The Supernatural Fandom, Who Are We?

The Supernatural Fandom, Who Are We?

How "a family business" helped thousands of lives.
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On September 13th, 2005, a little TV show premiered on The WB. (Geez, remember The WB?) The series followed two brothers as they went on the search for their missing father, hunting any evil along the way.

I had no plans to write this article, none at all. It wasn't until I had a conversation with a family member that I felt the need to write this.

Me: This show taught me what family is supposed to mean.
Family Member: How can a show about satanism teach you about family?
Me: Are you serious?

To that family member, I hope what I'm about to write makes you realize how big of a show this really is.

Now, what show am I talking about? Supernatural of course. As of it's recently renewed 12th season, Supernatural is the longest running fantasy tv show in the United States. Over the past 12 years, it went from the little show that could, to the little show that succeed. And succeeded well.

My main reason for writing this article is that, basically, I'm tired of people telling me that things like TV shows and music and artists can't help you in an emotional way. Now, I'm here to prove you wrong.

Not only does the show itself help people, but the actors in the show do some pretty magnificent things.

Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester on the show, has been very open with his struggles with depression and anxiety. The fact that he's open about it helps people by itself, I know for a fact. Fans struggling with depression and anxiety see a big status celebrity like Jared and it lets them know that how they feel is ok, that it will get better. Even someone as famous as Jared has struggles, and fans know it's ok for them to have struggles too.

But Jared's also started many different campaigns to help. One example of a campaign Jared's started is the Always Keep Fighting campaign, reminding fans to, well, Always Keep Fighting. To read more about the campaign, click here!

Misha Collins, who plays the angel Castiel on the show, saw how much work people in the fandom were putting in and he wanted to put that work into good use. He co-founded the charity Random Acts. (Click here for more information of the charity). This charity has done amazing things over the years with the Supernatural Family. One even includes raising money to build a orphanage in Haiti after the earthquakes, and sending people over to do it.

Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester, and again Misha Collins, started the You're Not Alone Campaign. The money raised from the campaign goes towards something I've never seen come from a tv show before, something amazing. The money from the campaign goes towards the #SPNFamily Crisis Support Network. Click here to learn about this amazing thing.

Mark Sheppard, who plays the demon Crowley, has a son who has Type 1 Diabetes. He knows first hand how tough it can be on a family, and especially how tough it can be on the kid. Mark's campaign has since ended, but you can read here on the camp that Mark was raising money for!

(I would like to add that the list of campaigns from the actors of this show can go a mile long. I can only include some or else this article would last forever).

The Supernatural Family is also the most accepting group of people I've ever come across. It's given me friends and people to talk to when I thought I had no one. Thanks to the Supernatural Family, I found people who liked the same things I did and for the first time I could talk about my "obsession" with a show and not look like an idiot in front of people. Supernatural itself, as I stated before, helped me understand what family truly is supposed to be. Quoting the show, "Family don't end in blood", and that quote itself helped me figure out who I could trust in my life. The show helped me figure out who my real family was.

However, it's definitely not just me. Before I started writing this article, I put a post out on tumblr.com asking people to tell me how Supernatural has helped them. I got a plethora of responses back. I wanted to include some of them here just to show the world how powerful a tv show can be for people.

"Ok I'll help you out. My name is Rachel I'm 34 years old and live in Northern Ireland. I have a long term illness named Fibromyalgia which is painful and stops me from going much. I've had this illness since I was about 19 years old. It stops me from going out much meaning I don't have many friends, and many of the few I have got have moved on because they have families to look after and what not. But thanks to the SPN family and recently GISHWHES who have introduced me to fourteen other people all from the SPN family who I would call my friends. So i am not alone so long as the SPN family are around who make me feel less alone even of all they did was hit like on a tumblr post."

-@hudine

"Hi! I saw your post about the article you're writing about the supernatural family and it seems interesting. So I figured i'd help out and share a bit about how the show changed my life. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was ten. For years I've been struggling and trying my hardest to cope, but in a family that often pretends you don't even exist, sometimes that's quite difficult. Performing and singing on stage usually helped, but the shows only last so long. I discovered Supernatural at the beginning of 2016. Immediately I knew that this was a show I could invest in. It took one episode for me to know that I found another way to occupy myself from my obsessions and compulsions. Then the fandom came along. I was so shocked to see how caring and accepting everyone is. When my own family isn't around, I know I can always count on my fellow fans to talk to and vent, whether it be about the show or about personal feelings. I've made so many good friends because we've been able to connect through this tv show. Supernatural has really helped me the past several months. I feel that without this show, I would've been in a much darker place than I am now. In a way, it saved me from myself, and I'll never be able to thank the actors, writers, and everyone else involved enough for this."

-@4evertheshadow

"How has supernatural affected me: I'm currently in eighth grade and I do suffer from depression and anxiety, and of all the fandoms I'm in, the SPN fandom may be the most helpful for me. The fact that parts of the cast have had first-hand experiences with depression and anxiety, such as Jared, really help me cope with my own problems. Also, the campaigns Jared, Jensen and Misha have started have also helped me a great deal. Supernatural could be considered my escape from my anxiety and depression with the crazy, humorous, one-of-a-kind plot lines the show consistently delivers. What the SPN family means for me: This SPN family means a great deal for me. The SPN family has this inexplicable bond of understanding, The vast majority of the fandom gets along and helps one another out. Through the family, I have made multiple friends who I'm grateful for. Whenever anything happens, I feel like I can always turn to the SPN family."

-@avengingthesupernatural

"Hey. About your article I don't have much of a story but Supernatural and the Spn family let me feel like in not alone in the things that happen in my life and the things that I enjoy. I'm an introvert and I have moved around a lot, I'm not the best at making friends and watching Supernatural helps me to remember I'm not the only one who struggles to open up to people or who can feel alone even when there are people are around. Being a part of the Spn family you know that if you need it there will always be people who will support you. I hope this helps with your article."

-@rosiesuperwholock95

"My name is Kit and I'm 23. I started watching supernatural between seasons 8 and 9. This show has changed my life in so many ways, and greatly influenced the person I've become today. At more than one point the cast members said or did something that actually saved my life, as I battle chronic depression. And through the fandom I have met so many wonderful people who have shown me that family is more than blood. One of them asked me to marry him this spring. Supernatural has changed my life."

-@queenofhellodean

"Hi! I saw your thing about being in the article, and asking about how Spn was impacted us, and just wanted to add that Jensen and Misha's You Are Not Alone Campaign has really helped inspire me not to be afraid to reach out to people who need help. I firmly believe the spn family is about supporting one another, so whenever I see someone (even just on tumblr) having a rough time, I try to reach out to them to remind them that they are not alone. :) Good luck with your article writing!!"

-@today-only-happens-once

(Thank you guy for sending in stories!)

The Supernatural Family is big. Supernatural is big. This show has helped so much people and created an amazing group. To that family member I first talked to, I hope my point has been proven.

So, what is the Supernatural Fandom?

A family. And one of the best families ever.

To all my SPN Family who may be reading this, remember, keep fighting. Love Yourself First. You're Not Alone, be Wayward AF. Get a little help from your friends. You are Enough.

(GIF CREDIT: sam-winchester-imagines.tumblr.com)

Cover Image Credit: cwtv.com

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

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The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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