I remember when I read Thirteen Reasons Why for the first time. I was a sophomore in high school and I had yet to experience what Hannah Baker, the main character, had faced. If only I knew I would less than a year later.
Not everyone may understand, but just like her, it was the setbacks and disappointments of other people that drove me to believe I no longer wanted to live. I knew depression was a chemical imbalance in your brain, but I also knew that the constant bullying and horrible things that were happening to me made it worse.
As I sit here writing this with my green painted fingernails, staying alive and well, I can’t help but cry for the moments when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I know how it feels to no longer want the desire to continue on. But when I think back on it, I’m so relieved that I didn’t go through with it.
Here are the 13 reasons why I chose to live, and so should you.
1. I couldn’t let them win.
Not the boys who pushed me in the halls while calling me fat, not the people who told me I wasn’t good enough, not the grown adults who did not have the courage to help a lost teenage girl, and not the friends who told me none of it was a big deal. If I had left, they would’ve all won and I just couldn’t bring myself to let that happen.
2. I needed to know what my future held.
I know that may seem slim when I could hardly even think of tomorrow when I was so depressed. The things is, deep down I was dying to know whether I’d get married one day, whether I’d go to college in New York or Nashville, whether I’d fall in love for the first time, if I’d have kids some day.
3. I haven’t traveled the world.
Don’t you want to see the stars in Colorado? Eat gelato in Italy? Jump into the Atlantic Ocean? Ride splash mountain? We can’t do any of those things if we leave.
4. My mother.
I’d never laugh until I peed my pants at a joke with her again. I’d never dance with her in the kitchen after a couple glasses of wine. I’d never watch Frozen with her again. I’d never get to see her face at my wedding day as I walk down the aisle.
I know it’s something so simple, right? What about that album that’s not coming out until August? You’ll never get to hear it if you decide to leave this earth.
6. Babies’ smiles.
There was something about seeing a baby smile when I was so down that made me happy. It just proved that there has gotta be more, right? More to life than high school and the people who treat me like I’m some sort of game. There just had to be…and I was right.
7. I needed to tell others they aren’t alone.
That it does get better and that you can survive this. I knew there was more I could do after I realized I wanted to live. I knew I could make a difference, and so can you.
8. There’s a purpose for me.
I know this can be a difficult one to believe when you truly feel that that there isn’t one. But once I grabbed that tiny bit of light and slowly came out of the tunnel, I realized that it’s true. I have a purpose on this earth and a reason to be here. We all do.
9. Because I’m meant to stay.
I was born to feel the warm summer air through my hair with the windows down in the car. I was born to hear Ed Sheeran’s album over and over again. I was born to taste all the flavors of Halo Top ice cream. I was born to smell just rained wet grass. I’m meant to live, and so are you.
What will happen in the end of that series I’ll never get to read if I’m gone? I know this may sound stupid but it’s the honest truth. We are all so curious, and having tiny curiosities can keep you going longer than you think.
11. Because I am strong.
Plain and simple. I have gotten this far and I’m still here. So have you. We can keep going, I promise.
12. For the chances.
The chance to see the snowfall again. The chance to watch the moon rise as it casts its white-blue light against the pavement. The chance to eat that pizza again. The chance to live for you.
13. Because I am loved.
I am loved by my three dogs that jump with joy whenever I enter the room. I am loved by the Starbucks lady on campus who has known me since freshman year and never gets my order wrong. I am loved by an old french professor from freshman year who asks me every day how I am doing. I am loved by my family; unconditionally.
And you, you are so loved too.