assaulted, you were held hostage/kidnapped, things that people will excuse your behavior for because of those things being traumatizing to society.

But what about the things that some people can move forward from, but others can’t? Like bullying? Drug/Alcohol abuse in the household? Losing close people in your life due to fights and arguments? Some of these things are extremely traumatic to some people to the point where whenever they are put into situations similar to these events, they completely shut down. Unable to move. Unable to speak up for themselves. They just sit there and hope that the moment passes as quickly as possible. And when those same people get into the same situations over and over again, they don’t remember how it happened in the past; they just remember going into protective mode and don’t see what actually is happening. That’s called being dissociated. That’s called being traumatized to the point where you don’t have control over your body anymore. That’s called knowing what to do but can’t because you feel like it’s not your body anymore.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s called dissociative amnesia and it’s a scary fucking thing to experience.

I won’t get too deep into it because that’s not what I am seeking therapy for and I’m not fully aware of its symptoms and causes and all that jazz. I’m mentioning it because you have to understand those around you. You have to understand that the people in your group of friends all have stories and secrets that they are burying and that are trying to move past them to live better lives.

Most importantly, you have to understand that people are the way they are for a reason, whether or not you personally know that reason. Whether you’re battling with a mental disorder or not, you are responsible as a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sibling, parent, classmate, whoever you may be at a certain time, for being respectful and present and understanding to a certain degree.

Personally, I want people to understand that yeah, I’m very successful with my education and yes, I have many passions and talents and I am generally a happy, bubbly person. What that doesn’t mean is that I don’t hurt, I don’t get sad, I don’t feel negative things, and that I don’t deal with triggers on a day-to-day basis. Call it sensitive, but you truly don’t know what you’re doing to a person when you aren’t aware (and don’t care to be aware) of a person’s internal battles with themselves.

This post may be all over the place, but I truly wanted to write this because I am tired of shutting down. I am tired of looking at myself and knowing what to do in situations yet I’m not moving or speaking up. I am tired of being easily triggered by other human beings in negative situations. I am tired of being misunderstood, mislabeled, and looked at as another person who is just always in their feelings and with issues.

You are hurting the people around you when you do that, and the only time people like you will care and finally listen up is when it’s too late, and they aren’t physically here anymore.

Don’t just be there; be present.

 

-Liz (:

 

Topic Tuesdays: Random

Let’s Talk: Season 2 of “13 Reasons Why”.

Hey guys, welcome back to TNTH!

*This post contains minor spoilers regarding the second season*

As many of you may know, the second season of 13 Reasons Why started streaming on Netflix last Friday. While many people decided not to watch another season of last year’s most controversial show, I decided to do so for many reasons why. (Did you get the pun?)

Anyway, I wanted to see this season because I was now truly invested in all of these characters stories and because this season was not a part of the original season and its novel, it felt a lot like watching someone’s fan-fiction of these characters, and I like that a lot. If you didn’t read my post about the first season last year, you can read that here.

Photo Credit: Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why

The first season left me with a lot of emotions, and it brought back memories of my own that I thought I was over for years now, and maybe I am over them, but the scar will always leave a reminder that it happened. A lot of things in the first season scarred me; a lot of the things that were depicted in the first season were graphic and in my opinion: necessary. I’m not saying two rape scenes and a suicide one didn’t do anything for me, but it did put me in a place where I first saw the reality of what it was like being in those situations, and many viewers probably haven’t either. Do I think they could’ve gave their viewers a better warning, most definitely, and the show learned from their first mistake and made sure to let viewers know this time around what was expected.

Because now we know what to expect from a show like 13 Reasons Why, we could prepare ourselves better this time around while watching it. Let me tell you I binge-watched the entire first season by pulling an all-nighter, and when I finished the show literally 9 o’clock that morning, I was a complete wreck. The show stuck to me longer than it should’ve, and eventually I actually started to feel a bit of sadness myself because of it. This time around, I made sure I gave myself time to take a break from it every now and then and return once I felt ready. A lot of the discussions between the characters made me really think about myself, and a lot of those times that’s when I had to stop and gather myself before proceeding. This is a really heavy show that I believe not everyone can handle and watch, and that’s perfectly fine. For those who can, make sure you take what is shown and start a conversation about mental health.

With that being said, the second season felt a little bit more laid-back, if I could even call a show like this that word. Despite the bathroom scene in episode 13 from 37:00-39:00 which I forced myself to fast forward because I didn’t want to see literal torture, the show just dealt with a lot of drama and a lot around the case on trial. In a sense, a lot of the situations these teenagers were putting themselves to felt a bit disconnecting and weird in my eyes (I mean, the fact that these kids were missing school left and right to handle their shit without repercussion felt odd to me). Also, the interactions these kids had with their parents and other adults felt a little off as well. It felt like the teenagers weren’t even teenagers, but young adults in the middle of their college careers.

Another thing that bothered me a little about this season is that the acting didn’t hit as hard for me like it did in the first season. But with that being said, a complete standout for me this season was Brandon Flynn’s character, Justin Foley. In season one, absolutely no one was rooting for Justin; many of us (including myself) was happy in a way that Jessica told him to fuck off after what happened at the party. This season, he’s a completely different person and not because he’s a recovering addict, but we see him grow throughout the entire season, and we see just how there’s always two sides to one story. Brandon Flynn did his thing this season and because of his acting, I am completely invested to see where he goes from here on out.

Regarding the story-line of Bryce Walker and Jessica Davis and the incident that happened in the first season, I personally feel like how that plot went about was realistic and connecting. Anyone who is a victim of sexual assault, no matter how minor or severe, feels as if they are stuck. We as viewers saw Jessica think out loud all of the second season, and I really liked that. Reporting sexual assault isn’t the same as telling someone someone stole your lunch money or something; this is opening up about something that personally affects you and the way you’ll live your life, and the fact that half these women who are brave enough to even speak up end up not getting the justice they deserve or get slut-shamed for “being a certain way” or “looking a certain way”. The show makes it known that in the midst of the #MeToo movement that sexual harassment/assault, toxic masculinity, consensual sex, and feminism being about empowering every woman (including intersectional), be added to the list of conversations we need to be having in this day and age.

And now some of my biggest concerns regarding the season:

Photo Credit: Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why

Let’s put this out there: the bathroom scene in the 13th episode was absolutely unnecessary and felt like a filler to add shock value to a show notorious for having one. The two rape scenes AND the suicide scene in the first season was a lot already, yet the second season really needed to add something so horrific and disturbing that at first placed my judgement on even watching the show. Personally, I feel like the show treated Tyler poorly, and not because of that bathroom scene. The show depicted Tyler as a kid who was quickly spiraling down to the point where he wanted to commit a mass shooting at the high-school. Again, a very sensitive topic this day and age knowing that just this past Friday 10 students were killed at a high-school by a mass shooter. What the show did to Tyler as a character was show us the typical “personality” and “reasons” a student would want to commit mass murder. Tyler was socially awkward, quiet, he kept to himself, he was bullied, he didn’t really have any friends, he was smart, and he was ultimately a loner who tried to be something he was not and couldn’t get out of it because he was already going through so much. While most of the people on Hannah’s tapes stood together into fighting for justice for both Hannah, Jessica, and many of the other girls who Bryce presumably raped, Tyler was excluded from that group, finding other ways to seek justice which ultimately was the most harmful way at it. Because I didn’t watch the two minutes that the bathroom scene was, I don’t know what was Monty’s motive for doing what he did to Tyler, but it felt like kicking someone down when they are already down to the ground. It just felt like there was no drive behind the fact that the show wanted some ammo (not literal) to throw in the fact that Tyler was gonna perform a mass murder.

Regarding that last line, the way that the incident was handled once Tyler got to the school felt very unrealistic. What teenage boy in their right mind is going to stand in front of a semi-automatic rifle, pleading for the shooter to stop what he’s going to do? Stopping someone before shooting up a public school isn’t the answer in how we are going to stop mass shootings in public schools. Doing a goddamn thing about gun control and access to guns is the conversation we need to be having. Clay telling Tyler that “having people talk about it for a week and then forget about it until the next school shooting” was really fucking real, but I just don’t know. The last few minutes of the last episode felt a bit “PSA on an after-school program”-ish for me. I feel like the season should’ve ended with Tyler driving to the school and have the kids who are at the school who know about Tyler’s plan look at each other like “what the fuck are we gonna do?” It would’ve allowed writers to sit down and handle what was gonna happen a year in advance before the next season (which I know there will probably be). The ending they decided on felt too disconnected and out of the entire season, in my opinion.

Other than that, I feel like this season was a good one for people who like the characters and wanted to see these characters beyond the pages depicted in the novel. I really enjoyed getting to know Hannah a bit better and see how she was through other people’s eyes and their interactions with Hannah before her suicide. What the book more so does is depict Hannah as a victim who did nothing wrong besides get involved with the wrong people and because of those said people, she killed herself. What this season introduces to us is a side of Hannah many of us aren’t familiar with (even Clay), but we are reminded that suicide victims are human too: they make mistakes and they are capable of hurting people too.

If you’re invested in these characters, I say watch the season with caution, still. Know whether or not you want to see certain parts. Make sure you take breaks in between episodes. Know that it’s okay that you do not think this show is good for you to watch regarding your own reasons why. It’s just a show trying to start up conversations that many people aren’t strong enough to start. 

-Liz. (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: Therapy isn’t a Sign of Weakness. (5/19/18)

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Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH after its very long hiatus!

With the semester finally over and graduation just a few weeks away, I can finally focus my energy on TNTH and provide some new content for you guys! I’ve missed writing on here for many reasons, and one of them being that I have so much to share with you guys. It feels good to be back.

With that being said, I wanted to share something that I mentioned a while back on here about mental health and not being ashamed to ask for help if you need it. I’ve been going to therapy for the past month.

The act of going to therapy gives me anxiety every time I have to get up and go, and only because I know I have to go and talk about things that I’m uncomfortable with. I’m still in the early stages of therapy so I’m very much still trying to build a relationship with my therapist, but I know once I get into the swing of things, that anxiety will go away. In my first session, I actually learned a lot about myself that I couldn’t see due to my anxiety. Everything I was concerned about, my therapist told me that it was impressive of me managing in the way that I do, and that my best qualities are the ones I’m not taking consideration for. For example, I told her that I’m a bit of a “control freak” because I tend to find comfort in having every project in my life outlined, and she told me that it’s not being controlling, but organized. The point is that I have to start seeing things from a positive perspective; not everything I do/am is negative.

While there are so many other things I’ve discussed with my therapist, I walked out of the session feeling lighter and more… at ease if that makes sense. Like I felt like I didn’t have anything bothering me or causing me stress on my walk home, and it felt pretty good. I didn’t feel ashamed of going to someone’s office to talk about my issues instead of just talking to a friend, I felt like I had a better understanding (and motivation) to start seeing things differently and applying the things my therapist told me into action.

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In modern day society, the conversation about mental health is becoming one that many more of us are joining. People deem mental health was “crazy” and “ill” when really half of the time that’s never truly the outcome. Mental health is just as important as physical health because you should always seek help no matter what type of pain you are in. The misconception of mental health and therapy has discouraged a lot of people to stray away from it; in a recent study by Refinery 29, more than half of Black and Hispanic Americans are more than likely to never seek therapy in their lifetime due to the stigma it carries. Therapy isn’t this place where they hold you against your will if you say something like “I feel sad all the time”, therapy is a just a place provided for you to talk out the things that are bothering you, and hopefully get unfiltered advice and techniques to overcome those issues. 

Many people my age go to therapy because the struggle of living in a city like NYC while juggling college and jobs is a lot. Times aren’t how they were when our parents were our age, and sometimes as a 20-something young adult, we constantly feel burned-out and stuck in the position we are in. Therapy, for many of us, is just a place where we could get extra help and guidance in order to move forward with our lives. It’s not this place where you have to be deemed as “insane” or “crazy”, and for the love of the god you believe in, it is nothing like the depiction that television and movies make it out to be. It’s not talking about zombies eating your cereal in your dreams and asking your therapist what it could possibly mean. It’s not you talking for an hour straight while the only words your therapist say are “and how does that make you feel?” It’s not a padded room with 3 security guards holding a stray jacket waiting for you to say something crazy. It’s not that different from visiting your normal doctor, to be honest.

If you’re thinking of reaching out and asking for help from your primary care doctor, please don’t feel ashamed of doing so. There are thousands of people like you who seek therapy possibly for reasons related to yours. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to seek out help and talk about things that make you uncomfortable, but one thing my therapist told me that I’ll probably always apply to is that you have to accept that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, because it will get comfortable all in time. 

Therapy is just the first step into bettering yourself, and the biggest step to take in the process. After that, it gets better.

 

-Liz (:

*If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult time in their life, please refer to this page of numbers that can help get you the help you need: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources 

 

 

Important

Thirteen Reasons Why.

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.

Continue reading “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

Throwback Thursdays

#TBT: All About 2012.

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.

Lemme explain.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Urban Word’s Brooklyn Open Mic Night @ Brooklyn Public Library.

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.

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Prom 2012. (PC: DSP)
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Graduation 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.

Central Park. (PC: Leona Lee)

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.

-Liz (: