Sounds like quite the familiar opening. With the new series, 13 Reasons Why, sweeping social media, teens and many parents, are binge-watching and looking at the 13 reasons why the now famous Hannah Baker character ended her life. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of glamorizing suicide. Neither do I wish to minimize the effects of depression or mental illness. I don’t intend to speak as an expert either. I’m not. But as a teen who has faced both body shaming and bullying as well as a life-threatening disease, I think I can offer a unique perspective.
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Dear bully, today I write for every chubby girl, for every scarred girl, flawed and imperfect girl. If I upset you by wearing a swimsuit, or wearing my scar with pride, I suggest you look the other way because I'm not changing for you. You ask me to get over my surgery. Sorry. Can't do that. Heart surgery is not a cure, there's some information to enlighten you right there. And I'm neither sad, nor regretful. All I have is gratitude for life and a second opportunity to live it. The only thing I'm sad for is you. I'm actually sorry for you. Nobody deserves to be as insecure, sad, and desperate for attention like you. You can't break me you can only make me stronger, so joke's on you. See? You just did.
If you are a teen as I am, I hope these reasons will inspire you. If you are a parent, I’m sure you can come up with many others to add to this list. Either way, I hope it gets the conversation going.
Here are my 13 reasons why, even when things get tough you should hang in there. In the spirit of the series, I’ve recorded these as well, so sit down and have a listen:
Reason #1: Things aren’t always what they seem.
Sometimes you’re struggling with a situation in life where you tend to forget about the other amazing blessings that surround you. Be open to the possibility that you could benefit from a different perspective. Problems and situations can feel like it’s the end of the world only to later find out you just survived a bad day and you can most certainly do it again.
Reason #2: The struggles you are going through now are only going to make you stronger.
When life throws you curveballs you need to know how to dodge them without getting hit and the only way of doing this is by fighting through them and not becoming weak in the process. Once the struggle is over you’ll be able to take over the next one with more experience, knowledge, and strength.
Reason #3: Everything happens for a reason.
When I faced my toughest challenges, I always went back to the quote “if He brought you to it, He’ll get you through it.” Believe that you are tougher than any situation you are facing. Hang tight onto your faith and believe that in time, with clarity, you will find the purpose and reason for the challenge you are faced with now.
Reason #4: Wouldn’t you want to know how the story ends?
I love a quote from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel where Dev Patel, as Sonny says “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end.” There are endless possibilities to what the future holds in store for you. Hang in there and write your happy ending!
Reason #5: It’s only going to get better.
Once you hit rock bottom, there is no way but up, so what’s coming next can only be better. Everything eventually turns out the way it’s meant to be. If you feel like the worst has come, it’s so you have an even bigger appreciation for the good that’s coming.
Reason #6: The sun will come out tomorrow.
Annie was right. Every day is a new day with new possibilities and new experiences, no day is the same as the one before (thank goodness!) and that’s the glory of waking up every morning. There’s something new waiting out that door and you hold the handle.
Reason #7: You are not alone.
There will always be someone that can either relate to what you’re going through, or is willing to help you through it. Ask for help. Find someone who listens, comforts and understands you. Solidarity goes a long way.
Reason #8: You matter to someone.
There will always be someone whose life will never be the same without you and who would be deeply affected if you’re gone. When you find it difficult to find meaning or what matters, rely on those who you matter most to.
Reason #9: The Little Things
Maybe things that happen on the daily don’t seem like motivation enough to stay here a while longer, but think of the little things you might miss out on, like a first kiss, the pop of a bottle of champagne that is followed by chants and jolts of happiness and good news, or even smaller things like the smell of buttery popcorn. Nothing will ever compare to these small moments we barely appreciate.
Reason #10: Family
Think of all the memories that have built up over the years and the people who you call family. The people who have made an impact in your life, have been impacted by you as well. Sit down and have a chat.
Reason #11: Friends
The people who make you laugh or that make your day feel a little less longer than usual are the people you want to keep near. Friends not only are able to understand the position you’re in but they’re there to make you feel like life is worth living.
Reason #12: Love.
Even if you still haven’t found it, the possibility of falling in love is worth hanging around for. Think of all the beautiful possibilities of a stranger who turns into the love of your life and gets to sit next to you at the end of the day and think about the reasons why sticking around led you to each other.
Reason #13: Life.
Sounds redundant, and if you’re in a dark place, this may not even make much sense right now but life is so big, so beautiful, so precious, that even when it’s not perfect, its gifts by far surpass its troubles. Be kind to others, but be kind to yourself as well, and reward yourself with the amazing possibilities that the future holds. Rest assured that you belong here and that the world is a better place because you’re in it.
If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts and need to speak to a professional, please call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. We also suggest seeking professional help if you’re suffering from depression.