CAIT'S CORNER: '13 Reasons Why' is about more than tapes

Caitlen Ramey
Caitlen Ramey

Caitlen Ramey is a freshman journalism major and writes "Cait's Corner" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Caitlen at

Caitlen Ramey

“Hey, it’s Hannah,” the dead girl.

On March 31, Netflix released a new series, "13 Reasons Why," modeled after Jay Asher’s novel. This show describes the story of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who committed suicide. Weeks following her death a fellow student, Clay Jensen, receives a box of cassette tapes. These tapes contain the 13 reasons why Hannah took her own life and the people that caused her to do so. Thirteen tapes for 13 people.

Growing up, I was often a girl that sat on the outskirts of the lunchroom. I wore pink framed glasses, had crooked teeth, and wore a sweater vest on a few picture days. Middle school was full of zits, many hairstyles and the tendency to wear way too much eyeliner. An identity was something I often yearned for and struggled to find throughout my school years. “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you,” were words that were often mumbled to me by various adults and looking back I can understand … somewhat.

Words CAN hurt and you may never know how your words or actions can impact someone’s life. The people who hurt Hannah thought it was just part of being a teenager, being in high school or just trying to blend in. They had no idea their actions would pile onto Hannah and impact her to the point of no longer wanting to live. A common practice is that a harmless comment or rumor about someone will “just blow over,” but if seven other people think the same way, then that is a lot of hurt to be put on one individual.

What if: That’s the game that’s being played as each person listened to the tapes. What if one less thing had happened to Hannah? What if one person noticed Hannah’s cry for help? What if she was still alive? We must realize that every word we speak can be taken any way by the person it affects. It may seem harmless but can actually ruin a person’s psyche.

Lying on the floor, screaming and crying that I didn’t want to live my life anymore. I’ve been so broken that I thought ending my life would be the answer. But I couldn’t. For someone to feel so hopeless that they must take their own life is something we must learn from. As humans, we owe it to ourselves to look out for our own kind. Feeling alone hurts. Feeling that you have nothing more to live for is detrimental. Parents shouldn’t have to bury their own child, friends should not be left to mourn for the rest of their lives and no one should be playing the “What if” game in their head.

We only have this one chance, this one life to make our time on this Earth count. Milestones to celebrate, adventures to embark on and impacting others; there is so much to do that we cannot even begin to dream about. 

To feel you cannot live your life anymore, to give it all away, is something many cannot begin to fathom. It’s a great amount of pain. We can learn from Jay Asher’s novel as well as the Netflix series that many people today still do not understand. You never know what is going on in someone’s life, you never know the hurdles that they’re jumping through, and you do not know what is going on deep down in their soul. It’s a battle and it can be hard to pinpoint what that person is feeling unless they open up to you.

There is a brighter tomorrow. It may not feel like it in the moment, but things get better. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to get help. You are not weak. You are strong and you will get through it.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


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