If you haven’t been on social media or been keeping up with any of the recent tabloids, then you probably have not heard of the craze that is “13 Reasons Why”. For many like myself, this Netflix original was once a class read during our time in high school. I can account for several times during my high school career where I found myself crying senselessly at the thought of the main protagonist, Hannah Baker depicting the series of events that lead to her taking her life.
Each day in class, my English teacher would ask us to give a summary of the pages we were given for homework the night before. I can vividly remember raising my hand and asking my professor, “why didn’t anyone help her?”. A classmate of mine would always say “well its not like she showed any signs that she was suicidal.”
His comment would always leave a blank stare on my face. How could anyone not see Hannah’s cry for help? She was a young woman mixed with wonder and beauty, but also of hurt and darkness. Trial and trial, Hannah slowly began to lose herself but it wasn’t until she was at her weakest that she ultimately decided to take her life. Its crazy to think, I can think back to at least more than once when she was crying out for help and no one decided to lend her a hand.
The first sign that Hannah showed saying that she needed help was when Justin took that picture of her on the slide and spread a rumor that allowed him to have sex with her. Even after the picture circulated amongst her peers, no one decided to step in and speak up for her. Hannah had to go about the taunts and objectifying gestures that her male classmates would use towards her. Out of all the countless faces that passed by her, no one protected the innocent young girl with aspirations of falling in love. Instead, they laughed at her and continuously put her down even when she was already at her weakest.
The second sign that Hannah showed us saying that she needed help was when she read her poem amongst the other poets at the poetry gathering. Now I’m no rocket scientist, but I know that when someone says they feel like they are “drowning” and that life has no means, instead of gawking at her in awe someone should have been trying to reconcile her with words of affirmation. Her words were so painstakingly honest and a lea for help that it baffles me that no could see past the mask she was hiding behind. Maybe if one person had actually paid attention to her words and understood the way she was feeling, then she would have still be around.
Finally, the last sign that Hannah showed us which depicted a cry for help was her change in behavior. In the beginning, we see this beautiful young woman who aspires to fall in love and gain the acceptance of her friends and then we see this reclusive young woman who has become rugged and cold. From the change in her physical appearance to the overall change in her personality, Hannah Baker is someone that could have been saved if people had decided not to ignore the reality that was in front of them.
Even though “13 Reasons Why” is a fictional tale of young woman who sadly takes her life after battling through numerous circumstances, this story can be related to so many who are battling demons of their own. For Hannah, she didn’t see a way out of the darkness, but for anyone else who is hurting or may know someone who us hurting, don’t ignore the signs. Dark times don’t last forever. Sooner or later, the darkness will fade and the light will take its place.