The popular Netflix show #13ReasonsWhy has its share of flaws and has received some well-reasoned and some not-so-well-reasoned backlash amid controversy over the show’s depiction of teenage rape and suicide; but like executive producer Selena Gomez said, “It’s not an easy subject to talk about.” And though the TV series is far from perfect, it is an honest attempt in that direction. For what it’s worth, the whole controversy will atleast start some conversations about bullying, depression, and suicide. If you haven’t watched this devastatingly-sad-but-powerful TV series from Netflix yet, I would recommend you to. It is heartbreaking, complicated, nakedly authentic and needs to be watched; it is a very well-executed book adaptation. There are several hard-hitting quotes in the series, but I can’t over this particularly haunting quote from the final episode. Clay, the main character of the series, says, “It has to get better. The way we treat each other, and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.” And I so agree… It has to. Here are a few more to mull over.
1) On social media overdose/stalking:
“We’re always watching someone. Following someone. And being followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram they’ve made us a society of stalkers. And we love it.”
2) On education system:
“Dream big they say. Shoot for the stars. Then they lock us away for 12 years and tell us where to sit, when to pee, and what to think. Then we turn 18, and even though we’ve never had an original thought, we have to make the most important decision of our lives. And if you don’t have the money and don’t really have the grades, a lot of the decision gets made for you.”
3) On creative expression:
“The whole point of creative expression is to hold up a mirror to the world so hopefully these god-awful people can start to see themselves and make connections to help them get through their dreary-ass lives.”
4) On judging people:
“I think sometimes you judge people. We all do but I think sometimes you live to regret it.”
5) On being in control:
“Life is unpredictable and control is just an illusion. And it makes us feel small and powerless.”
6) On how we treat others:
“It’s important to be aware of how we treat others. Even though someone appears to shrug off a sideways comment or to not be affected by a rumor, it’s impossible to know everything else going on in that person’s life, how we might be adding to his/her pain. People do have an impact on the lives of others; that’s undeniable.”
7) Every little thing adds up to an experience that can wreak havoc in someone’s life:
“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything.”
8) On growing apart in a relationship:
“People grow apart, and sometimes, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
9) On consent:
“Here’s a tip. If you touch a girl, even as a joke, and she pushes you off, leave…her…alone. Don’t touch her. Anywhere! Just stop.”
10) On torment of thoughts:
“If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”
11) On rumors:
“You can hear rumors. But you can’t know them.”
12) On bullying:
“When you hold people up for ridicule, you have to take responsibility when other people act on it.”
13) In the end:
“I think I’ve made myself very clear. No one’s coming forward to stop me. Some of you cared. None of you cared enough. And neither did I. And I’m sorry. So, it’s the end of Tape 13. There’s nothing more to say.”
Sitting on that beautiful, dark wood high shelf, her good friends for bad times Whiskey, Wine and Vodka seemed to be having a hush-hush talk about her disappearance from their lives. “The real question is why is she avoiding us?” asked Whiskey rhetorically. Wine sighed but remained silent. “She looks pretty happy without us; look at her new friend, Water.” Vodka added angrily, while she poured a glass of water and gulped it down.
It’s not like she wasn’t grateful to her liquid friends for loaning her some sanity in the middle of the storm; but the worst was over. She had done it; despite everything, she had managed to get her life back. The desire to take refuge in alcohol had finally been tamed by her sheer grit to punch the demon of depression right in the gut. Those very emotions that sabotaged her life were now the lessons, experiences and scars she valued greatly.
Yes, she had her life back.
Amongst a host of things that leave me baffled about relationships is the bitter urge to destroy an ex-lover; that is one emotion I will never understand. You have known each other in the most uncompromised way… You have shared with each other the most intimate of feelings… How can all that be forgotten in a flash? I understand the emotions of grief, disappointment, anxiety and pain; but the emotion of hatred… I will never understand. Why can’t you be happy that you were fortunate enough to experience something so ethereal? Why can’t it be left behind as a beautiful chapter in the book of your life? Why would you ever want to ruin something you loved so dearly? Why?
“I have never seen you “happy drunk”. Why do you drink?” her friend questioned. She pondered over the question and responded with a teary-eyed smile. No words. If only it was that simple to quiet the stubborn tormenting voice in her head asking her the same question over and over again, she thought… Then she thought some more and tried to come up with an answer. Yes, she liked being liquored up every once in a while… maybe because it guaranteed bringing to the fore all the pain she managed to bottle up in her sober state… maybe because she enjoyed not being in control every once in while… maybe because she relished the pain that missing him brought her every once in while… maybe because her drunk self reveled in the knowledge that she still was madly in love with him despite the constant denial by her sane self… “Aah, too many maybes to deal with,” she told herself and blasted music to stop this chatter in her head. Indeed, there were too many maybes.
Driving in the rain.
Our song on the unsympathetic radio.
700 miles between us.
And I am expected to stay sane…
I keep getting comments, e-mails, WhatApp messages and more from people who connect with what I write. Many hold themselves back from commenting on public forum out of fear of being reprimanded for being too bold. One such person decided to inbox me today. There is a reason why I am sharing this, but we will get to that in a bit. Here is an excerpt from the e-mail (I have decided to share only a part of it for a reason.).
“How are you doing this? I have been following you for quite a while. It is like you are writing my story. Every post. How can it be? This is who I am. … Thanks for confirming there are others like me. Thanks for saying it out to the world what I want to tell everyone around me. You are my escape. … Please write more often. You have a gift of knowing how to hold a pen with audacity.”
First things first. I am humbled and touched beyond words. Thanks for writing in. You made my day. I never started writing with a goal; it was and still is my way to get away from the compulsion of incessant thinking. Like you, words are my escape too.
I never thought of my blog as some bold platform to write what comes to my mind, but I now do realise that is how it is being perceived. I know why you would call me audacious. I have received quite a few curious mails asking me if this blog is my story, a friend’s story or a work of fiction. Some decided it is their story. Some decided it is my story. Some decided I am twisted. Some read, got curious, bitched and gossiped to a level that was beyond my mind’s ability to comprehend. A few others are still trying to pschoanalyse me through those words.
I just have one answer for those not-so-happy readers, “The line between fact and fiction is blurred. And good luck figuring out what’s what. Please let me know when you reach a conclusion. Meanwhile, thanks for following my blog with such dedication. All the reading, analysing, judging, bitching and gossiping means more publicity… Bring it on, people!”
And for my happy readers, I don’t see why you would not comment publicly. I would love it if you do. Perception is the stupidest thing to be worried about. So let go and just be!
Words are magic. Write what you feel like writing… Shout, be brave, cry, bleed it all out… just WRITE. Let the words shatter you. Let the words heal you.