I read an Instagram story the other day that said something along the lines of how we all need to unfollow the people who do not make us feel good about ourselves. I tried to count on one hand how many pages I would need to unfollow in order to feel better about myself, and I decided that in order to feel better about myself, I'd need not to exist online, period.
I can't explain how many times I've opened Instagram, or Facebook, or SnapChat, and looked at pictures and decided my life was shit. It happens nearly daily. And yet, there's a solution: delete it all.
I remember this past winter (which was like one month ago if we're discussing weather changes), I deleted my Facebook, my SnapChat, and my Instagram apps on my phone. Every morning I woke up and pressed snooze on my alarms 6 or 7 times, and then I put the phone down. I went to school, I did homework, I went to the gym, and the day seemed to be filled with productivity. There was a change in my mood from "I suck" to "my success is on its way." The moment I reinstalled those apps, I went back to sucking.
In my fitness blog page on here, I explained a journey I began in May 2016. Since that time of embarking on a fitness journey, to become more active and achieve a healthier lifestyle, I have lost 100 pounds. Every time I'm on Instagram, or Facebook, or SnapChat, it feels like I've lost nothing and have gained zero strength. People are always doing better, looking great, losing more weight, traveling to Guam, eating the chocolate sprinkled donut I can't have, or accomplishing goals that I tell myself I'll never accomplish myself.
So, why don't I just delete it for good? I can't. Can you? It's one of my biggest flaws. I feed on it. I'm addicted to it. I know it's toxic. It's like smoking a cigarette. But, like anything in life, if I can't rid of something completely toxic at the moment, I can control it.
So, for the past 2 months, I've decided to write down in a journal one or two things I did that day that I'm proud of myself for. After a week, I sit down and read all of those things and I feel pretty damn good. I do this after I've looked at social media for the last time before going to bed. So for every day I've gone to the gym and sweat my ass off, for every day I haven't yelled at customer and told them to go fuck themselves, and for every day I've read something that has lit up my soul, I write it down and remember that, yes, this is the age of toxic social media and it's a damn shame I'm infected, but I'm also human, and have the ability to practice self-control, a challenge I'm almost always excited to take on. So, for anyone who's reading this, write it down. There's something in you that your apps don't know, and something in you that they don't deserve to know.
I remember watching "13 Reasons Why" when it first came out and being able to empathize with most of the teenagers on the show (not Bryce). I had anxiously awaited season 2 and, thinking some of the acting would get worse or some critics would continue bashing it, I made sure to read all the negative reviews about the show before season 2 came out. I went in understanding what people had thought--they deemed it insensitive, inappropriate, and, like season one, exaggerating.
I agree with none of those terms. My experience in high school was no where close to what Hannah Baker experienced, but I often felt the same emotions she as well as her classmates describe. When you talk about high school, or when teenagers are angsty, everyone assumes that's just it--you're an angsty teenager, or, of course you hated high school. I think teenagers deserve so much more than that, and I think that "13 Reasons Why," in its entirety, sheds light on that idea. Some scenes were disturbing, some were emotionally exhausting, and some scenes warranted more than a "discretion is advised" warning, but, it all needed to be there, every bit of it.
Whenever I finish an episode of this show, I have a moment of reflection. I have to reconsider any words I may have said to affect someone negatively. And I'm so sure that I have. I'm sure that all the emotions I felt in high school about how awful life seemed was probably shared among other classmates. But no one talks about that. Everyone is expected to march through 4 years of figuring ourselves out among hundreds, in some cases, thousands of other personalities. And the ones who have no trouble figuring themselves out seem to make it to the top of the pyramid--a place some of us thought we had to reach to be accepted. I watch this show and want to hug every single teenager in the country. But it's not that easy. That's why "13 Reasons Why," I think, needs to include what it includes.
In the first season, so many critics said the show had glamorized suicide and some even said that Hannah Baker did not show common signs of suicide. Mental health "experts" claimed the show wasn't helping other depressed teens. Critics of the second season said the show should be canceled because of the content.
"13 Reasons Why" does not glamorize suicide. It opens up a conversation about suicide. I think we begin to glamorize anything when we describe the signs of whatever we are talking about as all the same. Just because something in high school or at any moment in life has affected me, does not mean it has affected anyone else in the same way. People feel differently about different things. People grieve differently. People cry differently. We hurt differently. We laugh differently. We do not all feel the same.
I cannot come out and simply refute the criticism that the show does not help other depressed teens, because I'm no longer a teen. What I can say, however, is that I once was a depressed teen and I often had feelings that I had no purpose to exist. Watching this show made me remember that. It made me remember friends feeling the same way, and knowing other people who felt the same way. It also made me remember how many times I wished someone would have reached out. How I wished I could have reached out. And I could've, but I didn't have that strength. I wished, at the time, for more resources. And now, I wish for more resources to keep teens alive, to pay more attention. This is why I think this show is so important, even with its explicit content. Everyone fears the truth. When it's on a screen before our eyes, and we choose to watch, we can either find it insensitive, or we can pay close attention.
I like to write; point blank. This is a little piece of me that I get to share with the rest of the world, and hey, you know, maybe you'll appreciate it, maybe it'll do nothing for you. But my writing exists, and that's enough for me.
© 2019 Silvia Iorio. All rights reserved.