Non classé

The Bad Day

Depression is something strange, among many, many other things. The more I live with it, the stranger it gets.

I’m happy. I’m at a place where I do things that I love, I am taking time to find my true calling and to write, I have exceptional friends and a soul family I adore, and I have a few connections with people that are beyond magical. Supernatural in its various and different facettes makes me the happiest I have been in a very long time. And, on top of all of this, there’s my convention baptism that is just around the corner, and that makes me dizzy with joy, anticipation and excitement. Things are good. I am more than okay despite a few minor setbacks from surgery and I am enjoying how my new self look. I am content with my own self inside and out.

And yet.

However good things are overall, depression likes to rule over your life even in your best days.

I have lows. Lows are more and more easy to manage because I know when they are here and I know I have to triple down my own efforts to fight them. But I can detect when I am on a downward path to my own hellhole. Lows aren’t my problem, currently. Maybe they aren’t anymore. Maybe they are just taming themselves, kicked down by Jared’s immeasurable advices and good words that are working miracles on my cracks.

Highs can be tricky. They are because they will eventually induce crashing down moments and those are traitors. I enjoy highs because they make life so much better, but I am cautious around them. I have a strong handle on them anyway. I am learning day in, day out how to turn highs into solid and constant elevations rather than irregular and vaguely menacing spikes.

It’s the in between that is the hardest part. And it is the longest, most common, almost routine side of my existence. Some are good days. Some are bad days. None of those are really dangerous. They just…Are.

Today has been and still is one of those. Full disclosure : the Winchesters have been called and are on their way home. Which means that in a little while, I won’t be focusing on myself and the gaps and holes and tears and cracks in my soul because they will gently (or not so gently) soothe it and make me see beyond my own fights and my own wins and my own losses, and they will remind me how much of a warrior I have to be to be there and be strong and be aware of my friend’s pains and struggles and give my time and my energy and to keep my head way, way above the dark waters. Supernatural is my safe haven. My good place. My happy place. My own, private heaven.

But it doesn’t erase the progress I make even during those weird, badly outlined days. And how aware I am of my own triggers, and the things that will set me in an anxiety path and wake up little demons no one but me can salt away.

My biggest anxiety lately is the fear of being left away, overlooked, forgotten when I am away. The fear of not being missed. I suppose that it had been fed off my health scare (“terror” is a more fitting word, actually) and the concern you suddenly have, when facing your potential demise, that soon enough, nobody will miss you anymore and your name will be lost in the winds of a vague memory people won’t even be sure they didn’t created, rather than it existed. So, when I feel like I am being ignored by the false pretenses of a twitter setting or that my opinions are ignored or dismissed in the flow of the conversations, it pains me a lot more than it should. And I know that rather than letting the light show through my cracks, it shows the opposite. The fear and the pettiness and the selfishness and the neediness and everything I fight all year long. But that is the way this disease crawls back in, fragment of dust by fragment of dust. I am fine, I am good, but I know it is a fight that never stops and that those dust powders needs to be acknowledged in order to sweep them out.

Depression is like the abusive relationship you can’t seem to get rid of. You never let it come in the first place but once it is there, you let it question your every move and every thought and you let it convince you that you don’t exist outside of that permanently shrinking realm. There is no running away, no fleeing it on a dare. It will eventually find you back. On nothing. On a poorly worded sentence, on a badly managed sleep pattern, on a loss of a favorite sports team or on a troll trying to breathe hate, on a difference of opinion you wrongly feel is targeted at you, or on wishing you could be closer to the people who matter. It can use anything to twist your emotions and make you feel useless and emotional and like your own pace is either to slow or too fast to catch on the world’s. I am finding my pace. It just isn’t the same each day and I have to adapt myself to my own self each day, and to what version of myself is allowed for public consumption, and what version isn’t.

It is a learning curve. You can not kick depression like you would, say, a demon tablet-sized tumor. You go under, you get cut wide open, and someone with skills take out the problem, and when you wake up, it is only a question of when you will be able to walk back from it on your own two feet and to breathe easy and to build whatever you want to build from that point on. It leaves a scar only, however big. A trace of a fight long gone. It’s not possible to surgically remove depression. And at times…And often, actually, I wish it were. Because it is easier to explain to people. Because you have a scary, terrifying procedure to prove how brave you are to handle this. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Because there are physical proofs that something is wrong with you. A scan picture. An ultrasound video. Numbers on a blood test result. Appointments and meds and injections and painkillers and tubes and nurses and the all-too common hospital journey. It is palpable. At best, with the toughest of mental illnesses downfalls, you get medicated beyond measure and overlooked as the weak creature whose problems can’t be handled.

Depression is a sad mistress. A fake friend. And such a hard, lonely, unsafe path. Despite the encouraging liberation of the narrative around it, and how more and more and more and more people get inspired to tell their stories, and that, all of a sudden the whole world realizes that everyone knows someone, be it a close kin or the person in the mirror, it is still a poorly lit tunnel with no end in sight. I do hope that it is about to evolve, and that all those people inspiring others to open up and own their stories, however broken and messy they could be, are hints that this path won’t be as hard to travel as it currently is. I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I do believe this is not an end in itself. And that one day, I will be fully aware that I didn’t bring it on myself. That I am worth the time and the efforts and the emotions and the engagement and the worries. That it won’t keep me up at night that people doesn’t really appreciate who I am, or that I am too peculiar to be more than tolerated.

It is just one of those days. I’m fine. I’m fighting.

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Non classé

Alpha Kilo Foxtrot (and how I became my own super-heroine)

My best friend and I had a quite nice conversation this week end. Her birthday and mine are a day apart, and she playfully asked me whether I was sure of what I want this year. Playfully, because it’s set in stone for quite some time now.

Months, actually.

I’m not really keen on making a big deal out of my own birthday. Or any deal whatsoever, actually. I’ve never been celebrated as a child, and I’ve never really felt the urge of changing it as an adult. It’s just the day I was born, and that’s about it.

This year, however, things are going to be different. I’m going to embrace those 24 hours and make them mine and mine only, and I’m totally getting an outrageously expensive present. I have a lot to celebrate.

Being alive, for instance.

Sounds like a good reason.

 

A month ago today, I watched the sun rise for the first time in a long time, after a sleepless night. I usually like sunrises, they remind me of younger days spent camping in front of concert venues for Muse. I’ve done that quite a few times. Muse’s front row are are demanding like that. Wembley stadium, Glastonbury, Rock In Rio, and about every single European stadium, a few times over.

I didn’t like this sunrise. I didn’t like it at all. For all I knew, it could have been the last one I’d ever see. December 15th, 2017. I had been dreading this day for weeks, and the self-inflicted terror of the absolute unknown worn me out in ways I couldn’t even fathom.

All I could think about that morning was one thing : I wanted to see many, many, many more sunrises. After a harrowing fight against depression and suicidal thoughts, I had changed my mind entirely.

I wanted to live.

I had to live.

***

Early August. I had to be rushed to the E.R for a mind-numbing pain in my lower-left abdomen, and got brilliantly misdiagnosed with the dumbest UTI they could find. I knew that something really, really wrong was happening to me. And, true to myself, I buried that feeling as deep as I could. Oh, I’m good at that. And if a bunch of doctors don’t see the need of giving me an ultrasound when I am barely conscious because of levels of pain I wouldn’t inflict on the worst person in the world, they’re probably in their right minds not to.

Naturally, regardless to the depth of the burial of my uneasy feeling, the pain kept on coming and going, and pretty much forced me to arrange my life around it. I was terrified, but when nothing is palatable, real, or exist on scan pictures, I can brush it off fairly easy. And I did. Time and time and time again. My GP forced me to get the overdue ultrasound anyway, and on a wet, rainy Thursday morning, I lay down on the cold examination table and hoped beyond hope for nothing life-altering to happen.

Late October. All I could think about not to drive myself insane with fear was a thrilling story about two brothers, an angel, Lucifer’s son and a really, really cool car. Thursday meant new episode. I had that to look forward to. It helped. A lot. But as my mind was drifting away to Lebanon, Kansas, I couldn’t help noticing the absolute lack of sound whatsoever, beside the distant echoes of my worried heart on the ultrasound screen.

When doctors are silent, it’s never a good sign. Something was going totally off the rails, I could tell it. I begged for explanations, they were elusive at best. My head was dizzy with fear, and my heart was pounding in anger. It’s my body, for Chuck’s sake, talk to me, tell me what is that huge, scary white mass devouring the entirety of the screen.

It lasted for the longest twenty minutes of my life. Complete, absolute silence paused by occasional expressions of surprise and concern only, and when he was done, he simply told me I had to have a CT scan ASAP. He wasn’t gonna explain to me what exactly caused that conclusion until I pressed him, as my eyes were filling with tears and my throat felt too tight to even breathe.

-I’ve found an 11 inches tumor.

Oh.

And for the first time of my life, I understood exactly how Rick Grimes felt in the pilot of The Walking Dead, when Morgan knocks him out with the shovel. However, had I got a shovel myself, there, I would probably have gone full-on homicidal on that asshole of a doctor. I can do a lot of damages with a simple shovel. I’d have painted the walls in red, Supernatural-style.

The only problem with anger when you’ve been on the receiving end of, basically, the worst-case scenario news you really really thought couldn’t happen, is that it doesn’t last. Anger is warm, visceral, it’s alive. It wore off instantly, to a much, much less pulsating mind-numbing fear. I could feel the heaviest weight on my shoulders, and everything around me looked eerie, as if either too real or not real enough.

Very, very quickly, I was showered with appointments and papers to fill and answers to give to the people who were casually asking about how it went and send you hearts and kisses emoji, completely unaware of the fact that you now know that you are ticking time bomb. “They found something but I’m pretty sure it’s nothing”.

Yeah, right. Say it again for the ones in the back.

The CT scan was scheduled for early November. 14 days. Three times faster than the average waiting time for an average appointment.

Two weeks is a long, long time when your number one talent is developing awfully creative worst-case scenarios out of E V E R Y T H I N G.

Massive tumor inside of my body ? My brain had a field day. Days. Plural.

I was trying to worm my way out of the gloom by pretending I was fine and fighting and pretty sure everything would be just fine and we’ll be fine and it all was going to be fine and yeah, I’m fine. Lie, on top of another lie, on top of a pile of lies. There was something terrifying in admitting out loud my own absolute vulnerability. Supernatural worked marvels on my mental health, even in the middle of fandom drama I would have happily ignored. Funny how trying to attack my boys really, really shifted back my focus to…Well, not me, and how getting involved in erasing the bile stains really helped me keeping my head above the sea level.

I wasn’t confident about how destructive the whole thing was going to be, on the psychological side. I was barely out of the woods after my early 2017 row with depression, and this level of terror was already eating away at my newly built walls. My bus trip to the hospital on the morning of the CT scan showed to me that I was on the verge of crumbling, and that I was nowhere near strong enough to fight off the tears.

Upside of having Jared Padalecki as your phone lock screen (full disclosure : he’s my background picture too) ( yeah, I know, shocker) : when you’re about to fall prey to the claws of a full-on panic attack monster, guy’s good at reminding you of three letters that can make a major difference. AKF, anyone ? It hit me hard. Hard enough to make me swallow back my tears, keep my trembling hands steady and chin up. You never really measure up your own fighting ressources, and your true allies until you really need them to have your back.

Wherever he was that morning, Jared became my biggest ally, and the one thing I would be able to blindly rely on any time I would feel weaker. He didn’t let me down. Not once.

The scan in itself is harmless, if not for the injection of a contrast product that set my insides on fire for a couple of seconds. The noise is overwhelming at times, but it went spectacularly well. My smile was back in full force, and I didn’t flinched once waiting for the results. As far as they could see, nothing was screaming “cancer” out loud, but the tumor was so big, it was impossible to get a clear diagnosis out of simple images.

You, my friend, are headed straight for the O.R.

Three days later, I met my surgeon. The laughters coming from the waiting room ? Yep, they were mine. I don’t remember why precisely, regardless to the fact that I was in an oncology ward. Better safe than sorry, apparently, but thanks for the cold sweats every time the word “cancer” would pop up…About everywhere.

As charismatic and warm as the doctor was, the whole thing looked rigged from the get-go. Within ten minutes, the best case scenario, a simple one-hour intervention and a massive 14 inches scar all the way across my belly, was pushed aside, and I was fed the grim, bloody and scary details of a five-hour organ harvest if anything on my tumor showed any sign whatsoever malignancy. And all the possibilities in between, none of which were remotely hopeful. We talked of potential pluri-disciplines meetings, of the consequences it would have on my day-to-day life, how it would change everything about everything, how others surgeries were to be considered, how chemotherapy treatment would happen in another hospital,  and radiotherapy in a third one, and it took me a monumental strength not to run away screaming.

We scheduled surgery for Friday, December 15th, and he blocked his whole afternoon for me.

I wasn’t flattered.

The flow of informations I received afterwards was swallowing me whole like a goddamn flash flood. Appointments with a cancer nurse, with the anesthesiologist, with the lab to get a full blood work, with the admission desk of the hospital, and I went home with a strict order to drink three Bricks Of Liquid Hell per day to increase my calories intake by a thousand and make sure my body would be strong enough to handle it all. My free will, at this point, was a non-existing thing for the time being, and my body wasn’t really mine anymore. I was a walking, talking tumor, and one big enough to make the front page of Medical Freak magazine.

Three letters, Axy. Three letters.

The cancer nurse was extremely kind. She still gave me a fancy transparent ring binder with a “chemo” tab on it. As I froze in terror, she quickly hid it under a little blue-inked cloud of faked lightness. You’re not a cancer patient yet, she said. I missed the first few words and kept on hearing her “yet” dancing around my head. She told me that to materialize my fight against the tumor, I should maybe name her.

Ruby was the one name that came out instantly. Gen, I love you and you’re a light in a dark, dark world, but Ruby had it coming.

Ruby it was.

The anesthesiologist was Harry Potter. No, I mean it. A middle-aged Daniel Radcliffe, glasses and all. The scar only was missing. I was hoping for a Winchester, but I’d settle happily for a wizard. “Did they told you about the needle we’re going to drill through your spine ?”. No, they didn’t. Apparently, good ol’morphine ain’t so good, so instead, epidural is the way to go. Awesome. No, really, thrilling.

In France, your anesthesia risks are assessed on a scale of one to four, one being the patients who are going to do ok, to four being those whose mortality is heavily considered.

I’m a three.

Oh.

 

Providing nothing really, really wrong happens, I’d have to stay at least six days, in the best-case scenario option, hospitalized. The other cases were spreading across ten, twelve, fifteen days.

Christmas.

New Year’s Eve.

Half of the stay would happen in ICU, possibly more.  It’s a pretty big terminology, ICU. Intensive Care Unit. Bloody semantics. My reasonably messed up brain kept on putting one picture over that idea, and one picture only : Sam in the season nine premiere. The one episode I can’t watch because it is unbearable to see him like that, to the point of being physically painful. Not helping, brain. Not helping at all.

Those parallels, however tragic, kept on increasing my love for the character.

Early December. It’s a joint effort from Jared and Sam to keep me sane. The clock is ticking, and I am unable to project myself beyond December 15th anymore. Which sucks, because I’m five months from my first convention, and ten from my first time in Canada. Supposedly. I don’t even know what I’m allowed to hope for.

Staying alive at all costs sounds about right.

And by all costs, I mean it. If it has to be a cancer, then bring it on. I’m ready, I can take it, I have no choice.

There’s nothing stranger than beginning a new year by wanting to die, and finishing it with the strongest will to live. At times, it felt like I had it coming. As if, for some obscure reasons, crawling back from the hellhole that depression is wasn’t enough of an insanely tough fight in itself. My brain worked miracles, in the last few days before surgery. That thing can pull out fabulous stunts in self harm and guilt.

Thankfully, the last convention of the year was webcast, and so, for a week end, my brain and I called a truce. I authorized myself to become a normal fan back again, and to put on hold the pile of steaming terror I was sitting on. Gil and Jake were brilliant, David was magical, Richard, Rob and Matt were amazing, Misha was hilarious, and for a change, Jared and Jensen were too good to be true, and had me going from laughter tears to the purest level of overwhelm.

The minute they left the stage, I broke down, unable to take any of it anymore.

I begged a god that doesn’t even exist to let me experience this just once for real. Just. Once. I prayed my dead father, the one I never knew, the one I need to believe look out for me from afar, the one that’s my own, private St Jude to make sure I’d get to live long enough for it.

I wasn’t even bargaining for a full life.

I was bargaining for Birmingham, and Birmingham only.

 

***

 

The last few days were a nightmare. The closest I got, the worse I felt. The pain I was in was unbearable, and none of the known painkillers could do anything for me. And I still had to take the Bricks Of Liquid Hell three times per day, outside of the meals in order not to puke them out. Awesome. Vomiting sounded great, on top of everything else. It was awful. Imagine the texture of snot, with a taste halfway through fish and orange juice / vanilla.

At times, I was growing convinced that the main aim of those damn bricks were to make me so miserable I would actually want not to wake up.

As dark as it was, my sense of humor was among the last few things that were still entirely mine.

From early December on, my diary was the keeper of things I wished I never had to write. A letter, addressed to my three-letter captain, and a sheet of useful numbers in case things went wrong and some people I had to leave behind had to be informed of my passing. I left instructions, too. As hellbent as I was on refusing any form of agressive therapy in desperate cases prior to that, I changed my mind entirely and wanted them to try every-fucking-thing to bring me back even in the most hopeless scenario. Including angel possession. And should the worst happen, I wanted my ashes to be scattered across Glastonbury’s pyramid stage field. Let me haunt the living fuck out of the happiest place in the world. Since a part of me forever belongs there, the Winchesters won’t even be able to hunt me down. That’ll teach them, and give them a perfect opportunity to get a week end off.

I also told my best friend that she HAD to attend the conventions anyway. There needed to be some good out of this, and it was a real relief when she promised she would.

In a strange turn of events, the very last episode I watched before the surgery was “The End”. I fought hard not to make it more of an omen than it was.

I failed.

 

***

 

And so the sun rose, on Friday morning. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I had reached the outer limits of what my mind was capable to take.

The sky was wonderful. A stunning canvas of purples, oranges and pinks, threatened by a big grey cloud. The metaphor was ridiculous. Tears were non-stop, that morning. The more I tried to fight them off, the heavier they get.

Leaving the flat was tricky. The walls at home are covered with pictures of Sam, Dean, Castiel & co., and if not the characters, then it’s the actors. Everywhere. It is our safe space, and having them within eyeshot from anywhere I stand in the apartment is something that’s comforting beyond words. I was so close to fall into pieces, as I stood in front of season 12’s poster, trying to find something inside of me strong enough to keep me away from going insane for good.

I did find it. Three letters, always and forever.

On the road to the hospital, we saw a double rainbow. As far as good omen goes, this one takes the cake.

Breathe, Axy. You’ll be fine. There’s no other acceptable narrative. You’re a fighter and you

got

this.

I can always count on my phone’s background picture to take the fight over when I’m not capable of doing it anymore. Jared, how am I even gonna be able to repay you for all of that ?

Hospital rooms are depressing. It’s like they’re making them gloomy and ugly on purpose. Just to make sure you won’t stay any longer than you need to. It took me about twelve seconds to get my paperback copy of Family Don’t End With Blood and the special edition of Entertainment Weekly on the table. First couple of mentions from the nurses of “the patient who love that show with the pretty boys”. Really, ladies, they aren’t THAT pretty.

The day took a strange turn, afterwards. To adjust whatever drugs they were going to give me, they had to get my exact weight. And scales aren’t exactly my best friends. On top of everything, I lost about seventy pounds from summer 2017 on, but had been stuck for a while at the same weight. Well, not anymore : fifteen more pounds shed in three weeks. This made me way happier than it should. Way, way, way happier. With any luck, if Ruby was heavy enough, I’d reach the 100-pounds milestone sometime soon (spoiler alert : she was).

I had a good cry with one of the nurses, who was everything but helpful in telling me that in my position, anyone would break down and that it must have been awfully hard to handle it all. Thanks, lady, but you’re supposed to tell me that everything is going to be ok. Lie if you have to.

They gave me something fizzy and orange-y to drink, and a pill to swallow with it that was supposed to take care of my anxiety. Right. That was right about when my phone started to vibrate every other minute with beautiful messages from my beloved Supernatural family, coming from every corner of the globe, piling on my twitter notifications. I was surrounded with more love than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Supernatural was already pushing me to the winning side of this fight.

And then the Xanax kicked in.

Niiiiiiiicely.

Probably a little too nicely, actually.

I don’t suppose that calling one of the O.R nurse “completely fuckable” (that’s the closest translation I could find) when he’s still around is the epitome of “smooth”. Oh, and the very last thing I did before being walked down to the operating room ? Buying another photo op with Jared for Birmingham.

The third one. At this rate, it’s going to turn into a full-on meet and greet.

IMG-4821

Getting ready for the O.R. meant wearing this thing. I look like I’m about to go to some kind of super cool party downstairs. I can’t believe my own face.

I joked with everyone down there. Since I’m extremely nearsighted and had to leave my glasses with my best friend upstairs, everyone was too blurry for me to identify, or to sort out, gender-wise. Confusing. But fun.

Harry Potter bailed on me, and so, instead, I got a John LaRoquette lookalike. Still no Winchesters, this hospital suck. Okay, John. I like you. You’re cool. It’s fine by me. I got hooked to a three-bag I.V. before I even understood how, and within minutes, without any pain whatsoever, John successfully epiduraled the fuck out of this bitch. My language was colorful enough to remain acceptable while still making them all laugh. So far, I was handling it like a goddamn queen.

Of the O.R. in itself, I remember close to nothing. I think I’ve recognized my surgeon…Mayyybe. To be honest, I was high as a kite at this point of the afternoon, and I really couldn’t give a damn about anything anymore.

Last conscious thought ?

Guess.

 

***

 

The next conscious thought was messy and painful and ugh. Waking up from this weird anesthesia cloud  is like having an out-of-body experience. The first ten minutes were disconcerting and scary, and I have a very distinct memory of a nurse that wasn’t very patient with me and asked me to keep quiet because there were other people waking up from other surgeries. I wasn’t exactly shouting, I was just saying that I felt wrong. Repeatedly, I suppose. Nothing is clear. I just remember distinctively that it wasn’t fair, and the feeling was overwhelming. It was wrong.

Pain quickly disappeared, thanks to my BFF the epidural, but I was still feeling…Like my body wasn’t mine anymore. Back then, the angel possession theory was surprisingly comforting. I was loopy. And resumed back the light talking with everyone, including Lilith. Turns out Lilith’s real name was Axelle. Same as mine. I mentally revoked her membership from the club of the cool Axelles.

I completely forgot that I had no idea yet of what had been done to me, and when my surgeon’s head popped out of nowhere (attached to his body, I suppose) with a great big smile, I felt the strongest relief I’ve ever felt. I was under for 45 minutes and it was a textbook operation, with zero complications and no reasons whatsoever to worry it might be anything else than a stupid ovarian cyst. I lost an ovary in the process, but this was the least of my concerns. Ruby was 11x9x10 inches, weighed over ten pounds, and was definitely the attraction of the day, week, month, possibly year.

Smile for the camera, Ruby, you’re famous. Dead, but famous. We were still in need of definite results, to come in early January, but I was far too relieved to actually worry even so slightly about it.

Apparently, as my best friend inquired about what was happening, someone told her that I was doing good and was joking with everyone already. I have very few memories of said jokes, and I’m mildly concerned I might have said inappropriate things here and there. Knowing my somewhat dirty mind, it’s a possibility.

When I finally got my phone back, I had 32 messages of all sorts. I was overwhelmed by the love and the absolute beauty of this fandom, and for the first time in my whole entire life, I felt at home. We might be dysfunctional, loud, and borderline insane, but the Supernatural family IS the best fandom in the world, no questions asked. Nothing can compete with it. Nothing.

The first look to my phone background picture post-surgery was the loveliest thing I have felt in a long time. I made it. He was with me all this time. And the hard part was over.

IMG-4818

I felt invincible, for a minute or two. As defeated as I looked, I was invincible.

In ICU, and despite the fact that I was hooked to a dozen of captors, tubes, and I.Vs, plus my BFF the epidural, I noticed that it was far less scary than television taught me to be. It’s just the most annoying place in the world where nurses wake you up every thirty minutes just to make sure that you’re ok.

Yeeesss I aaaammm, leeeet meeee sleeeeeep.

 

***

 

It took me 15 hours to stood up on my feet-on my own with barely any help-and 20 to walk up and down the corridors of the hospital. The physical therapy nurse laughed that at this rate, we’d go for a marathon the next day. Apparently, I wasn’t expected to walk before Monday morning.

Saturday noon, bitches. Saturday noon.

ICU nurses are easily more than a dozen, but all of them knew me right away as the Supernatural fan. Even those who had no clue whatsoever what Supernatural even was. It’s the one word I have heard the most, spoken by everyone. Granted, books and magazines and computer background pictures permanently on clearly helped. So, yeah…The Supernatural fan was my official designation. And I was more than happy about it.

There were a few whistles, a couple of “jeez, wish my husband was half as hot as any of those two”, a three of them actually asked me how they could catch back on the show. I kept for myself the number of seasons. Evil, I know.

I will forever regret that I am, at best, a mediocre photographer, because on Saturday night, as I was watching one episode from season nine on telly, I noticed that the lights of the scope monitoring my vitals reflected itself on the television screen.  This was the biggest, and most emotional metaphor for how good I was doing, and how hard I was fighting. I’m not always aware enough to grasp at life’s signs, wherever they are, but this one was, quite simply, perfect, and so, so right. I wish I could have captured it one way or another. As Sam was worried he’d never be fine at the end of the episode, I suddenly noticed I was more concerned for him than I was for myself back again, and in a weird, twisted way, everything was fine in the world.

I was out of the ICU in 36 hours, unplugged from the epidural in 40 hours, and free of any I.V in 48. I went for a twenty minutes walk with the physical therapy nurse on Sunday morning, and by Sunday noon, my surgeon told me I could go home on Monday.

Three days.

It took me three days.

I didn’t pushed myself. Well…Maybe a little. But not that much. Not consciously anyway. It was natural. I could do it, so I did it. I have a few people to credit for it, almost more than I have to credit myself. I had the unwavering support of my best friend, I had the Supernatural family who was, quite simply, ten flavors of fantastic and constantly surrounding me with care and love, and a three letters motto that possibly saved my life. I’d never have walked out of the hospital exactly 73 hours after the surgery (and with a 14 inches scar) if it wasn’t for everything Supernatural brought me, one way or another. It’s the most incredible bottomless pit of strength and happiness I’ve ever, ever, ever seen, and yes, I know that I’ve basically just said that watching the Winchester die time and time again kept me alive (…Oh boy, that is so wrong).

I spent my recovery halfway between a series rewatch, and time spent with my newly found community of fellow fans, most of whom became friends in weeks. I was supposed to keep quiet and calm and avoid stress at all costs, and so, to fulfill my doctor’s prescription, decided, after a conversation where the idea sparked with a friend, to create a hashtag to celebrate Jared, then Misha, then Jensen over a period of ten days each. I did the graphic thingy myself, and we launched it to a success bigger than we could possibly dream of. My tweet counter tool reached roughly 5K tweets in ten days, and that’s because my plan refuses to count over 5K. Stress and excitation costed me three stitches and three hours at the E.R. on Christmas Eve’s eve, but it was well worth it. The daily injection of anticoagulants was at worst a nuisance, and even when one side of the scar got infected, I ran away with a best-case scenario. My body did an extraordinary job.

I’m wonder woman. 

 

***

 

4 weeks later, I don’t think that I could possibly feel any better. I’m still a little tired, but I’ve walked two miles the other night without breaking a sweat. I was completely off painkillers in 5 days, and the blood tests results were stellar. Final results taught me that I’m 100% cancer free, which is about the best damn way to start the new year. My surgeon shooed me away and laughed that he never wants to see me ever again. I don’t even need a yearly scan or anything. I’m as healthy as it gets, and I have a lifetime ahead of me.

The real hard part is to put this all behind me. Things were so bad for several weeks, and then within a few days, they were good, then great. It’s disconcerting.  I’m not convinced that setting people for worst case scenarios really is the best thing to do. Sure, the relief is awesome. But the rift between fear and reality is hard to fix.

I learnt a lot about myself, and as strange as it may sound, I don’t think I’d change one bit the experience I’ve lived anyway. The darkest times taught me where to look for inspiration and what drastically increased my will to fight, and how to find it every time. It taught me that I’m a million times stronger than anything I would credit myself with. My recovery taught me that my body is magical in every possible way, and that it’s accomplishing miracles permanently. I’m completely blown away by my own ressources, both physically and mentally. I am walking up a path of self-love and acceptance, and for the first time in ages, whenever I see a mirror, I am not afraid of looking at myself. I actually like what I see. I’m fabulous, and it’s about time I understood it. We all are.

I grew up a whole, whole lot the past year. I place kindness on top of everything, even when I don’t feel like it, and it’s the best thing I could possibly do. I’ve learnt how not to get upset when stupid people are trying to vomit stupid arguments, and if sometimes it does sadden me, I’ve also learnt how to embrace those emotions and never be ashamed of it. All in all, I’m just embracing who I am, and I can’t actually believe that something so good would ever happen to me.

But if going through this taught me one invaluable thing, it’s how Supernatural is a million times bigger and better than just a simple, thriving show. It’s home to a group of phenomenal people that are so much more than just a bunch of actors. They’re a lifeline, and a force that is both unstoppable and inspiring. What they are bringing to this world is impossible to quantify, and neither is it to repay, but it doesn’t really keep them away from doing it day in, day out. They’ve created a fandom that is such an extraordinary home for so many of us, and hosts hundreds, thousands of friendships that, for most of them, are closer to brotherhood and sisterhood than it will ever be of anything else.

I’m proud of being a Supernatural fan. It’s the best damn thing that could possibly happen to me, and by far. It changed me to my core, in more ways than I can actually acknowledge.  I was aware of it before all that, but this certainly helped me focus on the things that matters, and those who are making a massive, major difference. And this one is a miracle. Never, ever let anyone tell you that loving a little TV show is silly. It can save your life.

This has also changed my relation to Sam, and ultimately, of course, to Jared. For once, I’m loving an artist that’s not just covering the noise inside of my head, but actually help me figuring it out and clean up the mess with me. That’s going to make for a very, very emotional Axy in a few weeks…

There’s no other plan I would settle down for. I’m definitely celebrating my 33rd birthday in a couple of months. Instagram-worthy cake, the exact number of candles, alcohol, and the best present I’ve ever had.

Me and my 14 inches scar, we earned it.

 

 

 

 

Journal, Supernatural

The difference with Supernatural

Two weeks ago, I had what I now consider a life-changing moment.

Early morning, crowded bus, on my way to get a CT scan. Ten days before that, a huge mass had been found inside of my abdomen during a sonogram. Mild pain on my left side, trip to the ER, the whole package. The vast, white-ish balloon was taking all the sonogram screen. An eleven inches one. The very definition of massive.

When I left the house, the morning of the scan, I was driving my own self insane with fear. Actual terror.

And something happened midway through the bus ride to the clinic. I looked at my phone and…Used it as a point of focus. To pause my brain and concentrate on the things that were making me dizzy with joy.

IMG_4440
Jared who…? Never heard of him. 

I overloaded my brain with every single emotion that picture could generate. And it was a lot.

I usually cave in when scary things happen to me : I let the stress and the panic win me over and eat away at my mind, making it all a million times worse.

Yet, this time, it worked beyond anything I could possibly hope for. I breathed in and out, and within seconds, there was a smile on my face. I could feel the strength radiating through my whole body. Not in a spiritual, or metaphoric way. Actual strength. My fear was over, and gone for good. The scan went so smoothly I even laughed with the nurses and didn’t felt lost or on the edge of a mental breakdown once. Not even close. The old me would have had a panic attack, no questions asked. Hell, I’d have had more than one.

As it turns out, I have a gigantic tumor inside of me. It has good chances of not being cancerous, something I’ll only know post-surgery. On December 15th, early afternoon, I’m undergoing a fully-fledged laparotomy, and will have to spend at least one night in ICU. Surgery is supposed to last merely an hour, or four if they find anything malicious and have to go for an extensive harvest. In the end, I’ll know for sure if I’m not carrying something malicious, or, say, life-threatening, on January 2nd.

And I’m fine. I had a laugh with my anaesthesiologist (who explained to me how they’re going to put a tube inside of my spine to hook me to painkillers), and with my surgeon (who explained to me in details how many different types of cancer they might find) and with each and every nurse met in between. When fear tries to take me over, I look somewhere my eyes will meet a Winchester, or Castiel, and the balance inside of my soul is restored in seconds.

I’m completely blown away by how Supernatural changed me, I could probably list a hundred, a thousand of things it has either completely erased, swapped, twisted or drastically altered. The person I was before, and the person I am now aren’t the same, at all. But if I had to pick one thing I am madly grateful for, I don’t even have to think about it. Supernatural made a fighter out of me. And I’m not convinced I had it in me all this time and it just needed to be inspired or awaken. It might be something this show, this cast, this energy and this family has created from scratch. It is.

A couple of days ago, upon meeting yet another nurse to ease my worries and prepare me at best for what’s to come, I had to reflect on my year 2017, and my own conclusions blew me away. I’ve started this year stuck in the depth of depression and fighting to stay alive, and I’m finishing it with the strongest will to live I have ever felt in 32 years of life. And in between, there’s this one day that changed everything, and that show that took over my existence and made it something I love so much I’m questioning how I even survived so long without them. I don’t know. I genuinely don’t. And despite all this mess, 2017 was most probably one of the most defining year, and maybe even one of the best ones.

I don’t precisely know how this happened. And I’m not sure that I want to. I’ve always considered that when something magical  light up your sky, trying to understand how it happened might undo it. It’s not in my nature not to ask questions. But I’ve just given up, there, because nothing really makes sense.

It could be the feeling of belonging somewhere real for the first time in my life. It could be finally finding people who are encouraging me to stay weird, and who make being awkward and nerdy and yourself such a beautiful thing. It could be finding a narrative that defends all of my obsessions and all of my favorite themes and turns it into a show that is so good and so satisfying it makes all the other ones look bland and half-assed. It could be being moved to tears by the words of someone who struggled the exact same way I did and had the courage to share it with the world, unaware of the good it would do to hundreds, thousands of us. It could be falling in love with characters so beautiful and so well-written they are existing outside of the televised realms, and are a living, breathing part of my world and my family. It could be laughing the loudest I’ve ever laughed and crying the hardest I’ve ever cried within the same episode, and laughing even louder and crying even harder following the live coverages of the conventions and understanding time and time again that I’m backing something up that is just so right. It could be the earth-shattering thrill of booking tickets to go to the Vancouver convention next year, regardless to my crippling fear of flying. It could be the joy and the excitement of learning that we’re getting an english version in a few months. It could be the proud thousands of euros suddenly taken away from my bank account and converted in photo ops tickets. It could be the sparkle in my eyes when I receive said tickets, and the smile on my face as I refuse to imagine what it’s going to look like because if I do, I might burst in billions of bubbles of sheer happiness. It could be the little jump my heart does anytime any of the actors pops up on my timeline, or the even bigger one whenever it’s Jensen or Misha…Jared ? It’s another thing entirely. And that could be it, too.

It could be the warmth and the overwhelming feeling of comfort I have any time I look at them. It could be how I sometimes feel the tears coming up to my eyes because I must have been so lucky to earn something so great.

Somehow, in my suicide-marked, depression-filled, tumor-stained year, I was lucky.

I’ve stopped looking for answers. I’m done. There aren’t any. I’m just taking it all in, all of it, and I let it overflow when it needs to. It’s so much bigger than me, I don’t have any control over it, and that’s probably the thing that makes it beautiful beyond belief.

The difference with Supernatural is impossible to put into words. It demands to be felt. 

 

 

 

J2, Supernatural

Welcome to the madhouse.

Funny how, when new things happens in your life, you never know beforehand where they might lead you, and what they will bring to you, or how they will change you. Truth is, the way I happened to start watching Supernatural was, back then, something I’d qualify as pretty random. It was there, I was in need of something to numb the world around me, and it had enough material to quiet it down for quite a while. There, deal. It was the single most normal thing I could do.

And I had no idea about how it would change, well, everything. How could have I even suspected it ? I’ve been a fan of TV shows for twenty-something years now, and the process of starting to love a show was so very usual for me. Maybe I expected Supernatural to fall in line with those other shows. You know, it’s cool, I want the DVD’s and maybe I’ll buy a couple of books. That, I could fathom. It was a possibility, and a fairly honest one too. Supernatural was pretty much made for me, as so many themes of the show are just hitting the right spot. Monsters, ghosts, demons, and a horror movie vibe ? Bring it on, baby. Textbook me. So, yeah, I’d probably like it.

Maybe I’d even love it.

And that, my friends, was my first mistake. And the biggest one.

Supernatural should come with a warning. And not a light one. A big, neon-bright warning with flashing lights that requires a signature, a blood sample and your bank account number before you’re even allowed to access the first season.

Dear friend, your existence is about to get twisted upside down, your whole world is about to change, and in about, what, three days, you are going to question how you even lived this long without having this gem of a show around. Oh, and you are going to ugly cry the volume of a small lake every three episodes, your emotions are about to get all over the place, you are going to be psychologically tortured in every single way and you will ask, no, you will BEG for more. Say goodbye to your life as you knew it, because it’s probably gone already. 

I wish someone would have warned me. Not that it would have changed anything, but, you know…Just to get an idea about what I was about to be put through.

Oh, you know, not much. You are going to fall in love with the brothers so, so hard, they are going to become your absolute favorite characters in the history of television, and a part of your life so vivid and important they’re going to become a family, and you are going to see them go through hell (literally, hahaha) and suffer unbearable losses and pains and get tortured time and time again and make choices (not always the good ones, btw) and DIE several times over, and it’s going to hurt like a bitch every damn time, and you are going to be given magical new characters AND YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE THEM ALL and you know what ? You are going to love this so much (and your weekly budget of tissue boxes is going blow a hole on your bank statement) and you are going to fall in love all over again episode after episode after episode. Oh, and you’re about to get the greatest gift a TV-show fan could possibly get : you’re going to bond your soul forever with one of the brothers, and love endlessly the other one regardless.

 

When I started that blog, my main objective was to keep track of the way I was falling in love with Supernatural. Back then, everything was so big and so strong and so magical, I could only consider that it was gonna slow down…Because that’s the natural order. You discover the thing, the thing do you some good, then the thing become normal, and if you’re lucky, the thing will sometimes shine a little brighter and it will make you so happy. That’s how things works.

Supernatural is the fucking sun. Once it starts shining for you, you’re done. Darkness is gone forever.

It. Does. Not. Slow. Down.

It. Does. Not. Stop.

It. Does. Not. Even. Take. A. Goddamn. Break.

It’s there, it’s everywhere, and it’s only going to get bigger and deeper and ridiculously good, and it’s making your whole world go round on a different axis. And it’s making it better. So, so, so much better.

Within seven days, I went on an Amazon spree that put my credit card into a coma.

Within ten days, a growing pile of DVD’s was blossoming, right next to an even bigger pile of books.

Within fifteen days, I was already so consumed by the Winchester’s light that I went through twelve hours of what is considered as one of the worst pain to inflict a human being without losing my mind.

Twelve. Hours.

Within twenty days , the walls of the living room were being entirely re-decorated. Please take into account that they’ve been in the nude for seven years. Half would be reserved for The Walking Dead, despite the fact that the show’s importance and hegemony was rapidly declining. It took ten more days to actually get rid of anything non-Winchester. As we speak, I’m being watched over by 51 Sam, 49 Dean, a dozen of Castiel and five Crowley.

Within the first month, and while we were barely reaching the 10th season, I’ve received in the mail my very first iPhone case. Ever. I’ve never had one I actually picked and chose. My current case is a still from the season 5 finale, and every time I look at it, I can literally feel the influx of love I have for this show running through my veins. It’s physical. And so much bigger than me.

Late august, we started to fall into Creation’s beautiful, beautiful net, and Sundays became a million times funnier and happier than they’ve ever been. I’ve always thought that Stephen was the king of all things conventions, I was so wrong. They’re called Ackles and Padalecki, and I already owe them some of the purest of my laughs in a long, long time. Creation pretty much taught me what it was to fall in love head first for the both of them, and I could never, ever suspect that those two were going to add another touch of extraordinary to something that was already anything but ordinary.

In early September, I’ve reached the finale of the 12th season. It took us six weeks, almost to the day, to watch the monster that this show is, from the first episode, to the 264th. For the first time of my entire life, I love each and every single one of all the episodes of a show. There’s literally nothing to throw away. I’ve found what could possibly be the equivalent of a soulmate in episode form. Nothing, and when I say nothing, I mean not a damn thing, has, can, or will ever come close to how perfect this show is. Supernatural is an absolute masterpiece, one that’s massively underrated because of the genre and it’s nothing but a cosmic injustice. This sucks. Because the actors are all, without a single exception, so much better than anything I could possibly dream of, and don’t even get me started on my two amazing, beyond gifted, fabulous lead. They’re not good, they’re perfect. Jared has the literal capacity to play nearly ten versions of Sam, all divergents and yet all perfectly connected, and he is so ridiculously good at it he even looks different from one version to another. And as for Jensen, never, ever has an actor had this capacity to destroy me out of the blue while showing Dean’s emotions. The lack of recognition from the major awards is a travesty, and proving how out of touch they are with what IS talent. I feel so, so grateful for even getting the chance to experience something so good and so amazing. Six weeks was all it took to pick up the pieces of me scattered around, and to glue them back together, and to fix most of what was going so wrong with me. Oh, and the minute we reached the end of season 12’s finale (and holy hell, what an episode), we immediately started a second rewatch, meaning that we watched back to back 1223 and 101. And guess what ? The magic didn’t fade. Actually, it’s even bigger and better and deeper the second time. But on top of all of those things that are so beautiful they’re barely believable, Supernatural gave me something, someone that I didn’t even knew I missed, but who’s become the most important character of my entire life, and the one I can’t believe I’ve lived so long without. I did fall in love with characters in the past, but this never got much further than a few shared emotions, and a couple of mirroring situations. But this one…This one just soothe my soul and comfort me in so much of my own struggles and my own battles, sometimes, it’s just plain scary to feel so connected and so bonded with someone who hunts monsters for a living.

Supernatural gave me Sam Winchester, and this is the kind of gifts you just can’t repay.

A week later, as I was reading Family Don’t End With Blood, the most essential book I’ve ever read, a collection of essays from fans and actors on how Supernatural changed their lives, I’ve been hit by another two strikes of magic, and keep in mind that at this point of the story, I was already so overwhelmed with hundreds of feelings and millions of emotions I didn’t knew I could even take more. Oh, I did. First by feeling accepted as I am for the first time of my entire life, and understanding that rather than a liability, being a fan is an asset. A power. A superpower.

Then, as I was barely recovering from the constant flow of emotions this book generates, I suddenly noticed that maybe, just maybe, Sam Winchester wasn’t the most amazing thing that could happen to me. Jared was. And he is, and he is going to remain there for a long, long time, that I can assure. He wrote the most beautiful, personal, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once essay, and his words hit me just the right way to actually fix me. Very few things are as powerful as feeling almost brutally wrecked by his words, quite simply because it was the closest anyone has ever reached to understand the depth of my own pain, and the consequences on my own life, and it was coming from someone whose work, and ultimately, alter-ego, mattered so much for me already. He just connected all the dots, and helped me connect mine. The last couple of dozens pages of this book are, and by far, the most important I have ever read. He helped me figure out a lot of things that neither therapy, nor drugs could highlight, and I am filled with gratitude.

All in all, Supernatural is the one thing that saved my life when I was desperate for anything to even try to. The further I go, the bigger it gets, and I don’t even feel like I’m humanly capable to take it all in. It is so much, and it is so good.

Another week later, my best friend woke me up with the most insane of all news : after twelve years, Creation was crossing the pond and Birmingham would welcome the very first European official Supernatural convention in early May. I was already dizzy with joy when she confirmed to me who the first two announced guests were. Jensen. Jared. I shook my head in disbelief, probably looked like I’ve been hit by a truck for a couple of hours before the news settled in. My plans for 2018, namely Walker Stalker in march and Heroes and Villains in may were already swaying, and I wasn’t complaining. I was high on love, impatience and joy.

A curious collection of Funko Pop characters are slowly invading the flat, and most of our mugs now proudly announce that this home has been struck by the Supernatural lightening. 2018’s calendar, once supposed to be The Walking Dead, is theirs, and it only make sense, because my 2018 is theirs too. We’ve counted down the days until the season 13 premiere, and celebrated each new week as one that would send us closer to it. We’ve watched the trailer dozens of times, read every spoiler and welcomed them all with a smile, and a sigh of pure bliss tainted with impatience. Supernatural can’t disappoint me, simply because I am not in love with a concept, or a story, I am in love with the core of this show. Whatever direction they will go in, I will proudly and happily follow. I’m the definition of blind faith.

And the craziest thing was yet to come.

On September 28th, at 10.58 am, I’ve clicked on a little green button. I was shaking so much, I can’t actually believe I didn’t miss it.

At 10.59 am, I’ve received a mail, and my bank account was severed of a whole, consequent chunk of money. And nothing could make me happier. I’ve never been materialistic at all, I would rather buy experiences than objects.

And I’ve bought myself the experience of a lifetime.

Same time, next year, I’ll be in Paris airport. To take a nine-hours flight. To go to Vancouver. To meet the idjits who turned my miserable life into the most gigantic, insane, amazing, colorful and overall happy mess. Birmingham will be amazing, but this one is nothing short of a dream. I’m done waiting for them to come true. And I’m done apologizing for what I am, and for how I do things. There are a few people I am in urgent need to thank, for, basically, making my life a beautiful place back again…And there’s one miracle worker I am both terrified and overjoyed to meet.

This is the biggest thing I’ll ever do, and the craziest, and the happiest, and I’ve been on a high ever since. I thought I would regret jumping off such a high cliff, but there is nothing in there that’s not fueled with positivity and happiness and joy and the empowering feeling of living things to the fullest, rather than waiting for them to pass. I’ve never been so alive before, and I’ve never understood the beauty in believing in something so much it’s shaping me up in the form of who I want to be rather than who this world forced me to.

And this is coming from a TV show.

A simple, magical, otherworldly TV show.

The Winchesters are saving far more lives than they will ever understand, and there lies the most absurdly beautiful power of it all.

 

Weirdly enough, a few days ago, as Entertainment Weekly was celebrating the 13th season’s premiere, a few amazing videos were posted, of my beloved brothers and their amazing angel, or rather, Jared, Jensen and Misha, and among those, one about what they’d say to people who are about to watch Supernatural for the first time. Hitting close to home much…?

Understatement of the year, Jared. It’s not hard, it’s impossible. But why would anyone want to get away from this madhouse ? As far as happy places goes, this one’s the happiest.

 

Non classé

Dear Stephen.

 

Dearest Stephen,

 

Over here, above Europe, the clock has struck twelve already. It won’t happen at Vancouver before another solid few hours, but from afar, October 12 looks very, very promising.

I’ve been waiting for today for a long time, now. I know you do too.

I’ve counted down dozens of days before we reached it, and I’ve sighed and smiled and bounced in anticipation for weeks, now. I can’t believe it’s there, finally. I can’t believe that a few hours only are now keeping me away from a premiere I can’t wait for anymore, and if I close my eyes, I can still see how torn apart I was by the mean cliffhanger last season has left us with. I’m ready to take the pain, the losses, the sadness, the anger, the threats, all the consequences last year’s events will elicit, and all the beauty that will eventually flow from it all.

Oh, I am more than ready. I crave for it. I dream of it. Every single spoiler read here and there send shivers of anticipation down my spine. Every new picture make me squee in delight. Every tweet, every instagram post makes my heart beat faster, my eyes shine brighter, and cloud my brain with a warm breeze of pure love. There’s so much power in being a fan, and so much happiness coming straight from 40 minutes of weekly television.

My dear Stephen, today’s our third season premiere together, and all I have for you are apologies.

I’m so very sorry, but…It’s not your show that I’m *so* excited about.

It’s the downstairs neighbor’s. You know, the two brothers with the beautiful Impala ? Those who die relatively (to my greatest despair) often but can’t stay (to my greatest relief) dead ?

Yeah, them.

My dear Stephen, today’s our third season premiere together, and I’m afraid it’s our last one, too. And from where I stand, on top of two years and a half of love, the taste of a fading fandom is sour at best.

We’ve been defeated, Ollie and I. After such a great run, too. I’m not one to do things in a logical order whatsoever, and so, this summer, the Winchesters sneaked in, dropped twelve seasons of the most amazing television experience I could possibly dream of…And that was pretty much it. I was done. There was nothing I could do to escape the Supernatural monster, and it won me over completely. Game-changer. Actually, life-changer too. And sadly, opposing Sam and Dean, it quickly became evident that Oliver would never recover from that fatal blow. Whatever bond we both shared didn’t resist the unbreakable one the brothers created between them and me, and while I was terrified about each and every spoiler about Ollie’s future, the Winchester’s is nothing but exciting and so very promising.

Oh, I have loved Oliver immensely, and forever will. Arrow was, and for a long time, such an emotional and visual shock, such a dark, gritty, and fascinating ride…The first three seasons were nothing but perfect. And even when the quality of the show started to decline, and the writing stopped being so powerful to bump into invisible corners and get stuck in bizarre obsessions, I was still so proud to call myself a fan, and to call this show my favorite one. Then, one of my favorite ones. Then just a good one. We reached the sunset of this whole story faster than I wanted to. The new characters didn’t cut it for me, and despite a few brillant ideas and a stunning finale last year, the naked truth is that…Winchesters or not, we’d probably be exactly at the same point. The only difference, and it’s a massive one, is that the newcomers took over my whole world, and instead of just slowly losing that one thing I loved so much, there’s another one that’s blossoming spectacularly.

As sad as it is, I’m nothing but grateful for so many things…

Thank you, Stephen.

For giving me one of my favorite character of all times. For giving a life to someone as beautifully complicated as Oliver. For being one step ahead of anything that was expected of you, character-wise. For never losing an inch of credibility even when the story went off the rails. For your exceptional chemistry with David and Em, and for giving us OTA, one of the most inspiring friendship in the history of television. Thank you for carrying Arrow with such grace.

Thank you for my very first convention. Despite the, well, rogue (pun intended) organisation, and the, erm, villain-ish staff members, you made it one of the best week ends of my life. You were amazing with everyone, sweet and fun and gracious with every single fan, and your hugs are probably worth awards on their own. You made us laugh our socks off on a Saturday morning, and you never stopped being the nicest guest all the way through the weekend. I’ll cherish that picture for the rest of my life.

 

 

You gave me the convention virus, and I’ll never thank you enough for it. There are very few experiences as mind blowing as meeting your favorite actors in person, and having the opportunity to discuss those characters with you all remains, to this day, among the craziest, most amazing things I’ve ever had the chance to live. After that first time, I was on a lifelong-high. I didn’t know that packing so much in those two days was even possible, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt like I was the luckiest fan alive. Technically, if you make people feel like they’re lucky to be with you, you must be doing something right. You did, Stephen.

Thanks to you, and to this beautiful first one, I’ve decided to replicate the experience with other shows. Walker Stalker, this year, and something on the other side of the world next year. It probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you.

Thank you for your endless generosity, your honesty, and your beautiful soul. You’re one of the very, very few who earned a lifetime of admiration on my side, regardless to my fading relation with Arrow. You’re just a good person…And it’s not that common, nowadays. I’m glad for all the things you fight for, and I’m glad for the way you do it. I’m glad for your sense of humor, and for the quality of your social media interactions. I’m just happy you’re you, overall.

And finally…One last thing. And it’s a big one (pun totally intended, and yes, I’m proud of it)

Remember what you posted this morning on Instagram ?

For most of the people who stumbled upon that post, it’s nothing but a great (and fun) picture of two of the greatest CW actors, and a strange version of a crossover we all want to see (oh come on, Oliver in the back seat next to Castiel ? I’d give a lot to see that). For me, it’s a little more. If it weren’t for you, and for your friendship and the sweet pictures of you and the Supernatural boys (or, alternatively, the Supernatural boys trashing your set), I would never have given Jared a second of my attention, and neither would have I followed him on twitter and Instagram.

It took a little while, but as it turns out, it was the very first step toward what could possibly be the greatest thing that ever happened to me. He and Jensen pretty much brought me back to life this summer, and he’s behind the most important fictional character of my entire existence. You, Stephen, were the one thing unknowingly connecting all the dots that would send me on a path of self-awareness through Sam Winchester’s destiny, and that would give me one of the greatest gift a fan could want : a real life superhero, none other than Jared himself. I love that picture a whole, whole lot, for those reasons.

I don’t know how much longer I have with Ollie. Maybe the season will appease all of my fears after all ? Maybe it’ll get back to the roots. Maybe getting back Felicity and John will light the fire back. Maybe we’re not done at all.

But I know I’ll forever have my love for you, and for everything you are. That’s never going to change.

Take care of my friends at Heroes And Villains London next year. I can’t be with you all next year, but it’s for a good, 9-hour long up in the air reason. And yes, it does involve the great human being next to you on the picture above.

With all of my gratitude and a good chunk of my heart

Axy

 

 

 

 

 

J2, Supernatural

A story about family, an Impala, and how jumpstarting the apocalypse saved my life.

There’s a theory that I love about miracles.

And if you think about it, it’s not so much of a theory as it is a truth.

You’re always one step away from it. From getting closer, and closer, and closer, and eventually, there. At any given time. And if you don’t make that step, you’ll never reach it. Or approach it.

All it takes is one step.

In January 2017, I stopped believing in this. And therefore, I stopped trying. Actually, I stopped, period.

Little did I knew that I was, actually, less than a step from mine. I was one click away from it.

And sometimes…Miracles comes in the form of two brothers and an Impala.


I have always been the weird kid. The freak. I’ve always felt like I was walking on a slightly different road than anyone else was, and it didn’t exactly change as I grew up. Actually, if anything, it became more palatable. I wasn’t interested in becoming what I had been taught to look up to, and I started expressing it in a certain number of ways. The weird kid became a strange teenager, and the strange teenager grew up to be an abnormal adult. And we live in a world that just doesn’t like abnormalities of any kinds. I just wish our currency was happiness rather than normality. I was happy.

Then I became normal.

And I stopped being happy.

I’m a traveller. A writer. An obsessive Muse fan. A passionate Arrowhead. A fascinated The Walking Dead watcher. Gigs and conventions are part of the beating heart of my world. TV shows and books are my safe place. I love things immensely, regardless to the wounds it will open or create. Everything is an inspiration. Everywhere has potential to be something, and when I fall, I fall hard and wholeheartedly. And I don’t give a flying fuck about what normal people make out of me.

Until I did. And until it slowly erased who I was to become who they wanted me to be. To become them. To delete the inconvenience I was in their strictly routined existence. To suppress the rolling eyes and the urge to call me crazy. To fit their mold and break mine permanently.

I wasn’t born to be normal. I was born to be me.

And it nearly killed me.

Seven months ago, all my head was full of were ideas of taking the easy way out. And I fought those ideas once before, so, I knew I wasn’t armed enough this time to win. So I stalled. I tried and I failed and I was in a world of pain because nothing was making any sense anymore. I was so close to give up.

I was about to.

And then…Then I wasn’t anymore.

I’ll never know how what I actually did that day happened. If stars were correctly aligned, or if something just pushed me the right way. I’ve searched, but so far, came empty. I don’t know. I have no clues. All I have are hints. Friends blowing the wind my way. Possibilities of possibilities. And a gigantic “what if…” glowing from afar, pushing me to make one simple choice that would change everything.

A leap of faith, if you must. Not even that big a leap, actually.

July 27th. All I wanted was to find some place to just lay my head to rest and stop thinking. Fill it with stories and pray so that they wake something up in me, a trace of emotion, a glimpse of who I was.

Something.

Anything.

All it took was one click on a suggested shows on Netflix. I didn’t made anything out of that click. It was the simplest thing in the world. Something no one notices anymore because it’s part of who we are and how we live.

Just.

One.

Click.

Aaaaaand that’s when things started to get really, really, majestically off the fucking rails. And that’s all I wasn’t even strong enough to hope for.

One. Click.

I landed in the middle of the most batshit, fucked up, beautifully crafted universe ruled over by the two most amazing fictional characters in the history of television…And possibly the best two actors in the history of acting.

Falling in love with a work of fiction is such a strange process.

I was so numb I didn’t even realized that something was actually happening. I was knee-deep into a Netflix binge-watching, it was feeding me episode after episode, and cutting it short or shutting it down started to pain me physically pretty quickly. Soon enough, worrying about the Winchesters (…Not that anything they might do would warrant any kind of worry whatsoever) (spoiler alert : they jumpstarted the fucking apocalypse, those idiots) (twice) chased away my own worries and debunked all my fears and cancelled all of my anxieties. And by “soon enough”, I mean within hours. By the end of the first season, I was in love. And not in love, like, oh cool, I like this. Naaaaah. I was “let’s order all the seasons on amazon and take a dive into the merchandise and I want to get their pretty faces on my walls” in love.

Falling in love with something would have been of a great help, back then. Probably not worth being called a miracle, though. And miracle is the only word that just sounds fair to me. This is not about falling in love.

Hell no.

A whooole other thing happened, there. Falling in love with Supernatural is, actually, relatively easy. It has everything worth loving : the best writers, the best showrunners, the best crew, the best directors, the best (and prettiest…AS IF I WASN’T GOING TO MENTION IT) actors, a dense and deep mythology worth biting your nails off every three episodes, and a magical brain, a heart beating so loud it’s deafening, and the most beautiful soul a show could possibly get. So, yeah, easy.

Even for me…Before I became the protagonist of what would turn out to be a (super fucked up but thoroughly enjoyable) fairy tale, I was pretty much the villain. Plot twist, eh ? Not even…Let’s say, a couple of years ago, and because I had been force-fed for almost a decade the wrong idea of what Supernatural is, this show was my arch-nemesis. The one thing I’d lash out on, and on various, wildly unfair and totally moronic occasions. Oh, I have been a bitch. But some people, upon seeing the wrong thing in the show, had been spreading something that harmed it in more than one way. Instead of the absolute, stunning masterpiece I’d stumble upon years later, I deemed it too silly and light for me. A sub-par fangirl territory. Getting gifs of the Winchesters about every-fucking-where didn’t help.

It lasted…Hmmm…Oh, a good five-six years. Maybe more. Maybe less. I’m not one to hide behind my mistakes. I own it and make up for it once I’ve measured up how wrong I was. And I’ll never not own this one, because so far, it’s probably one of the biggest I’ve made. One of the most obvious, too.

Then I fell in love with Arrow, watched Stephen’s friendship with Jared and Jensen blossoming nicely over my twitter timelines (laughed my socks off when they trashed Arrow’s set), and decided to follow them both.

First step.

It took two years to make the second one. Time to settle down a few things, become a massive Arrow fan, an even bigger The Walking Dead one, and change a lot. Still, the chances of me getting to even watch Supernatural weren’t looking up, at all. For one massive, huge, and reasonable reason. Eleven, then twelve seasons. Of 22-something, then 23-something episodes. That’s about 260 episodes. Who the hell goes willingly on a binge this humongous ??? (emphasis on “willingly”)

So…The unlikeliness of the situation make everything bigger, better, faster and far, far more lifesaving than anything I could have dreamt of. Anything.

At the beginning of the second season, I was game for anything, and I was already convinced I was onto something. Something big.

Boy, I couldn’t have been further away from what would actually happen.

Because that’s when, instead of just going off the rails, things went majestically off it.

 

In early august, as I was starting the second season, I was also starting to show worrying signs of something that was physically wrong with me, and yet all the fear that should have come with it got suddenly blocked. If it wasn’t for the pain that went with it, I was starting to feel a lot, lot more alive than I had been in forever. The hidden truth in this is that loving something, anything, and letting go of everything else to indulge that love is a power that is evidently the strongest one. If it took them days to remind me of who I was, it took them less than two weeks to breathe so much life into me that my dark skies were suddenly lit and high in colors, and before I even noticed it, I was armed with far more than I could possibly dream of to actually beat whatever was eating me alive. Not temporarily halt it. Actually beat it. All the steps backwards taken this year became steps forwards back again, and the deal was to grab two for one lost. All of my creativity, gone down the drain, came back stronger than it ever was, and where there was a great ball of nothing before, ideas and dreams and projects were now pulsating with passion. It wasn’t a makeover at all, it was more of the initial steps of an actual rebuilding of everything that had been destroyed over the past few years. And they didn’t exactly waited for me to help. They did that on their own, regardless to how big of an idiot I might been in the past, and so far, the result is so fucking spectacular.

A month. It took me a month to watch ten seasons. I’m not even sure that this doesn’t qualify for a world record, or something. And that month was nothing but perfect, despite three emergency calls to the on-call GPs, two painful antibiotics treatments to derail a vicious infection and one day in the ER with the least capable of all nurses who had to try four different places on my arm to place a fucking I.V line (and left there a bruise the size of Texas). And none of those things got me to freak out or to lose my incredible new grip on the world. None. Had it been any other time, I would have lost my goddamn mind, twice over. That’s when I started to look at things a little differently, and that’s when I knew that this time, I was up for something different.

How wrong was I.

It doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s not different, it’s otherworldly. And I mean it with all of my heart.

When I fell in love with Arrow, what spoke to me right away was the main character. Same with The Walking Dead. To this day, they both remains my favorite ones, from each show. Then those characters will meet and confront and fight and argue and love and like and play or not with other characters. Some you’ll love, some you’ll hate, some you’ll find bloody useless (HELL-O ISABEL ROCHEV)…

Supernatural took me by surprise from the get going, because right away, you don’t get one character to love, but two, and two you’ll be unable to disassociate from, say, the second episode on. Possibly the end of the pilot. Granted, there’s X-Files…But I dare you to find a tenth of Jared and Jensen’s chemistry in Gillian and David. A twentieth. Don’t even try, because long story short : you won’t. I’ve seen my fair share of shows, old and new, short and long, streamed and on networks, in a various array of languages, and there is nothing that can beat the relation between the two brothers. Nothing that can even pretend it would at least challenge them. It’d be like trying to dig a hole in a concrete wall with a plastic spoon. You’re just going to look pretty stupid and waste everyone’s time.

There’s no doubt about how good the writing actually is. That’s what makes the canon so dense and complicated and fascinating to navigate. And the directors are really, really doing one hell of a job, same for the technical side of the thing. It’s visually creative, sometimes even downright daring, and it’s smart, fun, and deeply rooted in the most fertile and imaginative mythology I’ve seen in decades. To cap it all, it’s a show that’s not afraid of big, major emotions, and one that has an heart that beats so loud. No point in taking away all of those major things, or to try to make them smaller or less important than they actually are.

But, clearly, had they cast anyone but Jared and Jensen, they would probably have had a dead horse on their hands very, very quickly. That’s where lies the actual core of my miracle. That’s what makes the whole thing incredibly…Alive. And real. The monster that has become Supernatural, and its glorious ongoing longevity in a world packed with dozens of shows that won’t get to see past the first season is completely carried on both their shoulders, and they’re doing that with such grace it’s mind blowing. Anything I had experienced and felt and seen with some of my top shows is miles and miles away from that. That’s taking what could have been a great experience into THE greatest one. I found myself falling in love with Sam and Dean at the exact same pace I was falling in love with Jared and Jensen, and the whole thing became so strong and so overwhelming so quickly, I had to take evenings off (…And eventually failed miserably and gave in at some point of the night) to just take a breath and settle down whatever was going on inside of my own mind. I wasn’t spared anything. Every single kind of emotion humanly known was felt a hundred of times each, and I’ve taken everything in as if through an echo chamber : bigger and bigger and bigger each season. I have cried actual rivers, feared dehydration about every two days (basically upon reaching mid-season finale and the feared finale), emptied 200-tissues boxes every half-weeks, and I have loved every. Single. Second. Actually, I begged for more, despite my obvious liquid state. And they made us go through everything : every single loss you could possibly imagine, we’ve endured them, and some of them a few times over. I have been angry, mad, disappointed, I have felt every single shade of fear, from minor concern to actual terror and all the hundreds scales in between, I have experienced all kinds of worries, and felt my own heart break a hundred times over. And nothing I could either foresee or guess : state of actual shock every damn time something remotely important happened to them. But if I had to pick the biggest of all emotions, the one I’ve never ceased to felt even once, despite everything they did (and boy, did they screw up A LOT) and everything they even said to each other, the one that kept on growing way, way beyond what I actually thought was my own limits and that keeps on growing nowadays, twice bigger each day than the day before, and doesn’t look anytime about to slow down…The one feeling that is so strong it is everywhere around me at all time is how much I am loving this show, and how deeply, deeply in love I am with the Winchesters and their actors. It even got to the point of becoming scary, because for someone who was supposedly broken, I sure as hell got hit hard in the face by those two and it fixed me in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine. Oh I am scarred for life, that’s for sure. But with those scars came the most amazing recovery from the darkest times, and I’m going to cherish them forever. The best of help came from the one place I wouldn’t have looked for, and I’ll never stop feeling grateful something crashed my course and deviated it in the right way, even if I don’t precisely know what.

I’m unable to pick a favorite episode. Ask me for the other two important shows of my life, and I’ll blindly go for 309 for Arrow and 106 for The Walking Dead, without even having to think of it. There, I can’t. It’s not like there might be five or six…We’re in the low hundreds. And I can’t pick a season either. I have welcomed each and every character with a growling worry that it might take me away from the brothers, and learnt to love every single one of them (ASIDE FROM RUBY. FUCK YOU RUBY), even the sickest, most twisted assholes they could possibly create. I haven’t rejected even half a character, and everything just worked so well. It’s like going for the biggest puzzle in the history of humanity and every new character is so perfectly cast and written, it’s just fitting the bigger picture the best possible way. It’s not even far-fetched to assume that some of those, I actually love more than Rick and Oliver altogether. And when they got me confused over some episodes (early season 6, I am SO looking at you), the reason why I was confused in the first place turned the whole thing into a borderline genius trait.

The bond I have felt right away with Sam and Dean is shaping up to be unbreakable, and it’s rooted through hardship : theirs, and mine, closely intertwined in the most incredible way. The cathartic power of this show is beyond insane, and going through this massive, violently bumpy, highly addictive journey has proved itself to be the most effective way to keep my head out of the water and push me toward the shore, rather than down the storm. Walls have been decorated, iphone cases have been changed, piles of DVD boxsets have started to form the happiest Pisa tower we’ve ever seen (despite the fact that it’s precarious state made it fall right on my face a few times, no concussion so far, thanks), and everywhere I can lay my eyes on, I’ll eventually end up on the Winchesters, or so very close. A tiny part of my brain freaked out for a few days, unable to process the fact that I basically went from the state of mortal enemy straight to lover one, and it’s still so very bizarre to feel my heart jumping anytime any cast member posts on twitter or instagram, let alone J2. Everything has changed.

I was lucky enough to have a new, and an already a very close friend to accompany me step by step through this (insaaaaaaaaane*) amazing (but insaaaaaane**), emotional (completely insaaaaaaane***) and beautiful (and insaaaaaane****) journey and with whom we can spend hours to debate everything and feed each other’s love for the show, the characters, and the actors. And it’s like the second you start digging into the mythology, you find something so massive it’s going to warrant mails of 6000 words.

Up until today…Well, up until a few days ago, I was quite the passive fan. I love some show entirely, but it never really got me into digging the canon, or write fanfiction (not the slash type, actual, canon-rooted one). Well, it’s a bit of lie, since there’s one that’s in current edition, born out of frustration after last year’s Flash/Supergirl musical crossover. But that’s it. Not that I don’t want it…I just don’t need it. Usually, I just follow wherever the writers and actors are taking me, and I’m not one of those annoying complainers that could have done soooo much better than anything you’d throw at them. I’m just happy building my own universes and characters and enjoying other people’s. I could never have guessed that digging into the canon of anything could be SUCH a thrill.

You got it : head first into Supernatural’s. We’re actually trying to answer a question Sam’s actor asked a while back about one major side of his character (Jared, what have you done there…) and we understood pretty quickly that to answer that question in the most thorough and fact-based manner, it’d take a rewatch of the whole thing at least twice. At least. And as I’m already so in love with the show, I wouldn’t dare trying to answer that any other way. And it makes my heart beats faster and my brain works in ways it hasn’t been able to pull through with for a long, long time, and on the overall…Whatever was going so wrong not even two months ago is such a distant memory, I can’t even know how and why I fell so low. This is not only completely unexpected, it’s…Borderline crazy. I keep the imprint of how darker and darker everything went for a long while, but I can’t even remember not feeling this sudden influx of life. I don’t know how it felt. And I know it was there, and I know it was hard, and I know the fight’s been unfair and bloody…But it’s as if, given this…Thing ? And the power it’s having on me has pretty much wrapped this chapter of my life into an ugly cardboard, and threw it in a dark, forgotten corner of my own brain. I don’t know how they did it…But it certainly works better than any of the drugs we tried. A billion times better. Probably even more.

As I reached the latest season, I’ve discovered that it is, actually, possible, to love every single season of a 12-seasons show, and that it’s even possible to love every single episode from the pilot up to last season’s finale (aside from 920. Fuck you 920), which was a complete surprise, because in 20+ years of loving TV shows, I had been confronted by countless disappointments, growing frustration, and even gave up on some I loved dearly. But there…I don’t have even an inch of doubt about the future, because they pretty much set up the magical formula from the first episode on and never deviated from it (aside from 920. Fuck you 920) : as long as Sam and Dean and the Impala are the center of the show, you can throw anything at my face, from the most catastrophic to the most insane, I’m game. I’m game for everything. I don’t worry about the current spoilers for the forthcoming season like I do for the 25+ other shows I watch, I’m just excited and impatient (and counting down the days, hours and minutes as we speak) and every glimpse we get at the new season is nothing but pure bliss. I’m slowly transitioning from the late to the party watcher to a fully-fledged, taking it all in, convention-going fan, and it’s the most thrilling, uplifting experience I have ever had the chance to live.

We’re going to hit the two months anniversary in a few days. Eight weeks next Thursday. It’s been both insanely quick and so powerful it does feel like it’s been a lot, lot longer. I’ve changed so much over the past 50 days. I can’t even explain how or why and it’s going to take a whole lot of articles over here to actually figure it out even so slightly, but there is one bond, one link that’s already stronger than any other newly knitted ties with every characters and every actors, and, actually, it’s already stronger than any other connection I have ever felt with any of my heroes and any of the people I love and admire so deeply.

Sam Winchester.

By extension, Jared, too. Actually, I don’t really know which one fuels the other one, now that I come to think of it. Which is both weird and totally normal, in this very case. I mean, technically, the actor gives life to the character. It’s the way it works, the way it always has and always will.

I’m the first in line to take a stand and underline how amazing Jensen is. And he is so good. He gave the show some of its best scenes, scenes that were making my head spin with emotion, in their rawest, purest form. Three comes to mind, as I write : a heartbreaking, begging cry for help at the end of the 5th season, a conversation with god that just echoed throughout everything I’ve ever thought about religion, ever, at the end of the 11th, and taking a stand for Sam confronting his absent mother in the penultimate episode of the 12th season. Those three scenes only are the factual, palatable proof that Jensen Ackles is one of the best actors this world has ever had. And by far.

But what is happening with Jared is both the same thing, because he’s THAT good, and completely different all at once, and it’s making my head hurts when I’m trying to gather each and every single time he just wrecked me, and every time I’ve been hit by what happens to this character I already love more than any other one from any other show put together. Sam’s life is so close to mine (monsters aside, I mean) in so many ways, and the differences between him and me are actually making me see some situations in a whole new way, and it’s probably adding layers to the constant work-in-progress that I am. I don’t think I’ve ever been this influenced by a character ever before. And I get it, the writing is essential, but it takes a lot to go from acting a few lines to actually giving life to a character. And Jared hits the right note every. single. time. His portrayal of addiction ? Spot on. Of struggling to find his own way and to build a future the way he intends rather than the way that was paved for him ? Devastatingly accurate. Of choosing the hardest path, and the one that leads to sacrifice to protect the ones he loves ? Simply stunning. And I could go on for hours, and will end up at the same conclusion exactly. Being moved by an actor and by a character is a question of alchemy and precision, and one smile too far or one tear short will just mess it up. It takes nothing to make it fail. And through 12 seasons, Jared never missed, not once, to hit the right emotion at the right time. Not. Once. Not even close to.

I’m in love with Sam. And I’m probably in love with Jared too. And with Dean, and Jensen, and Castiel, and Misha, and Crowley, and Mark…You name them, I fell in love with all of them.

I fell in love a lot of times, over the past eight weeks.

 

But most of all, Supernatural made me fall in love with life all over again. Being and staying alive in order to be able to live all those things never looked like a gift quite as much as it does now. It takes quite a fight, at times, but I have been reminded that it’s worth it. 

One step. It’s all it took. One click. 

 

 

 

 

*name any other show where a character died a hundred times over. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

**angels wearing trench coats and unable to get anything beyond first degree

***the king of hell is addicted to human blood

****talking with dogs is a thing