What is Gish?

by Lizzie

Imagine a world where people unite to work together on a variety of different items with the aim of providing something that everyone can do. Young or old. Artistic or not. Some of the items may seem a little crazy; especially the ones that may involve an unreasonable amount of pain and suffering, but you’re still laughing because through it all you’re having fun, and the results are always amazing. But it’s not just about the fun.

Imagine a world where you undertake challenges with an overall aim of trying to inject a little good into the world. Where some of the items set throughout the week in which Gish runs each year, will challenge you not just to think about issues you may not have considered before, but even if you have, encourage you not just to expand your understanding, but to act upon it. They say that out of little acorns mighty oaks do grow. Well, throughout 2020, Gish has planted many little acorns; both virtual and literal. Taking part in Gish plants an acorn in the hearts of each of its participants every year, and long after the hunt has finished it leaves you with a continuing need to move further forward with the causes it highlights, to make your voice heard, and to leave your own positive mark. This year alone Gish has highlighted the level of inequality in relation to race and gender expression, not just in the US but on a global level. 

Gish challenges you to try things you’ve never imagined yourself doing before. Maybe even avoided doing because it was too scary or you just didn’t think you’d be any good at it. You willingly do these things because you’re working as part of a team of fifteen people who will cheer you all the way. You’re there for each other. Supporting each other. Celebrating each others efforts. Big and small. Every contribution is important. For one week, and even after the final entry is submitted the friends you make during Gish week will become lifelong friendships.

Thank you Misha! I for one will be forever grateful for Gish. For the friendship. For the opportunities it’s given me. For everything I’ve learnt because of it. The week of escapism from a world that is far from normal. It seemed like a good idea at the time…it most certainly was. Looking forward to the next hunt!


This Supernatural journey has been drawn out, a hiccup, a bit of a misadventure. But I have loved this ride and will always be along for the journey.

At 1.30pm PST/21.30 GMT Supernatural fans around the world were given some big news– Season 15 would be the final season of the show.  For many, the tears have kept flowing long past the viewing of the emotional video posted by Jared Padalecki on Twitter. (I couldn’t watch it to the end because I got all choked up). I watched it again to see if sleeping on it made it less raw. Nope.

This post was started a few months back and was prompted when a friend asked: ‘Why are you so hung up on Supernatural? It’s just a show.’ Which was followed by a comment from a different friend, ‘It’s full of nonsense, and you are smarter than that’. Lost a few followers on personal twitter that day!  I  wanted to do a much larger post but with the announcement last night, it feels like the right time. (This is the short version).

I’m not crying, you are crying. Your face is crying! Yep.

Supernatural Season 1 premiered in the UK on 22 January 2006.  I had just submitted my PhD thesis and my brain and body were done. I was lost, tired, exhausted, and unsure what I was doing or who I was. (It was like grieving, those who have been in this position will know how it feels). Having been part of the fandom of the X-Files, this show peaked my interest from the beginning: monsters, urban legends, classic music, quirky, sarcastic humour and two leading cast members that were not only nice to look at, but gave us Sam and Dean Winchester.

Sam and Dean Winchester, Season 1 from @SuperWiki

This little show gave me exactly what I needed to keep my spirits up when I needed a boost after a very long, PhD journey. I have never forgotten this and always associate Supernatural with the post-PhD period.

By the time the Season 2 aired (Feb 2007) I was living away from my home for 6 months in a temporary job, and had become pregnant. I can remember watching 2.06 No Exit and feeling so alone and trapped in my own body (and still get this feeling when I re-watch it—every damn time). Season 2 became this blur of raw emotions (2.16 Roadkill and 2.17 Heart especially) whilst at the same time, it was a relief from having to deal with what was really happening: my body was changing and so was my identity. By the time Season 3 rolled around (Oct 2007) I was exhausted and wasn’t even sure who I was anymore. But Supernatural was always in the background, always something to look forward to. My son’s early years were touched with the show, just a little.

Sometime around 2008 or 2009, someone said to me that I was not a ‘real’ fan if I didn’t go to conventions or obsess over every detail of the show. This literally floored me. This person made me feel that I wasn’t valid enough. I didn’t have the right password or secret decoder ring. Supernatural was not for someone like me. (What ever that means)? I had experienced this before in other fandoms, but this was something different. So, I just walked away from Supernatural – I was hurt.  Really hurt. I cannot tell you why I felt this way. It sounds completely irrational but I can tell you, mental illness makes you think some pretty irrational thoughts!

Fast forward to March 2017: Supporting a son with Autism, working full time in an environment that was unhealthy and not very forgiving, I had a nervous breakdown from stress and exhaustion.  I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and had already been diagnosed with depression after the birth of my son in 2007.  By August 2018, I had spent a year just muddling through and trying to find a way out of a very dark place. I hated myself – for who I was and who I wasn’t.

A friend sent me a copy the book of Family Don’t End with Blood,  created by the cast and fans of Supernatural and edited by Lynn Zubernis. This friend told me to read Kim Rhodes’ and Jared Padalecki’s chapter, in particular. Well,  I read the whole book.  It wasn’t even about Supernatural.  It was about feeling less alone.  I could relate to Jared’s experience and I didn’t feel alone in my anxiety anymore.  Suddenly, I felt this urge to go back to Supernatural. (To be honest, I never thought I would go back, but I did). And boy did it kick me in gut with all the feels. I started to read up on Supernatural, follow folks on social media to see what was happening. Always at a distance because I never got over what that person said years ago.  I researched the hell out of Supernatural  (thank you to the Supernatural Wiki) and really began to fall in love with this little show all over again.

Sam, Dean and Baby S11.04 from @SuperWiki

From Christmas 2018 I binged watched Supernatural – all 13 Seasons of it. And then I did it again, and again.  I started to understand why it stayed with me all those years ago. It brought up memories –some good, some bad—but I was okay. Really okay!  Supernatural gave me a piece of my sanity back. It has given me courage in the darkness. I has given me purpose and feelings of self-worth. I am researching and writing again and it’s a good thing. I get to contribute to the fandom just a little and I feel good!  Sam and Dean were fighting real monsters but I felt like they were fighting mine, too. So #ThankYouSupernatural and the Winchesters for helping me fight those monsters.

The SPN Family far and wide has taught me that fandom means family and you guys are something else.  Really something else. I have made some new friends and feel supported in ways I cannot describe. We are part of something bigger. Am I sad Season 15 is the end? Not really. Why? Because Supernatural has given me these amazing stories and characters that will live on. Bittersweet, hell yes. But remember we are all Winchesters no matter what the future brings.