I did it. I watched 13 reasons why, the whole season, in just one sitting. The whole damn thing, yes. And you know, even though I have no good movie taste and everybody says, “Only the first season is good,” I don’t care. Season 3 blowed my mind in a critical time of my life.
I have been back to America for the school year almost a month now. And I thought being back would do me best, and clearly I was doing great during the first week or two, but that did not last long. It is a real challenge to take care of myself when there’s no commitment. I realize making friends is something I really have to try. And now that I feel lonely, I don’t want to but effort in anything. I’m home, alone most of the time. I tried getting help, but I don’t know what to say. What to say when I can’t even put myself together? What to say when I cannot even write about it. When I can’t even understand what’s going on in my life and in my mind?
13 reasons why season 3 (13SS3 for short haha) teaches me, or reminds me, one big lesson. The greater your pain is, the more you are capable of. I mean, the more violent you are capable of. Some people took that on themselves — some have suicidal behaviors, some give themselves in to drugs, to sex, to aggressiveness, whatever make them feel most “comfortable”. Some people took that on other people. They hurt their brothers and sisters, forgetting after all each person is a human being. They abuse, verbally or sexually, those over whom they can take control. Some use others. Some help others because that’s the only way they can help themselves.
One thing I remember the most from The Silent Patient (sorry I don’t know the author name. I’ll have to look it up, but not now), a thriller I read in one sitting, is that we learn psychology because we want to know what’s wrong with us. Why we do what we do. Why we treat other people the way we did. We want the way out. We need help. That’s me. I have come to psychology because I knew it’s the only way to get out, out of my mind and to find the truth. The truth about who I am capable of. Of course, I didn’t do anything too terrible, I suppose. But I know I will some day if I don’t learn to control myself.
13SS3, those kids are broken. To thousands of pieces. They try to amend, yes, but how? They connect because of their secrets, and what kinds of secrets can kids have? A lot. And that’s why it’s serious. That’s why I call it “pain”. Kids are different from adults. Adults want things to be simple. Many give in even though they are powerful. They want to be left alone. They want to protect their families and be rightfully responsible for whatever they have authority over. Peace. And I suppose that’s how they stop seeing things. I have always wondered why my parents never asked me about the marks on my arm when it was sooo obvious to see. Why they didn’t say anything? Did they know? And did they not want to believe that their daughter could be capable of something like that — of hurting herself? Or they just shrugged it off because I was just a teenager and teenagers behave like shit?
The greater the pain, the more you want to hide, and that’s when it becomes serious and inescapable. Tyler Down didn’t do anything wrong. Or he might have. He stood up for himself and for others. He took the rights to hurt people out of the hands of those doing it. But hey, did he deserve to be raped and harassed so awfully? No. And how did he deal with it? He hid it, but not so well.
A person with great pain cannot hide it. They never tell you, but the clues are oblivious if you truly want to reach out.
No spoiler alert because I’m not gonna spoil anything. Please just watch it. It’s painful, at least to me because I can see myself in every single one of those students who pretended things were good, but please watch it and please understand. It’s heavy because it’s the truth.
As I watch through it, I think of my role as a leader on campus. As a leader and vice president of CCF. As a leader when working with the title Student Ambassador. As a leader to all international students and all the tutees I will be with — not that I’m taking authority. A leader to me is someone who has been there and will help those who follow (oh well don’t judge. There’s more on the table. I’m just summarizing one of them). How many of them are going through hell? Can you tell? I can’t. And many times I blamed myself for that. People say it’s okay. It’s freaking not okay. It’s real life. It’s real stuffs. You have to care for others because that’s how you survive.
I was left alone in the house, and to a certain extent, I chose that. I chose to be broken and it’s me that breaks myself. I didn’t reach out, because I was in this arbitrary pain which I can never explain. I feel lonely and don’t know why. I feel this and that and yes I cannot find a person who I can fully trust to share it with. I cannot picture anyone who will respond the way I expect them to, and who can help, after all. I realize if they are not on a mission to be nice people, what will that leave me? Alone. Because I isolate myself. Because I’m afraid people will look at me with pity. It’ll change everything they have thought of me. And eventually no one put too much effort in someone who never speaks up their pains. If you never say it, nobody can see it. And that’s where the world leave you. That’s how I have left many of my friends.
Tyler Down made the greatest impression in me because I can find many of hims in my life — with secrets and fears — yet hardly any one takes it seriously. I also learn a lot from each of the other characters. Clay Jensen is that one person I never understand, but I do know that even though he had little power, he changed the most because he genuinely cared. Yes, he did, despite sometimes acting out of selfishness, of wanting to help himself. Justin Foley knew he was broken and he did what it took to protect his friends. Jessica Davis was brave. She’s a survivor, and she will continue to be one and be inspirational (I mean, people like her in real life, not specifically Jessica Davis character). Zach Dempsey, Alex Standall, Bryce Walker, Montgomery de la Cruz, Nora Walker, Ani (I cannot remember her name), and more and more people, you name it, each of them had the kinds of pain that break them into pieces at night and had the courage to amend their broken souls in the morning, trying to understand others’. Why in the end Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Baker decided to see each other, although one was the mother of a rapist and one of the victim. Their kids died. And despite whatever happened in their lifetime when alive, they were still sons and daughters of two never-stopped-trying parents. The kids defend for each other and eventually for Clay, because despite the pain and the loss, they are still human. They might be capable of killing, yes, but aren’t they capable of loving also? They have the heart of human beings. That soft heart.
Let me leave you with this last thought. You never know what someone is capable of. Some people are cruel, but they can genuinely love and can change. Some people show kindness, but kindness can turn to hatred once love is outweighed by pain. Some people fail to live up to your expectations, but that doesn’t mean they fail to live for you. We all try our best in this world. We make mistakes at times. So please listen and forgive if you can (don’t push yourself too hard, though) before it’s too late. Because you never know what they are capable of.
If you wonder where this leaves me, well, it’s a reminder to myself too, isn’t it?