I am currently reading Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reasons Why" and I can't remember the last time a story has had such a powerful effect on me. I had only read the first chapter when I got the idea for this fic. For those of you who don't know, "Thirteen Reasons Why" is about a high school student, Clay, who finds a box of cassette tapes addressed to him. On those tapes, his former classmate named Hannah, has recorded thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. The tapes are not only for Clay but for twelve other people, each responsible for one of the thirteen reasons.
I can't begin to describe how deeply affected I am by this story even though I still have yet to finish it. It hit me hard in different ways. When I wrote "The Last Night", it was because it was a song that I could identify with from both perspectives. I have entertained suicide and I have talked with people who have done the same. But this book offered an entirely new perspective. Instead of wanting to take my own life or talking someone out of taking their own, this book made me think of how I treat everyone. Not just the people I know, but the people I don't know as well. The people I see at school or around my neighborhood. As a Christian, I've been raised to treat everyone with the kind of love that Jesus Christ has given each and every one of us. However, if I'm honest, I don't always do that. At all. Not nearly as much as I want to. I'm very rarely outright horrible to someone but as I've learned from reading this book, that doesn't really matter. How many times have I passed by someone who just needed a little smile to brighten their day? How many times have I hidden behind my textbooks at school to avoid talking to people because I'm painfully shy, while missing the person sitting right next to me who feels completely alone? How many times have I believed someone when they say that they're okay when deep down inside, they're hurting?
What I've learned from reading "Thirteen Reasons Why" is that no matter how big or small, every single word or action that comes from me, has a consequence. Sometimes, that consequence is small, just like that word or action. Other times, that consequence might be far larger than I could ever imagine. A while ago, my worship pastor at church was talking about the power of words and how they always always have an effect. Words are hard to forget. I remember cruel things said to me whether they were last week or several years ago when I was in middle school. The same goes for actions. I remember being shunned and ignored by my peers because I wasn't as outgoing as they were. I remember people talking to me, pretending to be nice, even though it was obvious that they'd rather be anywhere else in the world. The littlest thing can set me off sometimes and then everything else can just snowball.
Hannah is a fictional character. But she represents countless numbers of lives that have been lost far too soon. The loneliness and hopelessness Hannah felt is very real. I've felt it myself many times before and I know I'll feel it all again. But it doesn't have to be this way. It can be better. Maybe not completely better, but there's always room for improvement, right? So I'm challenging you, as well as myself, to think before you speak. Think before you act. Sure, something may seem harmless and even funny to us and the others around us. We joke around and use sarcasm because it makes us feel clever. But what if it hurts someone? Would you care? Would you stop it if you knew that it hurt someone or would you keep going because you want to be popular? Maybe you don't want to be the kid that everyone, including yourself shuns or ignores or bullies or picks on. Well, regardless of your religious beliefs, I think we can all look at Matthew 7:12 and give it some consideration. I'll save you the trouble of looking it up. Basically? "Treat others as you would like to be treated?" Is it really that hard? What if everyone did it? I know that's a long shot, given that we live in a fallen world. But it wouldn't hurt to try. Anyone can make a difference, and no matter how small that difference is, it will always matter. Is it really that hard to think?
Maybe you're on the receiving end of all the hate there is in this world. Maybe you're the one who is on the edge of giving up. Maybe you're lost and helpless and you just don't want to deal with anything or anyone anymore. Maybe you feel worthless and that the reasons you should die, outweigh the reasons you should live. Well. I have news for you. You are one hundred percent, wrong. You could not be more wrong. You are not worthless. You are an absolutely beautiful person who deserves to be loved and to be happy. Which brings me to the idea I have for this story.
It's not what you think. It's not going to be "Thirteen Reasons Why" and be about Logan recording cassette tapes with thirteen reasons why he decided to end his life. It's going to be thirteen reasons why he decided not to end his life. It's going to be about the thirteen people who gave him hope when he felt hopeless. It's going to be about the thirteen people who gave him love when he felt unloved. It's going to be about the thirteen people who showed him the true measure of his worth when he felt worthless.
I did this myself. I encourage you to do the same. It doesn't have to be thirteen reasons. It doesn't have to be ten. It doesn't have to be five or even two. All you need is one reason. That's absolutely all you need. And if you can't find that reason, then please, don't hesitate to talk to me. You can send my a personal message or even email me. My email address is right on my profile. Don't be afraid. I'm here for you and even though I probably don't know who, I care for you. I love you as a person and I want you to be happy. I can be your one reason and if you want, I can tell you about the greatest reason of all. Just ask. I promise that I won't push or pry. You tell me what you want when you want.
Before I wrap up this insanely long author's note that I hope you've all read and taken to heart, I want to ask you to do something. As soon as you have the money and the time, please go pick up a copy of this book. You won't regret it. I normally roll my eyes when I hear that a book or a movie "changes you life" but this time, it's real. Get your hands on this book and read it. Then go on the books website and read everything there. Finally, don't just ignore it and walk away. Apply what you've learned to your daily life.
Finally, here is the list of people who will be in this story. If you don't recognize some of the names, they are original characters that I've created simply because "Big Time Rush" doesn't have enough characters with substance for something like this. So bear with me while I muddle through them. Thank you.
1). The "Others"
6). The Diamonds
7). The Garcias
8). Logan's Parents
10). Mrs. Knight
The list will go in the order they are listed, from top to bottom. In case you don't know, Danny is my OC from "How to Save a Life" and Luke is from "September" and a couple of one-shots. As for "The Others", well it might come as a surprise to you, but hopefully, you won't have to wait for long. Hang in there! I'm not going to include anything in this "chapter" of sorts. Think of it as an introduction. I plan to update this before "How to Save a Life" so please let me know what you think! Please remember that I love you all!