Hi. My name is “Sucker for Netflix.”
Sure, I can admit that. Why fork over $10 per month and never use the subscription, right? I get my money’s worth. And like most Millennials, I have binge-watching down to a science.
My evening workouts rarely occur without a Friends marathon streaming in the background. My hubs and I finished Stranger Things over the course of just one weekend. And my little heart did somersaults when the Gilmore Girls reunion dropped a few months ago.
Yeah…I know. Said almost everyone in my generation ever.
But there’s one Netflix series I can’t bring myself to get behind. And unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several weeks, I think you can piece together where this diatribe is headed.
13 Reasons Why.
The show that launched a thousand controversies—and even more opinions. The latest buzzword trending on social media, dominating water-cooler debates, and sparking Facebook rant after Facebook rant after Facebook rant. 13 Reasons Why has everyone talking. But it’s the people watching who I’m concerned about.
Because I watched it too. The entire season. Binged all 13 episodes in under a week. And that’s a decision I regret.
First, lemme preface that I’m not persuading you to agree. Nor will I condemn you for grabbing the remote and hitting “play.” I’m just adding my voice to an important conversation because people are going to watch—and their reactions could be visceral, painful, irrational, even detrimental.
Bottom line: these triggers are no joke. And they’re igniting aftershocks of despair in a world that struggles to find the hope.
This plot is fiction. The characters exist on-screen. But their episodic drama is the inescapable truth for actual names and faces. Human beings who’s experiences, narratives or traumas are being slashed open and torn apart by “fabricated” events with fatal implications.
It’s not just a show. It’s the current of our culture. It’s reality. But it’s not prompting change. It’s breeding conflict and cynicism.
And pain. So. Much. Pain.
I recognize what the producers were aiming to accomplish, and I maintain their intentions were positive. 13 Reasons Why does cast a fierce, urgent limelight on rampant social issues which often don’t get the emphasis or attention they deserve.
Rumors. Bullying. Self-Harm. Depression. Sexual Assault. Drug Abuse. Suicide. Real adversities with tragic endings. These need to be addressed—but where’s the redemption, the endurance, the courage to survive, the intensity to overcome?
The show’s theme of retribution turns death into a mode for seeking vengeance. For wounding those who caused your wounds in the first place. A corrupted form of justice without the vindication.
Life’s fragility. Death’s finality.
The heart breaks. The spirit crumbles. You oust yourself. It’s over. The end.
But…wait. No. There should be more to a story than just one chapter interrupted mid-sentence. What about the resolution—the conquest, the triumph—on the last page? That’s our motivation to keep reading. Persisting. Living.
Because we all can pinpoint 13 reasons to quit now and peace out from the wreckage of this world. But we have a million reasons to press forward, to confront the mess with a wink and a smirk, to focus on what’s good.
So I propose a different message. 13 reasons you’re needed on this earth. Whoever you are. Whatever you’ve been through.
1. You’re a unique, multifaceted, extraordinary individual.
2. Your words and actions convey a poignant message.
3. Your influence or significance could never be replaced.
4. You’re creative, imaginative and brimming with talent.
5. Your idiosyncrasies fascinate and attract other people.
6. Your spirit of compassion enriches deep connections.
7. You’re light and love in a dark, jaded, cruel society.
8. Your resilience today becomes redemption tomorrow.
9. Your merit isn’t based on size 0 jeans or 100 Instagram likes.
10. You’re here to fulfill a purpose designed for nobody else.
11. Your temporary struggles make you permanently stronger.
12. Your story will empower and encourage other broken hearts.
13. You’re not a victim who succumbed but a victor who continued.
Life is our platform. Our testimony.
And what’s ours is worth fighting for.