Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Much Needed Discussion

I've completely fallen off the horse. I thought I got enough of a fire lit under me to charge forward, and yet nothing happened. The week was such a blur, I don't even really remember what I did instead of writing.

The one thing I do remember? Watching the latest Netflix "it show": "13 Reasons Why"

While it's not quite perfection, it's pretty darn close to perfection. It sucks you in with a mystery: high school junior Hannah Baker just committed suicide, and no one knows why this formerly perky and crafty girl would do such a thing. This opening shock is quickly followed by the main character Clay - played by the same kid who was Percy Jackson in the two movies, and I have to admit, he's the main reason I wanted to watch the show - receives a series of cassette tapes. The tapes were recorded by Hannah as her version of a suicide note, stating that each side of each tape is dedicated to a different person who created yet another reason why she decided to commit suicide. Then comes the gut-puncher for the viewers, who have already taken a liking to Clay so early in the show: "if you are listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons..." Hannah dictates at the very start of her recording.

The viewers are instantly dragged into the mystery of Hannah's downfall, as she seems quite the happy, albeit loner, teen when we first meet her. We are also nervously curious about what Clay could possibly have done to be on the tapes, how his mysterious friend Tony is involved, and who is the mystery trustee of Hannah's second set of tapes - a blackmail guarantee that the teens play along with her game of listen-and-pass until all thirteen people have heard her full story.

The show has funny moments to lighten the load of watching. Sweet moments that make you scream at Clay for being an idiotic, dense teenager. Frustrating moments when you realize that the socially underdeveloped brains of teenagers just made the situation so much worse than it needed to be; in fact, if people were just open and honest most of the issues wouldn't even have occurred.

Then the second half of the season begins. Things get massively intense and uncomfortable; purposely and masterfully so. The show doesn't let up. It doesn't allow you to come up for air until the end of the episode, and even then, if you're like me and Hubby and you binge watch it, there's no escape. Your heart breaks. You want desperately for Clay to save Hannah, and are just as devastated as him to know that there's no way he can. Most people will probably be like me and Hubby and run for the tissues, or at least tear up, as you watch the downward self-destructive spiral that not only Hannah, but most of the main cast goes through. You feel the anguish and confusion of Hannah's parents, more importantly, Hannah's mother, who is desperate for answers that Hannah, unintentionally cruelly, neglects to leave behind for them.

This show isn't just fantastic entertainment. It is a stark mirror to the tragedies that befall far more teens then should ever have to endure them. The show becomes so much more than a mystery about a girl who committed suicide and the people she held responsible for her decision. This show is about bullying, stalking, a wide array of abuse - from physical to emotional, self-medication, lack of or underdeveloped empathy, opposing truths, the list goes on.

It is intense. It is heart wrenching. It is painful and uncomfortable to watch towards the end, as it should be. It is a show that brings forward so many elements of discussion that should have already been open dialogue decades ago, but still manage to be swept under the rug as "Typical Teenage Stuff" and "Something Everyone Has To Go Through."

So, I'm opening up the dialogue.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, here are some places you can go. I apologize for any international readers I might have, these are all United States hotlines, but please, just do a quick Google search. I'm sure you'll find help. Please, look for it.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- You can also call directly at 1-800-273-8255.
Remember, you may not feel it. You may not think it. You may not believe it. But you ARE loved. People WILL miss you. It may take a few years, and that might be a painfully slow process I could never comprehend, but life WILL get better. Your death WILL NOT improve anything. Please, get help.

RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline
- You can call at 1-800-656-4673 or talk online.
Sexual assault is NEVER YOUR FAULT. It has nothing to do with how you talk, how you dress, where you were, if you were drunk, if you were flirting, if you've said yes to sex before, NOTHING. Please, talk to someone. Get help. Remember that YOU ARE THE BRAVE ONE. Your attacker is the coward.

- You can call their lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The site also gives information on how to prevent further bullying.
Bullying has always been around, but that doesn't mean it isn't cruel. DO NOT let anyone tell you "it's just a part of growing up" or "it means they like you." If you are being bullied, talk to someone, especially with the new, cruel age of cyber bullying. It may not feel like anyone can stop it or make it better, but please try, and if it doesn't get better, try again, and again. You WILL find a way out.

For a complete list of the above hotlines, as well as even more places where you can find help, please go to NoBullying.com.

Let's try for a slightly more pleasant note now. But first, seriously, if you have access to Netflix, watch "13 Reasons Why" or at least read the book it's based off of: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is one of those life-changing stories that really puts a lot of things into perspective, as well as shows people who haven't been through these types of trauma how damaging they truly can be.

*Ahem* OK, for realsies now. Happy thoughts.

I haven't written anything new, but I did manage to hop onto Google Docs briefly yesterday to re-read and do minor edits to the second scene of Please, Let Me Explain. That way I'm set for tonight's writer's group. I can't wait to floor them when I come back with a continuing story instead of another short or the start of another WIP.

I also wanted to give you guys a new piece to read to make up for my fumbling around lately. So I finally forced myself to sit down and type up another of my prompts. Slowly chugging away at January. We're up to January 9th, which proved to be unintentionally impactful for me.

My father passed away 19 years ago on January 9th, and, without even thinking about what date's prompt I was working on, I spent the day thinking about my dad simply based on the prompt itself: "The Sound of Silence."


Hubby and I also started up Bear's latest Roll20 campaign this past Wednesday, and we're continuing on tomorrow night. It was a fun, although slow, game session as everyone tried to get their barrings. I guess it was beneficial to have jumped in on Game Three of the campaign with Jolene; everyone else had the time to get the rhythm of the game and I just fell in place.

Anyway, when we last left off, our characters were all gathered in a tower to have a private discussion about who we are and what our skill masteries are as we prepare for a perilous journey to find a mystical island that may or may not exist.

The key here, is that tomorrow we're supposed to have our characters talk about themselves. Both Hubby and myself have little to no clue what our character backstories are, so perhaps that's what I'll conquer today. Have something ready for tomorrow, as well as pretend to be writing something.

At the very least, I'm going to kick my butt back into gear and start typing up at least one prompt a week again for you guys. Once I start catching up to where I am in the prompts - which isn't that far in the grand scheme of things - maybe it will push me to start doing them more frequently.

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