13 Reasons Why

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I read the book when it first came out in 2007 and ever since that I’ve been eagerly waiting for a remake in form of a movie or series. I finally got my wish, but surprise, the book was better! As it usually tends to be and yes, I am one of those people. I feel extremely superior over people who haven’t read the book.

Though as the makers of the Netflix original “Thirteen Reasons Why” said, yes it’s a little different from the book, but the message stays the same. Which after all, is the most important. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics like bullying, depression and suicide.

If you don’t already know about “Thirteen Reasons Why” and live under a rock, then here’s a short rundown. Hannah Baker committed suicide, but before that she recorded 13 tapes with 13 reasons why she decided to take her own life. Each tape covering a different event/person who ultimately drove her to her suicide. Tapes are then handed from person to person, unfolding dark events and ruining peoples lives as they once ruined Hannah’s.

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I started off loving only the main characters and straight up hating everyone else. Because I already more or less knew what they had done. But to my surprise I started loving some of them even though their mistakes and flaws.

Talking about characters, I was very happy about the mixed cast. A mix of people with different ethnicities and race, as well as multiple gay characters sprinkled throughout the series. I’m also happy to report that they chose to break stereotypes, not just portraying a flamboyant gay boy and a butch lesbian. As well as including a character with same sex parents!

As much as I resented certain characters for their stupid mistakes or ways of dealing with things. I also somewhat related to them and could see the reasoning behind some of their actions (PS this does not go for all characters, because some actions are unforgivable!) Even though sometimes it was incredibly frustrating for me, but then I had to step back and remind myself that the characters are indeed only 17-years-old.

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Having personal experiences with some of the topics covered, this book has always been close to my heart. I’m glad the screen version didn’t let me down either. It’s dark, suspenseful and raw. A true emotional rollercoaster, as stupidly cliche as it sounds. But it really was, therefore this is no easy watching. I felt very involved and it took me days to process some events. Because even though Hannah Baker is a fictional character, bullying and suicide are very real.

There are hundreds, thousands and millions of Hannah Bakers out there and they all need a little hope.

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How to become a writer

Start fights, throw punches, get your heart broken, drink that bottle of wine, be the other woman, watch your grandmother die, smoke that blunt, snort that line of coke. Go home and write it all down. Pour it onto the paper. Let your emotions roam and vomit out all the words you could never say sober. Let the pen be the messenger. And the paper its lover.

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Writing always came easy to you, at least in a classroom full of 13-year-olds. But writing is a fine art. Writing is a love affair, between the pen and the paper. Writing is a solitary act. It’s being the only one awake at 4am, drinking or smoking or both, all to the soft hum of your laptop. In front of your laptop, from now on it’s the only place you’ll ever be. Everything in your life is now performed in front of that gleaming screen. Your only company being the made-up characters inside your head.

It’s reading Hemingway or Dickens and never feeling good enough. Never finding the right words and never measuring up to any writer. It’s rushing home from the store with a brilliant idea, only to have it vanish in front of your eyes when you grab for the pen. It’s eating noodles for five days straight, because that’s all you can afford. You chew on the end of your pen, trying to suck the ideas out of it. You go to pour yourself a drink, unconsciously deciding that you’d rather drink yourself to death than ever publish something mediocre.

Growing up, your mother always used to tell you how good your writing was. From essays to short stories to poems. Even the teachers loved them, rewarding you with many A’s. Yet growing up and becoming a writer was never an option. “It isn’t a real job honey” your mother would assure you. Or at least not as real as a doctor or a teacher or a lawyer. Those were the ‘real jobs’. So, growing up you wanted to be many things, first an actor, then a surgeon, a pilot, a lawyer, a designer, a plastic surgeon, a marine biologist and then… Suddenly you didn’t know anymore. You wanted to be everything and nothing at all, all at once. So, you became a writer.

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Who do I write for?

This is a question that’s been daunting me for the past 3 months, or at least whenever I thought about my slowly dying blog. And whenever I spoke to my few fellow blogger friends, if I dare to even call myself that. I kept asking them who do they write/blog for? As well as complaining about my blog and how a part of me wants to delete and throw this whole blog thing in the trash cause I probably don’t have anything adequate to say anyways.

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Like who even cares what I eat or wear or what makeup I smear on my face? Who cares what I read or write or think about? I mean other than my mum or my grandmother. I’m no Kim Kardashian or Taylor Swift, I don’t have a name that makes people click on an article in 0,2 seconds. I am…well, just myself.

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I started this blog for an assignment, therefore I wrote for my lecturers. I wrote to get a good grade. But who do I write for now? Friends, family, strangers? No, I write for myself. I write what I want to write about and what makes me happy. Or what drives me absolutely nuts and makes my blood boil. That’s what I should write about. I should write for myself first and foremost. And everything else will come.

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All the credit for the photos goes to my sweetest Paula who you can find here – www.paulajohanna.com. She takes sick photos, generally of cars but sometimes of humans too.

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Post assignment blues

As of tomorrow morning, 12pm sharp I will be officially done with my first year of university, leaving me with only another 2 years to go until graduation. I gotta say this first year sure flew by and I guess it’s true, the older you get the faster the time goes by. Which by the way is fucking terrifying!

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I mean of course I couldn’t be happier and ecstatic with successfully finishing my first year at university. But it also feels slightly bittersweet, the fact that I only have 2 more stressful but short years left as a student and after those short years all there is left to do is dive into the “real world.” Which is horrifying. I’m only 20 something years old, yes I’m an adult but I’m definitely not a full-grown adult! Like what are taxes? How do I do them? Do I need insurance? What kind? How do I get an internship? Do I need one? I one hundred percent am not ready to be thrown into the real world.

Having finished all my assignments for the year I’m left with a slight feeling of under achievement. As if maybe I didn’t do enough or work hard enough, and maybe just maybe I could’ve done even better if I just tried harder. But then I try to remind myself of all the hours of work, the days and nights of thought and research that went into my work. As well as a little too much caffeine, the allnighters I pulled and the time I actually brought a blanket to the library and that little snooze at 4am. It wasn’t easy, but I pulled through and did it! And it is an achievement to be proud of. I guess as humans we are never satisfied and always looking ways to improve ourselves.

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So me and my sweet angel friend Carly decided to spend an evening laying amongst flowers (hence the photos). Reflecting on our first year at university. I guess I really do feel bittersweet about leaving university for the summer, but I can bet you that I will be complaining in the coming fall how the summer wasn’t long enough and how I truly do not want go back to uni. And start all this chaotic studying-stressing cycle again.

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My sleeping pill addiction

I was first prescribed sleeping pills about a year ago, along side with a lot of other drugs. But the sleeping pills were definitely the most “fun” ones. I never used to have any trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep for that matter. I was the master of falling off to sleep anywhere, anytime. In the car, on the plane, on the floor, at the beach… the list could go on and on. Once I even fell asleep while sitting on the stairs at my house back in Estonia.

The beginning of my sleeping pill journey was quite un-eventful, I would take my pill at a reasonable time and take my ass to bed. But it didn’t take me long until I figured out that if you take your sleeping pill or take 1 or 2 too many and force yourself to stay awake you get blessed with some wicked hallucinations, sometimes funny, sometimes scary. But I didn’t really mind, I found all of this rather amusing and fun. Seeing and hearing things that weren’t really there.

And some of my best pieces of writing were done while being drugged out of my mind. But aside from the fact that I milked my sleeping pills to the best of my ability and squeezed out some pretty decent pieces of writing. There were obviously more cons  than pros to taking sleeping pills. Some of the side effects of being headaches, nausea,   sleep waking and amnesia (memory loss).

Being recently taken off the sleeping pills, I have obviously relapsed into being a bigger insomniac than ever before. But apparently this is normal and temporary (hopefully)! I’ve also tried natural medications and herbal extracts, such as valerian root extract. But I haven’t had much luck with those, possibly because I’ve been on some hardcore sleeping pills before that, so the herbal stuff really doesn’t cut it for me.

So rather than trying to find another substance, I’m being left to my own devices to figure out how to get a decent amount of sleep. Anyway here are some of my tips or my “routine” for getting a better good night’s sleep.

THE RIGHT PLAYLIST

While I don’t like to listen to music while actually falling asleep, I find it quite relaxing to listen to some soothing tunes before bed. Acoustic or classical music is what usually works best for me. I’ve also become quite fond of the Sleep to Dream playlist on Spotify.

DIM THE LIGHTS

What has helped me is to turn off all the lights except one, an hour or 2 before my actual bed time. Usually for me that light tends to be either the bedside table light or my fairy lights, anything small and with a limited amount of light will do as long most of your room stays dim.

NO ELECTRONICS

A new rule that I’ve made for myself and that I’m trying so incredibly hard to follow is the no electronics for an hour before bedtime rule. And if I’m really honest, it’s harder to follow than it should be. First world problems I guess…

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So what do I do for an hour before bed when I cut myself off all electronics? Well usually clear my head, make a cup of tea, burn some candles, organise stuff, write, journal, draw or read. And by read I mean that I read a REAL BOOK, that old thing made out of paper, with actual covers and pages. Not one of those kindle or e-reader bullshit things.

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16 things I would say to my 16 year old self

  1. Don’t cry over that boy or that GIRL, they are so irrelevant.
  2. Try to enjoy high school, even when you hate it.
  3. Study hard! It’s gonna be worth it!
  4. Kiss that girl for longer.
  5. Don’t push your parents (or your friends) away.
  6. Drink more water.
  7. Drink less vodka.
  8. Trust yourself.
  9. Burn those pink jeans!
  10. Don’t take things or people in your life for granted.
  11. Things will change and that’s okay.
  12. Spend more time by the sea.
  13. Don’t give up playing the guitar.
  14. Stop hurting yourself.
  15. Hold onto 16 as long as you can.
  16. Everything is going to be okay…

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What to write about when you have nothing to write about?

 

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Manifesto of writing

We put pen to paper and form the words. Sentences. One after another. Paragraphs. Pages. Chapters. Anyone can write. If you’re writing you are a writer. You just have to start and then finish it. But if you start and don’t finish something, then you are a loser. A B C! ALWAYS BE CLOSING! Be a closer! Finish what you’ve started, even if it’s shit so you can move on to better things. Keep writing and reading and rewriting. And never let perfect be the enemy of good enough!

So what do you write about when you have nothing to say? The obvious answer here would be, if you don’t have anything to say don’t say anything at all. But if you’re a writer, this rule doesn’t apply to you and to be honest in your world shouldn’t even exist. Writers block is bullshit, at least that’s something I learnt during my first semester at university. I heard the sentence “Writers block does not exist” from almost every one of my lecturer’s mouths at some point. And one of them even said that writers block is a fancy term made up by wine lovers, so they can drink wine.

So get inspired! Read something, walk your dog (if you don’t have a dog, walk yourself), go to the library, to the cafe, to the supermarket, eavesdrop, be nosy, take notes, keep a journal, drink absinthe or red wine in a bar in Prague or do drugs in Berlin, whatever works for you. Anything can be a story you just have to pull your finger out of your ass and start writing. Put it down on the paper, turn it into a story.

Yes, it’s as easy and hard as it seems. Just. Start. Writing. Pen on paper or fingers on a keyboard, doesn’t matter. Just start writing. Today I opened this blog and thought that I didn’t have anything to write, until I started writing. Write about your first heartbreak, or that girl from high school who promised to marry you, or how you got drunk one time and woke up in a different country. Write about that guy who asked you about your books, or about that cute girl who lives across the street.

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If you finished reading this and you still have nothing to write then, I guess that just means you’re a bad writer. And if you don’t write, you’re no writer at all. Hate to break it to you but I would suggest finding another career path and maybe try something else. Maybe history? Or mathematics? Go crazy!

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