The other day, my new friend Kelly and I were talking about how we fell in love with Supernatural. Kelly is a horror fan, so it was on her radar early on. Me, on the other hand. Well, I’ve never really liked horror all that much. So because Supernatural was billed as a horror show (airing on the then WB no less) I was expecting a lot of half-naked girls running around screaming while these male model-types with sawdust for brains crashed in and saved the day. So, no thank-you. I’ll spend my time doing something else. Well, I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong and boy was I ever wrong about Supernatural. Yes, it’s a horror show, but it’s so much more than that.
I started watching Supernatural totally by accident when re-runs started airing on TNT. About 3 years ago, I fell asleep with my tv on, and when I woke up the next morning, Folsom Prison Blues was just coming on. I recognized Jensen Ackles from Dark Angel, and since I liked him on that show, I decided to give this new one a shot. I think it’s fair to say that SPN pretty much had me at hello. The writing was fantastic. The story was dramatic, yet humorous and a bit scary. But mostly it was Sam and Dean. They are what roped me in. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki don’t get nearly enough recognition and praise from their peers for the consistently outstanding work they do. The relationship that they have created on screen is something I haven’t seen duplicated anywhere else. There is obviously a lot of love between these two brothers, but at the same time they annoy the heck out of each other. That’s family. Their tough exterior and ability to find a little light in pretty dark lives really spoke to me. I also absolutely adored the fact that they played Alice in Chains at the end of that ep. I thought to myself, ‘no way is a tv show cool enough to play Alice in Chains.’ But, this is Supernatural we’re talking about, so of course they were. I skipped work that day and watched the second episode that aired, What is and What Should Never Be. That ep clinched it for me. That was the first time I teared up watching a tv show. I’d just met these characters, but already I felt so strongly for them; Dean in particular. I readily identified with the burden he carried as the oldest; feeling like his baby brother was his responsibility and his alone. I knew that he put on a strong front because he had to. He was the oldest and that was what was expected of him. He had to carry so much more than he was probably ready to bear, but no one asked him if he was ready. He was the oldest. It was his job to be ready. Yeah. I got Dean. After that episode went off, I sat for a minute to let it all soak in. Then I immediately went to the store and bought all available seasons (1-4) on DVD so I could watch from the beginning. I wanted to get to know Sam and Dean. I wanted to experience their journey. What started as something I did alone, in the quiet of my own home, turned into an experience I share with millions around the world. When I joined the Supernatural fandom, I joined a new family.
Joining the Supernatural fandom (from here on out, it shall be referred to what it really is, the family) was not something I expected to do. It was something that happened completely by accident. Much like my discovery of SPN in the first place. I didn’t used to have an easy time meeting people. I mean, I had friends. And they’re still my close friends to this day. But I didn’t like large groups. I still don’t actually. And I always felt out of place with people I didn’t know. Now that I think about it, that was probably because I was uncomfortable in my own skin for a long time. There are a number of reasons for it, but mostly I think it was just that I hadn’t really found the place where I belong. I was a reasonably smart black girl attending a predominantly white school in the south. Suffice it to say, I was too white for the black people and too black for the white people. One group judged me for participating in activities they considered “white folks stuff.” The other group oftentimes just flat out told me I didn’t belong, for one reason or another. I don’t want to start a back and forth about race relations, but it is what it is. That’s just something I had to deal with. And it was constant. I didn’t have a place where I felt like anyone really wanted to get to know me. No place where I felt like I could just be myself without being judged. Those insecurities and feelings of constant judgment followed me for a long time. All the way to college actually. But when I got to college I got serious about my faith, and that helped a lot. You know what also helped? Deciding to define myself and not let other people define me and tell me what I should or shouldn’t like or do. After that, I became a different person. I made a few more friends while I was in law school, and I found a place where I fit…for the most part. Enter the Supernatural family.
The Supernatural family is really a very unique entity. It’s really hard to verbalize actually. One of the things Kelly mentioned while we were talking is that she hid her fangirliness (yes, that’s a word because I just made it up) because she didn’t feel like anyone else would understand or accept it. It wasn’t until she said that that I started thinking about how I did that too. All of my friends know my love of movies, but I used to try to keep that on the down low. I didn’t want them to know the total tonage of movies and tv that I’d watched. Looking back on it, I don’t really know why. But my love of movies is eclipsed by my love of Supernatural. And I didn’t really understand that until I made the decision to attend my first Supernatural convention in LA last year. Other than my faith, I have never been as passionate about anything as I am about Supernatural. My mom kept asking me how I could be so addicted to a tv show that I would be willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money to attend a fan convention, and I told her (honestly) that I didn’t know. But I just knew I had to go. And as soon as I walked into the hotel in LA, I understood. I belonged. Other Supernatural fans greeted me as I entered the lobby and all I saw on every face was a welcoming smile. No one judging me for wearing my SPN shirt or calling me a dork for having seen every episode at least two dozen times. I saw people dressed in different character costumes and wearing personalized SPN t-shirts. Carrying SPN-themed tote bags. People walking over and saying hello and talking about the exciting weekend ahead. Over the course of that weekend, I started randomly talking to people while I was standing in line which is something I’d always been too uncomfortable to do before. But this was different. We started talking about this show that we love and found out that we have more things in common than just the show. I made new friends at that convention that I believe will be in my life forever. Just like any family, the SPN family doesn’t always agree about everything. We argue and fight with each other, but at the end of the day, we all love this show and the people who work so hard on it. I found a place where I belong, and I gotta say, it feels pretty darn good.
Just one aside. Another reason I love the SPN family is that I feel like we are making a positive impact on the world. All of the folks who work on SPN seem to be charity-minded, and it makes me proud to know that I’m a part of a family that raised over $40K for St. Jude’s Hospital. I’m a part of a family that has helped to raise money for and build an orphanage and a school in Haiti. I’m a part of a family that has raised money for animal shelters, children with Down Syndrome, performing arts programs, and so many others I can’t even remember them all. All our stars have to tell us is that there’s a need, and we’re there. It makes me proud to know that the SPN family is working hard to leave this world a better place than we found it.
Well, that’s entirely more personal than I intended to be, but oh well. It is what it is. Until next time, peace, love, and joy to all. 🙂