Criticism

“We all
see more
flaws
in ourselves
than we do
in others.”

I know, because I do the same thing to myself. My inner critic is always there, whispering in a low voice. It always knows what to say, where to strike where it will hurt the worst. But, instead of giving in, I choose to ignore it whenever possible.

© Sarah Doughty

Thirteen Reasons Why Discussion #3

**Trigger Warning — This post covers a broad spectrum of potentially triggering topics, such as abuse, bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. Please read with caution. If you need to find help for any reason, go to 13ReasonsWhy.info.**

The Problems: Part Three

**Spoilers Ahead — proceed with caution.**

I’m back with another discussion post about the controversial TV show, Thirteen Reasons Why. If you haven’t already, feel free to read the introduction, The Problems: Parts One and Two.

In this discussion I’m going to talk about the tapes. However, this is a two-sided discussion, because there was definitely a problem, but there was something the writers and showrunners did right. I’ll discuss the latter in a later post. This one is going to center around the “revenge plot” the world is up in arms about.
In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah Baker goes through a series of devastating events that build up over time and eventually take away her sense of self. In reason number ten, Hannah’s thoughts start to take a turn from lonely, objectified, and dejected, to something much darker.

After that (mostly) disastrous night at Jessica’s party, Sheri offers to take a drunken Hannah home. While distracted, Sheri ends up knocking down a stop sign and then abandons Hannah when she insists on calling the police. Within the minutes it takes her to reach the Blu Spot Liquor Store, a fatal accident occurs at the same intersection.

When Hannah realizes the location of the accident, she confronts Sheri, who then warns Hannah, “Keep your mouth shut,” and informs her that they shouldn’t be seen together going forward.

Being the kind of person Hannah is (continuing to be a friend to people that continuously turn their backs on her) she stays silent about fellow classmate, Jeff’s death. But, at the same time, she begins thinking, “It was becoming more than I could live with.” And from there, with increasing conviction, she believes that all she manages to do is make lives for everyone else worse, and that the world would be a better place without her.

Reason number twelve, arguably the worst of all the other reasons leading up to her decision to make the tapes, solidified her resolve. So, Hannah begins to write down a list of names and works out all the things that happened and who was responsible for them. As she finishes mapping everything out and the puzzle becomes clear, she makes the determination, “No one would ever hurt me again.”

Having heard of countless other people talk about their thoughts after experiencing similar events at school, I can understand Hannah’s last effort to stand up for herself. The problem is that she lacks the ability to see what kind of an effect her tapes would have on other people.

The thing people have a problem understanding is that Hannah has had everything stripped from her and she feels that the people responsible need to know what they’ve done to ruin her life. But why does she think that?

Many adults seem to forget what it was like being a teenager, and how everything seemed infinite. Permanent. That’s because the frontal lobe of a teenage brain hasn’t fully formed yet. Hannah was in the same situation. She couldn’t fathom any other option. And unfortunately for her, she didn’t have anyone to tell her otherwise.

The decision to include Clay in the tapes was arguably the worst part. Leading up to not-so-reason-number-eleven, he was tortured. Even awaiting reasons twelve and thirteen, Clay faced the reality of Hannah’s proverbial final nails in her coffin. All the while, Tony continuously tells him to listen to the tapes, because,  “It’s what Hannah wanted.” But, as a result, he felt constant fear and anxiety.

Even Hannah admits that Clay did nothing wrong, but she wanted him to know her reasons. Perhaps the most tragic thing she says to Clay in order to justify pushing him away is, “I would have ruined you.”

I know from my own past that if I was alone when the worst of my memories resurfaced, I don’t know how I would have survived. But more importantly, as I continue to try to push through my reality of complex PTSD, those very same thoughts pass through my head on a daily basis. I constantly question if my husband would be happier without me, because it feels as though my problems shouldn’t be his to bear as well.

As probably the only person that could have been there to change Hannah’s mind about suicide, Clay was ultimately clueless about what she was dealing with. She may not have realized how much damage she was doing to Clay, and her “revenge” on the others was her last, and she believed, only way to fight back after her death.

Right or wrong, making those tapes gave Clay — and, to a lesser extent, Tony — the chance to find some justice for her, when she couldn’t get it for herself. In a later post, I’ll discuss the other, positive side of her tapes.

© Sarah Doughty

Scythe – Moon Ate the Dark Challenge

My piece, “Scythe” was submitted to the Brave and Reckless blog’s Moon Ate The Dark challenge.

Brave and Reckless

The night was black, void of all stars, and not even the glow of the moon cut through it like a blue-tipped blade, devouring that obsidian nothingness like it’s next meal. That silence, where only my thoughts, breaths, and beating heart kept me company, wasn’t enough to tame that lingering sense of desperation. It ate away at me. Each second feeling like hours, and hours feeling like days, until I’d lost all sense of time. I’d never felt more alone. But after what felt like an eternity of nothing, when the last of my sanity began to slip away, the clouds parted, revealing the moon. It shone like a beacon in the abyss, and at long last, I was no longer alone.

© Sarah Doughty (or whatever signature you’d like to use)


Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry…

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Fearful Symmetry

“Somehow,
allowing myself
to fail, or to give up,
is admitting defeat.
Laying down
and saying,
‘You win.'”

Fears are normal, especially when you’re creating something. There will always be those fears, there will always be doubts. When I started writing, I was so scared that no one would like my words, or understand where I’ve been and where I’m going, but that’s not the case, is it? I followed the practice of “Fake it till you make it,” and in the time since I’ve started, those fears are less potent. There are times I’m down because I can’t always do what I feel I need to do, or I feel I’ve somehow come up short. But I keep going. Somehow, allowing myself to fail, or to give up, is admitting defeat. Laying down and saying, “You win.” But, if I do, it will be giving power back to the man that took my childhood from me and even after his death, still haunts me. Whatever reason you want to make art, you do it from the heart, you do it because you must. You’re incomplete without it. And, the longer you deny yourself that release, the worse you will feel. Listen to those whispers that tell you to create, and fake it through your fear until you no longer feel so paralyzed by it.

© Sarah Doughty

Stay Bright

“Dearest one,
this façade
you’ve built
doesn’t fool me.”

I see the pain in your heart, the cracks in your soul. I see the light dimming in your eyes, while the rest of the world is too blind to see the truth. If I could count your tears and replace every one with something beautiful, would you see how much this world needs your light?

© Sarah Doughty

Imperfect Perfection

“All those things
you define as
imperfections
are nothing but
beautiful to me.”

Think about it this way: the moon wouldn’t be as beautiful without her blemishes and scars. She’s much more interesting than an empty canvas.

© Sarah Doughty

Wilder

How did I manage to find
such a kindred spirit,
a wilder soul,
in a world so full of
beauty and pain?
How is it that I am
so
lucky?

© Sarah Doughty

Words below are from @wilderpoetry. Her words made me cry. I am forever grateful to be her friend.

written for @thesarahdoughty
one of the most selfless
hearts i have ever had
the pleasure to know

she.
she is life.
she is light.
a brilliance
that gives
my eyes
and heart
hope.
purpose.

to know
her is
to know
love.
the undying
kind-
the kind
you hold
on to
no matter
the risk
because
in the end
it makes
your spirit
more alive.
more real.

in her
presence
i am never
far from
home.
we walk,
knowing
doubt will
fall into the
shadows
that we leave
behind allowing
us to embrace
the parts we
want to keep.

until we get
there, i will
forever be
walking on
this path,
growing
with you.

thank you
for your
company.

© Wilderpoetry