Tag Archives: love

13 Reasons Why…

I didn’t kill myself.

By now many of you have probably watched or at least heard of the hit Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. It’s main focus is to demonstrate how what you say and do, no matter how small, matters. You never know what is going on in someone else’s life, so be kind, because you don’t know what impact you could have.

Obviously a huge focal point of the series is the inevitable suicide of the female lead. As the focus is more anti-bullying than anti-suicide, I’ve heard some opinions that the show glorified suicide. But as someone who’s been there, I disagree.

More people are prone to accidentally or intently being hurtful than being suicidal, that focus is warrented. That doesn’t mean the show is pro-suicide. In fact I saw many measures taken to show that Hannah Baker made the wrong choice. She died not realizing the happiness she could have had, mistaking that everyone hated her. She left behind a wake of hurt for her loved ones. It was not an easy or painless death. I’ve heard complaints the the suicide scene was shown in such graphic detail, but I’m glad it was. It destroyed the illusion that suicide is an easy out.

To people who might think it was “triggering”, it was. As someone who relates to Hannah Baker in many ways, the show brought back emotions I thought I had suppressed. It was painful to watch. But even though in the short term it hurt, in the long run it pushed the option of suicide farther away. It helped.

Most importantly it opened the discussion, a much needed discussion often hidden by stigma. It may not have been perfect, but it was needed. It missed opportunities to discuss mental health, could’ve provided more warnings, among other things. However, movements don’t go from barely discussing the topic to getting everything right. It’s a process, and 13 Reasons Why encourages that process even if it’s in the beginning side.

In my life, due to a combination of tough times, mental health issues, and life circumstances. I have been on that edge more than once, and nearly crossed it. I’m so glad I never did. I do, however, know what it’s like to be in that irrational place where you feel you aren’t wanted, needed, and just a burden. In the spirit of the show and a trend I’ve seen started, I’m going to list 13 reasons. Except these are the opposite of Hannah’s reasons, these are reasons why I chose to stay alive at various points.

1. I hadn’t made all the differences I could

I always knew I wanted to leave the world better off than I found it, or at least give the effort to do so my all, as cliche as that sounds. If I opted out of life early I wasn’t giving that effort my all, I wasn’t fulfilling what I saw as my purpose, I was leaving future people I could help out.

2. I always had someone

My grandma always said all it takes is one person to change the course of someone else’s life. I can speak to the truth of this. I always had someone in my life who was there to listien, there to care, and that made all the difference. It wasn’t always the same person, but that’s ok.

3. I had to get back to Ireland

I know my friends tease me for talking non-stop about my adopted home, but there’s a reason. When I was 7 I apparently asked all my cousins to adopt me so I didn’t have to go back to America. Ireland was one of the only places in my life where I felt like I fit in. Sure it’s good to be unique, (something my preschool teacher often called me but not convincingly in a complimentary way), but sometimes it’s nice to just feel at home. I hold on to this goal so tightly because it gives me hope. It’s a light even in my darkest times that I have something to look forward to.

4. My family

We’ve been through so much as a unit that I wouldn’t want to inflict any more pain. They don’t deserve that.

4. I had to prove the naysayers wrong

I am very fortunate to have had people in my corner throughout my life, but as everyone does I also had the opposite. In the form sometimes of teachers or administrators even. Or people I loved. To some, expectations were low of me. I wouldn’t go to college. I would get addicted to drugs. I would end up permanently hospitalized, or never leaving home. I had to show them they were wrong. That I was resilient. That I was more than what happened to me or what I was diagnosed as. I had to show them I could achieve not only a normal life, but a great one.

5. Laughter

I love laughing. I love corny jokes, memes, puns, and all the likes. I love that euphoric feeling of joy that comes with it. Most of all I love sharing that with people. I didn’t want to miss out on any more laughs.

6. Whatever the hit show was at the time

Yes, I’m aware I watch a lot of TV and movies. Not only is it a great distraction but if it’s good it keeps me on my toes. I need to know what happens next. Which helps keep me thinking of the future.

7. So much of the world I haven’t seen

I love travel. I love experiencing new things and cultures and atmospheres. Each time you come away enlightened. I wanted to give myself a shot those experiences. Whether it be a new nature spot or a trip to Wellington, I didn’t want to end my chances of reaching it.

8. All the fluffy things

As much as I deny being a girly girl, I will squeal at the sight of 99.9% of animals. Highly ironic since I’m allergic to most, but all the same I can’t miss out on the joy of affection from these sweet creatures. Even just looking at them is a goodness I want to keep available.

9. I don’t know what happens after death

It’s natural to fear the unknown. The afterlife is a highly debated unknown. There are theories, but no one knows for sure. I like to think the afterlife is something like the one in What Dreams May Come, but I don’t know. And in that depiction people who commit suicide continue in the depths of despair. I’d like to pick that part of the depiction and change it, but I don’t have that kind of power, and I have no way of knowing what waits for me. Sometimes it’s easier choosing the harder now than the frightening unknown.

10. I want to live to be 105

I know this is a strange one. But basically, if I live to be 105 I will have lived in 3 centuries and have memories in each. I’m aware this is unlikely, but why ruin my shot?

11. I want to see where the world goes

My grandpa is 94 and my grandma is 90. They often talk about how much the world has changed in their lifetime and memories. I want that opportunity. I want to see what technology is developed, where medicine goes, what the country lines are. I’m curious. I know the world isn’t looking too great at the moment, but I have faith it can change. 

12. Discoveries

Look, I’m not saying we are gonna find Atlantis, I’m just saying a lot of the Ocean hasn’t been explored a bunch. And what about Space? What discoveries will I make about myself if I keep living? Maybe I’m secretly great at something I had no idea about. I wand to discover what it’s like to have a family. I want to see these discoveries to happen.

13. Memories

If I committed suicide there would be countless memories I’d miss out on. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, nights out, nights in, and even alone time. Some will be bad, and some will be good. But the good times are worth the bad.

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Thinking of Others

A personal and extremely sappy post.

I love interviews. I love talking. I’ve done so many at this stage that I have stock answers for generic questions. Whenever asked what my biggest weakness is I always tell the truth. My biggest weakness is also my biggest strength: that I care too much. It both fuels my efforts and fuels my emotional downfall. I take things far too personally.

Somewhere along the way caring about everything became too much- too much for my heart which has always felt things a little too deeply. I try now to care only about the things I can’t help caring about. I care about making a difference. I care about nature. I care about people. I care about performing. I care about film. I care about mental health. I care about injustice. I care about spreading love.

“Never be so busy as not to think of others.”

Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

Unfortunately, I can’t shake that I care deeply what other people think of me. I’m certainly not too sensitive for banter and jokes, but  I can’t cope with bad blood. I can’t deal with someone not liking who I am as a person. For an unfiltered and brash individual, who is nowhere near perfect, winning over the universe is not easy. My preschool teacher told my mom that I was “unique in every sense of the word” and I’m not convinced it was a compliment. I try to win people over with my open-minded nature. I’d like to think I’m witty too, though my puns are often questionable at best. My memes are pretty dank though. I digress. I live my life under the principle that people should be able to do whatever they want so long as they are not hurting someone else. If they’re not hurting anyone it’s not my place to pass any judgement. I don’t know their story.

However, the world doesn’t work in a way that being nice guarantees positive feedback. Especially when you’re as anxious as I am, because you’re bound to seem annoying at some stage. But in all honesty, aren’t we all annoying sometimes? Nonetheless I try. I don’t change who I am, but I try too hard. My fear of inter-personal conflict is so great that I will take the blame in situations that are not my fault. I only vent, avoiding gossip if I can, because I’d feel awful it getting back to someone. Inevitably I’m sure I’ve hurt someone along the way, but never intentionally. Over the years I’ve worked at getting better at standing up for myself when wronged, but am still not great at it.  Causes I can make a commotion about, but not little old me. Little old me wants to keep the peace. The world would call me a pussy when it comes to self defense.

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate […]”

Anthon St. Maarten

Inevitably, it’s hard for me to swallow when someone doesn’t like me. Especially when I myself don’t really generate the feeling of dislike towards others. I always try to see where others are coming from in their actions. Even if they break the cardinal rule and hurt someone, and even if their actions are not justifiable no matter where they are coming from (which I’ve experienced many times in my short life), that does not make me hate them. I’m not weak, it’s not easy to forgive, but in hating I stoop and am only hurting myself. I fundamentally feel everyone deserves happiness and it is not my place to stand in their way. If they’ve done wrong it will come back to them without me. I will continue to like everyone.

“You are what you love, not what loves you. ”

Charlie Kaufman

Not being liked triggers other thoughts, it emanates feelings of not being understood. Surely if my peers who don’t like me knew what I’ve overcome, why I am the way I am, what is happening in my life, they’d have more empathy for annoying quirks. I haven’t even broken the cardinal rule. Hell, I wasn’t even supposed to make it this far. Making snap judgement about my character takes away how hard I worked to get where I am.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story

I know I should just say fuck it. It’s impossible to please everyone. Sure I’m the only person I have to live with at the end of the day. It’s silly, immature, and pathetic that I want to be liked by everyone. I know I shouldn’t care. I know. Caring too much is just who I am, and as I said I don’t change who I am. But if my call home taught me anything, it’s that I can’t let what I don’t have take away from what I do; which had unknowingly happened. I’d become so concerned with pleasing the world that I wasn’t appreciating the love and understanding coming from numerous friends, family, and a great boyfriend. I wasn’t letting it be enough. I wasn’t letting my own love for myself and the good qualities I have be enough.

So, though I can’t change caring whether the world likes me, I can shift the focus to the positive people in my life. Let them serve as a blockade against my wishes that will only lead to disappointment. I can’t change that I care about everyone but I can change the depth of field in my life, the true friends in focus. Not letting negativity get to me.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Bernard M. Baruch

Say you’ll remember me?

A dark post, but it doesn’t have to be.

We all think it. We all care. Wondering what other’s think of us, valuing their opinions. In our darkest moments we ponder if they’d miss us when we’re gone. We see heart bearing social media posts for friends who passed too soon, even from strangers to the deceased. We wonder if our own untimely passing would elicit such emotion, such regret, such love.

“Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.”

Anne Frank

For my own part, I know I often feel underappreciated. Whether this feeling is supported by fact or the outside world is a debate for another time, but nonetheless it is a thought that passes through me often and probably through many others. I go out of my way to be kind. In fact it would hurt me not to be. I enjoy being supportive and lovely, even in the face of adversity. What I do not appreciate is being taken advantage of or being  taken for granted. It happens all too frequently because it is not in my nature to be anything but nice, even when standing up for myself. Inevitably people regret hurting me because my actions never gave them a reason to deservedly treat me so poorly, but that takes years of self reflection and leaves me wallowing for a good while beforehand.

I wonder, would it take a tragic end to me for people to appreciate the light I try so hard to spread. I don’t spread it because I am weak, or because I never have seen pain. I spread it because I’ve suffered and I wouldn’t wish others to feel that low. Because though my faith in humanity is shot, I have faith in every individual I meet.

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

Robin Williams

What is so wrong in our society that it often takes death for overwhelming support to truly show from a community? Support that the person being supported may never feel. Why can’t we reflect on those in our lives while they are in them. When the impact will matter for the person. Maybe if we could express our love openly there would be less sadness. The fact that more than once in conversation the logic of “I wish I was dead so people would appreciate me” has been uttered by multiple people is appalling. Tragedy shouldn’t be the spark for love. Love should flow constantly and consistently. Maybe then we will feel comfortable enough in our own skins to shine. And light spreads far more efficiently than darkness.

So please tell people in your life you love them, and why. Who cares if it’s sappy. Who cares if it’s hard. They may need to hear it, and you could be giving them the boost they need to change the world for the better.