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Heavy Meta Poisoning
Supernatural is truth
SPN Meta: The Burden of Being Sammy (A Parenthetical Discussion of Self Perception vs Reality) 
25th-Sep-2006 02:03 am
JDM  JohnLove

Okay, I did a silly thing a couple of months back. You see, it all started like this: No one had claimed Dean for the Season at in the SPN_heavymeta community. Which, upon reflection, I should have realized was a trap. Because, like, who is going to believe that Dean is hanging out in the unclaimed adoption office, right? But silly me, I believed.

Perhaps I just wanted to believe.

But either way, I thought why they hell not? I mean, I can meta on Dean for hours, right? So I e-mailed the comm moderator and said, "Hey, I'd adopt the Dean for the Season meta."

It was at that moment that I actually heard the steel jaws snap shut on my little, itty, bitty leg. I mean, CLANG, like a freaking bear trap or something. And I was caught. Admiting that I'd meta. On something.

I mean, I thought I made it really clear that I'd meta on Dean.

But evidently it wasn't Dean who was hanging out in the unclaimed adoptions office. It was Sam. Ha. Easy mistake to make, they look so much alike and all.

"Oh," the wily comm moderator says disingenuously. "Actually, I think I may have already promised Dean to someone else, but Sam is still available. I'll check on Dean, and absolutely, you can have him if I didn't already give him away *imagine evil laugh here* to someone else; but if I did, would you write a meta on Sam for the Season? Seeing as you're willing to meta?"

"Uh. But. If Dean's taken, can I have John?" I ask.

"No," she says firmly but kindly, wily comm moderator that she is. "Phatomas has John. Phantomas always has John. But ... Sam is still available. And he did look really hot in that towel in that one episode, don't you think? "

"Uh. But. I haven't seen all the episodes yet," I say quickly. "WB. No affiliate. Joined the show in mid season. So really, it wouldn't be fair to Sam for me to meta on him for the whole season. And in the interest of fairness ..."

"No more unfair than it would have been to meta on Dean for the Season," she points out in her wily comm moderator fashion. "Which is what you volunteered for, right? Or to meta on John for the Season. Which you offered, too, right?"

"Uh. But."

"And besides which," she addds in her wily comm sweetness, "you could always watch the epsidose you're missing on YouTube, and the DVDs are coming out two weeks before the meta would be due. You are buying the SPN DVDs aren't you?"

Okay, at this point, I'm counting up in my head how many times I may have mentioned  IN ALL BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS on my LJ that I'm buying the SPN DVDs the moment they come out so I can catch up on all those episodes I missed, no WB affiliate, joined mid season, etc, etc, etc. When I reach a count somewhere in the mid twenties, I relent.

"Okay." My voice is very quiet at this point (or my typing very light, I can't remember which). "If Dean is already taken, I could maybe probably do a meta on Sam or something even though absolutely everything I have an opinion on in the whole of Supernatural fandom has to do with Dean, with John, or with the realtionship between Dean and John."

It was my last ditch effort. Because Sam so deserves a Sammy Girl writing his meta, don't you think?

Yeah. Neither did wily comm moderator. "Great! So you'll write the Sam for the Season meta. Thanks!"

And then she was gone. It was only then, after she was gone and I was already committed, that I realize she never even checked on whether or not Dean was taken. He was bait for the trap all along.


So that's the sad tale of how it all began. Most of the facts have been fictionalized to keep from having to admit I actually agreed relatively willingly to meta on Sam for the Season once I found out Dean and John were already taken. Because that would be kinda sluttish of me, wouldn't it? Going for Sam just because his big brother and daddy were already taken? It would kind of be like, hey, as long as it's a Winchester, count me in! Wooo Whooo! Which is kind of how it actually happened.

But I'm sticking to the wily comm moderator with a bear trap and Dean bait story. Because it's much more exciting. And it casts me in a much better light. And come on, Dean as bait to a trap. Who wouldn't have fallen for that, I ask you? Certainly not me.

So with not much further ado about absolutely freaking nothing, here's the Sam for the Season meta I wrote for the spn_heavymeta community. Why I'm babbling on about Sam instead of John or Dean is anybody's guess. But I think it may be, when it comes to those Winchester men, I'm just kind of a slut. I'd take any of them, and John twice on Sunday. And evidently, Sam at least once on Monday, even if he is young enough to be my freaking nephew.

The Burden of Being Sammy
(A Parenthetical Discussion of Self Perception Versus Reality)

He’s kind of like the cute chick on The Munsters, only taller and with better hair. Or in Kripke world, he’s Luke Skywalker to Dean’s Han Solo in the far, far away of rural America as the two of them tool down Route 66 through infamous hives of scum and villainy in the coolest hovercraft ever.

He’s the holy grail, the vessel, the hero, the point. He’s clearly John’s favorite. He’s an emo bitch and a spoiled brat who throws selfish tantrums and stomps away in guy-like hissy fits. He’s the prodigal son, the rebel without a cause, the journey that matters, the poster child of him and all the children like him. He’s Captain Obvious and Geek Boy. He likes anemic pop crap and won’t shut his cake hole; he’s a pain-in-the-ass kid brother who’s too smart, always cautious, usually right and still manages to need saving on a regular basis. He’s a pudgy ten-year-old, the teen who left home in a stomp, the guy who fights with his dad because they’re too much alike to ever get along and the man who grieves the murder of his lover by developing a bit of an unholy thirst for vengeance. He’s the one with plans, dreams, hopes for the future. He’s the one looking for love, willing to show love, striving to be normal, wanting to fit in, bonded to his family, but also independent of his family.

He is Sammy; and he is Us.

Oh come on. Admit it. We all want to be Dean. But the truth of the matter is, we’re all much closer to being Sammy, aren’t we?

Yes, we’d love to say we’d fall on our swords for the sake of family. But if they told us we couldn’t move out of the house when we hit age; we’d still go, wouldn’t we? Yes, we’d all love to be preternaturally smooth and successful with the opposite sex. But really, aren’t most of us just a little self insecure and looking more for someone we like rather than just someone with qualifying equipment?

And yes, absolutely, every one of us would want to be Dean cool, wouldn’t we? Look Dean good in a leather jacket? Have a Dean swagger vibe that owns any room into which we walk? Be Dean bold and Dean rebellious in the face of all authority figures? Be Dean tortured to the roots of our very souls … something we’d hide with Dean wit and Dean stoic forbearance and just enough Dean attitude so everyone loves us Deanly because they can’t ever really touch us, we’re just that Dean special and that Dean aloof and that oh-so-Deanishly Dean?

But the truth of the world is never quite exactly the way we’d write it if we were Kripke and in charge of creating our own state of being.

The truth of who we are is Sammy. It’s Sammy sorta-smooth and kinda-smart but just a bit geeky for it. It’s Sammy in baggy clothes with an occasional opportunity to look really hot in nothing but a towel if the light hits us just right and if whoever is looking isn’t so singularly Dean-struck they don’t even freaking notice. It’s Sammy normally abnormal, Sammy I can fit in but I have to be nice and polite and work at it a bit. It’s Sammy "yes, sir" to the cops, and Sammy "are you sure we should be doing this?" to any overt breaking of the rules that holds the potential to get busted.

And most of all, it’s Sammy hurt us and we cry, Sammy cut us and we bleed, Sammy feel the love and we hug.

Give it up, girlfriends. We’re all Sammys, we just want to see ourselves as Deans.

And oh, the burden of being Sammy. The burden of being the center of the universe upon which every story ever told turns. The burden of being the fulcrum of your family to which the others must connect in order to make you a family. The burden of being the one who is always, at the very foundation of it, to blame for every tragedy that has ever befallen those you love.

Oh, wait … isn’t that Dean?

And herein lies the gold of self perception. And equally, the gold of a storyteller who tells his story not only in terms of self perception, but also in terms of who we really are.

Self perception first. From our perspective (the viewer perspective), we perceive these to be all things to be more truly said of Dean than of Sam. Why? Because they are all things said of self in the world view of self perception, and because we want to see ourselves as Dean instead of Sammy.

In this way, we see it oh so clearly: Every story is about Dean, no matter who it is really about (because our lives are about us, no matter who else might star in them on occasion). Sam and John can only connect through the midpoint of Dean for he is the glue who holds the family together (because we are all the most important cog in our own family dynamics, whether the rest of those yahoo relatives realize it or not). And Dean, in failing to save those he loves from inevitable tragedy, will always wrongfully blame himself for the pain they feel, even if he was only four years old and couldn’t possibly have saved his mother (because we all blame ourselves for the things that happen to those we love – for our failure to see it coming or our failure to be hero enough to stand in front of it when it arrives – even when we can see how wrongful that blame is in the logic of what actually happened).

But from the storyteller’s (external) perspective, is it Dean or is it Sam?

Ah, now there’s the rub. The storyteller is telling the hero’s (your) story. He’s just telling it in such a way as to allow you (the viewer) to experience yourself both as you are perceived by others (Sammy) and as how you aspire to be perceived by others (Dean). Or, perhaps more germanely, how you actually are (Sammy) and how you think you are (Dean) or wish you were (again, Dean).

So to adjust an aspirational self perception to a more accurate external perspective, every story is about Sammy (you) even though it really should be about Dean (not really you) because he’s way more cool and interesting and good looking than Sammy (the real you), mostly because he is too Dean to be anyone other than Dean (not really you).

Likewise, Dean (the way you want to be seen) and John (your family who knows you too well to fall for that crap; and who is, by the way, just like you even though neither one of you will admit it, because you both want to think you’re much more like Dean than that selfish, emo bitch Sammy) can only really connect through the midpoint of Sammy (the you they know, emo bitch that you’ve always been since the day you were born) for Sammy (you) is the glue who holds the family together (because you are the most important cog in your own family dynamics, whether the rest of those yahoo relatives realize it or not; all of them wanting to come off like a bunch of Deans, even though they are really just a bunch of Johns, which is just another way of saying they’re a bunch of Sammys).

And lastly, in failing to save those he (you) loves (John the family, Jess the love) from inevitable evisceration and ceiling pyrotechnics (loss, either of life or love, and the subsequent pain of that loss) by a Demon (events outside your control) either known (should have seen it coming) or unknown (should have been able to stop it when it arrived even if you didn’t see it coming), Sammy (you, again) will always rightfully (because the world turns around you, thus the self aspect of the concept selfish) blame himself (yourself) for the pain they (those you love, including yourself) feel, even if wasn’t him (you) who actually caused the tragedy (because, hello? event outside your control) so much as simply Sammy (you) being the reason the Demon (tragic events outside your control) came after his (your) family in the first place (because the world turns around you, and every story told in the context of your life is about you, no matter who else might star in them on occasion).

So self perception and external perspective: Who is the hero and who is the star? Logical assumption to the contrary, in Supernatural, they are not one and the same. The hero is who the story is about. In the case of Supernatural, that would be Sammy (you). But the star … ah, the star. The star is who the viewer perceives the story to be about. And in the case of Supernatural, that is almost universally Dean (not really you).

As Kipke says: Luke Skywalker to Han Solo.

So how can the hero not be the star? It’s not that hard when self perception and external perspective share the stage in individualist form to flesh the storyteller’s agenda to make statement on the difference between the way we want to see ourselves and the way we actually are.

As example, I give you Sam and Dean. I give you Luke and Han. I give you yourself and who you would like to be. One is life; one is larger than life; but both are storyteller turns on the subject of self perception versus external perspective. With this as the context for discussion, let’s look at Season One in terms of Sammy, love, and family; and how the burden of being Sammy is very much the burden of not being Dean.

On the subject of Sammy and love, let’s talk Jess.

By talking Dean. (Because you can’t talk Sammy without talking Dean.)

You know, Dean (not really you) would have been way cooler than to actually fall for Jess (love, as in the love of your life, not just a one night stand) in such a way that her loss could cripple him. That’s one of the whole points of Dean (not really you). He’s wounded by life. He’s emotionally distant because that’s the heroic way he deals with his pain. He lives the emo life inside, where it belongs; rather than outside, where it can embarrass him or make him vulnerable. And he does it because he is just that strong and just that stoic and just that much the hero (and just that much Not Really You).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Dean (not really you) is the antithesis of Sammy (you) when it comes to the subject of love. Why? Because on no subject are our own self perceptions more reflective of our desire to be stronger (better, faster) than we actually are than when the subject of love is put to the table.

As an aspirational reflection of our desire to be strong, in control and above the emo bitchness that defines the very essence of our human nature, Dean (not really you) doesn’t really fall in love so much as he drifts in and out of lust (emotionally distant). Such is the life of the mythic hero (and the perception of self that prefers to be in control of love rather than controlled by it, and to leave rather than be left). Yet still, there is always hope (hope springs eternal, thus fanfic) the hero (you perceive yourself to be) will find true love (usually on a white steed from across a crowded room); and if he (not really you) did, he (not really you) would fall (in a manly, heroic way; though not incestuously or slashily so) in love.

This is not how Sam (you) loved Jess. To show the contrast; let’s walk Dean (not really you) a mile in Sammy’s (your) shoes on the road of Jess (love). Because again, to speak of Sammy (you), we must speak of Dean (not really you) and how the difference between these two perceptions-put-to-flesh-as-individuals plays to the storyteller’s agenda to speak to the differences between who we (the viewer) are and who we – rightfully or otherwise – aspire to be.

So for the sake of that contrast, if Dean (not really you) actually did fall in love with Jess (love, as in the love of your life, not just a one night stand), he (not really you) would do so in such a way that if she (love) did die (was lost), it wouldn’t cripple him. At least, not the way it would cripple Sammy (you).

Everyone knows Jess (love) could die (be lost) at any time (it’s happened before, when you were younger, through no fault of your own). Because to be perfectly honest (get a clue), although inarguably tragic to those involved, love (Jess) crashes and burns and bleeds from the ceiling (dies due to events beyond your control) every day of the world. All of which begs the wise viewer to realize that Sammy (you) being in Jess (love … get your mind out of the gutter) might die (be lost) because a Demon (events beyond your control) targets her (love) for death (loss) for no other reason than being with Sammy (you, because every story is all about you, no matter who else stars in them on occasion). So this is a life fact of which both Sam (you) and Dean (not really you) are aware; but it is a life fact (love hurts) only one of them (you or not really you) will heed (emotionally available versus emotional unavailable).

We all aspire to learn from the lessons of love, but few of us really do.

Heeding the warning of the impermanent nature of love (he’s older, wiser, cooler and wounded by the world enough to know), Dean (not really you) would be smart enough (having already experienced this at least once, and having learned from that experience) to not invest himself emotionally (love, as compared to lust) to such a degree that losing Jess (love) would put him to his knees (make him cry like a baby in front of the girl he is trying to impress). Sammy (you) on the other hand – being the selfish (real), emo bitch (human as compared to heroic) that he is (you are) – does fall for Jess (love) hook, line and sinker (emotionally committed to the nines). So when she (love) dies (is lost), as so often happens (life sucks), he’s (you are) crippled by it.

We all aspire to be savvy about the dangers of love, but few of us really are. We aspire to control love rather than let love control us, but we seldom do.

Dean (not really you) would have seen it coming. Dean (not really you) would have either walked away from Jess (love) to keep from getting her (again, love) killed (losing her), or he (not really you) would have saved her (love) because Dean (not really you) is just that strong, cool and heroic a guy. And because he (not really you) would have been willing to do this (punk out) in order to save (not lose) Jess (love), if she (love) dies (is lost) anyway, even though Dean (not really you) would no doubt blame himself for that loss (because he’s wounded by life, and he suffers those wounds in silence, locking his pain inside where no one else will see it, even if they know it must be there because he’s emotionally distant, not emotionally absent), it would be a wrongful blame (just a hero being heroically tragic), because Dean did everything right (he’s Dean, Not Really You).

He (not really you) was slick and witty and heroic and strong and incredibly hot and just the right mix of vulnerability and invulnerability (he was Dean). Because Dean (not really you) was all these things and more; it follows that if he (not really you) lost Jess (love), it would be the Demon’s (events beyond your control’s) fault. Yes, he (not really you) would likely take the blame because he’s the hero (as compared to human) and heroes (and children) blame themselves for failures beyond their capacity to prevent. But while Dean (not really you) would blame himself, he (not really you) wouldn’t let Jess’s (love’s) death (loss) break him, because Dean (not really you) would never let Jess (love) get to him that way (emotionally distant, anyone?). Dean’s (not really you) stronger (emotionally unavailable) than that. Better (emotionally unavailable) than that. Cooler (emotionally unavailable) than that.

He’s Dean (who you wish you could be).

He’s not Sammy (who you really are).

On the other hand, Sammy (you) totally deserves the blame (illogical guilt) he (you) takes as his own for Jess’s (love’s) death (loss) for a variety of reasons, all of which are self imposed (guilt) and none of which are valid (Guilt with a capital G).

First and foremost, Sammy deserves the blame (guilt) because he (you) should have seen it coming (it’s happened before, dammit!). Sammy should have walked away (punked out) from Jess (love) to save her (can’t lose what you don’t have). But he (you) was too much of a selfish (real), emo bitch (human) to do that, justifying (reasoning) his selfishness (emotional needs) on the basis that it (losing love) having happened once already in his life (life) doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen every time (logic, faith, emotional availability). What a selfish (real), emo bitch (human) Sammy is (you are) to take such a foolish (faith-based) risk (get back on the horse that threw you) with Jess’s (love) life and his (your) heart (heart). So Sammy (you) should have seen it coming (the fact that it could happen), and he (you) should have been willing to walk away (punk out) based on the fact that it (losing love) has happened to him (you) in the past (life) so it might happen to him (you) again in the future (life).

We don’t learn not to risk love by getting our hearts broken. We learn to try again and hope for a different result. It’s called faith in the future, and it is one of the fundamental foundations of human nature.

Secondly, Sammy deserves the blame (guilt) because he lied to Jess (love). He wasn’t completely truthful (human nature) about everything he is (human nature) and everything that has ever happened to him (human nature) in his past (life). He (you) didn’t warn Jess (love) that she could die (be lost) because he’s (you’ve) had that happen (losing love) before (life). Sammy (you) didn’t save her (love) because he (you) isn’t Dean (who you wish you were, how you would like to see yourself as being) enough to walk away from (punk out on) Jess (love) just because something bad (life) might (might, could, maybe, perhaps) happen.

While we may aspire to learn to avoid risking the kind of pain losing love brings by being strong enough to avoid the emotional entanglements that physical intimacy breeds, by being emotionally distant enough to get what we need from the physical intimacy alone, we can’t really do that. To love and be loved requires risking pain and loss. Anything less is just sex.

And lastly, Sammy deserves the blame (guilt) because he (you) needed Jess (love). He (you) needed her (love) more than he should have (emo bitch that you are). And because the Demon (events beyond your control) are after Sammy (you), not Jess (love) because every story told is all about Sammy (you) even if other people star in them on occasion.

On an essential human level, in the real world rather than the theoretical world of poets and romance novels, love is about what we get, not what we give. And even in the giving, love is about what we get from the giving. Losing love is about what we lose getting, not what we lose giving.

So Jess (love) only died (was lost) because the Demon (events beyond your control) was after Sammy (you). And Sammy (you), being the selfish (real) emo-bitch (human) that he is, wasn’t Dean (not really you) enough to walk away (punk out) when he should have (before you became emotionally entangled). So he (you) deserves the blame (guilt). And he’s (you are) emo bitch (human) enough to show his pain (feel) all over the place (visibly) instead of bearing it (hiding it) in silence (heroically) like Dean (not really you) would if he (who you want to be seen as) was in Sammy’s (who you are) place (loving and losing as compared to refusing to love so you won’t lose).

Safety is in emotional distance. Love is in emotional risk. We aspire to be safe. We invariably fail at being safe in failing to resist the urge to risk. Emo bitches that all humans are, we fail at being strong enough to walk away from emotional risk for our own good, or for the good of others.

On the subject of love, we most often aspire to be Dean: in control, mitigating risk, managing collateral damage. We most often are, however, Sam: out of control, neck deep in risk taken in faith of greater reward, and vulnerable to the full agony of every wound inflicted by love lost, by Jess put to flame by the demon of events beyond our control.

On the subject of Sammy and family, let’s talk John.

Again, by talking Dean. (yada, yada, yada, no Sammy without Dean, yada.)

This one thing we take to be self-evident: Dean (not really you) loves John (the family) without question. He follows John’s (the family’s) directives without argument, and always puts John’s (the family’s) needs above any need or desire Dean (not really you) might have or wish to have. In return, John (the family) takes Dean (not really you) for granted, an untenable situation Dean (not really you) bears in long-suffering silence, a wound whose pain he (not really you) will never show (emotionally distant).

We aspire to be self sacrificing and heroic to a degree that the needs of those we love alway come before our own. Very few of us actually are either that self sacrificing or heroic, be the stakes life and death or just who gets the extra cookie.

Sammy (you), on the other hand, is clearly John’s (the family’s) favorite. And yet Sammy (you) is a bit of a selfish (real), emo bitch (human) rebel (individual), especially compared to Dean (self-sacrificial not really you). Sammy (you) puts what he (you) wants at least equal to, if not above, what John (the family) wants. Beyond that, Sammy (you) categorically refuses to follow John’s (the family’s) directives blindly, although he (you) will go along with John’s (the family) plan if he (you) agree with it (get something out of it, too) and John (the family) doesn’t treat him (you) like a child (member of lesser standing).

All of which is not to say that Sammy (you) loves John (the family) any less than Dean (not really you) does. In fact, all evidence in play suggests Sammy loves John (the family) fiercely and is willing to sacrifice and die for John (the family) if necessary. That being said, he (you) still won’t sublimate his desires or identity to John’s (the family) control, because he (you) is still primarily an individual (you) first and John’s son (a member of the family) second, as he (you) should be. Furthermore, Sammy (you) doesn’t exist only as an extension of John (the family), nor will he toe the line John (the family) consistently tries to pressure him (you) into toeing not because it is best for Sammy (you), but rather because John (the family) is all about John (the family), even if he (the family) does love his sons (all the members of the family).

It also bears pointing out that, in contrast to Dean (not really you), if John (the family) presumes upon Sammy’s (your) individuality, or if John (the family) presumes to take Sammy’s (your) commitment to John (the family) for granted, Sammy (you) rails at the heavens (emo bitch that you are), shouts his protest (selfish individual that you are), and tells John (the family) exactly where he (again, the family) can shove his bull hockey (lack of appreciation for sacrifices made) and how far up it should go (what a rebel).

And Sammy does this because he (you) is an individual. He (you) is someone with hopes and dreams and a future (normal) of his own, not only hopes and dreams and a future that revolves only around John (the family). Yes, Sammy (you) is John’s son (a member of the family); but he (you) is not only John’s son (a member of the family).

Family is our identity, but it is not our only identity. Though we may aspire to (and even perceive ourselves to) put the needs and/or wants of our families (or others we love) before our own, the reality of human nature is that we are individuals first, and members of a group second. What the group wants or needs may harmonize with what we, as individuals, want or need; but it rarely supercedes those wants or needs except in the most atypical of circumstances (Dean’s going to die and Sammy can save him) or the most extreme cases of an imbalance of need (Dean is starving to death and Sammy just wants the last cookie).

But even as an individual, fiercely independent and determined to be his own person (again, normal); Sammy (you) and John (the family) are so much alike in so many ways that everyone but he (you) and John (the family) can see the resemblance as clear as day. Which, of course, is why Sammy (you) and John (the family) fight like cats and dogs, usually within minutes of finding each other again and having a happy reunion full of hugs and professions of undying loyalty, fidelity and love, love, love.

Love doesn’t mean compatibility. We aspire to dovetail perfectly with those we love, working together like well-oiled machines. Far more often though, we dovetail with those we love like oil and water to the end of enormous conflict and/or a fine vinaigrette dressing. But that doesn’t mean we love them any less, or don’t miss them when they aren’t making us crazy with how much they make us crazy.

All that touchy-feely (emotionally available), chick-flicky (emotionally available), huggy crap (emotionally available, expressing feelings), of course, isn’t something Dean (not really you) would indulge. He’s too cool (emotionally unavailable). He’s too strong (emotionally unavailable). He’s too Dean (not really you.)

Sure, there’s always a hug there for John (family) in a quick, guy-hug kind of way (I love you, man … can I have your beer?); as well as an obvious allegiance (love) for John (the family) that Dean (not really you) is more than willing to express/show (even tough guys love their daddies). And beyond that, Dean’s (not really you’s) love for John (the family) actually supercedes all else (not really you’s individuality) in how obviously Dean (not really you) defines himself as John’s son (a member of the family) first and an individual second.

But even so (being Daddy’s boy instead of your own man), Dean (not really you) wouldn’t get all emo bitch (human) about that emotion all the time (emotionally unavailable). He (not really you) wouldn’t fret (actively) about whether or not John (the family) loves him. He (not really you) would never think John (the family) would turn away from (abandon) him, or not want to see (stop loving) him. Yes, those are his (not really you’s) greatest fears; but he won’t indulge them (show them) because he is too strong (emotionally unavailable). He is too cool (emotionally unavailable). He is too Dean (not really you).

To the contrast, Sammy (you) will actively fret (emotionally available) over whether or not John loves him (emo bitch that you are), wants to see him (petulant grudge holding bitch that you are), or is angry with him (Daddy’s boy that you are, even while being your own man). But unlike Dean (not really you), Sammy (you) won’t fear those things to unnatural (emotionally constipating) degree. To the contrary, despite all his (your) apparent emo bitchness (human insecurity) on the subject of John (the family), Sammy (you) is quite confident (normal) that as his father (blood of your blood), John (the family) will always love him (you), even if John (the family) is mad at him (petulant grudge holding bitches that they are), and a real pain in the ass (too much like you to ever not piss you off) when y’all get together on holidays.

We aspire to be the way we want our families to see us when we are with them. Invariably, they see us exactly as we are anyway. Thanksgiving is particularly good for both hugs and fistfights, regardless of what level of emotional unavailability you aspire to maintain right up until you ring the doorbell.

But despite Dean’s (not really you’s) self sacrificial (abnormal) loyalty and obedience to (dependence on) John (the family), and despite Sammy’s (your) more selfish (real), emo bitch (human) antagonism (unrelenting individualism) when it comes to John (the family); Sammy (you) is clearly John’s (the family’s) favorite. But Dean (not really you) doesn’t resent it (because he’s the self sacrificing hero). In fact, Dean (not really you) takes great pride and satisfaction in seeing how much John (the family) loves Sammy (you). And while this might smack (to the uninitiated) of self sacrifice on Dean’s (not really you’s) part, it is actually Dean’s (not really you’s) true and deep understanding that, no matter how different they (you and your family) may look on the outside (to others), it is really John (the family) and Sammy (you) who are just alike (cut from the same bolt of genetic cloth, as it t’were).

Regardless of what we aspire to be, we can usually see who we really are if we stop to look into the eyes of those who love us enough to know us as we are. And to prefer that reality over the more heroic and/or cooler individual to which we might aspire to be. Even if the other guy does drive a ’67 Chevy Impala.

Because all overt surface detail (clonish similarities) to the contrary, Dean (not really you) and John (the family) only LOOK alike. And they do (look alike) because John (the family), like Sammy (you), wants to see himself as something he (the family) really isn’t: Dean (not really you). Cool, witty, heroic, self sacrificing, wounded to the soul yet still emotionally distant Dean (again, not really you. And not really them either).

So John (the family) is no more Dean (not really you) than Sammy (you) is. In fact, truth be told, John (the family) is also a bit of a selfish (real), emo bitch (human) who puts his own (the family’s) needs above Dean’s (not really you) and Sammy’s (yours) by doing things like trying to sacrifice himself (shoot me in the heart, son!) for a freaking cause (it’s more important than me, it’s more important than anything), on the altar of Mary’s (love) and Jess’s (love) deaths (losses) … deaths (losses) at the hand of a Demon (events beyond your control, beyond their control); but for which John (the family) inexplicably (but you understand it, don’t you?) blames himself (because every story told is all about the family even if other people star in them on occasion) the same way Sammy (you) blames himself (because every story told is all about you even if other people star in them on occasion) for those same deaths (losses) at the hand of a Demon (events beyond your control).

People are actually very much alike in how they really are. Likewise self perception is invariably aspirational to very similar states of heroic being. We call those aspirational states of being archetypes. We also call them stars. We occasionally call them Dean.

Yeah. Sammy (you) and John (the family) are two peas in a pod. And Dean (not really you) is actually – despite surface similarities (the way both you and your family want to see themselves, but not the way either you nor your family actually is) to the contrary – the odd man out, if only in the fact that he (not really you) isn’t the selfish (real) emo bitch (human) he would have to be to qualify as that third pea in the Sammy (you selfish, emo bitch you) and John (those selfish emo bitches, too) peapod instead of the Sammy-wants-to-be-Dean, John-wants-to-be-Dean, Dean-is-Dean-but-isn’t-really-real peapod.

Which, you know, three Deans in a peapod is every fangirls fantasy; but that ain’t really the way real life works, is it (only fanfic works that way)?

In real life, the heroes are never the cool, witty, selfless, swaggering, smooth, ridiculously handsome, rebellious, emotionally-distant, stoic, strong, wounded to the soul but suffering it all in silence with only an occasional tear shed to tell the tale guys. Rather, they are invariably sorta-smooth but still a bit geeky dorks with floppy hair, dressed in somewhat baggy clothes with an occasional opportunity to look really hot in just a towel if the light hits them just right, smart, nice, mostly respectful, more-or-less law abiding, selfish, emo bitches who cry when they’re hurt, bleed when they’re cut and get all chick-flicky when they really, really, really need to get or give a hug.

Dean is an aspirational state of being. He’s not really you.

In real life, the heroes often need their asses saved by someone else. They usually fight with those they love, and they are wrong as much as they are right in those fights. The almost always have just enough fumble with the opposite sex to make them accessible. And without fail – without freaking fail – they put what they need and/or want above what others need and/or want the same way all other real human beings do; they just can, and will, rise above that failing of Human Nature when the need to be a hero calls them to the task of sacrificing themselves for the good of someone else.

Sammy is a selfish, emo bitch; which means he’s real and human; both when he’s shooting Dean in the chest with rocksalt and when he’s using himself as a human shield between relative strangers and a wendigo; both when he’s in a nose-to-nose shouting match with John and when he’s shooting John in the leg instead of the head even though the headshot is the only way to kill the Demon who murdered Mary and Jess.

And he is really you.

To the point of it all, this: Real heroes are just selfish, emo bitches like the rest of us, on a journey, doing the best they can to overcome their own flaws and failings, trying to survive their losses and mitigate the damage done by events beyond their control to the end of maybe finding a Jess (or a Mary) along the way to keep them warm on cold nights and have their backs when the chips are down.

Sammy is one of those guys. That’s the burden of being Sammy: Being real.

And not being Dean.

Dean is who we want to be; Sammy is who we are. Dean is our self perception; Sammy is our self-reality. Dean is a storyteller’s hero myth; Sammy is the reality about which every story is told, even if other people star in them on occasion to the perception that it’s all about the Dean, when it’s really all about the burden of being Sammy.



25th-Sep-2006 07:24 am (UTC)
In this case, the reader (me) wants to be the hero(you) and find the holy grail (writing the best freaking meta in the world). You are invincible (scarily smart and funny)

And because I'm wonderful(flawed) I try to comment (love) on your meta in a way that will make everyone else (my family) see me as the hero (you) I really am.

And even though I have better hair than you (and Mark Hamill, I mean Sam or is that Jared), I still want to have your babies (kill you). Or at least get in a peapod (hot tub) with you and three Deans (read more of your metas).

But because missyjack (unworthy minion) is not dodger_winslow (mistress of the meta), I'll just go off to a dark crusty corner of the internet (my LJ) and be all emo (write porn).

25th-Sep-2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
LOL! This is the absolutely best comment eva! I just about choked to death in merriment at I'll just go off to a dark crusty corner of the internet (my LJ) and be all emo (write porn).

That kind of gives the whole Sam's an emo bitch thing a new spin, doesn't it?

Thanks so much for your fantabulous comment. It totally made my day.
26th-Sep-2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Glad I made you smile, coz you made me bloody think!

Dean is an aspirational state of being. He’s not really you.
Can I have this on a t-shirt? We should so have meta-shirts!

In my meta on Sam in Shadow, I talked about the concept of the Shadow self, which intersects in some ways with what you've written.
I talked about how we can take a dislike to people when we see the aspects of our self that we don't like in them. Of course it also holds that we are drawn to people in whom we the qualities we value in them.

I need to think about this more, but I think there's is something in what you say about why the Sam-Dean relationship has such potency in canon, and why so many who wouldn't otherwise, have embraced the Wincest version - something about Sam (us) and Dean (not really us but who we want to be ) being the OTP. Which probably explains why we (hormonally overwrought fangirls) are disturbed if anyone mentions the idea of an on-going female partner (slut crack ho) for either Wincehster - it disrupts the possibility of the OTP (me becoming who I want to be).

My brain loves you!
25th-Sep-2006 07:41 am (UTC)
This is one of the most insightful and fun meta essays I've ever read. And I loved it. :D *flails a little*
25th-Sep-2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! It was fun to write, but at one point, I had to change the color of all the parenthetical remarks just so I could follow the actual sentences through to make sure they made sense ... and didn't refer to Sammy as "you" in the actual body of the text.

I was hoping, by the time I got done, it wouldn't be totally incomprehensible to anyone who wasn't cheating by applying color as an organizing principle. :D
25th-Sep-2006 07:46 am (UTC)
But the truth of the matter is, we’re all much closer to being Sammy, aren’t we?

You know that right there is the perfect summary of why I had such a hard time loving Sam initially, because he rang too many chords of familiar and me, because I'm the youngest and am in possession of some of Sam's more ugly traits. And I don't want them.

Awesome meta.
25th-Sep-2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I see a lot of fans in your same boat, but many of them can't see that as a truth about themselves. This meta actually sprang out of so many fans seeing themselves as "just like Dean" when it is so clear from what they write in their LJ's that they are so just like Sammy.

Which always kind of cracks me up.

And I also wanted pull the fan-identity aspect of who people relate to a little farther away from just "who is the hugger and who hides their feelings." Cause totally, Dean hugs and Sammy hides his feelings, so many of the people who are evasive about what they are actually feeling don't seem to realize that is as much an aspect of Sammy as it is of Dean, it is just articulated in a more realistic (as compared to heroic) fashion when Sammy does it.

But I, of course, am just like Dean. No really. I am. Wanna hug? :D
25th-Sep-2006 10:45 am (UTC)
Hee, caught in the Sammy-trap. Now I feel bad about having snatched Dean after all. Wait, no I don`t. ;) Hope I did him justice though.

And after reading this my brain has officially just sizzled out. *g*

On the other hand, Sammy (you) totally deserves the blame (illogical guilt) he (you) takes as his own for Jess’s (love’s) death (loss) for a variety of reasons, all of which are self imposed (guilt) and none of which are valid (Guilt with a capital G).

I have to say even though it is irrational guilt insofar as the demon was responsible for Jess`death, I can follow Sam`s logic here. If he had told her about himself, she might have pulled a Cassie and run away screaming, thus not ending a crispy-critter.

Was it understandable that he didn`t tell her? Hell yes. Would a large percentage of the population have done the same? Another hell yes. Is their still an element of cause and effect and taking the choice away from her involved? Yes.

Personally I feel and always have like a cross between Sam and Dean. Whenever Sam sits in a bar over a book or the paper, that`s me. Studying little geek for the sake of knowledge - me. Bucking against over-bearing (family) authority - me. Asking "hey, what`s in it for me?" - me. Not wanting to make a scene and blending in with a crowd - me.

Otoh, internalizing pain like there is no tomorrow - me. Never EVER crying in front of people, never trying to let it show I`m hurt -me. Sarcasm as a defense mechanism - me. Playing put-upon family mediator -me.

And at times both brothers behaviours have actively put me off. Sam`s insensitivity in Shadow? If I ever pulled this with my best friend (in lack of siblings), hello Antarctica. That`s not me.
Dean`s neverending, stubborn "Stick with your family at all costs", especially as advice to the kids in Bugs. *shakes head* Not me.

Dean is who we want to be; Sammy is who we are. Dean is our self perception; Sammy is our self-reality. Dean is a storyteller’s hero myth; Sammy is the reality about which every story is told, even if other people star in them on occasion to the perception that it’s all about the Dean, when it’s really all about the burden of being Sammy.

I would however say that Dean isn`t so larger than life and archetypical to be actually unreal as a person for as I have never really thought or felt that way. I think his psyche is grounded in reality as much as Sam`s "reluctant hero" persona is.
25th-Sep-2006 07:08 pm (UTC)

For the sake of this meta, I'm simply comparing a character written deliberately to be flawed in very human, familiar ways to someone who is far more heroic in design than any real person could actually live up to. It's one of the many ways I found intriguing to take these characters out of their skins and examine them as alegories or symbols or archetypes. Which, for little ole analytical me, is lotsa fun.

But when I'm writing them, or watching them on the show, I totally view them as people, and consider them real as real as real can be, even if they are Deanishly larger than life in their realness. But that's viewing them as characters rather than literary devices.

So as a character, absolutely while Sam isn't to blame for Jess's death, he was one of the causal factors for it coming to pass and, as such, I can totally see where he would blame himself, even if he realized he shouldn't really blame himself. It's like blaming yourself if someone you love dies in a car accident while you are driving, even if you did nothing wrong. Because you were driving, so if you'd slowed down just a little, or started a little later, or a little earlier, or taken a left turn instead of a right, the car wouldn't have been where it was to get hit and whoever you lost wouldn't be gone. Such is human nature and the way human's process feelings of guilt, shame and responsibility.

That being said, it isn't your fault just because you're driving (unless it really is your fault because you were driving irresponsibly) just as it isn't Sam's fault just because he was with Jess, even though he may view it, in hindsight (always 20/20) as if it is because if he wasn't with her, she wouldn't be dead.

As to whether or no Sam could have, or should have thought he could have, change Jess's fate by leaving her; on a character level, I can argue several different perspectives and all will ring true based on how I am viewing the events that surround Jess's death.

But in taking the characters out of their skins and viewing them as alegories, archetypes and symbols, I find myself viewing Jess as love, and Sam's culpability in losing love to be far different, especially in terms of the blame he takes one for no greater sin that wanting what every human being wants: to be loved.
25th-Sep-2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
I`m a big believer in being honest with myself, so I`ve always acknowledged that the "reluctant hero" is much, much closer to me and 99,9 % of people than the selfless "I`m in it for the good" hero.
But frankly after Buffy, Charmed, Smallville and x other shows with the reluctant hero I`m a teensy tiny bit weary of it. I`m like: "Let me guess, you want a normal life?" :)

So while I totally realize that this would be the reaction of most people and very probably that of wimpy me (even though I couldn`t lie about a huge part of myself if I wanted to truly commit to a person since I would in turn never forgive such a betrayal), I`ve become more interested in other characters types.
And with Dean I think there is enough psychological baggage in play to account for his martyr/hero shtick. He wasn`t just inexplicably born that way, he became that way.

So that`s probably why my interest goes strongly over to the Dean side. I realize it`s not who I am or ever could be but I always tend to go for both stories that stray the most from my realm of experience and characters that are very different from me.
The more familiar I am with something, the less interested in it I am. I know it, it doesn`t hold as much mystery to me. Whereas something or someone very different is like an exotic puzzle I`m trying to solve and see if I can still find something familiar in it.

And I have no idea if any of this made any sense. It did in my head, though. *g*
25th-Sep-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
I finally understand why I like this show so much.

And why I'm not a Sam Girl.

And why I'm intrigued by John's parenting style.

And why everyone I try to get to watch this show laughs at me.

I'm an idiot.

This was brilliant! You managed to get your Dean, John adn Sam meta all into one.

And I still feel badly for Dean.
27th-Sep-2006 01:34 am (UTC)
This was absolutely fascinating.

And a little scary, because I am Dean to a point, and am in therapy because of it *g*. I aspire to be Sammy-like, but I'm too much Dean-like. Emotionally distant to a fault (to actually require an outsider's assistance to cope with the emotional distance. I'm also the eldest daughter by 7 years, and did the protecting thing for my little sister. So I relate in that way to Dean.

I am the opposite of what others perceive and are and strive to be. I'd love to be as open to things as Sam, but I'm too much the 'keep it inside/keep it hidden/stay safe/don't let them hurt you/can't see it can't use it against' girl.

And yeah, it sucks. Probably why I don't like Sam as much; because I can't relate to him...yet.

Except this part: petulant grudge holding bitch that you are...this is totally me!
28th-Sep-2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Shouldn't have read this ineffable brilliance of a meta before going to sleep on my to-be-revised-one-last-time John meta.

I feel *THIS* small, and..where's this blinding light coming from? :)

brilliant. just ..brilliant. and beautiful.
24th-Apr-2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oh boy *holds brain in hands* did that make me think or what!


It does go some way to explaining my reaction to the characters.. I wasn't quite feeling Sam (quit the dirty thoughts)in the first few epis.. He was a little too whiny, sulky, flawed - all the things that most people are (yup, me too). Whereas Dean? By gawd - he really is the guy that if you couldn't be him, you'd want him on your team.

Here I was gonna go into a ramble about why partway through season1, I grew to like the character of Sam more - to the point where now, I feel more for Sam than I do for Dean (much shock and horror, as this comes from a Jensen-addict. I thought obsessive-lust was blinding? Clearly not...).

I say 'was' going into a ramble - I have the thoughts in my head but they haven't yet managed to arrange themselves into any meaningful sentences!!

Maybe I just know that I'm a Sammy - and I really don't mind it. :oP

25th-Apr-2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! (I had a pickle of a time keeping track of what I was saying, too ... LOL)
1st-Nov-2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
I think I actually came at this from the opposite side. I connected with Sam from the get-go, while thinking Dean was a bit irritating. (I actually think Sam's better looking too, but that's another matter.)

I'm not Dean. My livejournal proves as much. However, I do have a bit of his attitude and that's what got to me most. I wanted to be more like Sam. I wanted to be way more tactful. I wanted to be a little more independent. I wanted to be more organized and cautious.

I think, at the beginning (and somewhat now), I put Sam on a pedestal while pointing out all of Dean's flaws. Dean was too much of a daddy's boy. Dean was too much of a smart-ass. Dean didn't know when to take things seriously, when to stop and think before acting or opening his mouth.

I don't agree that Dean is an 'aspirational state of being' because, to me, Sam was and that seems to point out that neither of them are. (You have to pressure me into admitting Sammy has a flaw.)

So, this is the view from the opposite side.
1st-Nov-2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for providing a flip side of the coin view. I had a blast writing this meta (and spent the next two weeks in the Rooseveldt Asylum, but that's beside the point and somewhat parenthetical to what I'm actually saying) in large part because it let me actually express what is so cool about Sammy, even though he is often mistaken as somewhat of a selfish emo bitch. Which is, IMO, deeply unfair. He's awesome. He's just real. And Dean's mythic. Although S2 has made him far more real, too. And John ... well, I'm hopelessly in love with John, so I'm pretty sure my opinion on him is hopelessly tainted.
1st-Nov-2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, right, I got all into it and forgot to ask if I could post a link to this on enteranalysis. It's a community for essays on television, books, and movies. Do you mind?
1st-Nov-2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
I would be honored! Link away and thanks so much for thinking of it for such a usage.
3rd-Nov-2007 09:01 am (UTC)

You had me at your freakin' LJ one-sentence summary.

We all want to be Dean. But the truth of the matter is, we’re all much closer to being Sammy, aren’t we?

I just read that and went, "Oh my God, she's RIGHT! THAT'S why I'm having such a hard time fantasizing about either one of them. When I picture myself with Dean, I realize I have so much more in common with Sam. But when I picture myself with Sam, I find myself distracted by Dean. THIS is how those damn Winchesters screw with my head. THANK you!

I'm totally fangirling your meta. Although all the parentheses made my eyes go wonky after a while.
5th-Nov-2007 01:04 am (UTC)
LOL. Thanks! Trust me though ... those parentheses screwed with my head more than it did anyone else. You should have seen me sitting here, trying to follow my own freakin sentences to make sure they made sense. I looked like Dean trying to count up months/years when he watching his little clone at the birthday party. :D
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