The End of An Era

Standard

​A few weeks ago, more like a couple of months, mid-May, I watched the season fourteen finale of The CW television series, Supernatural. It feels both very close and very far away at the same time. The plot twist, the cliffhanger, the new apocalypse, and we’re expected, as with all season finales, to wait three to four months (which always seem like an eternity) for resolution. In this case though, when Supernatural returns in one more year, the season finale will also be the series finale. It will end with (my guesstimate) three hundred twenty-seven episodes and fifteen seasons. I’ve seen them all except one: Bugs. My son tried to trick me into watching that one; he failed. I don’t have huge bug issues, but I’m not taking any chances. 

Now that they’ve announced officially the end of the series, re-announced at their final Hall H panel at SDCC, and officially begun scouting locations and filming for season 15, I thought I would write down a few thoughts about this wonderful part of my life. Like many things in hindsight, it came to me later than a lot of the show’s fans; about halfway through the run, although those of us starting in the middle wouldn’t know that of course. For several years, whatever the current season was we thought it might be the last until that final renewal-non-renewal video announcement that came directly from the actors, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins.

The series began in 2005, and I had heard about it around the time when it premiered. I don’t know why I made the choice not to watch it, and it was definitely a choice. I knew one of the lead actors from my soap opera, and that may have played into it, but I don’t remember, although I do think it was toted as a horror-genre series, and I do not like horror. That may be hard to believe considering what shows I watch now.

I began watching at the end of 2012, early 2013. It was the middle of season 8, and I binged like I’ve never binged before in order to catch up before the show returned from winter hiatus. I spent two weeks on Netflix, living and breathing Supernatural. I would not recommend this method. I was actually seeing things. There are definitely healthier ways to marathon a series.

There are also many emotional ties that I have to Supernatural and starting it at this time. It wasn’t a conscious decision to become a regular viewer. My friends were talking about the episodes, and I wanted to be involved in those conversations; I wanted to understand the references that my group was making. I didn’t really want to start a new series, but I also didn’t want to feel left out.

I was newly embroiled in a deep depression, just diagnosed and still adjusting medication, beginning talk therapy, beginning a writing class, beginning my religious conversion journey despite not being wholly aware of that. So many beginnings all at once. After seeing all of the episodes on Netflix, I rewatched them on TNT. I could come in at any episode, and whether or not I remembered it, I could still enjoy where they were, and I could watch them in or out of order. It became the soundtrack of my life, both on screen and on my MP3 player. It still is. When I’m having a low day, I’ll put on a random episode on Netflix and let it be my background music. Eventually, Supernatural would become one of my most steadfast coping components in my daily survival toolbox. 

My introduction to the series and the first episode I watched was The French Mistake [6.15]. It was a fourth wall breaking, meta-tastic, and gentle fan teasing (including the title which I’ve only just learned the meaning of!) all at once. They brought out all the actor stereotypes including huge houses, huge egos, behind the scenes backbiting, nods to tabloids and more. They killed one of the actors! The actor! They used one of the leads’ actual wedding photo. They played a clip from the other lead’s soap opera acting. They made fun of their unusual names. And in all of that it still kept the continuity of the storyline while having fun and giving the fans a gift in the process, and for me it cemented it as one of my favorite episodes even if I never watched another, but after a few days, I did. I don’t recall that second episode, but another one followed, and I stopped resisting, becoming like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

It opened up a whole new world.

I was in love.

Not with any one actor or plot point or trope or merch, but with all of it; the whole damn thing. It  made me smile.

Despite my dislike of horror and bump-in-the-night, suspend-your-disbelief but it could maybe actually happen scary shows, I was pulled in. I mean I didn’t even watch The Twilight Zone; that was too disturbing for me. But the opening of this: Mom dies, Dad’s missing, then Jess, and I was off to the races. Add in the puns, the geek culture service, the pop culture references, it was as if I was part of the writer’s room.

Even the bad episodes were loved by me. Each episode has something for everyone. I loved the brothers’ relationship. Their parental surrogate Bobby. The lore. The puns and pop culture shout-outs I’ve mentioned. The apocalyptic. The moral dilemmas. The character development for all the characters. The Linda Blair cameo, the catch phrases, the music. I began to recognize some of the writing styles – Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Bobo (Robert) Behrens to name three. 

It was (is) everything.

I saw myself in so many characters – Dean’s parenting, the ever present mother to Sam (and every other character from Krissy to Charlie). Sam’s search for knowledge and love of history and research. Castiel’s naivete and need to make things right. Charlie’s geekiness. Crowley’s and Gabriel’s snark. Death’s love of junk food. Chuck; the writer and world builder. Jack’s innocence and wanting to please. Jody and Mary; the Mama-bears. Mick, the outsider wanting to belong somewhere and full of regret. I’m all of them, and yet none of them.

This mini-love letter is also an introduction to a fifteenth season series of things I love of, from, about Supernatural. It may be monthly, it may be weekly during the season, it may be sporadic, but I have so much to say and share on this extraordinary and inspiring series and my journey alongside it.

It’s phenomenal. It’s mythical.

It’s…

Supernatural.

(c)2019

Supernatural returns to The CW television network for its fifteenth and final season on Thursday, October 10th at 8pm. I’ll see you there.

Fandom Merchandise and Where to Find It

Standard

​As I look at my Christmas gifts, and my recent birthday gifts before that, I am struck, but not terribly surprised by how much relates to the variety of fandoms and pop culture things I am involved in. Many of these things have stayed with me since my teen years, to the point that I no longer participate, but they still hold an important place in my heart. The one example that comes to mind was my getting a new messenger bag: ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding. It’s so glorious that I’ll be writing a separate review of it. My son was a little annoyed that I would be getting it – it was a little expensive, but with the thirty percent discount that was offered, it was well worth it. He was still a little annoyed and exclaimed, “You don’t even like Dungeons & Dragons!” I think I may have snorted. I was momentarily speechless.

I don’t like Dungeons & Dragons?! Do you even know me?! I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons since high school. In our school cafeteria, we would use the half-pint milk container as a six-sided die. Every weekend in college, we’d get together in the blue room to play. Dave, our DM (dungeon master) would not let us have any alcohol. We got stupid. We were probably the only group on a Saturday night not drunk. We would play all weekend, talking time only to sleep before the next night’s game.

I met my college roommate in a study hall through a conversation about character sheets.

My oldest son used my original books when he and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons.

Not a fan?! Harumph!

Glancing at The Walking Dead trivia box, the Hufflepuff necklace, the Supernatural zipper bag, the Star Trek 50th anniversary gold ornament with sound, I saw just how many fandom things there are, and I also realized how difficult it was to get some of them.

Continue reading

50-44 – Postpartum Depression

Standard

​When you give birth for the first or second time, the expecting books, the online information sites, and the doctors and nurses are very much aware that this is new for you, and they take great care in giving you as much information as possible including on postpartum depression.

postpartum depression can occur in women who’ve had no other history of depression.

You are told very clearly what to look for: loss of appetite, fatigue, lethargy – because none of those things happen when you have a new baby unless you have depression, right?

Two other symptoms to watch out for are if you can answer yes to the following questions:

Do you want to hurt yourself?

Do you want to hurt your baby?

Since my answers to both of those questions were  resounding NOs, I knew I was in the clear.

Despite that I couldn’t make decisions or do anything that wasn’t taking care of the baby, or even lying on the floor with the tiny baby, both of us crying hysterically. It went on and on, and every time I thought I must be depressed, I need to see a doctor about this, I would go back to those two questions and answer them:

No, I do not want to hurt myself. No, I do not want to hurt my baby. I just need a vacation; a day off. And I muddled through. I just wasn’t strong enough to handle a second baby. I must be doing something wrong.

Not to mention that my mother had just died; eight weeks after the birth of my son, which came eighteen months after the death of my dad. Of course, I was depressed, but I wasn’t, you know, depressed.

It wasn’t until eight years later and actually becoming suicidal, wanting it all to just end and being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety was able to look back at that time, lying on the floor crying, not wanting to do anything but sit in a chair, sometimes holding my baby, not cooking or wanting to eat, did I realize that I did, in fact, have postpartum depression.

It’s hard to look back and know that if only I’d looked deeper into it, I could have come to of it sooner. As it was, when I became pregnant with my third child, when my second was only six months old did the hormones kick in, pushed the depression away, and saved my life.

I was miserable, and I had help. My husband stayed home and worked as often as he could, especially after baby number  three was born, and my mother-in-law visited and stayed with us for extended periods to help us out and visit.

We need to listen to new or not so new mothers when they complain about how hard it is. Even if we complain all the time, we need to take a special listen after the baby’s born. Offer support; don’t wait until it’s asked for. By then, it’s probably too late and the request is coming from a shrieking, arm flailing door slammer.

The questions shouldn’t be will you hurt yourself or your baby; the question should be how are you, are you okay, can I help? Do you want me just to come over and watch you and the baby sleep for an hour?

postpartum depression is hard to recognize. I never recognized it until I was on anti-depressants and in therapy for about six months. I was lucky. I never wanted to hurt my kids. If they were with me, I wouldn’t hurt myself, but looking back it is one of the scary experiences I’ve ever had, more than when I was actually suicidal.

The good news is that I came out of it. I survived. I look at my kids everyday and I’m glad I’m here with them. I survived and I’m still surviving. I’m hyper-aware of how I feel. I have my coping mechanisms, which I’ve adapted to over time.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy or imagining things. Take care of yourself first. Love yourself first. Always keep fighting.*



[*Always Keep Fighting and Love Yourself First are from the Always Keep Fighting (AKF) campaign to raise awareness and fight depression through Supernatural actor, Jared Padalecki’s charities.]

Six Degrees of Social Media

Standard

I have come to the social media phenomenon slowly, kicking and screaming the whole way, but go I do. My first social media was Live Journal before I really knew what social media was. The only one I didn’t question was Tumblr, I think. I don’t know. Maybe it was something else. I can’t remember. I’ve always followed my friend, Andy and as the months went by and turned into years – is it really eight years since I’ve joined the online revolution?! – I’ve refined what I do with my social media. I’ve gotten rid of some, and increased my usage of others. I’ve connected some and I love Instagram more than I think I should.

While my Facebook is primarily for family and personal things, I do follow pages and in follwoing certain pages, I’ve been exposed and introduced to others and so on.

And that is how I come to you to recommend seeing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s not typically my thing. I never read the comic  books, watched the animated shows or any of the other movies.

I followed Jared Padalecki because he’s on the CW’s Supernatural and he’s an all around good guy with a smile that is warm and inviting. I love his whole family. Whenever I’d see him or Gen or the boys on social media or in photos of conventions, it would make me smile. It would uplift my mood. I can’t explain why. It just is. All of the Supernatural cast & crew are very much like a family, and I love that and am drawn to that.

Well, he’s friends with Stephen Amell who is on Arrow, also on the CW. So I followed Stephen Amell. He spoke his mind and this got him into trouble sometimes. He’d apologize, sometimes, and this down-to-earthiness of his personality was what kept me following his Facebook.

I listened to his live chats and I loved seeing him with his daughter.

He posted the trailer to TMNT, a movie I have no interest in seeing. I watched the trailer to support Stephen’s Facebook.

I liked it.

It made me interested in something because I watched the trailer.

I watched the trailer because I follow Stephen Amell. I follow Stephen Amell because I follow Jared Padalecki. And now I actually want to see this movie.

This is how social media works.

At least how it’s supposed to.

My Top 5 Social Media Personalities
In addition to Jared and Stephen:
1. Misha Collins
2. William Shatner
3. Wil Wheaton
4. John Barrowman
5. George Takei

My Top 5 Political Pundits
1. Ezra Klein (Vox)
2. Connie Schultz
3. Chris Cilizza
4. Planned Parenthood Action
5. Chuck Todd

My Top 5 Writers
In addition to any on the other lists above:
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda
2. Danai Gurira
3. Adam Glass
4. Robert Behrens
5. Neil Gaiman

Others that I Love
1. Norman Reedus
2. Greg Nicotero
3. Kim Rhodes & Briana Buckmaster
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt