This is a letter for you, but I have to start with something that has bothered me for a while now.
A few weeks ago, I spent an evening with a very dear, old friend of mine. As usual, we were exchanging stories from the past few months and of course, I told her about all the filming location travels, premieres and other fun things I’d experienced lately. I also gushed about Asylum 16 that me, Satu and Johanna were planning to attend. At some point I noticed how she grew impatient, or maybe bored, scoffed and said:
Now, as TV bloggers and very devoted fangirls of many, many shows and films, me and Satu are both used to this sort of attitude, and comments like this amuse us more than hurt us these days.
However, it does catch me off guard when the criticism comes from someone who’s known me for a two decades, who’s aware of my ups and downs in life, and who very well knows how Fangirl Quest has changed mine and my best friend’s lives for the better, for good.
I usually just shrug and let it go, not wanting to explain our passion and fangirling to anyone. But I’ve been mulling these particular words over for a while now, wondering what I would have said if I’d bothered with it.
I thought; well, here’s just another thing my friend would criticize. She’d probably tell me that you actors are there just for the money, that we’re wasting our time on really stupid stuff. And I would tell her she’s wrong, but she wouldn’t get it. How could she? She’s never done anything like this in her life.
What bothers me most about what she said is the way she seems to completely misunderstand our motives. Because we don’t come to these events to meet celebrities.
We come to these events to hang out with similar-minded people and the cast of Supernatural, our favourite show of all times. Which is why I think her words kept ringing in my head for so insistently. It’s quite a bothering thought, thinking that people close to us might think that we’re really so shallow: that all that matters to us is fame itself. But that’s where she gets it wrong.
I mean, of course, in a way you are. We watch you on our screens, and we look up to you. Most of us are super nervous and very excited to meet you in person, but that doesn’t mean it’s your celebrity status, no matter how big or small, that appeals to us.
We love you for all the time you take to show kindness and gratitude towards your fans, and all the ways you use your platform to inspire us to do good in the world.
And because you do it intentionally. You actively encourage your SPNFamily to stick together. That’s why we were all at Asylum 16 in the first place, in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, in our very own Supernatural bubble, without a clue of what’s going on in the outside world for 2-3 days. We’re safe from our real life troubles.
We’re safe from judgmental people.
I’d love to have this superpower that would allow me to insert experiences and feelings inside the minds of other people. Why? Because it wouldn’t matter how many words or hours I’d use to describe the happiness we experience when we watch these shows, when we get together with people who love them as much as we do, and when we meet the people who make them. The muggles would never get it. It’s not an easy concept to grasp, if you’re completely lacking the geek gene.
So it’d be much easier to just cram all the happyfeels from a convention weekend into their heads and go: “SEE?” instead of trying to explain it with any existing words.
Of course, I could try. I could tell my disapproving friend all about the love, support and trust we have among the Supernatural fandom. Strangers helping out strangers, giving them their support, be it mental or physical and often, even financial.
I could tell her about fans encouraging fellow fans when they’re getting their moment in the spotlight and get nervous about it.
Or maybe I could tell my friend about Mark Sheppard‘s 10-minute Asylum 16 monologue about this family we all have in Supernatural, and the importance of human connection and how everyone deserves to have it in their lives?
And his encouraging words telling us to “open the door just a little bit to let people in” just to make new friends at these conventions, and all the incredible stories us fans have shared with the cast that have inspired and moved him.
All this coming from a guy who’s usually considered the Grumpy Cat of the bunch.
Maybe I could tell my friend about tearing up during Mark’s speech. And about all my fellow fans in the audience exchanging nods and smiles with complete strangers around us while patting the corners of their eyes with tissues.
For some people, a fandom can be all the family they have. They might be lonely back home and in school, or feel like outsiders in their adult lives and at work. But when they’re among fellow fans, they will always have someone to talk to. Someone to laugh with. Someone to email after the event and meet up in real life.
At these events, they will always have someone to share their experiences and happiness with. To many, a fandom can be a huge bunch of friends they just haven’t met yet.
And without you , dear makers of Supernatural, none of this would exist.
And that is the most beautiful thing about fangirling over “celebrities”. Yeah, of course it’s a little bit ridiculous to idolize you guys just because your work is what it is. Yeah, of course you’re all people like us, with your flaws and your worries and the mistakes you’ve done. We all know this.
The concept of fame is a weird one, but at best, it can be something life-changing – for many more people than just the person holding the celebrity status.
I know you’ve heard hundreds of stories of how you’ve all affected our lives, even saved some, by inspiring us to carry on, to create art, to be brave and go out there and meet new people. To keep fighting, always.
But it’s all true. Without your fame, we wouldn’t have met the dozens of amazing people we now call our friends in our lives outside our Supernatural bubble. And without Supernatural me and Satu wouldn’t have started this blog and travelled the world.
And I know you’ve heard thousands of thank-yous before, but the only thing I can say to you right now right here is THANK YOU.
Peace out. The rambling fangirl has rambled.
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