Recently people have begun to ask me if I based my Project off of the popular TV series, and novel, Thirteen Reasons Why (despite the fact that I only heard of the show a few weeks ago). I would like to say that I disagree with the messages of 13 Reasons Why. Don't get me wrong, I watched 13 Reasons Why. I thought the acting was good, I thought the plot was engaging. I believed the producers depicted mental health well... There was even a piece of me that could understand Hannah's mind as I was once suicidal. Still 13 Reasons Why and Project Reasons, are two drastically different worlds, entirely separate of each other.
13 Reasons Why deals with suicide on a different level. In each episode, suicide almost comes across as glorified. From the view of a former self-harmer, Episode 13 was extremely triggering. It gave me the old, forgotten, desire to feel the bite of a razor again. I can only imagine the curiosity aroused in someone who has never cut themselves. The entire show paints Hannah Baker as a victim. Of course, she was a victim in some aspects -- but not all. Bryce raped her, as he also raped Jessica, and that is despicable. To take away someones dignity, freedom of choice, to make them vulnerable-- is to destroy a flower bud before it has the chance to bloom. I want to make it clear, I am in no way disregarding Hannah's pain- I am however, saying that suicide was not the answer to this pain. She had countless other reasons to stay -- countless opportunities to reach out-- and she didn't. In the end, it was her with the razor. She held her life in her hands -- and she was the reason it ended. Yes. Hannah Baker was the only reason. Not Justin, Jess, Alex, Zach, Bryce, Martin, Clay, Mr. Porter, Sherri, Tyler, Courtney, or Ryan. None of them killed Hannah as they say. Though they could have, obviously, done many things differently or better.
Again, I am not against 13 Reasons Why. I just caution people about watching it -- do not watch it alone and definitely not below the age of high-school. In fact I recommend watching it with your parent. Discuss it with your counselor, talk about it, and keep in mind: no one is at fault in a suicide. Suicide is the enemy -- not the people who fed into it. Hannah was the victim of her own choices, she could have chosen at any given point to stay. She could have chosen to talk to her parents...really talk to them: without games and without excuses. While mental illness is not a choice, suicide is.
I don't like being associated with 13 Reasons Why because it goes against what my project stands for, which is reasons to stay. For every reason why there IS a reason to stay...that is what I have learned through my own experience. The reasons may be hard to find but they are there. Hannah didn't ever see these reasons and that resulted in the tragedy that is all too common in society today.
If you choose to watch this show, stay alive and find a real reason. A reason for life.