Midnight Memories

June 18, 2017. Six months after December 18, 2016. Aka the day I left London.

Okay, okay, you all knew this was coming. You know how much I loved London and how much I miss it every day. It is my favrotie city. I completely fell in love with it, and that love hasn’t decreased the least bit in the last six months. It’s probably grown actually.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Yeah definitely the case here.

Speaking of absence, I have been away from the blog a bit lately due to school and whatnot, per the usual. But now it’s summer, and I have time to read for fun, write a bunch, and Netflix without guilt. It’s an exciting time, summer vacation. It doesn’t quite feel real yet…that or the fact that I am about to be a senior in college. Weird…

But London. Yes, I talk about it a lot. So much. I sound pretentious and people get annoyed, but can you blame me? It was the best experience of my life!! Three life-changing months of traveling, exploring, and learning more than I ever could in a classroom (but yes, I did spend time in a few of those). I see Benjamin a lot, and we talk about it constantly. And then whoever is around us rolls their eyes and makes fun of us. Do I care? Not really.

So to commemorate six months away from my city and six months back in my little nook of the central coast, some of my favorite memories from studying abroad:

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The Harry Potter studio tour at Warner Brothers! A classic and *~magical~* experience. I relive this day in my snapchat memories all the time.

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Sipping coffee on the shore of this gorgeous loch at the edge of the Scottish Highlands. The sun was bright and shiny, but it was still coooooold! This was one of my favorite days. The Highlands are UNREAL. “Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye…”

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Check my Instagram to see about a dozen pictures of me at the Cliffs of Moher…all from this same trip. I cannot get over how beautiful it was, even in the gloom. There is no feeling like being on the edge of the world!!

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AmsterDAMN…I could talk about this weekend forever…so I’ll just leave ya with this pic. So many bikes. So many trees. So much beauty!! Okay, I’m done.

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And obviously walking the famous Abbey Road crosswalk. I got to do this, like, three times, and it was both incredibly awkward and touristy and equally fabulous at the same time. I was so embarrassed at the time to do something so utterly cliche, but it’s Abbey Road. It’s classic. It’s iconic!!!

So many spectacular memories…unforgettable. I promise I’ll try to stop talking about it all the time, but living in London completely changed my life. There’s no way to stress it enough. I grew into a whole new person! I still can’t believe I got to study abroad, and I am thankful every single day for it.

Wait…do I talk about London the way vegans talk about being vegan??? Oh, my gosh, I am going to be so much more aware now…(nothing against vegans, ya know?)

And to balance out all the fantastic European mems, some good ones since I’ve been back!

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Being incredibly extra human beings and hosting a Groundhog Day Redemption party. And wearing matching (faux, obvi) fur to it. Honestly, what a bash, and what a way to kick off the next two quarters of being reunited!!

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A weekend Mammoth trip with Danielle and Madeline. They skied. I read. It was a win win, even though everyone says I was being lame. Hey, I came up with the plot of Book 3–it was a win! It’s fun and mysterious and Ally Carter-esque. I’m so excited. And it was more than worth the freezing temperatures to frolic in the snow.

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Hiking to see this incredible view…enough said.

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Tori’s big 21st!!! Super exciting for the first roommate after me to turn this magic age. Her sign is cute, too, huh? Yeah, we left it at Taco Bell…but we got it back!! The night was a roller coaster, but the nacho cheese from my crunchwrap DID end up coming out of my shirt. And Tori killed downtown!!

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Pozo Stampede: where we drank beer and margaritas, blasted country music, and got very bad sunburns. Worth it!

See? I can still have adventures in America. I’ve got a pretty cool backyard out here on the central coast, and I need to explore it more. Now that it’s summer, thought, I can! I have a pretty cool job that doesn’t limit my adventuring power much, so catch me doing fun things in the next three months.

It won’t be the same as country-hopping and wandering aimlessly around cities and museums and parks, but that’s okay. If I’ve learned anything in the last six months, it’s that there is so much more out there in the world than I gave the chance. I can’t just sit around and wait for life to happen. I need to make life happen–which (I hope) is what I’ve been doing. I got a new job (and lined one up for the fall), I’ve made spontaneous mini-adventures, and I’ve been so motivated this quarter.

So many good things are happening in my life, and as much as I want to crawl into my brain and relive my Autumn in London, the present is calling. This whole adulthood thing means taking calls now, right? So I guess I have to answer it! Yeah, that was soooo cheesy. Please don’t hold it against me.

Hmmm…six months back in this country…wow. It’s kind of been forever, kind of been the blink of an eye.

Life’ crazy sometimes, right?

Right.

xx Ash

((PS peep my latest Insta on the sidebar for a little fun piece of news in my life *wink wink* *nudge nudge*))

Sundaze – 5/28/2017

Here I am…sitting on a train. I’m on my way home for the weekend to surprise my dad for his birthday–disclaimer: he knows now, so I’m not spoiling any secrets.

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Whenever I go home, I get a weird mix of emotions: I’m happy to see my family, dreading seeing my family, excited to get breakfast burritos, rolling my eyes out of my head about city traffic. I’m stoked to see my brother, back from his first year of college, and to see Gracie and Stephanie. But everyone is back home for summer, so the chances of me stumbling upon someone from high school are pretty high. I’ve said before that sometimes going home makes me feel like I’m suffocating–and not from the smog! Since last summer, I’ve only been back in the Burbs a handful of times, though, so maybe I’m starting to feel differently.

That’s good news. I might be beginning to forgive all the crap memories filling my brain. I’ve started to think that maybe the reason I have hung onto all those bad memories is because I haven’t had the mindset or the time to make new ones. But that’s another post for another day.

As May comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot. I’ve only got a few more weeks of school (thanks, quarter system) and as long and drawn out as this quarter has been, its end has kind of sprung up on me. So much has happened to me in the last eight or so weeks, and it’s all come down on me at once–right in time for Week 9, shocker!! Not everything is bad, though, some things are quite good…maybe you’ll hear about that soon.

With so much to do for school, I’ve been neglecting writing lately. Yes, I was a little post-happy on the blog a few weeks ago, but things have caught up to me. I covered some heavy topics, and I think we all needed a break from that. I’ve journaled here and there, but no actual writing. Which is great, because I have to start thinking about my senior project–which I’ve got some…thoughts…about.

But I’m antsy to get started on Book 3! I’ve refrained from really letting myself think too much about it–I’ll get far too distracted from schoolwork and tweaking Book 1 and Book 2. But I’ve got a plotline and some character names picked out already. I just have to build the world and work out details. Easy-peasy! Yes, I hope you all read the sarcasm in that. I’m hoping that this weekend I can get some real-life work done so I can escape to the world inside my mind. The good one, don’t worry.

For now, though, I’ve had to find escape in music, which is fine by me. I’ve gotten on this kick of making playlists. I used to just make them and then put them on shuffle and let them take me away. I still do that for some–like my Road Trippin’ playlist for when I drive home or back to SLO. But I made a list of songs for someone recently, just listing them by how they come up in my iTunes: alphabetical by artist. But this list of songs…they’re me in a nutshell. I handpicked them so that if you were to listen to them, you might get me a little bit more. A little bit better. That kind of list needs to be in a special order. I spent most of yesterday arranging and rearranging the songs–and I think I’ve got it! I need to listen a time or two more to be sure, but I’m feeling it.

The Maine’s latest album has got me feeling some kind of way, too. I love it so much, and they never cease to please me with their new music. It’s pretty seamless, and it’s one of the reasons I am now conscious of the order of songs I listen to. But not only did my favorite band release a new record, so did Harry Styles!! Still bitter about the whole “hiatus” thing, but I am loving Harry’s album. It’s so different, and it’s just the kind of thing I needed in my slump. Call me crazy or whatever, but I still love One Direction and all that those boys have accomplished. Hey, music is very important to me, and I’m always overly emotional about it!

And speaking of getting emotional, I saw Jaci last weekend! After hanging out more or less nonstop with her for three months and then not seeing her for six-ish months, I was so excited to have her in town. Post-grad life is treating her well: she has a cool new job that has confusing-to-me circumstances, but it sounds like a blast. It was defnitely strange seeing her in America–SLO, no less–and not London. I’ve been missing my city and all the memories so much the last few weeks, and having the abroad squad back together (ish) for even just a night was the best. Studying abroad was such a wonderful and life-changing experience, and the friends I made were a huge part of that. Therefore Jaci was a huge part of that. I miss getting lost in foreign countries together.

Thinking about London so much made the recent terror attack in Manchester all that more heart-wrenching. Missing the lovely country of England and wishing I was there only made it harder to be so far away when tragedy struck. A concert is supposed to be a safe place–we all know much music has impacted my life–and bombing such a place (where a particularly non-controversial musician was performing) is just awful. All those children…it makes me so angry and sad. I’m wondering how someone could be so evil, but I still believe in the sacredness of music and how positively it can affect someone. And I have to believe we’ll be stronger for this.

As cynical as I am about people and their intentions, I do have faith that when it all comes down to it, people care about people. I saw a video of the queen visiting the survivors in the hospital, and it warmed my heart a little. Gave me some optimism.

…….And now I’ve been lost in thought for, like, twenty minutes. Must get down to business. And by business I mean enjoying the scenery and listening to my jammin’ playlist.

Go get lost in thought and maybe in real life today. Also, always remember there is a Fran Drescher gif for everything.

Peace and blessings, Ashhhhhh

Treacherous

Wow it’s like I am insanely inspired to blog lately…so here I am, coming at you again with some tough topics. I’ve got a lot on my mind, and I need a break from studying–and I only have about seven pages left in my journal and my new one isn’t coming in the mail for about a week. Have to pace myself…

So we’ve talked about depression, anxiety, and the famous 13 Reasons Why. I’ve shared a pretty dark story with you that kind of let you into what goes on in my head sometimes (hey, it got me an A in the best class I’ve ever taken!). But today I’m going to take you down the other little path of mental illness in my life. That’s right, we’re going to talk about eating disorders.

This one might be the hardest for me to talk about because I have always struggled with whether or not I can really consider what I had an eating disorder. On top of that, I still have those lingering Bad Thoughts about my body…every time I look in a mirror. Okay, okay, maybe not every time, but at least ninety percent. That percentage is too damn high! It doesn’t mean I act on those thoughts–sure I have cried in the shower more than once this year and had a mental breakdown or two in my car. It happens and it sucks, but I’m only human.

I gained weight abroad, and ever since I have been back, I have been telling myself that “I have to lose the abroad weight.” Everything still fits me, sure, but now that I’m not perpetually wearing sweaters and I’m on a campus full of beautiful people, I notice the change. So last quarter, I gave myself a gym routine I said I would stick to. It wasn’t aggressive, but I would go a few times a week and take a class. No big deal. Well, I did not follow through with that after around Week 3. I wasn’t mad at myself or anything, I just didn’t have the time. That was okay. I still didn’t love to look at myself in the mirror, but I wouldn’t say I hated it either.

However, this quarter I have been really good about going on a more regular basis. I go a few times a week to hit the elliptical. I even go at six in the morning sometimes. Honestly, who am I?? Kidding, it’s just the best time for my schedule to go. Yes, I am pretty much asleep in the Rec and I nap once I get home and shower, but that’s not the point. The point is that–get this–I actually feel better. I have never been one of those people that feels good after a work out. In fact, I feel pretty shitty. I still don’t feel on top of the world when I leave the gym (the word “potato” comes to mind…), but I have more energy and motivation to actually do things throughout the day.

One of the reasons I wanted to start going more often and regularly was because I would lose all my energy when I would hike with my friends. My endurance and stamina has never been great, and it really showed on a trip to the top of Bishop’s Peak. I am always one of the slowest. That is partly because my knees and ankles kind of suck, but it’s also because I get tired so fast. I’ve gotten a lot better now that I have spent the last few weeks at the Rec.

Bonus: I don’t pant walking around our hilly campus or to my apartment on the third floor (much) anymore!

All of that is fine and dandy. I am not overdoing it or pushing myself too hard, and I still eat whatever I want, when I want (except SloDoCo–I need a maple bar, stat!). I am eating a lot of fruits and veggies, but I also splurge on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Some days you hit the gym, some nights you hit the bars. It’s called balance.

But today when I was working out, I spotted a girl in the weights area. She looked…well, quick frankly, she looked like maybe she was overdoing it (to put it in simple terms). She had slightly sunken eyes and I could see the chords in her neck. And I know people at the gym don’t really look happy, but she didn’t seem to have the life in her that a lot of people do. I know it is not my place to judge or to make assumptions, but I worried about her. And I looked at the miles, the calories, and the minutes on my machine, and I slowed down. I was at a pretty fast pace to get and keep my heart rate up, but seeing her made me cool it for a minute and remind myself that those numbers don’t matter. Yes, running elliptical-ing a mile in less than ten minutes is really exciting for me, but I have to remember that “beating” that personal best might push me past my limits. Maybe I will beat that time, but, like writing in my journal in the next week or so, I have to pace myself.

I have to be conscious of why I am going to the gym. To lose weight? Maybe, but that’s not the overall goal. To build muscle? Possibly. And I have to remind myself that it’s not a requirement of my day. If I’m really not wanting to go work out, then I won’t do it. Yes, I want to keep a routine and stick to it, but it’s not supposed to control me. I think for a little bit this quarter I was letting it take the reigns of my life. Like with depression and anxiety, I had to take a step back and reevaluate. Seeing that girl at the gym made me do that. So this morning, I skipped the gym to sleep in and then study. I might go later today, but I won’t force myself.

Sometimes I think I have all this control over my body and my life, and then I realize that I only think I do. That’s when I stop looking in mirrors and reflective surfaces, I walk right past the scale, I don’t compare myself to every single person that passes me. Instead, I look at the flowers growing literally everywhere in SLO and I jam to the music in my headphones. I can overcome those bad habits.

I was talking to a friend of mine about my new mile time and how exciting that was for a non-runner like me. He said that seeing results like that can be addicting and that was a great feeling. Now, I would in no world put him into any unhealthy habit category–he’s one of those guys who looooves the gym and lifting weights and playing basketball–you know the kind I’m talking about (still love ya, Ben!!). But the word “addicting” didn’t quite sit well with me. Working out and I haven’t had the best relationship because I got addicted to it like I got addicted to the numbness of depression. Again, his words made me take a step back.

I don’t like that I still struggle with this. I feel like I am better than this–I should be, right? Yeah, well, mental illness doesn’t work like that. Sometimes it creeps back into your life and you don’t notice for a while. Recovery doesn’t mean you’re never tempted or you don’t ever slip backwards. Recovery is being conscious of those temptations and overcoming them. It’s been an ongoing battle.

But today is going to be a good day. Great things will happen and I am going to be the best person I can be. My morning pep talk.

Thanks for keeping up with me!

-Ash

PS Literally an eating disorder ad just came up on my Spotify–relevance!! Talk about it, start a conversation, be there.

Beautiful Life

Happy Tuesday, my loves. I got soooo much love on my last post, and I just wanted to say thank you and that I feel very blessed to have all you wonderful people in my life.

I’m sitting here on my “porch” and watching the sun set on this beautiful day–there’s a car that has taken about 4 minutes to park in this one spot, and Tori and I are laughing about it. It was incredibly hot today, but right now the temperature is perfect for some porch sitting and homework. Of course, I am blogging, but I will get right to homework as soon as I’m finished!

Greek Week kicked off today, which means I have a week full of events and fun things to do. The first big event was a play on TEDtalks called Greek^y (please read the y as an exponent–I’m sure there’s a way I could do that, but I’m technologically challenged). It consisted of about a dozen students, all from different organizations, giving a talk about how Greek life has impacted them in some way. A girl talked about how her experience with Type 1 diabetes inspired her to join Alpha Gamma Delta. A guy explained how Greek life made him a more humble and better person. My friend Dani told us about how, at first, Greek life was not what she expected and therefore felt alone and out of place–of course, now she loves and is incredibly grateful for it (Hey, Dani, we love you a lot too!!!). It was all very inspiring and agreement snaps echoed throughout the auditorium. Greek Week never fails to bring all the organizations together. I mean, yes, everyone is out to win and the competition can get intense, but we all do it for a great cause. We all want to do it for a great cause.

The Greek^y event really reminded me of how much Greek life has affected me. College was supposed to be my real fresh start, like how I thought high school might be. And since high school worked out soooo well for my mental health, I was worried it would be a sickening rollercoaster 2.0.

I knew I wanted to rush from the beginning. Even if I didn’t love it, I still put myself out there and tried it out. Of course, the actual putting myself out there part was more than daunting. I had so much anxiety about it all, and thought about not doing it. I could try it again next year. But after a really wonderful (and wildly exhausting) orientation week, where I felt truly at home for the first time, I knew I had to follow through, nerves or not.

So I did it, and I’ve never had a single regret.

At first, though, I did feel kind of like an outcast. I didn’t drink, and I thought people would be judgmental about that. I thought it might affect any friendship I tried to make. And yes, people were judgmental, they didn’t really get it, but it didn’t matter. I still went out with my friends, I made incredible memories, and I fell in love with my life. While I didn’t hang out much with the girls in my sorority until sophomore year, I owe so much of my confidence and boosted self-esteem to Greek Life.

I walked into Cal Poly a scared and anxious girl, and I have turned into a strong and outgoing woman. I mean, I still have anxiety, I don’t know if that will ever change. But I don’t let it rule my life anymore, and I do things despite that anxiety. I take risks that I am afraid of, and conquering that fear is good for me. Heights, sharks, and spiders? Those I’m still terrified of. But talking to boys, participating in class, and working in retail? I fight those fears every day. I welcome them.

Okay, okay, maybe not the talking to boys part–I still really suck at that–but I refuse to let my lack of participation bring my grades down (because that’s a thing in my major).

I look back at my high school self. I wore pajamas to school and stayed home a lot of times when my friends wanted to hang out. I claimed I was just lazy or had other things to do, but it was really because I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about my appearance (in terms of the clothes I wore–we all know how much I care(d) about what my body looks like), and I didn’t need to go hang out with people who made me feel like I would never be a long-term part of their lives. Sure I tried sometimes, but most of the time I just didn’t–couldn’t–see the point. That’s not say I didn’t have any good memories in those four years. I have a lot, and though I didn’t really talk to any of those poeple after graduation, I talk to them now. I always try to get lunch with or see them when I am home on breaks. I can’t be bitter about things that weren’t their fault, and I’ve learned to forgive a lot of people.

Coming to college and joining Greek life was such a game-changer for me. I’ve branched out and met so many remarkable people–not just in my organization–that I thank God for every day. I am lucky to have found that kind of support and unconditional love here.

So with Greek Week up and running, midterms are popping up and my stress levels are rising. But I got this. I can handle it. And I am fully prepared to take back the title of “A O Winners!!” this Greek Week.

I’ll try to be less sappy next time. Stay tuned.

-Ash

Sad Beautiful Tragic

So now that it’s been a month since my last post, and I’ve sufficiently put off writing about a particular topic we all know and love on the blog, here I am! I have risen from my accidental hiatus for a very special purpose.

It took me quite a while, but I made it through Netlfix’s newest binge 13 Reasons Why. As I’ve said before, I loved, loved, loved the book. Hannah Baker’s story hits close to home for me, and Clay Jensen is such a great character. I was so excited for the show to start streaming because I couldn’t wait to see this book I loved so much to come to life. I was very anxious to see how they would stretch the story over thirteen episodes. I can honestly say that the show made me feel so many emotions all across the spectrum and that I am incredibly happy that its message has reached soooo many more people since moving from page to screen.

So here we have my offical reactions to the show.

First off, as excited as I was for this series, I knew it would be hard for me to watch. This would not be a binge I could finish in a day. Maybe two or three, but not one. As it turned out, I had to go through the episodes over the course of a week.  Obviously I had to stay on top of my schoolwork (New Quarter, New Me, ya know?), but it was also important for me to dedicate time and focus to this show. Something that changed my life this much deserved that.

Normally, when I watch a show on Netflix, I can just go from episode to episode, reading the one-line synopsis and pressing “Next Episode” without much thought. With 13 Reasons Why I could do no such thing. After every episode, I needed to take a moment to collect my thoughts. To sit in silence and think about what I just watched. It wasn’t intentional, I just found myself stopping and reflecting. It felt wrong not to. The episodes were heavy, and I related to them so much. They took me back to middle and high school where I was depressed and had suicidal thoughts, and I needed to breathe. To remind myself that I’m not that girl anymore and I have so much to live for. So many people don’t believe that, and I feel incredibly lucky that I found that light in my life. But I had to remind myself of it. And I pray for those who haven’t found it yet.

Watching the show and needing these breaks between episodes was not like having my anxiety attacks, where I slipped backwards and had to wallow in that darkness before pulling myself out. Or like any other anxiety or panic attack I’ve had in my life. They were just moments where I needed to breathe. It’s hard to remember those thoughts, but I can’t let myself forget about them either.

So I watched each episode with care, and what I immediately noticed was that the characters were not what I was expecting–and that was a good thing. Dylan Minnette as Clay was not shocking whatsoever (he fit exactly what I had imagined), but the rest? I pictured something completely different. I obviously went into the show with an open mind, and I was blown away by the performances. They actors exceeded any expectations I had going in, and I was very pleased with casting. I loved Alisha Boe (as Jessica), Katherine Langford (as Hannah), and Miles Heizer (as Alex). Justin Prentice made Bryce a great, loathe-able villain, and Kate Walsh was phenomenal as Hannah’s mom.

In the book, the only character you get to know outside what the tapes say is Clay. You learn who Hannah is because of them, and you form judgments and impressions on the rest of the characters by the things she says–Clay’s thoughts shed some light, but not much. I loved reading the book because it was easy to keep track of who everyone was and what they did. However, the show presented those characters as flesh and blood and defined them as more than just what was on the tapes. You got to see everyone’s reactions to the tapes, rather than just Clay’s. I didn’t know I needed to see their stories until I watched. There is so much more background and insight, and it helped to see just how everyone was dealing with it. How they really thought about Hannah.

At times it was overwhelming to see all the facets, but I’m glad the writers and producers seized the opportunity to do as such. Though the book wasn’t, the show could have been pretty boring to just watch Clay move through the tapes by himself. And a viewer can learn a lot more by seeing all the sides–because there’s more than one side to every story. And while I think it is important to believe Hannah’s side, it’s also vital to look at everyone else’s.

The book so heavily impacted my life, and I was so happy the show could keep that love alive.

That’s not to say I was head over heels for everything about it. For example, showing Hannah’s suicide was risky. It was definitely triggering, and I would recommend–well, advise heavily–to proceed with caution. Or not at all. If that’s something that will hurt you or your recovery, then steer clear. I don’t think the show’s creators would take it personally whatsoever, and it’s better to stay away from something like that. For me, I struggled to watch it. I thought about skipping over the scene altogether. But I am far enough in my recovery and confident enough in myself that I could sit and watch it. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt or that I didn’t have to stop watching it and take a moment afterward. I cried throughout the entire episode, and that particular part had me sobbing.

I don’t know if I would have gone about it in the same way. Hannah killed herself by swallowing pills in the book. In the show, she slit her wrists in the bathtub. Much more difficult to watch. More painful. I wonder if it was the right decision to include that scene.

I get why they did it. It makes sense. But I just don’t know if I would have done the same. But it has started a conversation, and I think that’s essential.

To those saying the show glorifies suicide and glorifies killing yourself as an act of revenge, I have to disagree. And say that Hannah, though a fictional character, only killed herself to get back at the people who wronged her is saying that her suicide is invalid. That she had no reason to be as depressed as she was. To the people that say that, screw you. That’s harsh, but I have reasons.

If you’ve read my story, and if you’ve ever heard me talk about my depression, you would know that for a long time I blamed everyone else for my Bad Thoughts. It was a list of other people’s wrongdoings that led me to think about killing myself. I wanted all those people who were horrible to me to know that they were what drove me to such drastic measures. I didn’t think they’d care, but I wanted them to know it was the things that they did and said that made me hate myself so much. I still want them to know.

If wanting that “revenge” invalidated Hannah’s suicide, then it sure as hell invalidates my depression–and I can tell you, those emotions (or lack thereof) were very real. If you told me they weren’t, that I was just being stupid, well I might just hit you. And then cry probably a little, out of anger mostly. Because I fought so hard to get where I am and to stop blaming those people and myself.

Had I killed myself all those times I wanted to over the years, it would have been a “revenge suicide.” I can admit that. Doesn’t mean it would be petty or unreal or unnecessary. I would have still done it. Having people tell me I there was no reason to be upset or depressed would only have driven me more towards that decision. Invalidating someone else’s suicide or depression doesn’t validate yours any more.

That’s more of a reaction to a reaction, but I needed to say it. It bothered me so much that it made me second guess my own depression. That those ten years of my life weren’t even real. That I was just being dramatic.

I wasn’t and neither was Hannah.

So no matter what I disagreed with or didn’t quite love about the show, what I did love far outweighed anything I didn’t. The book changed my life. The show only made me believe that more.

I still thank Jay Asher for his story and for making me feel not so alone. And I thank God for my recovery. 13 Reasons Why reminded me of that.

–Ash