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What the SPNFamily is All About: Always Keep Fighting, Jared!

May 19, 2015

keep fighting headband

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a week for the SPNFamily. The Supernatural season finale is tomorrow, and we had all watched Jared and Jensen and Misha and the rest of the gang onstage at Asylum (on video at least) in between gnashing our teeth and sobbing about Show. When Jared tweeted that he was in desperate and urgent need of his family and had to head home before JIBCon, and then asked fans for a few seconds of time to write him, tweeting that “I need all the love I can get right now,” fandom responded by coming together in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. We’ve followed and written about this amazing fandom and Show for almost a decade, and have seen countless examples of fans supporting the Show and the cast and crew and each other – but not on this scale. I’m still in awe.

Jared’s colleagues immediately expressed their outright support, verbally and on social media.

@amellywood: Hey @jarpad. I got you.

@TravisAaronWade: For our friend @jarpad Hoping this warms your heart and puts a smile on your face brother (then he posted a little vid clip).

@mishacollins: @jarpad Love u man.

@jensenackles: .@jarpad get some rest, my brother. I got ur back…Always. #AlwaysKeepFighting #SPNfamily

I got ur back. Always. Photo Chris Schmelke

I got ur back. Always. Photo Chris Schmelke

Jensen kept fandom informed from onstage in Rome, speaking about his friend and brother Jared with so much respect and endless empathy.

He even sang him a song from JIBCon. Thank you, fandom, for posting these vids from Rome so we could all share this!

Jensen made sure that Jared understood – and we all understood – how important it is to take care of yourself when you need to. He, and Misha and Stephen and Travis and all the other actors expressing their support made it clear that sometimes it’s the people with the biggest hearts, who give the most to others, who have trouble absorbing that same help and caring for themselves. This sort of response from Jared’s colleagues and fans to his courage in reaching out was the most powerful shame-busting weapon any of us could wield. It’s not how things always go in this culture, unfortunately. But Jared had the guts to ask for help, and everyone – his colleagues, his fans, even some of the media – stepped up to the plate to respond. Not with shaming, but with empathy and respect and SO MUCH LOVE.

Fannish creativity, which we’ve written about alot in our books, was part of the amazing response in support of Jared. Fans made beautiful, inspiring vids like this one by @LivinLife89 –

They created #AlwaysKeepFighting bracelets and clothing magnets and tee shirts, with some of the proceeds going to the charities that Jared’s campaign supports.

http://www.sewgeekaustin.com/

http://thegreencooler.weebly.com/

Tee shirt from @fangirlquest at represent.com – https://represent.com/spnfamily-for-jared

keep fighting @fangirlquest

Fandom organized to get their messages of support out to Jared too. There’s a group ecard that fans can sign, which has an amazing number of signatures already.

http://www.groupcard.com/c/hCCowdF-VAf

There’s a scrapbook project compiling letters to Jared.

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sm81eg

And a facebook project of messages for him.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1605406716409881/

There’s an AlwaysKeepFighting post on Tumblr where fans can leave messages of support and share their own stories of how they’ve kept on fighting too.

http://alwayskeepfighting.tk/

There’s a lovely message of support to Jared and a link for posting fans’ own supportive stories.

http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/general/19252-dear-jared-now-and-forever

A fan (thanks @twinnmouse) helpfully posted the information for where fans could write to Jared at his management office.

@twinnmouse

@twinnmouse

Through all these channels and projects and many more, support and love for Jared started to pour in. But fandom wasn’t done being awesome.

One of the things we were most impressed with when we discovered Supernatural fandom and started writing books about it was the sense of community. Fans don’t just care about and support the actors on their favorite Show (though we certainly do that!), they also support each other. We may squabble and disagree on where the Show should go or how to interpret its bits and pieces, but at the end of the day, we’re all fans. We’re united in how much we love Supernatural, and we’re united in being a wee bit outside the mainstream in what we love and how we do it (as Robbie Thompson would say, different and not giving a shit!). Fandom, above all else, is a community. We get to know each other here; we come to care about each other here.

outsidethelines

So it shouldn’t be surprising that fandom also came together to support each other. Many of us have also struggled with pushing ourselves too hard, not asking for help enough, being overwhelmed with the challenges life throws at us. We’ve felt depression, we’ve struggled to keep fighting. Watching Jared go through this creates a great deal of empathy in anyone who has also struggled, and fans did not forget about each other.

The SuperWiki posted a thoughtful summary on Tumblr of how fans could support Jared, along with an important reminder of how to take care of ourselves. The post included an acknowledgement that sometimes people outside fandom don’t entirely understand the depth of our investment in fictional characters or the actors who play them, missing the point that much of what we gain from fandom comes from each other and the supportive community we’ve built around our common love of a television show.

On LiveJournal, an epic Love Meme was started, inspired by the AlwaysKeepFighting message and fandom’s support of Jared. Thousands and thousands of fans posted their love and support of each other, at a time when many fans really needed it.

http://cherie-morte.livejournal.com/251283.html

Yesterday, Jared tweeted a response of gratitude for all the support coming his way.

@jarpad: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, for your love and support. It’s going to good use. All of my love and #AlwaysKeepFighting

keep fighting tee

As Jim Beaver pointed out in a recent post, it’s sometimes very hard to reach out and ask for help. Especially if you’ve been culturally encouraged not to, which is how many of us, both men and women, were raised. Jim also allowed himself to express some vulnerability recently, and then found himself feeling ashamed afterwards. He was courageously candid in sharing both the initial vulnerability and his struggle to fight off the culturally prescribed shame afterwards. I’m so glad Jared was able to shrug off those often irrational messages too and reach out, and that he’s able to take in the love and support he received in return. He’s embodying so much of what the #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign is about. Don’t stay silent. It’s damn hard to reach out and ask for help, because it does make us vulnerable, and if you’ve been hurt in the past, that’s terrifying. But it’s the only way people know you need that help. And sometimes, if you take that chance, what you get in return is what keeps you going.

Jared clearly chose his friends wisely, judging from their unqualified support and the understanding they’ve expressed. I feel like all of us in the SPNFamily chose well too. We chose the right Show to fall for – and the right fandom to belong to.

I know tomorrow will probably require 200 boxes of tissues and someone (or a million virtual someones) to hold my hand through the season finale, but right now I’m sniffling for a different reason. SPNFamily. It’s more than just a hashtag. So much more.

Thanks for inspiring us, Jared. Keep fighting.

–Lynn

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36 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Loughney permalink
    May 19, 2015 7:28 pm

    All you said. Every word. I have never been prouder to be a member of this family as I watched the love and concern pour through the different social medias towards Jared. I continue to be inspired and astonished at the love that this fandom gives.

    Know that I’ll be “virtually” holding your hand and have stockpiled the kleenex for tonight. It’s going to be an awful, amazing, emotional ep. Carry on Show…

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:14 am

      Thank you, I could feel it🙂 I share your pride and astonishment. Carry on, Show…

  2. Lynn permalink
    May 19, 2015 7:29 pm

    Great article pulling it all together. I was delighted watching video of JiB where Jensen announces to the crowd that Jared wouldn’t be appearing and why, and instead of being selfish, the audience cheered and clapped that he was okay and taking care of himself. Don’t think you would see that in any other fandom.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:15 am

      I felt the same, literally bursting with pride at the unselfishness and caring of our SPNFamily

  3. Teresa permalink
    May 19, 2015 7:45 pm

    Well as usual Lynn, you’ve left me in tears. I’m so damn proud of this SPNFamily! All the outpouring of support for our beloved Moose is so overwhelming. There are those outside this family who don’t understand and choose to say insensitive and hateful things which breaks my heart. I love Jared all the more for the enormous courage it took for him to not only ask for help but to ask the fandom family for help in such a public way – I am just so proud of him! I had to step away myself this weekend because all this worrying has triggered my own struggles. My family and my SPNFamily have made sure to boost me up and I cannot say enough how grateful I am for this fandom! Love that is shared is never wasted! Be kind to yourselves my lovely SPNFamily and Always Keep Fighting!

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:15 am

      And you as well. Jared has set a wonderful example, but there are so many who do, including you. *hugs*

  4. May 19, 2015 8:18 pm

    Thank you for this, Lynn. I don’t know how you always manage to put into wonderfully eloquent language so many complex thoughts that mirror what so many of us are thinking and feeling. I’ve had my own life blow up on me over the past week and I’ve been having trouble remembering that asking for and needing help are not bad things. Even as I’ve watched Jared do it, and applauded him, it’s so hard to do the same thing myself. So thank you for this reminder – I think I’ll be coming back to it over the next while when I do need a reminder.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:16 am

      Remind yourself that asking for help is courageous – and that you very much deserve it! *hugs*

  5. anafraserlallybroch permalink
    May 19, 2015 8:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

  6. Kim permalink
    May 19, 2015 11:39 pm

    I absolutely love this article. It is so true how awesome it was to see how the whole fandom just took off with good thoughts and prayers for Jared.
    I couldn’t help but sit and read as much of the post and tweets that I could. You couldn’t help but cry and feel like your heart was going to be out of your chest for being so touched and proud.
    Thie spnfamily as a whole is awesome. This is how family should be. If one person in your family is hurtin then we hurt with them.
    Thanks again for writing this.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:17 am

      I’m inspired by our SPNFamily — Jared, Jensen, Misha, fandom, everyone — every day. It’s a privilege to be part of🙂

  7. May 20, 2015 12:16 am

    I agree with everything you said, Lynn. As someone who has suffered from depression for a very long time, I as used to ignorant reactions from even those closest to me. My father never knew what to do with a daughter who “cried all the time.” My mother, many years later, told me that she was never sure what to do as children were not taken to see psychiatrists in “those days.”
    When, as an adult, I finally sought treatment, my therapist suggested that my husband attend a session with me. In the elevator as we left the building, he turned to me and said, “I guess you really are crazy.”
    When Jared began the #AlwayKeepFighting campaign, I was thrilled. Finally, someone that others look up to and respect was shedding light into the darkness of depression. When he reached out to the SPNFamily for support, I knew they would rally around him. The overwhelming outpouring of love he received did not surprise me. I have met some of the nicest people through this fandom (including you!) whose friendship I cherish.
    I expect that tomtomorrow night is going to be a rough one for our family, but we will get through it like we always do – with virtual hugs and hand-holding and commiserating on Twitter. Because we ARE a family and that’s what family does.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:19 am

      The virtual hugs and hand holding really helped tonite! I feel like we’re all stronger together for what we’ve shared — and you’re so right, I’ve met some of the nicest people in this fandom (including you too!)🙂

  8. May 20, 2015 1:43 am

    As a professionally employed person who suffers from depression, I had nothing but admiration when Jared “outed” himself a while ago. I am envious of his courage, but also envious of the support of friends, family, fans and work colleagues. I know mine are not as understanding, and if it was widely known that I suffer from depression, I would not be reemployed. (I also dont have any fans!)

    Only a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking how busy Jared and Jensen were during their holidays, Tough Mudder, UK, Rome and then Australia. I also know from personal experience that listening and taking on other peoples stories with depression can also be very tiring and draining, and I know when news first broke that Jared had gone home, I had to protect myself as I could feel the dark cloud descending. I knew that Jared would be loved and protected, and understood. And for myself, I thought of Jared’s own motto “Always Keep Fighting” and it helped. (Glad that we both are now feeling better !!)

    I think that with their exhausting schedule and saying goodbye to Gen and the boys just got him down, and a bit of rest and time out, is just what he needs. I know that there are times, I just need to back away, slow down, take a breath.

    All my love and all my respect to Jared (and to the SPN family). You are so brave with your honesty. This is the first time I have written about my own depression, so Jared, thank you so very much. Take care and look after yourself.

    • May 20, 2015 2:15 am

      It’s not easy to talk about your depression, and, as I said in my comment, people don’t always understand or know how to appropriately respond, but I have found that more often than not, people are understanding and sympathetic. The outpouring of love and support for Jared gave me hope, and helped to buoy my spirits as well, as I had been having a rough week also. Although my depression is treated with medicine, and I can usually handle things pretty well, I have to confess that Mother’s Day got me down for reasons I won’t go into here.
      Bottom line is, the more you talk about it, the easier it becomes. Talking about it with a therapist is probably the next step you should take. That was the step that set me on my path to wellness. Take care and remember that the SPNFamily is here for you.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:20 am

      Kudos to you for having the courage to share – that’s what Jared has modeled, and I love seeing the support in return. It’s not always the case, but within the SPNFamily, it’s been more the rule than the exception. And that’s pretty awesome. *hugs*

  9. Kala permalink
    May 20, 2015 4:13 pm

    I woke one morning with such a sense of foreboding out of the blue. Like a memory just out of reach, I felt so overwhelmed the I could not imagine living through the day let alone the rest of my life.

    Somehow and to this day I don’t know how I drove myself to a doctors office and told him I was afraid I might hurt myself. I got help.

    My husband knew in the weeks that followed I was extremely depressed but even though he stood by me during that time when I told him about Jared and that my heart went out to that young man because I knew what it was like. He was like “huh”.

    I was suicidal and even though I told him he thought I was just having a bad few days. I couldn’t believe it.

    I wish all the best for Jared and hope he realizes how special he is.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:21 am

      I hope he does too – and I hope you do as well. You just showed a helluva lot of courage sharing that story. So glad you’re here and part of the SPNFamily. *hugs*

  10. May 20, 2015 10:31 pm

    Lynn, would you add my project group to the article? We’re doing a book of letters and a collage of pics.
    Thanks for such a great article and showing how we are family. ❤

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1605406716409881/

  11. sothcweden permalink
    May 21, 2015 12:32 am

    I really admire Jared’s candor in this situation, and found myself tearing up at the tsunami of support fandom has expressed. And then again reading your post listing the wonderful things people are doing. I’ve been having a rough go with SPN recently, but this week has reminded me that even when canon makes me want to scream, that it’s the backdrop framing fandom, not the experience itself.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 2:22 am

      Exactly. Canon may frustrate us at times, but fandom remains amazing (and helps us get through the canon frustration too!)🙂

  12. May 21, 2015 2:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Saving Myself, Helping Others..

  13. May 21, 2015 2:58 pm

    This was beautiful. Jared is beautiful. Everything about this fandom banding together to support him and each other is beautiful.

    And I hate being “that person” but f you get a second can you read what I wrote that sort of relates… I’m talking about the characters on the show and how they inspire me to keep fighting (though I wrote this pre-Jared’s AKF campaign) and I’ve been trying to share it with as many people and in as many places as possible in the hopes that it will help someone else. https://t.co/Z2YRWwbjOX

    Talking about what you’re feeling is SO important and it’s people like Jared that make it easier for me to share my own struggles and use it to help someone else. The question of why I was so obsessed with Jared Padalecki was recently posed to me and of course when it was asked I got flustered and just played it off like it’s not just him, I’m a crazy fangirl. But I’ve been thinking about it since I was asked, because from the outside it does just look like I’m obsessed. But the reason why what he says or does or if he’s okay affects/matters to me so much is because he stands for things that personally mean a lot to me. He started the ‪#‎AlwaysKeepFighting‬ campaign for a friend he lost to suicide, donated the proceeds to To Write Love On Her Arms.– which has been instrumental in the process of my recovery from self-harm over the years– and continues to show love and support to his fans struggling with the very things he’s trying to spread awareness for. And like Demi Lovato, who was the first celebrity who I loved that was open and honest with her own battle with self-harm, Jared makes me feel like what I’ve gone through hasn’t been for nothing. That I can help people simply by TALKING about it, because not enough people do and once someone does– the sense of feeling understood and not alone is so, so beautiful and empowering, I know from experience. And that is exactly what I want to be for someone one day.

    As someone who suffers from depression and a number of other things as a result of said depression, it really means all the world to me that people are standing up and talking about it and taking it seriously. Thank you for writing this and sorry I wrote so much haha.❤

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 6:45 pm

      Don’t ever apologize for writing so much! It takes tremendous courage to tell your story, and yours is every bit as inspirational as Jared’s. This Show and these characters have meant so much to so many, and you captured that truth eloquently. I’m so glad this post spoke to you, and that you answered. *hugs*

    • May 21, 2015 9:12 pm

      I, too, am a fan of Jared because of who he is as a person. He is warm and caring and it shows. From the very first second that I met him at BosCon in 2011, he put me at ease and made me feel like I was important to him.
      Also, I have found that talking openly and matter-of-factly about my depression makes it less scary and less of a stigma. All of my family and most of my closest friends are aware of my depression and think nothing of it. It’s not who I am,it’s just something I live with and mostly handle. I sincerely believe the more we talk about depression, the less power it has over us.

  14. Danni permalink
    May 21, 2015 3:16 pm

    I only entered the fandom late last year after having watched all seasons at the start of 2014. I have never been so proud to be part of a fandom until I came into the SPN fandom. Everyone is so welcoming. The cast 100% support one another which is difficult to find with a film/television cast. And they absolutely appreciate their fans.

    I’m going to write a letter and have it sent hopefully sometime next week and send him a gift in the form of a quote from the Margery Williams book – The Velveteen Rabbit. I received it when in counselling and it helped me to accept myself for who I am. And I’d like to send him something for all that he has done for us.🙂

    • spnfans permalink
      May 21, 2015 6:46 pm

      One of my favorite books of all time, and such a lovely idea for a gift. We all struggle sometimes with self acceptance, just as the characters on this Show do, but I love that the SPNFamily makes that a little bit easier. *hugs*

      • Danni permalink
        May 24, 2015 5:51 pm

        Thank you for replying🙂 I just need to find it now. I think it will be in my box of little treasures. I remember I dug in this box of quotes and that’s the one I ended up with. And when my counselling came to an end, I was given the book as a present from my counsellor. It’s such a beautiful and significant story.

  15. May 21, 2015 5:11 pm

    Reblogged this on No One Would Write For Less.

  16. Raegan permalink
    May 29, 2015 8:25 pm

    This is very well said. I love the SPN Family.

  17. May 30, 2015 5:16 am

    Reblogged this on Precious Things and commented:
    Why do I keep using the #AlwaysKeepFighting hashtag? Welcome to the #SPNFamily…

  18. Danni permalink
    June 14, 2015 3:58 pm

    Late response, but has anyone sent Jared a letter out in the post? I’ve sent one to the specified address above (Industry Entertainment) but due to the office being closed – parcel hasn’t been delivered for some reason. I’m hoping the staff there will collect the parcel before it’s sent back here to the UK. Anyone know an email address I could send a quick email to, perhaps his management? Will be much appreciated!

  19. December 8, 2015 6:52 pm

    I know I’m posting way late, but thanks for writing this. I’m absolutely horrible at social interactions so even though ive been a fan of the show since it first came out I’ve never tried to interact with the rest of the fandom.

    Your post and how the spn family is so amazing prompted me to express my thanks for all of you wonderful people for existing.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 10, 2015 7:20 pm

      So glad to have you here as part of our SPN Family🙂

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