Review: 13 Reasons Why

13-reasons-why-netflix-106821Netflix started streaming the first season of 13 Reasons Why on March 31, 2017.  You can watch it here.  Whether there will be a 2nd season remains to be determined.  But to be frank, I don’t see how a 2nd season would even work, so I don’t personally expect one.  Not to mention the amount of controversy that surrounds the series right now.  For those of you who don’t know anything about the show, I’m assuming you were living under a rock like me.  LOL!  Anyway it’s about a high school girl who commits suicide, and records 13 cassette tapes before she does it, each one describing a situation or “reason” why she has decided to end her own life.

**Spoiler Alert**
If you would like to watch the show, or haven’t finished it yet and do not want it spoiled for you, stop reading now.

Alright, so down to my review.  Right from the first episode, I thought this show seemed like it was romanticizing suicide.  A girl whining and exaggerating high school drama, taking everything personally, and getting lots of attention by killing herself.  After finishing the season, I stick to that opinion.  My opinion seems to be a popular opinion amongst the few reviews I’ve read.  However, that is not the point I took away from completing the season…

I think the biggest and most important part of this show is the gigantic spotlight on bullying.  Most people who graduated in the 90s or before, who have kids in middle school and high school now, don’t really understand the new levels of bullying because we never had to deal with it.  The way we had it, we were called names, rumors were spread around, maybe physical fights or at least shoving in the halls.  But now, cyber bullying is the biggest element.  Everything everyone does nowadays is recorded or photographed.  You can’t such as pick a wedgie or wipe your nose without someone spreading a photo and putting a twist on it, making it something it was never intended to be.  It’s humiliating on a much deeper level.  Teens already have self-esteem issues due to adolescence, body-image, peer differences. media defining who we should be a what we should look like, and the list goes on.  Then add technology and cyber bullying to the mix, and its a recipe for disaster for these kids’ state of mind.

The other part of bullying people tend to ignore or sweep under the rug that is highly spotlighted in this series is the pull the athletes have in the schools.  This was an issue when I was in school too, as I’m sure it was most everywhere, in every generation.  The importance of sports is held so high in society that the student athletes can get away with just about anything they want to do as long as they play their sport well.  The coaches, teachers and parents have a tendency to protect their star kids beyond any indiscretions because they want to have a good season, or don’t want to see them lose their sports scholarship opportunities.  Besides just picking on the “lesser” kids in school, these kids tend to get away with much bigger problems such as drugs, drunk driving, even rape at times, as seen graphically in the show.  I’m sure a lot of the people who have watched this show think it’s an exaggeration, but I know for a fact it is not.  I’ve seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears.  These things happen, and get ignored just to keep the strong sports tradition alive.  It makes me question why sports are so important that the athletes can ruin aspects of other people’s lives and its all okay?!

I think 13 Reasons Why is a good watch, but mostly for adults – parents with children in their pre-teen and teenage years.  Not to be overly paranoid about suicide or bullying, but to have a strong understanding of what today’s school experience is like.  Kids are cruel to one another, and as technology changes and advances, there are more and more creative ways for them to torture each other.  And they do.  They take full advantage of it.

I’m not saying the show is spot-on about life.  Many situations are addressed in those 13 episodes, and not everything happens to one kid in real life very often.  But these situations DO happen, these problems DO arise, and we need to keep an open line of communication with our kids even if they seem to not care if we do or not.  It’s hard to get the school to change anything when there is a problem, but as long as your child knows they have people at home that care, it could potentially make all the difference to them.

As far as letting your kids watch the show, I’m going to leave that up to you.  You’re the parent, and you make the decisions for your kids.  I do recommend you watch it first though.  Personally, I am not going to suggest it to my kids, or watch it with them.  Not at this point in time anyway.  I think my 15 year old would get it, but my other 2 are too young, and I don’t want anyone thinking suicide is the way out of a tough situation.  Plus, there are graphics scenes of rape of 2 of the female characters, justification of drug use and excessive drinking, people beating the shit out of one another, unprotected teen sex, and a very graphic suicide scene.  There are kids making excuses for their mistakes and lying to their parents and law enforcement about very serious situations, and lots of sneaking around and keeping secrets.  It’s just not the kind of thing I would recommend to a younger audience, in my personal opinion.  Not the sort of thing you want to teach.

To bring it all together here, 13 Reasons Why does romanticize suicide because the main character gets all of the attention and drama she was seeking by making the tapes and ending her own life.  It is a mystery/drama, afterall, so that is what it was meant to do.  But if you can look past that to the point of all the bullying, and what today’s kids go through in the public school environment, it’s definitely an eye-opener.

Have you watched the show?  I’d love to hear your comments and opinions of the show, or my take on the show.  Let’s discuss!

Trending In My Life – April 2017

I haven’t done a “Trending In My Life” for quite some time I realized.  I got out of the habit of blogging or vlogging there for a few months.  So I thought I’d give a little update.  I don’t think I’ll try to do these monthly anymore, but I will try to do them periodically as things change.

Game: Going right back to THE SIMS with this one.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play for any amount of time.  But since I recently sold my iPad Pro and purchased a decent laptop computer, I am able to get back to playing again.

TV Show: CW’s No Tomorrow, streaming on Netflix.  And Awake, also streaming on Netflix.  No Tomorrow is a very upbeat romantic comedy that makes you look at what you would do if the world was coming to an end in the very near future.  It helps you explore the possibilities of stepping outside your comfort zone and taking chances in your life to make your life more fulfilling.  A very fun adventure, and I’m sure hoping for a 2nd season!  Awake is about a man who got into a major car accident and is living 2 realities.  In one reality he lost his wife in the crash, and in the other he lost his son.  I’ve only gotten through the pilot plus a little more, but very intriguing so far, for sure.

YouTube: I’m no longer watching YouTube regularly, so the YouTuber section will now be discontinued.  For that matter I’m really no longer vlogging anymore either.  I enjoy writing a lot more than speaking into my camera.  I’ll still post the occasional video of things that we’ve been doing, concerts, etc.  But vlogging is on hold for now.

Music: I’m always looking for new music.  Recently some of the bands I’ve been listening to are Pop Evil, Highly Suspect, Red Sun Rising, and Twenty-One Pilots.  I’ve even seen 3 of those 4 in concert this year so far!

Interest: As always, I’m learning as much as I can about the Panniculectomy surgery I had and about the Breast Reduction I have coming up.  I tend to research medical things that are going on with me as much as possible so I can be prepared.  I do this by reading not only medical articles, but by trying to find patient testimonials as well.  I found a site RealSelf.com that has been helpful with finding other patients to network with.  And of course I’ve been trying to put as much info out there as possible too, for anyone looking for information from the patient point of view.

Highly Suspect

A couple months ago it was announced that Highly Suspect was coming to Wooly’s in Des Moines on April 4th.  I wanted to go, but didn’t have the money for tickets until about a week after they sold out. Then I got my surgery date and didn’t think I’d be able to go anyway, less than 2 weeks after surgery.  So I sort of let it go.

But then there was a ticket giveaway contest…So Jake and I were just waiting for our chance to win tickets through our local radio station, Lazer 103.3.  Jake seems to have some sort of magical phone service and he tends to win tickets a LOT through them.  Haha!  Then, on April 1st he heard the cue to call and was the 13th caller, the winner!  He came inside from the garage to tell me he’d won and I didn’t believe him because it was April Fool’s Day and I trust no one on that day.  Crazy, but I’ve been fooled too much over the years.  However, it was no joke!  And not only did he win us tickets to the show, but included was also a Meet & Greet with the band before the show.  
When we showed up to Wooly’s, we were separated into a group that was there specifically for the Meet & Greet.  We were take inside about 20 minutes before anyone else.  Jake and I were first in line to meet the band.  We shook their hands, the drummer hugged me instead.  We got our picture taken with them, and then they signed our tickets. 
The show was pretty great! They have a great on-stage vibe, and the last about hour of the show was like a long jam session.  Just playing their bluesy tunes non-stop.  I was surprised that they did not play My Name Is Human, but they did play my favorite couple of songs, Lydia and Send Me An Angel, so I was pleased.
Jake got himself a hoodie and I got myself a t-shirt.  🙂  Though it was so soon after surgery, I handled the evening pretty well.  We found kind people that let us share their reserved booth with them, so that helped quite a lot.  I was very thankful Jake won the tickets, and very thrilled to be able to go!

All Worked Up Over Opinions

My opinions, especially in the last few years, have been quite unpopular amongst my Facebook friends and others who decide to chime in and comment on my posts.  I’m not private about my opinions.  But I am also very open about the fact that I acknowledge they are JUST opinions.  I know what I say is not “the rule and the law.”  It’s just a statement of what I think.  I am not telling anyone else they are wrong or stupid for feeling or thinking differently.  I know very well that everyone is different and unique, with very diverse personal history and events that make them feel and think they way they do.  That being said, I am going to make it clear that I am just as entitled to my opinions, and to my right of voicing those opinions, as anyone else.  I am always open for a good debate.  Its normal to get worked up and even sometimes a bit upset.  But abuse, namecalling, and getting all pissy is very unnecessary.  Personal and cultural diversity is what makes this world go ’round.  And just because I am against something you are for, or I am for something you are against, does not mean we can’t be friends.  We need to respectfully agree to disagree and perhaps make the consious choice not to engage in those topics that would make us say things we may later regret.

Some of those topics I am referring to are as follows:

  1. Abortion: I am very against.  Not to take rights away from women, but to speak up for those who have no voice.  I believe every fetus/baby has a right to live, no matter the circumstances under which it came to be.
  2. Gender Identity/Transgender: People who truly, as adults, go through with the change are fine (even if they can’t afford the actual treatment and surgery). I understand they have to live as their intended gender for a time before the change. Still all good. But kids (under 18) who may or may not be going through a phase, no matter how permanent it feels to them at the time, should not be given free reign to do whatever they want. There are rules and lines for a reason. Period. I say a lot of it is attention seeking and self-expression. Just like all the other stages of adolescence.
  3. Politics: QUIT ruining the planet, help the poor become self-sufficient, affordable education and healthcare for all, the right to clean drinking water, don’t be a douchebag.  Besides that, I absolutely hate politics and avoid it all as much as possible.  In my opinion its all a bunch of bullshit and lies anyway.
  4. Religion: I’m more of an athiest these days.  Spiritual, but not necessarily following any set faith or deity. I lean more toward a scientific way of thinking.  And I’m finding peace with that.  And I believe you don’t need religion to be moral or good.

I honestly don’t care what my friends and family’s stances are on these topics.  Either they agree with me or they don’t. But I certainly don’t need anyone’s validation for my opinions.  And I won’t be unfriending people online or disowning people just because they differ from me.  In all honesty I like hearing other opinions.  It keeps life interesting.  So simmer down folks.  They’re just opinions.  😉

This Will Offend You – But Keep It Private!

There is this huge movement going on right now.  It’s been brewing for a while, but now with a family member rushing into things head first and embracing many of the facets of it, it’s hard not to have some opinions brewing.  This movement is not just acceptance for race, or religion, or sexuality.  No, this movement is going so much further and deeper.  This is more about finding a label for every little feeling, fetish, and kink you could possibly imagine.  It’s one thing to be straight, or gay, or bisexual.  To dress for your gender type or to cross dress.  To fully commit to being the opposite gender than that you were born.  To each their own.

But then there are those who have to use those other labels: agender, pansexual, girls wanting to be boys who want to be girls, those who think they were born the wrong species, and so much more, so much deeper.  It’s about finding a niche for yourself, and then trying to out-weird one another.  And once you’ve gotten to your optimal comfort zone of weirdness, you take it a few steps further.  Then cry about the injustice of not being accepted by society, or of being ostracized by your family or friends, or by the other people around you.

0519efcbe613c82846167c9fd82d79a4dbc8e9-wmIn this whirlwind of labels and boxes and stereotypes and discrimination claims, I find myself asking “WHERE IS THE LINE DRAWN???”  When can you say that a person simply has a mental illness and leave it at that – treatment or not.  Furthermore, why does it have to be a public display??  I don’t go around saying “I’m a female, and I identify as a female, and I am into [this and that] sexually.”  Who the hell cares what I’m into sexually, besides my lover?  Why would I want all of that very personal, private information out there for the world to see and know?  It’s all just a public cry for attention.  Whether these people who make all of these claims about themselves are genuine or not, why is it necessary to put every little detail out there?  Why is it necessary to find validation for everything online, or amongst other people?

And though all of this irritates me so much, the advice that still rings true is BE YOURSELF!!!  And for crying out loud have some self-respect and keep private matters private.  No matter what you’re into, or what’s inside, just be you.  You don’t need to be validated by like-minded people.  You don’t need to cry and grab attention from the haters.  You don’t need to put a label on everything, or fit into anyone else’s box of characteristics.  Keep the sexual stuff to yourself, to discuss and enjoy with a lover of your choosing.  Just please, please, for the love of all that’s holy, keep it private!