Editor’s Note: After reading my account of finding Supernatural in Family Don’t End with Blood, Heimatstern submitted her story to The Winchester Family Business. By itself, it’s an amazing testament to optimism and generosity of spirit but it is even more powerful in the context of the friendship that has spanned an ocean. Fandoms can save people from many different situations. Coupled with Jared’s, Jensen’s and Misha’s leadership and the Always Keep Fighting initiative, many people are seeing a light in the darkness for the first time in their lives. Part 2 of this story will be from Yolanda, telling her powerful story of Supernatural’s inspiration. Please support Heimatstern’s and Yolanda’s courage and welcome them to the WFB Family!
This is not a sappy, #bondwithyourfamilywhilewatchingSupernaturaltogether, story. My husband is very jealous and my daughter gets upset when I like the same things she likes. So, as always, I did what British blogger Les Floyd summed up so perfectly: I followed my own path and it led to here!
I used to be an average housewife the likes of an Edith Bunker, except with a job and internet access. An ordinary life with normal problems, stuck in a boring marriage to a miserable man, a headstrong daughter, a couple pets, bills, the usual, with an added dose of homesickness.
Yet something separated me from my family and friends since I was a young girl. I was the world’s biggest daydreamer as I made up stories in my head and created a parallel life in an Alternate Universe, purposely escaping reality.
To stay sane, I wrote.
First in journals, then as a self-taught, self-published wanna-be author which resulted in several books on Amazon. The plots consist mostly of boy emotion scenes, meaning vulnerable tough guys in need of comfort, preferably from other tough guys who cared about them in a non-sexual way.
The 1992 movie Crossing the Bridge starring Jason Gedrick, whose character was abused by his father, was my favorite actor to daydream about for several years, long before I knew fan fiction existed. Later, Daryl Dixon played by Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead fit my craving for vulnerable tough guys perfectly, so I started fangirling about him during most of my waking hours. It was all I talked about. My sister back in Germany worried I’d lost my mind. My friends here in the United States shook their heads and whispered behind my back. But I stayed true to the actors I loved and began writing stories about them, which I posted in my Facebook writers’ group and on fanfiction.net.
The Supernatural series was on my horizon for years because my daughter Michelle (not her real name) is a huge fan of it, but I never sat down to watch. Michelle doesn’t appreciate her mother fangirling over a show he’s been following since high school, all through college, and now, into young adulthood. So when I voiced interest in checking out “her” show, she objected. She is my only child and has not learned to share well, which is probably my fault.
“Find your own show, with people your age.”
“I did. But they’re on break now, and I have to watch something.”
“Yeah, well, just don’t write one of your fan stories about them.”
“I won’t. They’re a decade younger than me; that would be weird.”
We watched the first episode of Supernatural together and Michelle busted out laughing when she saw Sammy looking like a little boy all those years ago. Dean pretty much still looks the same, she told me.
I was hooked from the start. Talk about boy emotion, also known as hurt/comfort in the fiction writing world! When I was home alone, I watched episode after episode on Netflix, so my daughter, who considered Supernatural to be “her” show, wouldn’t have to roll her eyes all the time.
At least Norman Reedus is closer to my age, and Campino (another celebrity I admire) from my favorite German punk rock band, The Toten Hosen, is even older. I had just written a story about Norman and Campino in which they are best friends, then realized these two guys had so many things in common, they should be friends, or at least get to know each other, so this is my current mission. Both are chaotic outliers, good looking, provocative, badass rebels, fan favorites who became hugely successful against all odds. Neither one expected to make it big and can’t figure out what happened.
In the Facebook fan fiction writers’ group, where I publish my fantasy-ships, I met Yolanda because I noticed her comments below my posts. They stood out over the others in a way that sounded poetic, so I asked her which stories she wrote.
‘Oh, I don’t write,” she answered.
“What do you mean, you don’t write? Your comments are so well worded, you must be a writer!”
She private-messaged me. “When I was twelve, my step father told me I’m stupid and my writing is no good. So I believed him and haven’t written since.”
I was furious. Who the eff has the audacity to crush a child’s spirit like that and get away with it? It’s nothing less than a crime! I messaged her back.
“Oh, so if he’d said two plus two equals five, you’d believe that, too, or do you come to your own conclusions? Listen, I am a voracious reader and I’m telling you, you’re a writer, so write. What state do you live in?”
“Oh, wow. Well, I’m from Germany but live in New Jersey. Nice to meet you!”
Over the next several months we bonded as we drooled over the actors from Boondock Saints (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus, which is where I discovered him, so we go way back). It was during the Walking Dead’s hiatus when I started watching Supernatural. I was in fangirl heaven. Vulnerable Sam, One-Tear Dean, Adorable Castiel, Rugged Bobby who tried so hard to help the brothers and doubled as their father figure. Be still, my beating heart! I couldn’t wait to tell Yolanda about it.
But Yolanda said she could never watch a show with demons, because it would bring up bad memories. By this time she had already emailed me about the abuse she suffered under her step father’s control, and I didn’t force the issue. I told her I understood, but these guys fight against demons and are super cute to boot! She said it didn’t matter, she could not bring herself to watch it. I let the subject rest and we talked about other things.
Imagine my surprise several weeks later when I woke up one Sunday morning to a message on my phone. It was from Yolanda, and the text went on forever. She had dared to watch the first episode of Supernatural and then the next and the next, and couldn’t stop watching. Not only that, she also began listening to J2 interviews and cons on YouTube, and already called the show a lifesaver! She was gushing, she was fangirling, she was reclaiming her life. Within a week, she analyzed the main actors:
“Since Jared’s breakdown, Jensen looks out for him, lets him know on stage when he notices him faltering – panicking, overwhelmed with anxiety – and clowns up to take the focus off of him. A look, a gesture, will convey to Jared that Jensen has his back. As soon as he senses Jared is not doing good, Jensen acts up so Jared can relax and also to let him know he’s there for him. He is as supportive and proud of him as a real big brother.”
I hadn’t even gotten that far on my Supernatural fangirling trip yet and asked Yolanda where he says all this.
“You do not hear him tell Jared that, but you find out via the Supernatural news line. Jensen knows when Jared is not well, he looks at him and then you see him mouth if he’s ok and he just puts his arm on his shoulder, that is the sweetest. Or when Jared breaks the microphone or something, Jensen steps up and helps him. SO SWEET!
You can see the concern Jensen has for him every now and then at one of the panels they are at. A while ago Jared was falling apart and Jensen told him to go home and spend time with his family. He is as supportive and proud of him just like a real big brother.”
I asked Yolanda to send me links to clips where she notices this most, so I can portray my fan fiction stories as characteristically correct as possible. I found a picture taken by a friend who allowed me to use it in my story and this is what I wrote about it:
In the Supernatural cast’s brokenness, there is a shard for each of us in which we see ourselves
We love them not just for their looks, but because of the way they are, raw and good and real. During the long run of the series, they have portrayed many of us and that is why we connect so strongly.
Picture taken by Anja Mizner
Being engrossed in a series, its cast, the actors who play them, and writing fan fiction has enriched my life and preserved my sanity. My husband comes from an unloving, uncaring, severly abusive home and he carries the effects of that through the rest of his life. He and his siblings were dragged up, not brought up, and they have developed zero trust in others. It is not my fault his mother hated her children, yet I am the one who has to live with the mess she left behind.
In our 28 years of marriage, I have learned to endure his moods and let him be, without nagging, complaining or expecting anything from him. Instead, I have created an amazing life right under his radar, without harming him in any way. On the contrary, he is reaping the benefits. In other words, fangirling makes life bearable and exciting again. I feel like a lovestruck teenager, upbeat, excited, with a constant happy feeling in the stomach, without cheating on my partner. As I mentioned earlier, I am working on introducing Norman to Campino, making them aware of each other, as I attend conventions and concerts, and most of all, write.
Here is a poem I composed for the Winchester boys:
Sammy and Dean
Having you for a brother makes life so much better:
It adds fun
and shares life
I am glad we are in this together
Sam has Dean, Jared has Jensen, the cast of Supernatural have each other, and the fandom has them. Together, we all have each other.
To the cast of Supernatural, thank you for being so amazing. We love you.
Continue reading this story of the power of Supernatural and friendship in Part 2: My Lighthouse in the Dark.