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What 13 Reasons Why Shows Us About Bullying

In case you’ve, somehow, missed the craze of Netflix newest series 13 Reasons Why, I’m going to insert the obligatory spoiler alert here.

13 Reasons Why is a 13 episode adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel about a girl who commits suicide & leaves behind 13 cases tapes explaining what led her to do so. If you received the tapes, you were one of her reasons why.

Not only was the series griping from the start, but it also illustrated how much damage bullying can do to someone. As someone who was bullied themselves, I felt this message was accurately depicted.

Much of what happened to Hannah Baker, the main character, appeared to be subtle bullying/harassment at first that viewers later saw grow into larger ramifications. What seemed small at first became dramatically larger over time because each awful incident did one very unfortunate thing. It made it okay to treat someone so poorly.

Which is exactly what happened in my own life thanks to the girl who thought it was okay to start bullying me. At first, she was on her own having fun with making my life miserable. Soon after, I picked up side bullies that followed in her footsteps. Why? Because it was somehow then okay to pick on me. I was the new girl in seventh grade & it became the thing to do for several girls in my class.

On top of dealing with the bullying every day, something else happened to me as a result. Apart from the cruel ones, there were actually a few nice people in my class but, after being so beaten down, I stopped trying. I stopped trying to form friendships of any kind with any of the kids in my class because (as Hannah says in the series),  “it was open season,” on me, I never knew if someone asked me to sit with them to be nice or because it would be funny/allow me to be a target for one of those girls.

13 Reasons Why had a lot of very important messages to be had & one of those messages I hope viewers take away from it is be kind to one another & realize just how much a seemingly small action from you can effect someone else’s life. We live in a world where we, still today, hear abut bullying all the time. I see the pleas from parents on Facebook asking what to do for their child who is slowly being torn apart by bullying. We see the school shootings & later learn that bullying was involved. But when are we finally going to stand up as a society & say bullying, in any form, is not okay?

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Stronger

A few months back, you may recall seeing a post on How To Spot Your Troll, where I detailed how you track someone’s location using their IP address. What you didn’t see, thanks to WordPress not allowing the last comment to show up on one of my recent posts at the time, was her last comment.

It was left on a post I wrote about PTSD. Though I don’t know the exact wording-because I didn’t care to look twice once I figured out where it came from-it said something to the effect of I had no business trying to have children when I was obviously too troubled to do so.

Yes, someone who was sexually abused & raped is more likely to develop PTSD. That is an unfortunate reality people like me have to endure. However, to say I would be any less likely to be a mother than she is couldn’t be further from the truth. I feel like it’s quite the opposite in fact.

What I’ve gone through throughout my life is what nightmares are made of. When I allow myself to sit with it, even for a while, I feel like I’m starring in a Lifetime special. I feel like my life was stripped from me. & it was.

But I got it back. & that, above all else, is the most important part of my story. 

On the post the last comment was left on, I divulged details of my journey through PTSD. Things that are no longer the case in the current reality of my life. I spilled out the darkest time of my life, when I had to finally accept what had happened to me to the fullest extent.

The bravest thing I have ever done, one of them anyway, was continuing my life when I wanted to die. I wanted to die because I felt dirty, used, and, “bad,” for the things that had happened to me. And here this lady, who was bound & determined to hate me before she even knew me, was mocking that. She mocked my triggers. My feelings. The depth of my darkness.

All of which, for the record, have only served in making me stronger than I ever believed possible.

According to her, how dare someone who was sexually abused & raped countless times have PTSD. How dare they ever think of reproducing. I guess all the other girls like me should resign ourself to childless lives. After all, don’t we need further punishment for a life we did not choose?

I did not choose to be raped. I did not choose my PTSD. No one does. No person wakes up & yells, after they theatrically jump out of bed, “I WANT A MENTAL ILLNESS!!” 

I assure you, it doesn’t happen.

My perp. took my childhood. My college years. The years that preceded that. &, sometimes, continues to take away the brightest moments of my life today.

He robbed me of relationships I’d had my whole life. Cousins I considered best friends were gone forever when the truth came to light. He ruined my holidays.

But he doesn’t get to dictate any more of my life. Those chapters are long gone.

I once had a therapist say to me, “What’s happening to you now (PTSD) is a normal reaction to what was done to you. You’d only be crazy if it weren’t.”

I have stood toe to toe with my demons time & time again. I have fought for my life every single day for a number of years leading up to these past 2 that have finally been free.

How dare you-or anyone else-ever discount that.

My, ‘mental illness’ isn’t going to make me any less of a parent than you are…..I’ll just be even more capable & stronger in those coming chapters as well.

Stop the stigma. 

Love, not hate.

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Curtain Call: Spotting Your Troll

Originally, I was not going to waste my breathe on defending my life to someone who does not know me personally. I wasn’t going to vindicate their hateful comments, judgments, & accusations of me.

I was, however, ready & willing to research how to block their IP address.

Thanks, to a friend of mine who did a VLOG long ago exposing her troll, I knew what route to take in doing so.

Word to the wise: when you comment, even anonymously, your IP address shows up. From here, you are then able to head on over to http://www.iptrackeronline.com & see where said address physically came from.

My troll had the same IP addy for every single hate filled comment I received. Thanks, to the map on the tracker website, you’re also able to see the internet provider, latitude, longitude, anddddddd a fun map showing where exactly said person lives.

& now you know fellow WordPressers (that’s a thing, right?). This is how to at least spot a troll.

Mine isn’t hiding behind a mask anymore. The, “pay no attention to the man (or, in my case, WO-man) behind the curtain,” is over.

Curtain Call.

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