Being Family, Being Support, Being Supported

So my fuzzy pupper fiend is a bit mad at me for abandoning her with my parents all weekend while I attended the Supernatural Pittsburgh Convention put on by Creation Entertainment. But she’ll get over it!

Creation Entertainment conventions are different from other conventions. There’s the obvious fact that they focus on only one fandom per event. But there’s more to it than that. I can’t speak about the other shows included on Creation Entertainment’s touring circuit, but the SPNFamily is incredible in their inclusiveness and their caring. All weekend we heard the messages encouraging us to support one another and to not fear asking for help when we need it, that it’s okay to not be okay. These messages are part of practically all SPN gatherings, whether they’re conventions or groups of fans connecting online, but they felt particularly important this weekend in the light of the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. During Saturday’s Welcome, Richard Speight Jr. (both an actor and director for SPN) asked all of us in attendance to take out our cellphones and add the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number to our contacts. (The number is 1-800 273-8255 by the way.)

Beyond the supportive atmosphere, SPN conventions are also great places to meet creative people and gain inspiration and encouragement. Friday Night Karaoke brings out plenty of music fans, and I’m sad that I’ve had to miss this event at both SPN cons I’ve attended. I enjoy singing and am part of a choir. There’s also the Saturday Night Special where cast members and special guests join the band, Louden Swain, to put on an awesome concert (another event I’ve sadly had to miss). Music is not the only creative outlet of SPNFamily members, though. There are many artists, crafters, writers, photographers, and others who love to share their talents with the rest of the fans. And Creation Entertainment conventions always include cosplay competitions, allowing fans to show off their creative costumes.

I wish everyone could find a similar supportive, encouraging, and caring family out there in the world, but with the polarizing effects present in today’s politics and social classifications, it’s hard to find groups that don’t form some sort of “us v. them” mentality toward someone. Even if you’re not a Supernatural fan, I’ll encourage you to look into some of the inspirational stories shared by fans and cast members alike about how the fandom has helped them and changed their lives. (If you want details on where to look, ask me… but I don’t want to promote some stories over others in this blog, because there are countless examples that I have yet to hear or read.)

I hope any of you who are struggling with life in some way will find the courage to reach out to someone. There is no shame in admitting we need help. Even the strongest among us have their times of trouble and doubt. And that’s okay. Life shouldn’t be all rainbows and butterflies. That would make life boring. You can’t know true joy and happiness if you never compare it to sorrow and grief.

And for those of you who are feeling okay (or even great) with life right now, reach out to someone! Friends, family, neighbors, anyone! You will never know if a person is struggling if you don’t ask. We all wear our masks in front of others. None of us like to show weakness, even amongst friends and family. So get out there are show some love and caring. You may just save a life!

And add that number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to your contacts list. Even if you personally never need to use it, you may run across someone unexpected who does. (Thanks, Richard Speight Jr.!)


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