Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Geek Post: Dual Fandom Citizenship

I have a confession to make: While Star Trek was my first fandom, it’s not my only fandom. I’m not just a Trekker, I’m also a Super Freak. More specifically, I’m a Misha Minion. Yep, I’m a Supernatural fan.

I started watching Supernatural when it first came on, back in 2005. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, here’s the gist: Basically it’s two brothers, Sam and Dean, traveling around the country, killing “monsters” and saving people. They face off against things like ghosts, vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, and demons. The show instantly captivated me, but it wasn’t until Season 4 that I became a hardcore fan. What was so different about Season 4? One word: Castiel.

**SPOILER ALERT** Castiel is an Angel of the Lord, and he rescued Dean from Hell in the beginning of Season 4. He quickly became a fan favorite, and went from an occasional character to a main character over the span of a few seasons.

When Castiel first debuted, we were supposed to see him as cold and unemotional. He’s entirely clueless about Humanity, typically not understanding colloquial terms, popular references, or jokes. He’s socially inept, and prone to simply blurting out the truth in inopportune moments. At first, he’s a good little Heavenly soldier – simply going about God’s work, following orders, and not giving mind to the consequences. It’s not until he starts really interacting with Dean that he begins having an internal struggle over blindly following orders, right versus wrong, and the whole “the ends justify the means” debate. He frequently tries to help, only to end up making things worse. Watching him learn and grow has turned out to be a fantastic ride, at times hilarious, joyful, and heartbreaking.

But my love of Castiel stems from something deeper than simply a well-written character.

I’ve talked about how dark my childhood was, but there’s an aspect I rarely discuss. My mother truly believed that I was an actual angel. It’s a long story, but basically she believed such because she had lost children before me, and before getting pregnant with me, she prayed for several hours every day. It sounds like a really nice thought, in theory, until the first time I did something wrong or wasn’t perfect at something, and ultimately disappointed her. My parents were emotionally crippled individuals, so I grew up in an emotional desert. For that reason, I often found myself at odds with the world – not understanding references or how to act around people. Like Castiel, I went through a process of learning by doing, and figuring out how to navigate the world all on my own. And just like him, sometimes I was woefully bad at it.

Over the years, I’ve gained a respect for Misha Collins, the man behind the role, as well. He has spoken several times about his difficult childhood, and I applaud him for sharing his experiences. He takes time with his fans, and it’s a true joy to watch him raising his children, and the ways he’s teaching them about being good people. These days, just like Castiel, he’s on a mission to change the world for the better with his charity Random Acts. I urge you to check out the website.

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