Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about fandom and what it means to be a part of one. I’ve been in several over the years, with varying levels of involvement. I love the sense of community and common ground I feel when I’m with a group of people (either in person or online) who love the same thing I do. There is always something to talk about.
As in every other community, there are disagreements and outliers and bad apples. There are “ship wars” and “stans” and general jerks. There are the fans who have been around the longest and think that if you didn’t join on day one, you aren’t a “true” fan. I’ve run into a few of those people (I’m on a ship in a pretty passionate fandom, as well as being fairly new to this fandom. It happens). However, the overriding feeling I get from these groups is that of belonging, and in the fandom to which I’m most devoted, Supernatural, a sense of family.
We don’t always get along with or like our family. Family can be a giant pain in the ass, but at the end of the day, if your family needs you, you’re there. So I’d like to take a minute to appreciate and express my gratitude for some of what the Fandom Family brings us:
Fan Fiction Writers and Readers:
Thank you so much, writers, for posting lovely stories at no charge for your family. Thank you for giving representation to minority and marginalized groups that still feel they don’t have a voice in mainstream pop culture. I’ve read so many comments from people who talk about fan fiction and how they finally saw something of themselves in a story and in the universe they love. You do all of this for free, and spend hours devoted to a story for the sheer love of doing so.
Thank you to the fanfic readers who leave comments, both critical and encouraging. You keep writers going when they feel like they have nothing left to give. You are the reason they still write and I imagine hearing how much a story is loved means the world to the person at the keyboard.
To those of you who spend hours drawing, painting, giffing, or in some cases, making full-on animated series in the universes you love, thank you. You post these amazing pieces that allow us in the fandom to envision something we want to see happen, but may never be able to bring to life ourselves. Your work allows us to cross fandoms and put our favorite characters in other universes. It’s amazing and beautiful and whether or not you do it for commissions, the dedication you put into your work is appreciated so much. Thank you to the vendors selling fandom inspired jewelry or phone cases, shirts or pillows, both online and at conventions. I love being able to represent my family by wearing fan-made stuff!
Those Who Make The Fanvids:
Thank you. You make such great snapshots of shows and relationships that it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s not actually a part of the show. You’ve given us hours of edits and thought hard about song selections to go with your work. Thank you so much for stealing so much of our time.
Fandom Reporters/Convention Attendees/Volunteers:
You spend your own time and money to tell everyone what is happening at conventions, or you live tweet panels, or you’re working your ass off so other fans can have a good time. You may be going to have a good time and hang with your friends, or to make new ones. Thank you so much. Thank you for letting us share in the fun, even if we can’t be there with you. Thank you for sharing your personal stories so we feel more connected. Thank you for attending so the cast and crew know how loved they are and keeps doing them. Thank you for working 16hr days simply because you love your fandom so much. Thank you
The Writers, Cast, and Crew Who Make These Worlds Come to Life:
Thank you. Thank you for working so hard to create characters and worlds that people want to write about, read about, and draw. Thank you for going to countless conventions (Especially the cast of Supernatural, who do over a dozen US conventions a year alone, many during filming). Thank you for taking time away from your friends and family to come to see your other family. Thank you for answering questions, posing for thousands of pictures, and for signing your name so many times your hand feels like it’s going to fall off.
Fandom is a family, and we’re all a part of it, on whatever level we desire to be. I love my family, and I love how much dedication people put into it. There is so much beauty in fan works, and something for everyone can be found there. We raise money and awareness for charities and to support mental health initiatives. We hear someone in our family needs help, or even just a virtual hug, and we do what we can. There are bad seeds in all groups, but the overwhelming feeling in fandom is that of love. Thank you all.