Why Tyler (from 13 Reasons Why) Story Matters

10 reasons why Tyler’s story mattered

-a brief commentary on 13 Reasons Why (the Netflix show)

If you haven’t heard of 13 Reasons Why by now, you most like live under a rock, or more realistically, you don’t care for book adaptations depicting teenage drama. The show is about a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who takes her life and leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she did so (the events that led her to do so). About a year ago, I watched the first season of 13 Reasons on Netflix. I was a senior in high school at the time and all of my peers were talking about the show and how important it is to watch it, so I gave it a go. Also at the time, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety which brought on suicidal thoughts every now and then. I wanted to see for myself how the show approached the subject of mental illness and the affect of people actions. While watching it I noticed things that a lot of people weren’t picking out during that time, the fact that Hannah didn’t show signs leading up to her suicide (which I guess was later “corrected” in the second season), the fact that she didn’t show signs of Anxiety or Depression severe enough to lead to a suicide as gruesome as hers, and she left behind tapes which placed blame (or reason) on 13 people (non of which were her parents which was later revealed to be a reason in S2. Her dad was having an affair which she witnessed which added to her sadness, and her mom made commentary every now and then about her looks which contributed to Hannah’s low self esteem). I could go more into depth about this, but I wanted to talk more about one of the shows characters and one of the people on Hannah’s tapes-Tyler.

One of the social commentaries that the show was trying to teach was to be aware of the affect that you have on the people around you (so always be kind), to showcase a story of suicide/mental illness/assault, to open a discussion on these issues, and to entertain audiences. The second season of 13 Reasons was more about after Hannah’s death and if the school was responsible for not being enough to stop it. Her mother didn’t think that the school provided a safe enough space and enough resources that could’ve saved her daughters life, so she sued them. It was also about the Baseball team of Liberty High and how the team members (all men) had bad behavior, such as rape and bullying, that were overlooked because they were jocks and received special treatment. The second season also went into detail (showed the in between events that added on to the reason why Hannah took her life.

This article today is about the story of Tyler. Tyler was talked about on Hannah’s tape for apparently stalking her and taking pictures of her through her bedroom window. He was often bullied by the jocks and students (some of which were also called out for causing Hannah’s death like Alex and Justin) because they believed that he was a perv for taking pictures of Hannah. The audience was then lead to believe that Tyler was in fact a pervert and was weird and uncool enough to be made fun of. Because he was this way, the turmoil that he faced was often overlooked and justified throughout the show.

What I think a whole lot of people overlooked when it came to the character of Tyler was that he was actually a good kid who got the worse of the bullying, simply for being different. In the 2nd season of the show, it shows the whole story of how Tyler ended up in Hannah’s front yard and how he took a photo of her.

Tyler was one of the first students to introduce himself to Hannah at the beginning of the school year. He offered to give her a photo shoot and she accepted. During the photo shoot he noticed how beautiful she was. He went over her house to drop off the photos from the photo shoot to show her how beautiful she was because earlier in the day Hannah was upset about the rumor going around with her and Justin (there was a photo of Hannah going down the slide that showed her underwear and made it look as if she showed it to Justin during their date). Tyler’s mistake was asking Hannah for a second photo shoot while she was dealing with the issue of the embarrassing photo that was spread around the school. It was in bad taste and Hannah thought Tyler was just asking to take photos of her because she was “easy” when in reality Tyler wanted to help her because of the rumor. He thought having a 2nd photo shoot would show her how beautiful she was and would help the situation. Take note that Tyler shows signs of some form of either autism or social impair which isn’t really addressed directly on the show but the signs are clear. He’s a little OCD as described by his friend Cyrus when they are vandalizing the school yard and Tyler outlines Rapist on the grass before lighting it with gasoline and when he wanted butter on specifically half of his popcorn while on a date to the movies, Tyler mentioned that he doesn’t get irony one time, he often speaks in a monotoned or unsure voice, he says things that people misunderstand (like when he asked Hannah for a second photo shoot) because of the way he phrases the sentence, he doesn’t get a lot of social cues which is why he takes a lot of photos of students and which is why when he talks to a lot of students he is teased after, photography is the one subject that he is good at and in which he enjoys, it isn’t easy for him to make friends and when he does he adapts to their characteristics as he did when he became friends with Cyrus, the Punk rock poser.

1. The message of the show is to be nicer to others and this causes the characters (Hannah’s friends and the people who knew her) to question what they did wrong that could’ve led to her suicide. With this in mind, most of the characters still act the same after the tapes and her suicide personality wise (which proves their actions were hurtful to Hannah given their individual situation but didn’t directly cause her to kill herself). They even continue to bully and yell at Tyler as if he was alone in causing Hannah to take her life. An example of this was Alex’s birthday party. When Tyler showed up because he was invited by Alex, Zach yells at him to leave and calls him a perv. He is called a pervert several times throughout both seasons and is the main cause of his bullying. Everyone seems to think that Tyler photographing Hannah, although wrong, is worthy of constant teasing and isolation. The kids aren’t nicer to Tyler. In fact, they don’t question how their actions could affect Tyler (which later on leads to him planning to shoot up the school).

2. Although Tyler was in the tapes, he isn’t included in their friend group. Jessica, Justin (who we will talk about in a little bit), Alex, Zach, and Clay to name some, have basically formed a group to discuss Hannah’s death and to move on after everything that has happened. They all did something that Hannah thought was worthy of getting a tape (or reason) yet they aren’t blamed as much as Tyler. They stick together (maybe not at first but later on in the seasons) through everything and deal with their conflicts together often having each other’s backs, while Tyler has no one and is still being bullied for what he did.

3. Justin was on Hannah’s tapes for allowing Bryce to send a photo around to the whole school of her going down the slide in her underwear. The reason Justin hasn’t gotten much hate compared to Tyler is because he’s the “sad boy” of the group and everything he does is justified because of his relationship with Jessica and his unfortunate upbringing. He comes from a broken home, dated Jessica (and was involved in her rape which I’ll talk about next), and is best friend with Bryce who is a bully and a rapist (although they fall apart later on after Bryce rapes Jessica). The problem with Justin is that people never blame him hard enough for the things he committed, although he didn’t try hard enough to stop Jessica’s rape because he was afraid of losing his friendship with Bryce (which caused Jessica so much pain). Then he convinced Jessica that they were the ones who had sex the next day after her rape and covered up for Bryce until he was forced to admit what happened. In that moment, he decided that his friendship with Bryce meant more than his then girlfriend being raped. He tried to stop it but gave up and cried instead of calling the police or alerting someone, and he gave up simply because he didn’t want his friendship with Bryce to end. He did an incredibly selfish and horrible thing but was allowed back in the group and was later forgiven by Jessica (they even hooked up again at the school dance) because their fucked up relationship is idealized. He even stole money from his moms boyfriend twice and the second time he did it his mom told him that it can get her killed once her boyfriend (who’d a drug dealer) finds out, but he did it anyway and left her with $200 to get away out of like 2,000 bucks (knowing his mom had a history of not being able to leave this guy). When asked by Justin if they can both leave together she says she can’t because “he loves me” referring to her drug dealing boyfriend. We aren’t sure what happened with his mom, but most likely she got murdered or beaten by the boyfriend because Justin stole money again to run away again. Again he does a selfish thing under the excuse of being “broken” and troubled, as if his actions doesn’t have consequences. Justin gets away with stuff because the audience of the show is suppose to ship his and Jessica’s relationship although he was an accessory to her rape, covered it up after it happened, and played the “broken home” card to get Jessica to keep loving him instead of giving her space to heal.

4. Tyler isn’t a crazy gun fanatic. He owns a lot of guns, but he’s responsible enough to store them away, and put on the safety when he isn’t shooting. He is a little irresponsible with them though, but not at a super dangerous level. He doesn’t get the idea to shoot the school, until after his gruesome assault (although he mentioned it earlier while with his friend Cyrus, he wasn’t going to go through with it, especially since he finished his behavior program and was ready to change for the better). He did shoot a bird which showed recklessness with his guns (but that was more him being lost and a punk teenage boy than him wanting to harm animals. Even Cyrus asks him in an interested voice if he hit the bird), but after the program he changed and put all of his weapons in his basement, removing them from his bedroom as if to say that he wanted to move on and get better.

5. Tyler isn’t a bad kid. After finishing his behavior program that he had to take for vandalizing the school’s sports field with his friend, he came back a happier and changed kid. He realized his wrong doings and wanted to move forward. But upon returning he was bullied and assaulted, also his only friend Cyrus didn’t want to hang with him anymore and his ex girlfriend, Cyrus’ sister, starting dating someone else. Although he was friendless and without love, he was still optimistic.

6. Tyler was lonely. There’s a whole episode dedicated to loneliness and how Hannah was lonely which is why she remained in contact with Justin. Despite making friends easily and easier than most kids and having a strong personality, Hannah’s loneliness is emphasized greatly, while Tyler’s loneliness and lack of identity is overlooked. Tyler is lonely, and we can see this when he meets Cyrus and feels as if he finally belongs to a group. When Cyrus dumps him as a friend, and Cyrus’ sister dumps him as a girlfriend (after she told her unreliable friend about Tyler’s embarrassing jizz incident on their date which caused him to get bullied some more) he feels lonely again. He even asks Cyrus if he’s still his friend and Cyrus says “totally” but it’s obvious it’s not true based on his tone. He lost his only friend group. Tyler’s inability to recognize when he’s being socially awkward makes him an easier target for bullying. It also makes it harder to keep friends when he has them. He doesn’t have any friends and spends a lot of time in the dark room developing his pictures, taking pictures, or shooting guns alone in the woods. When he finally has a friend, he tried really hard to not mess it up but falls for his friends sister which makes things complicated.

7. Tyler’s assault. When I watched the first season of this show, I knew Hannah’s suicide scene was coming up. It was gruesome, along with her and Jessica’s rape scene. But nothing affected me more than Tyler’s assault. I feel as if the the audience was suppose to see Tyler as a creep, but when he returned back from his program it was clear he wanted a change. But while in the restroom he was ambushed by some jocks. His head was smashed on the mirror then smashed on the hard ceramic sink. He was then dragged on the floor into the bathroom stall where his head was pushed inside the toilet (he was basically drowned in dirty toilet water) and he was sexually assaulted with a broom stick for about 30secs. It was extremely hard to watch. And my stomached sinked. It’s easy to see Tyler as the scapegoat to perviness, when in reality he was a misunderstood kid who didn’t deserve half of the hate that he received.

8. When Tyler planned on shooting the school it was his way of wanting to die while also getting revenge on the school that made his life hell. If anything, Tyler was the real victim of the school’s lax policy on bullying, not Hannah. Although he didn’t get to shoot up the dance, thank god, it showed that he had so much anger and a death wish on top of it, justifiably so given what happened to him in the bathroom. We got to see his story, despite Hannah’s narrative still being pushed. He wasn’t just an isolated school shooter, he was unnecessarily bullied, misunderstood, and sexually assaulted to the point of bleeding anally. At this point, I was still confused as to how Hannah’s tapes was more important than the suffering of the now, than Tyler’s story. Which brings me to my next point.

9. After Hannah’s death, so much crap was happening in the school. Alex’s suicide attempt, rape brought on by the Jocks, and Tyler’s bullying, but not any of that mattered because we as an audience still had to care about who was to really blame for Hannah’s death. The answer to that is no one. Yes, horrible things happened to Hannah, as yes she may have suffered some kind of mental illness that led to her decision, but her death seemed in vain when after all of it, people weren’t actually changing the way they affected people, but were instead trying to figure out what trivial things they did to make Hannah kill herself. When it came down to it, Hannah made a decision that negatively impacted people way after her death, a lot more than it had to. It divided the people on her tapes (including her parents) by making them wonder what they did wrong, made Clay go crazy (and although his medical condition isn’t clear, he was suffering and blaming himself for not being enough to save Hannah, although it wasn’t his fault, which is seen with his girlfriend who has bipolar disorder. She tells clay something that Hannah should’ve realized before giving him or anyone a tape, it isn’t his fault and that she has to fix her problem starting with her choice to get help as difficult as it is. No one could’ve saved her but herself and that’s the hard part and the irony of it all). Although people did things that led to Hannah’s death according to Hannah, no one expect maybe Bryce was truly to blame for what she did to herself. She was feeling pain and she made the choice to end her life. What she should’ve done is left a note or not do it at all and held on a little longer for help although it’s hard, what she did though was leave tapes behind which made people feel as if her death was their fault.

10. Tyler was the only character, with the exception of Zach and Alex, who showed real character change and development. He started off isolated, did some stupid stuff, was bullied, decided to get back at his bullies before deciding to change his ways, only to continue to get bullied then assaulted, until he snapped. He wasn’t given a break, although his life was a total hell to live. When he was sexually assaulted in the bathroom, it erased all of the progress he made and in his head it made sense to get revenge. Heck, Tyler needs his own set of tapes lol. With that being said, I have a lot to say about the social commentary and message of this show, but what I noticed the most is that Tyler did not deserve what happened because of his actions. Nobody did (except Bryce and maybe Justin-basically all the jocks), And although the showed never really gave him a chance, I noticed how hard Tyler tried.

I let You Live

I Let You Live

It was my mistake from the beginning to think that you and I could exist unnoticed in a civilization full of naturally curious people. That was my first mistake, yes, but my second was letting you live. I had a chance, like many young boys my age, to rid you of all life, but I took one look at your disfigured face and for some reason that is beyond me, I continued to let you breathe . . . Is it safe to say that in a way you did the same to me?

I remember when I first met you. It was a dark night and the air was sticky with dew. With cold water socking up into my socks and shoes, I marched deep into the opaque wood near my house, as I liked doing on nights like these, but this night was different. I could sense that you were following me. Not that I knew that it was you or the horridness of the you that I know today, I just knew that something was in pursuit of me and that I had to lead it somewhere where we could be alone. I am never, ever afraid. I think you picked that up when I didn’t change my pace or look behind me once. Instead I lead you deeper into the wood and you followed . . . like a child.

Why didn’t you think that I could harm you in a split second or that I was the one luring you in? Was I not big enough? Tall enough? Had I not looked threatening enough? Maybe not. The case with humans is that we sometimes do not look as such-threatening. Actually, a majority of us don’t, despite this, we crave attention and biological attributions like the alluring status of our looks, but my comfortable face didn’t work on you as it did the ones before you. So, yes, I knew that you were of a different world, of a different kind. An outcast like me.

That night I took a rowboat across the river to test if you could swim. If you couldn’t you would stop your pursuit and I would turn around and give you a ride in my boat, finally getting to see what you looked like. But the moment when I got half way into the lake and heard the breaking of water and felt the ripple of the waves against my boat was the only moment in my life where I have felt fright . . . maybe not complete fright, but a mixture of fright and excitement . . . of awe. You amazed me. As if you were a dinosaur and me a toddler, you amazed me.

When I got to the edge of the river I placed my paddles down on the side of my boat. My hands were white around the knuckles where I held on tight to them. This was the moment that I would know what you were. And although you were capable of human things, I knew that you weren’t, and couldn’t have been, human. With a great inhale, I turned around quickly and saw that there was nothing but the water before me, still, quiet against the backdrop of the night. No ripples, no sound, it were as if you stole all the senses of the night.

What happened next, I would remember for the rest of my life. You emerged. From the sheet of water you rose like an angel from the depths of hell. And that’s where I thought you came from. Hell. A hideous creature! Your head, hands and feet covered with patches of dirty white fur, your face human and doglike, long like a collie, your skin, oh your skin! Your skin looked like dry grey leather, like the backside of an elephant and it covered the majority of your body, and the end of your fingers carried long sloth like claws. And your eyes-your eyes were like the ones of science fiction aliens, except they were smaller. They didn’t blink much, they stayed open long enough for me to get lost into the labyrinth of their darkness. Hideous! Yes, but not scary.

I didn’t know then that I was the one who created you. Somehow, I imagined you into existence. I felt the connection between us, a slight familiarity in your appearance although I’ve never seen anything like you. It was strange.

I did not cower away or jolt back in disgust, I did not look away from your abyssal eyes and you didn’t look away from mine.

I tried talking to you. You stood there so still that I thought for a second, despite my common sense, that you were a statue. I said, “Hello?” It sounded like a question because I wasn’t even sure if you knew the word hello. You did not respond. So I formed my hand into a fist and extended it in your direction. You look at it expressionlessly, the first time I saw your eyes move, and blinked.

“It’s a fist bump,” I said. “It’s a hello in my world.”

Then I remembered the awkward forks of your long nails and felt stupid. You couldn’t fist bump me if you wanted to. You did not communicate the way humans do, you did not look like us. I did not know what you were, of what species you came from, where you came from.

That night I took you home to see if my family had the ability to see you. You were hesitant to come home with me at first, but when I dug into my pocket and took out a piece of gum you became curious. I broke it in half and stuck my piece into my mouth.

“You’re supposed to chew it, like this.”

But when you took your piece by impaling it with the tip of one of your nails and popping it into your mouth, I did not see you chew. Instead, you held it there like a kid who didn’t want to taste the bitterness of his medicine. I don’t think you thought it was bitter-Although this could’ve been a figment of my imagination, as you were, I saw the ends of your mouth curve up into a small smile. I used the gum to bring you to the front porch of my house and when we got there, I looked into the kitchen window to see if mom was in there. She was, like always, baking something.

With you trailing closely behind me, I opened the door and stepped inside. I knew she couldn’t see you when we entered the kitchen because instead of screaming and dropping dead she asked me if I wanted a snack.

Despite me being the only one able to see you, I did not feel insane, I felt infinitely powerful. When I went to school with you by my side I felt superior among my peers, like I could rule the world. I no longer got bullied because after Lucas Rivers called me a manic freak, I punch him square in the nose and he bled for hours. I no longer got teased because when the seniors decided to take a swing at insulting my mother again, saying she birthed me in a ward on a dark night like a storybook character, I cursed them out good enough for them to shut up within seconds. I had that power; it was unbelievable. I guess you could say that it’s my fault that you got the way you did. You knew nothing before you knew me. I taught you how to destroy, how to ruin. I taught you how to be human.

I did not have much physical strength and the power that came from my mouth was limited, but you were strong. My god! You could pick up a boulder without breaking a sweat. You could blow down whole cities with a huff and a puff. And I used you for your strength. By the time I turned sixteen, it was quite odd for you to still be alive, and you weren’t supposed to be alive in the first place since I imagined you at thirteen. Thirteen was a time for girls and adventures, not imaginary friends. For three years you trailed behind me in silence while I dominated the world. It felt good to stand up for myself and to be someone other than the mousy freak. You made that possible.

The day this all went to the dump was a couple days after I turned sixteen. Oddly, you started growing along with me. You weren’t supposed to do that. You were supposed to remain quiet and ugly and small. Although you were still ugly, you were not small or quiet anymore. You were taller than me now and your fur covered every inch of you and your claws were longer and harder but you knew how to control them now . . . and you knew how to chew gum.

The first time I heard you roar, it was so powerful it shook the earth I stood upon. You roared because you were angry with me and although I wasn’t prone to feeling fear my body turned to liquid and dripped down my skeleton into my shoes. You did not apologize after. If you could roar, you could apologize too, right? I guess I did not teach you the words sorry.

That spring, you took me into public so that I could watch you kill. I did not teach you how to kill, but you can pick that up from anywhere here on earth where everything has killed something at least once in their lives. You took me into the wood, the same wood I found you in, and you hunted a deer the size of me and when you were done and covered in blood, and while my heart did all it could to not stay inside me, you pounded on your chest and grunted. Then you spoke, “I stronger.”

I stronger.

I knew this was a show of the dominance that you have over me and because I knew this I looked toward the ground. I could not stare into your eyes anymore for they were not dark and they were not empty, they were full with knowledge and they were as red as a rose.

People started to notice something different, they started to notice that something about me was more aggressive and angry. Mother threatened to send me to an asylum. I could not tell her that it wasn’t me and that it was you because she would not believe me. A creature like you needs to be seen in order to be believed.

It was a year after you killed the deer and I was still frightened of you. You could now wonder on your own and sometimes you didn’t come back for weeks, and sometimes you stayed for weeks, but none of it was enjoyable.

I think back to that night when I first met you and it makes me sick because while I had the power to do so, I did not kill you. Now I am powerless against you and now I don’t know how to make you stop. It’s as if you have imagined me.

One Good Week

I did not get much sun today, or any other day this week, but for some reason I was happy.

Happy enough to practice on my writing and to contact my ex so that we could talk about us. I was happy enough to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t other wise do on a normal given day. With this new feeling I mustered up the strength to take more showers and to get out of bed regularly to prepare food from the kitchen. I also applied for a job at a Paris themed bakery and called the manager to make sure that he got my resume.

This isn’t necessarily impressive looking in on it from the outside as any other person other than me, but it was quite heroic on my end.

My depression sometimes stops me from doing the simplest things like getting up in the morning to brush my teeth. I will have good days and those days consist of me pushing myself to undo the damage I did while under a sad spell. Sometimes I succeed, but when I don’t failure hits me like a bullet train.

I haven’t read a novel in three months and this is strange because I usually read a new one each week with enthusiasm. I’ve done this since I was five. I like to read because I’m naturally curious and I enjoy the arts. I also enjoy the smell of the book pages and the look of the ink on the paper. Somehow depression has taken that love from me. My brain no longer has the time to concentrate on words that I can’t comprehend. It all sounds like white noise to me-reading anything. I’m amazed at how easy it was to turn something that I used to love dearly into a chore that I now avoid like the plague.

So, yes, I celebrate the good week. This one good week of bliss . . . before it all goes away. Before I bruise myself trying to patch it all up again.

Maybe it’ll be my last good week.

The First Time I Truly loved Someone

The first time I truly loved someone.

We see love expressed on many mediums. On TV, love is a grand gesture or a game of bachelors and bacherettes. In books, love is a handwritten letter or a connection that happens the moment you lay eyes on someone, in real life . . . love is messy.

When I was little, I thought I had a pretty solid understanding of what love was. Love was chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day and a spontaneous date to the movies. I wanted to experience this first hand. Many people do. Love is all part of being human, and often times it can’t be avoided. As that saying goes, everybody wants to love and be loved. But everything changed the moment I met him. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call him Sam.

It was a Friday night around 12:00 am. I planned on meeting a friend at the beach and was on my way there. We talked online for a month about things we enjoyed and endured like nihilism and depression and about how we both grew up in extremely religious households and hated it. I arrived at the beach thirty minutes after he got there because my Lyft was late dropping me off. I was nervous about being late and about meeting him for the first time in person. My palms were sweaty although it was sixty degrees outside and extremely windy. I haven’t had a good friend in a year and I didn’t want to blow anything or come off as weird. I was going over what to say in my head, how to introduce myself and wondering if I had wore something nice enough because I wanted to leave a good first impression.

When I got to the beach, it was so dark that I could hardly see the waves in front of me. There was nothing but the faint light of the pier to my right and the streetlights from the road behind me. I spent about five minutes looking around for him. I could make out a couple people there, a man fishing to my left and further down near the ocean was a body sitting down facing away from me, watching the waves in front of him.

I figured that had to be him so I approached cautiously then tapped him lightly on the shoulder. “Are you Sam?” I asked.

He looked at me. I was genuinely surprised by his appearance. I saw a couple of pictures of him before, but he looked different. He was smaller than I imagined, a little bit taller than me, and despite his young age he had a beard that was thick and black just like the curly hair on top of his head. And his eyes were wild and round, studying me curiously in the dark. Finally he said, “Nope you have the wrong person.”

I opened my mouth to apologize, but then he started laughing and informed me that he was joking and that he was indeed Sam. I sat down in the cold sand right next to him and introduced myself. He was shy and quiet, despite his little joke earlier, but I didn’t mind because so was I. Throughout the night we talked about things like the isolation of stars (from where we sat we could see the Big and Little Dipper) and how they reminded us of how little we are. We talked about our lives. He grew up as I did. We both suffered from some sort of depression brought on by the troubles that we faced growing up and the troubles that we were still facing at the moment. We spent the whole night there by the water. Talking and laughing and smoking a roll of weed that he had bring with him.

We then decided to stay a couple more hours to watch the sun rise. I’ve never seen a Florida sunrise despite me living here my whole life, so I was pretty excited about it. I was surprised about how easy it was for me to talk to him. It’s never easy for me to have conversations with people I just met, but with him words just kept pouring out of my mouth and I loved every moment of it. Around 6:30 the sun finally came up and I finally got a good look at this mysterious man.

I think this was the moment that I realized that he was going to be in my life for a while. The sun light up his face and his hazel/green eyes became warm and inviting. I could now see the smallness of his smile and the olive tone of his skin. I thought he was by far the most beautiful human being that I ever laid my eyes on. I was self conscious. I wore a beanie and an old T-shirt with flip flops that exposed my horrible toes. I looked away from him and studied the sunrise and all the shades of pink and orange that it created in the baby blue sky.

Then I noticed he was staring at me. I turned towards him again and before I could apologize for my appearance he said, “You look so beautiful.”

We started hanging out more. We went to places like the movies and art museums down in Miami where he lived. Everyday we would talk to each other. Every time he texted me, I got a warm feeling in my chest. He was someone who replied with full paragraphs and proper grammar which was entirely unheard of to me. He also texted good morning each morning and told me goodnight before I went to bed. If I couldn’t go to sleep, we would both stay up for hours talking on the phone. Then a couple weeks later he invited me over to his place. He wanted to introduce me to more of his world.

I spent a weekend over at his house. While there, I went to a party with him (where he introduced me to his friends as his girlfriend). It was the first time I saw him dress up neatly to go anywhere. Usually he would just wear a tank top and some shorts, but that night I waited in his bedroom as he showered. When he came out his curly hair was jelled back and he wore a clean ironed red flannel with dark jeans. My heart literally skipped a beat. This was also the first time he kissed me.

During the party he took me by the hand and led me to his car where we could talk. We had a short silly conversation before he leaned over and kissed me. I’ve been kissed before and I used to think that kissing felt like two lips pressing hard against each other. I didn’t get what the big fuss was about. But when he kissed me it was different, I disappeared into a safe warm place where my heart felt exposed. I felt myself light up and relax into him. He lifted his hands and placed them on my face gently as we kissed. I felt protected. I felt happy.

The next day we shared an even more intense experience. It was night time and his friend had left to go get some food so we were alone. He told me that when he kissed me he felt what I felt. He told me that he’s never felt so close to anyone before in his entire life and that I was simply his home. It was the first time that I cried around him. I didn’t grow up with affection and love. I squirmed when people tried to hug me, but with him I felt as if I could trust him with my life. I was developing deep feelings for this guy and it was happening fast. I didn’t know what to do.

The last night that I spent with him, we were laying on his bed. He was lying on his back looking up at the ceiling and I was on my side looking at him. My heart had this weird feeling inside of it. It was a mixture of wanting to protect him from ever feeling harm again and the fear that he didn’t feel the same. I was anxious. And I guess it showed on my face because when he turned to face me, he looked worried and asked me what was wrong.

I expressed to him how scared I was of what was happening. I told him how other men used me primarily for sex and how I never felt like this toward someone before and how it was scaring me. He held me in his arms and reassured me that he wasn’t going anywhere and that he was going to be there for me. He told me not to worry. We kissed and I felt that warm magical spark again. I guess he felt it too because he then asked if he could make love to me. I’ve had sex before and didn’t enjoy the experience, but I agreed because I trusted that he wanted more than my body. He was gentle and passionate with me. In fact, this was one thing that I enjoyed doing with him often. He was self conscious about his body, but I adored every inch of it and liked letting him know. But the way that he held me and looked at me and kissed me made me afraid. I didn’t know that it was possible to enjoy sex with someone so much and to feel so close to them while it happened. Afterwords he held me and kissed me on the forehead. That night he told me he loved me, and with out a doubt I told him that I loved him back.

But love isn’t so black and white. There are complicated gray areas in between that no one wants to feel or talk about. You’ve invested time and committed to one person who brings so much joy into your life, how complicated can it be?

I realized Sam was cutting himself the first night we met at the beach.

I didn’t see the white scars until the sun was up and he had pointed them out, not wanting me to discover them myself and get scared away. I sympathized with his pain and couldn’t judge him for something that he felt shame for doing. I told him that he could talk to me about anything without judgement before I said goodbye that morning. A couple weeks later he called me. I was having a pretty shitty day so when I saw his number I immediately picked up wanting to hear his voice. But something was off. He was crying. I asked him what was wrong and it took him a good thirty minutes before he could tell me that he cut himself again and went to far. I told him to send me a picture, that it couldn’t be too bad and that even if it was he was a good person and I wasn’t going to judge him for it. I wasn’t expecting to see what I saw next.

I couldn’t wrap my head around how someone could do that to themselves and the kind of pain that they had to be feeling to want to carve up their skin that much to mask the feeling of it. I had a slight understanding because two months prior I was diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder) and this is what made me closer to Sam, knowing that I understood his sadness and that he understood mine. But I thought that with his cutting, me understanding him and being there for him was going to be enough. And that was stupid of me to think.

Before Sam met me, he had a life without me in it. And in that life he experienced extreme abandonment, betrayal, and neglect. The stories he told me made me want to break out into tears and hold him. And I did hold him when it became to much to talk about. I held him against my chest and stroked his hair. I experienced the same thing before meeting him. I was in the foster care system, my mother was (and still is) dealing with extreme kidney failure and my dad verbally abused me and my siblings. Our stories shared something, but they were different in their own way. Sam experienced heartbreak before falling for me on top of everything he went through growing up and because of this, it was hard for him to trust others and hard for him to love himself.

So here we were. Two people, troubled, who ran into each other’s aftermaths, trying to see where we fit in. He was like a star in the sky that I had discover. I could see him, experience his beauty and track his age, but I couldn’t experience the journey he took to get to me. When he was sad he called me and I told him that everything was going to be alright and that I was there for him, when I was sad he did the same thing for me. By the time we had told each other that we loved one another, there was a history of hurt flowing between both of us.

I wish then that I’d met him in another life where he never experienced the things that he went through and where I never experienced the things that I went through and where we loved each other, and was fully able to express it.

After the weekend that I spent with him at his house, things gradually started to get worse. My love for him grew no matter what I went through but I could sense something was wrong with him.

I conditioned myself to believe that he wasn’t going to leave me. I’ve had many people leave in my life and this was one person that I wanted to stay. I conditioned myself to believe that I was in fact his home because he was mine and because he told me so. He was my shelter. I conditioned myself to believe that he truly was in love with me because I was in love with him and I planned on being so until I died. But that wasn’t the case.

He might’ve loved me at one point and then stopped when things started to get more serious in order to prevent himself from getting hurt or he might’ve never loved me to begin with. The latter was hard to come to terms with because we shared many intimate moments in which he told me he loved me and in which he displayed actions that conveyed he loved me. We made plans with each other for the future and promised that we would help each other grow into something better. I was looking forward to growing with him, but somewhere down the line he decided he didn’t want to do the same.

I became his “friend” and his “homie” and hearing him refer to me as those terms felt like a hot knife through my heart. As if everything that we were never happened. He told me that he wasn’t in love with me and that he was simply lonely and needed something to feel. He told me that it didn’t mean that he used me and that the moments that we shared together were genuine.

But I felt empty and lost. What went wrong? What did I do? I knew that I was no longer his home. To me, I was more than a friend to him but to him he was perfectly capable or looking at me with that title. I was convinced that this was a coping mechanism for him, that pushing me away hurt less than the possibility of me breaking his heart in the future, but over time it dawned on me that maybe he didn’t love me as much as I loved him, maybe he didn’t love me at all.

During the course of three months he would call and check up on me. When I didn’t break down and tell him that I missed him, I told him about the date that I was going on or the gift that I was buying for someone. He would ask me questions about who I’ve been with since him and if I was seeing anyone. I was convinced that this meant that he still loved me and I was ready to drop everything in a heartbeat to test if this were true. But in doing so, I only ended up getting hurt again.

Still this day he has a place in my heart, but I’m slowly learning that just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you’re meant to be with them. I didn’t understand this at first. It didn’t make sense. It was simple, if you were in love with someone and they were in love with you, it only made sense to be with one another.

I learned that love is peculiar and that Cupid sometimes drops a couple of loose arrows just to fuck with you. I learned that you have to love yourself (if not fully, then enough to walk away once things become emotionally/physically abusive). I learned that I would probably not love anyone as much as I loved Sam, but that it was okay because there was a chance that I would experience new love again and that that love would be greater.

Ten Signs That You Know A ‘Self Declared’ Victim

I am not a psychologist and non of this is back up by any scientific theory or study, it’s all in my point of view about a type of person that I’m sure exist and is quite hard to understand or deal with. Let me know in the comments below if you have ever known a person who fits this description. 

1. The Tragic Past

Within a minute or two of meeting this person you are well aware of their ‘troubled past or upbringing’. Either they will straight up tell you, because this tragic past is a big part of who they are and who they present themselves to be, or they will passiveagressivnely show that they’re bothered by something that you said, did, or wore because of their childhood or a “traumatic” event in their life.

2. They’re almost always right

They’re always right and you’re always wrong. Doesn’t matter if you’re an expert in what you’re saying or if you know for a fact what you’re talking about is valid they will continue to doubt you. Don’t ever catch yourself being wrong around them while they are right because that will convince them that you’re always wrong on a subject and that they are always right. They’re afraid of being wrong because they believe that it’ll reflect on what little that they actually know, but instead of learning from others they will continue to view everything they think of as correct. This type of trait coincides with their one-track mindedness: whatever they know is whatever there is to know.

3. They are partner/girlfriend/boyfriendless

Now a lot of people are single and there’s nothing wrong with that, but this kind of victim always seems to be single for a long period of time or they can’t keep a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner for a long time. They’ll tell you that they’re single because they haven’t met the right person yet or that their past significant others were this way or that way when in reality they’re incompatible and hard to form a relationship of any kind with. They expect too much from a relationship and are never satisfied with what a person can offer them. 

4. They swear by self help books or by their happiness in general brought on by a god, person, or practice

They have a pile of self help books (many of them that are there for display and have never been read) that they swear has helped them through anything that they’ve had problems with. If you know that your problems aren’t simply solved with books or a magic miracle smoothie, because you know better or you have a serious illness that requires professional aid, they will tell you that they’ve offered all their help but that you didn’t want to take it. They will display to you that they’re in their best state of mind and that you could be too if you followed their advice, even when you know what’s best for you. 

5. They’re thrown off by people who aren’t exactly like them

When they encounter people who aren’t exactly like them ( don’t act, talk, or make the same decisions as them) they are often surprised or offended by their presence. They will gossip about, judge, or alienate this person without a second thought. 

6. They’re indifferent to your suffering

These type of people make the worst kind of friend. If you’re actually going through something traumatic or draining, they will bring up their “tragic” past or present life as a comparison to yours and tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way you do because they have gone through ‘worse’ when in fact they have not gone through worst, and don’t you dare tell them that or they will activate their victim card and feel deeply hurt by your completely true comment. 

7. Religion

I don’t have a problem with anyone who’s religious and I don’t have a problem with anyone who isn’t, no one should. This kind of victim, if they are religious, though, will not understand nor try to understand those who aren’t religious. They will blame whatever problem that that person is going through on their lack of religious belief and will make you feel as if you’re not going to get better unless you adapt this belief and live by it. 

8. Can’t make genuine friends

They have one, at most three, friends or peers and have a hard time making new ones because they’re difficult to be around, but their reason will be because people are always jealous of them or aren’t nice to them in general. The friends that they do have take all their crap without a problem, are more or less less attractive than they are, and/or have less going for them in a general sense. This kind of person keep these friends around to make them feel better about themselves in comparison.

9. They have frequent pity fits or tantrums

When they feel that someone has offended them, or just because they need attention at the moment, they will have a tantrum, mental break down, or a period of moping and self pity in which they wonder why everyone around them doesn’t like them, but will have no intention of seeing theirselves as the issue. When in an altercation with someone, they will feel as if they’re the one who has been wronged and that the other person has intentionally hurt them, even if it’s their fault. They will never see theirselves as the problem of anything and will always believe that the world is against them. They are the martyr and everyone else needs to realize that and act according to that. 

10. Parents 

Although they have had a hard upbringing they are super tight and close with their parents in a way that indicates that they in no way were mentally or physically abused by their parents, despite what they claim. Their siblings and even their parents will tell them that they didn’t go through much as a kid, but they will insist that they’ve had it tough. They label themselves as things that they’re not, such as introverted or humble, to appear as a better person, or they will give themselves an illness or phobia to appear more complex or different. Even when people can prove that they don’t have this illness or characteristic, they will immediately  feel offended and will not admit to lying. 
That’s pretty much it, guys! Enjoy your holiday and make sure to stay positive through whatever you’re going through, there’s always an end, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Happy New Year!!! 

Skyline View 

-A Poem By Abby M. 

(Picture taken and edited by me)

Skyline View

By: Abigail Michel 

I have a view, I have a great view! I have a skyline view of you

I have binoculars, and spectacles, and a skyline view of you 

I can see the strands of your breath and the break of your mouth as you try to find out who 

But ma’am, don’t you know, I have a skyline view of your home 

I broke in once, this wasn’t a mistake, but boy did I like your room

It’s cold and alone from the rest of the house, but the idea of it is cool

I have a first hand account of your heart, a skyline view of the blood that runs through it

I knew it

You loved me once, I know! 

The thickness of it tells me so

I have a blue view, it’s true!

I have a skyline view of you. 

Exciting Moments In An Unexciting Person’s life 

By: Abby M.

The day was April 30th; May was just around the corner, marking the month in which I would turn eighteen. I sat down earlier that day on my grandmother’s comfortable, King sized bed and thought about all the things that I accomplished in my life so far (at the moment, I thought these ‘things’ were admittedly sufficient) and how everything was going to be ten times as awesome once I became old enough to do my own thing without, more or less, the judgement of my shy inner self telling me that it wasn’t time just yet. I was finally going to break out of my shell, travel the world, get a boyfriend and become a  notorious fiction writer.

I realized then, as I stared at the undecorated white walls of my grandmother’s room, that I had no life experiences to fall back on. I lived a predominantly sheltered, comically tragic life full of false milestone moments and worrisome uncommon events in which I perceived as normal. There wasn’t a prominently happy moment in my childhood that I could recall, because it was in fact, not memorable, but bleak. I couldn’t remember the names of any of my friends that I met along the way, or the locations of the many houses that I’ve lived in because I made it a goal of mine to forget them as soon as I moved-and I moved a lot. It dawned on me, suddenly, how incredibly lame my life was. 

Inspite of all this lameness, My 10th grade homecoming dance was just around the corner and I was excited to attend something that I thought would be the best moment of my existence (I was fifteen, forgive me) and although I didn’t have a date to claim, I had a couple of weird friends to parasite along with. One of those weirdos, my best friend, Katherine (a fabulous person) decided to partner up with me so that we could get a couples deal. If we bought a ticket as a couple then we could each get in for ten dollars instead of fifteen dollars per person. I didn’t, and couldn’t, argue against that because I was formally broke and in need of a night out (plus, plus, Katherine is fabulous remember). 

So we bought the ticket on Monday and the dance was on Friday and in between I did nothing but homework and sleep and more homework and then the big night came and I wore a blue and white striped dress that made me look “doable” and I got my uncle to drive me to the dance and there I was, provocatively clothed and ready to live life. And she, Katherine, was with her best friend, Samantha. 

She brought Sam as a guest. Here’s the good part, yes there’s a good part, a great part! Sam couldn’t get into the dance-We found that out after I bought my ticket, got into the dance, and waited for the other two for a while. I didn’t see Kathrine or Sam so I went back outside-side note: when you’re at a highschool dance, you’re not allowed to just walk in and out because there are a lot of people trying to get in and the principal and student government class (the ticket givers) need to keep track of who’s a student and who’s not because, duh, safety!- So before I walked out the first time, yes, the first time, I had to show them my ticket and tell them that I’ll be right back. The principal (a fickle old lady) let me go without issue. When I went outside, Katherine was standing over her hyperventilating best friend. She turned to me and said, “they won’t let her in.” Now this meant one of two things, me and Kat could go in and leave little Sam to fend for herself in a random high school parking lot or we could all just leave together. We ended up deciding to leave together and walk to a McDonalds which was about two miles away. I was like “ok, sure” but I didn’t have my shoes on (I took them off the first time I went in) so I told them to wait for me. As I walked back in the building, I could see the principal and student government class eyeing me. I could see the vigilant gleam of authority behind their eyes as they recognized me and the girl who walked out earlier. One of them approached me and asked for my ticket. I showed them my bracelet and told them that I had to go back in to get my shoes. So the principal chipped in and said, “sure go in, but you can’t come back out.” I could’ve just left my shoes in there, but I didn’t want to so I walked in and put them on, I had a problem then. I couldn’t walk back out or I would get in trouble, but I couldn’t stay inside because I was the only one in there. So I took a deep breath and decided to walk out. On my way out, I could see everyone’s eyes on me. That’s when the principal pulled me aside and said “what are you doing? You have to go back inside.” I nodded my head like “of course, sure I’ll go back inside” but then I walked pass her and out the door. Before I walked out, I could hear her asking someone if they knew my name and grade, I figured so I can get in trouble later on. 

When I walked out, Katherine and Sam asked me what took me so long and I replied, “I got kicked out.” Now I said this because I was full of hype and the town was going to be ours and I thought it would sound cooler than me telling them I walked out.  

So we started walking to McDonalds, and at the time, I lived in a little city called Port Saint Lucie and this little city was stuck in the Stone Age where streetlights and sidewalks were crazy men talk, so we walked on the side of the road in the dark all the way to McDonalds, provocatively dressed, while cars passed us by and honked at us. To a group of young girls such as ourselves, it was a fun walk, but to me it was one of the best nights of my life. I never got out much, and by much, I mean I never went out at all. And although we were just walking to mcdonalds to borrow a phone to call Sam’s dad to pick us up, it felt like a scandalous adventure. I was the shit. I got kicked out of homecoming. I walked all the way to mcdonalds in the dark. I was finally cool. I was finally hip. This was experience. 

Katherine and Sam started talking about the Beatles and other classic rock bands as we got closer to mcdonalds; I nodded my head and added little open-ended comments every now and then but overall I couldn’t relate to anything they said about Lennon. At one point, we were crossing the street, and Sam came up with this great idea to stop in the middle and pose like the Beatles on the cover of the Abbey Road album and that’s when it hit me, while Katherine and Sam mimicked the infamous cover of one of the greatest bands alive, I realized that I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know any modern pop references, I didn’t know an old pop references, I couldn’t relate to anything that anyone had ever said to me ever, and yet I wanted to be a writer. I wanted the people around me to know that I was smart; I wanted them to know that I could do anything, but could I? 
When I got home later on, I went over all of my old writing and everything I wrote was stale and one dimensional. My characters were lifeless, my plot was all over the place, and the setting was uneventful and unrealistic. I was a horrible writer, but I convinced myself a long time ago that I was good enough to not improve. When I figured out that that was nowhere nere true, I felt like a failure. 

I had all of these accounts of exciting moments in my life, but when I went back I realized that they weren’t really exciting moments, I was just a boring person. 

If you’re stuck with your writing, or if you feel as if you’re missing something in your life, maybe you should reevaluate what you considered exciting. Look back on your experiences, and instead of using those to write, crate more eventful ones. Do something more. Don’t follow the expected crowd and claim their adventures as yours but, crate something new. Create your own story.