Bendability. The twists-n-turns I took with Ep09 #MonstersandHeroes

Imagine.  Writing a whole blog, over 5 hours of thoughts, feelings and analysis only to say “Nope. Not good enough.” – I didn’t leave it to ponder about but hit delete. Done. Over.  I did that last night.  I spent most of the day Monday, off and on, putting my thoughts about Monsters and Heroes here, on this identical template I am staring at right now. It was complete. All except for those annoying GIFs that I add to drive ya all crazy but they add my boneheaded personality.

I deleted it because I struggled with it. It felt pushed, unnatural and well, obvious. I usually wouldn’t even tell you what I wrote about but I will. I wrote about friendship. See? 🧀 anyone? It felt overdone, it felt sappy and it felt so NOT me.  Not because I don’t have friends (I know, SHOCKIN’, I can count at least 3! ) but friendship is a concept we all understand for the most part. I don’t need to write a whole farkin’ blog about it, and I did. 😨 LAME!

This topic though, bendability, I hope isn’t. I could have taken the path of publishing the blog that everyone would have easily identified with.  That would be the easy way out. Choosing to be a little uncomfortable, to stretch myself in another direction, do something different…that makes more sense to what I try and accomplish with my blogs.  Will it work?

Time to stop blathering and get on with it shall I?

The title of the episode “Monsters and Heroes” can be seen in direct connection to the title of the blog. These don’t have to be two separate entities, they can be the same person, to the same people at different times in their life. We opened with that situation. Claire and Marsali. Marsali, she first saw Claire as a monster. She only knew her from the perspective that she grew up with, shown via her mother and the life experience she had. Marsali is a strong-willed, determined and sass-laced woman.  There was as much likelihood she would have dug her heels in and not accepted Claire or simply ignored her existence. Marsali used her ability to bend to see her own truth. If I were to venture a guess where this trait came from I would say it was the influence of Jamie through Fergus.

Her direct experiences with Jamie likely were clouded by her mother’s perceptions of the relationship. We heard as much from her early discussions with Claire. She and Fergus doubtlessly have had a long relationship. He grew up at Lallybroch, not far from where Marsali did. Fergus is the epitome of adaptable and that virtue, not only admirable, tends to rub off on those closest to them.

We’ve witnessed Marsali view Claire as a monster in her world. When she transforms into being her “Ma”, it’s special. She now sees her as someone she learns from and admires. A heroine. That, my friends, is bendability.

I wonder how many people we have had in our lives that we have written off because of the stories others have told from their perceptions of them, through their experiences, one-sided. We may have labelled as unworthy of our time or bad people simply because someone we knew/cared about, hated them.  Our lack of bendability may have shut out someone that may not have been such a monster after all.

There will be times in our lives that we have no choice but to bend.  The reason being if we don’t – we will break. There is no alternative. Roger and Jamie were placed in this position. Their relationship of tentative tiptoeing around one another with passive-aggressive taps-n-shots wasn’t going to get them through the crisis they found themselves in. Jamie, in need of rescuing and Roger in the position to save him.  The pair were forced to bend to the other’s reality.

Jamie’s snakebite set in motion events that created a bromance we will enjoy for years. Seriously though, the dynamic that mess brought on was instrumental in the Roger/Jamie bond. Not many have seen Jamie so vulnerable. We KNOW no one has ever sucked on his leg like that.

Roger had every reason to resent this red-headed brute of a man. From the first moment Roger laid eyes on him, to that very morning being the cockblocker he was. Yet, there was this man doing everything he could to save his father-in-law and keep his spirits up. Without handing out spoilers, Roger may very well have found his purpose on this dreadful excursion.

We went from two men circling one another warily, wondering where they stood in each other’s life to two people who found a comfortable, mutual respect and even a playful place with one another. Where there was trepidation the day before…a father and son connection was born. It took devastating circumstances forcing them into an uncomfortable space to do it but I am not certain anything less would have forged that relationship these men would need for the future.

How about that not so Young Ian? He has shown us we have the ability to not just bend but sway and twist. In fact, he knowingly steps into situations that will force him to bend.  Being a young lad in he left his small community and made way for adventure. Getting much more than he could have dreamt possible or wished to have. This young man chooses to evolve, with new people and lifestyles, knowing it is him that is going to have to do all the adapting.

In this episode, he set an example for someone who is supposed to be much wiser than he.  What we saw here was Ian saying the hard stuff.  That in itself is bendability. It’s not comfortable, for anyone. These conversations takes us out of our comfort zone of supporting and holding up those we care about. Knowing deep down that those are the words they need to hear takes an extra push, a lot won’t manage due to how difficult it is.  The ones that do get the words out, almost always feel bad.  That’s because they have a heart and they love. It isn’t supposed to feel good to say something severe to people we care for.

When the person is open enough to hear us, yes, bendable themselves, the message will strengthen the bond we have.  When saying the tough things, as hard as they are to say, they are hard to hear.  Jamie took the shaming well.  Had he the energy to fight back, I am not sure he would have. The truth of Ian’s words hung in the air for some time after he left the room.

Not everyone is so receptive to the truth on occasions such as these.  I admittedly am not always a fan. I have had the truth face me down and sometimes the first reflex is to defend. When that is my reaction, it’s often my clue I’m on the wrong side of things. I REALLY hate that. Being defensive indicates I am not confident in what I am arguing about. I use this as one of my life check-points to stop being rigid and look for the place to squeeze in that bendability.  It isn’t comfortable, it isn’t easy but, it’s more often right than it’s not.  That is where Jamie ended up. It took him time and pride but he got to where he needed to be.  He didn’t end up losing his leg, thank goodness.

Brianna is our used car lot balloon lady bendable, physically and emotionally.  You know, she’s having some ale on the porch and in a split second facing a charging 2000 pound buffalo to save her son and BFF. She is questioning if she can use her intelligence in a world where raising babies, making candles and dying day is considered the “life”. The need for Bree is to bend reality. The reality of the world she lives in. She had to stop seeing herself as fitting into the 1700s and just be Bree. Where an opportunity arises to use her engineering background, she will be taking it, as she did with creating the syringe for her mother out of the snake’s fang. I am sure this is only the start of Brianna putting her creative mind to work to make life easier on the ridge. 007

A big “Monsters and Heroes” take away for me was to loosen the hell up. Come on, I literally deleted a whole blog because it wasn’t ‘good enough’. True, it showed some bendability but it also showed I’m kinda an ass.  We are all under extra stress right now, some more than others but that never takes away from what each individual goes through.  It is times like this when we should do our best to let some of our austerity go. When we are feeling anxious, stressed and we add our own rigidity to it, we get so wound up it makes us feel all the more confined. If we bend it, allow it some slack, we allow ourselves some room to breathe.

 

It’s my hope you have the room.

Until next time,

Sher xo

Don’t forget we live tweet with the Canadian airing of Outlander on W Network Sunday nights at 7 pm MT. using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN. We would love it if you would join us. Only 3 more episodes left!

 

The Answer Within. I heard a few during S5E08 . #Outlander #FamousLastWords

I am becoming a broken record this season with these ‘not a recaps’.  Each episode is completely different from the last but in my view, each has a punch in the gut effect that stays with you long after.  And with that, as the credits rolled on #FamousLastWords, that duet with Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton – COME ON! I found it breathtaking. Each time I watched the episode (4 times, so far) I let it play and sat back to listen.  I have never done that before this episode.

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Nope. Never. Not one time. Zero.

Once again, faced with so many topics to write about. All of them struck cords that I could go on about forEVA but I don’t want to do that. We seem to have nothing but time these days but I’m not going to take advantage of you. Not like that anyway. #winkawinka

There were questions of worth, grief bursts, traumatic flashbacks and worry all wrapped up in the characters we love so dearly.  We were with all of our favourites, in all of the moments we needed to be with them. Whether we were hearing them or observing. The voyeurs in us were on high alert.

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Watching is such sweet sorrow but I…can’t…stop.

We saw once more, words aren’t needed to convey emotion. This time, it was Richard Rankins’s turn. Without a word or a whisper, we felt, deeply, what Roger was experiencing. His eyes, shoulders, neck muscles, brows and the set of his mouth gave us everything we needed to know about what was happening inside his head, heart and rooted within his soul.  The people who love him, Brianna in particular, could see it too. She was especially in tune with what he was going through because she saw herself in him.

While trying to get through to Roger, Brianna brought up how she too, faced darkness and ugliness. I believe this moment was a catharsis for Brianna even though she was attempting to shake something loose in Roger. He still wasn’t in a place to hear her words. The wall he had built around himself was as impenetrable as his voice was stifled.  Brianna though, for all of the times she sat in silence, fighting her demons, keeping them silent and masking the trauma she went through for the sake of others, she let it out. She put it in front of Roger that she is fighting. Every day. For her family and those words were what she needed to hear.  Without realizing it, she was giving herself the advice she craved.  The words Bree had been waiting for were within her, she only needed to say them out loud.  She was directing them towards Roger however when we say things out loud, that is when we finally, truly, catch on. We, more often than not, won’t notice how we self-heal through our love of others.

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Give it…and eat it back up. 

There is one common thread each person on this earth shares. We all will lose someone we love. Sooner or later, it happens. In tandem, others will reach out to comfort us. When our grief is deep, there are no words, actions, cliches or casseroles that help. Making things better is contrary to reason.

Jamie asked Claire if there was a medicine in her time for grief.  Time was as close as she could get, and even that isn’t a cure.  We only get adept at integrating the grief into our everyday.  We also must be honest, as shown in this episode. Grief is not reserved for the dead. We grieve people we lose that have not died but are no longer in our life, whether that is by our choice or theirs. We grieve parts of ourselves that we have lost, due to trauma or illness. Grief changes who we are and that is o.k.

Even though grief is something nearly everyone in this world has in common, it is as unique as each person and the relationship they have with the person/piece of them who/that has died. There may be ‘stages’ of grief but none of us walk them the same or follow the path the way it may be expected.  We may think we know how someone feels but we can’t, not genuinely. We can empathize with their pain but knowing it would mean we know every corner of their heart/mind and that is impossible. Allowing someone their personal grief journey is a gift. Grief heals. Roger was grieving pieces of himself. Ian was grieving his tribe and more, Jamie grieving Murtagh. In the end, Claire was honest with Jamie. Letting him know there was nothing she could do, nothing anyone could do. Being a healer, she used the expression that brings her comfort. Time heals all wounds. To a degree of course. Scars are always left behind.

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Literal and figurative, both

This is something we will all find ourselves doing.  The words that bring us the most comfort, we share with others, hoping they have the same effect.

I want to touch on a brief and beautiful moment between Marsali and Young Ian. Marsali came to sit with Ian, speaking to him of their youth in Scotland. She reached out, reminiscing of family, siblings. It appeared that Marsali sensed Ian was moving about, untethered. Like a balloon about to fly away unless someone grabbed hold.  She connected with him by chatting about her jealousy of his bustling Murray family.  Mentioning how he must miss them, grasping at that string to pull him back.  We saw the flicker of light appear in Ian’s eyes as he spoke of his sister Janet and when he admitted he did indeed missed his family.  As Marsali’s pregnancy became more the focus in the conversation, Ian’s heaviness returned. Marsali knows family, her center is love and comfort. She did the best with what she had and I believe the seed she planted did help, a little.

That is why, no matter what we believe someone is going through. It is always good to find a step to sit on with them.  We have moments we wonder “Should I bother?”, “They don’t seem receptive.”  If you think a loved one might be hurting but you have a feeling you may be overstepping, say it – “I may be overstepping, and if I am, I will apologize. Today, I want you to know that I love you, that I am thinking of you and I’d like to hear how you are doing.” Is it always that easy? No, it isn’t. Many things in life aren’t but for those we love, we can take the chance. Marsassy did it.

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And so can we…

Seeing Roger and Ian amid dual struggles was both heartbreaking and became heartwarming. Both men, in very dark places, grappling with their pain to the point of not wanting to face it another day. Neither able to grasp how to move it out of the way. Roger was at what could have been his final moment. Facing the memory of being hanged, blacking out, almost strangled to death and Brianna’s face appeared to him. It wasn’t only Brianna, being his wife, that pulled him from the edge. It was his realization that on his previous brink of death, it was her, his love for her that he was bound to. In living colour with a powerful brightness, he envisioned this woman, whose love never wavered.  A familiar saying comes to mind “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

We often learn lessons at the perfect time and it seems to me this is what happened for Roger and Ian.  They were moving in parallel through much of the episode.  Once it was obvious what Ian’s intentions were, collective hearts were breaking for him and then, Roger comes in for the rescue.  An unlikely hero, given the circumstances. Ian angrily says so when Roger interrupts his plans to end his life.

Roger doesn’t know what Ian’s story is but he knows what matters is that Ian lives. The reason being, he sees Ian in himself and HE wants to live.  When Ian is unsure that he has the strength to carry on, Roger fortifies them both.  He pleads with Ian to pick up his weapon, it doesn’t mean he has to use it, just pick it up to go home with him. One day he will be strong enough to fight again and together it will happen.

This was Roger’s way of gaining strength from his own words, just as Brianna did with him.  We may get turned around and twisted in agony over the things we feel we should do, or have difficulty coping with.  We feel lost and wonder how in the world we’ll make it through another tragedy or manage another day.  Yet, someone we care for will be in that same head-space and we will have this astonishing amount of compassion for them. We will share uplifting stories of times we have pulled ourselves from the depths of despair or regale them with tales to lighten their heart.  What a beautiful thing it would be if we would take that same time and compassion for ourselves when we felt ourselves getting turned around.

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Today is every day. 

It is easier to give advice than it is to take it.  It is especially easier to give it when you see yourself so clearly in the person you are sharing the advice with.  Ian twice had moments of “you are one to talk” in this episode, first with Jamie – when he was trying to get Ian to open up to him.  Ian clapped back with a ‘Hey pal, you and Claire have secrets – back off and let me have my own.’ Point made. Then again with Roger for stopping him from doing exactly what Ian figured he was about to do himself.  The reason I bring this up is I think it’s a great life lesson moment.

When we are giving those bits of advice out to those we care about, it’s often because we see ourselves in them. It’s a good idea to be sure we have followed our own advice.  Being truthful to ourselves is being honest in our actions.  I assure you, if we haven’t, the one we are sharing with, may call our ass out on the carpet.

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Gotta cut the crap, sometimes.

We learn a lot about ourselves when we listen to the advice we share.  Our actions speak loudly about our character. I think we can see that with the characters I spoke of in #FamousLastWords.  You and I, we identify with these characters on this TV show owing to their stories aren’t so different from our own. Sure, their arc is more dramatic on the whole yet, at the heart of it all, the feelings at the core. We get it.

That’s why we keep coming back.

Sher xo

PS – I need to add a note about John Bell coming back. I squealed, jumped out of my chair and was just THRILLED to bits.  I slapped my husband’s leg so many times he was forced to finally say “OK, that is starting to hurt now.” to make me stop.  Where John used to bring us smiles and much-needed levity on screen – we now are seeing the true depth of this young man’s talent.  I am not sure I am ready for it but I am really feckin excited.

Join us Canadians for Live Tweeting with W Network on Sundays at 7 pm MT using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

How to Predict the Future. What I picked up from #TheBalladOfRogerMac

I will say that I have started and stopped this particular ‘not a recap’ half a dozen times already.  I even wrote nearly a whole blog with another topic and trashed it. It’s not only because I was struggling with what to focus the blog on but because my thoughts were so all over the place, I had a difficult time wrangling them. I finally gave up and said, “What the hell, I’m just going to start…and keep going until I am done!” So, here we go.  Fingers crossed this shit makes sense at the end.

I don’t have to go into how emotionally draining this episode was because so many others have, I am pretty sure there is online debriefing amongst fans due to the mass breakdown. Which went in a couple directions. I usually pull on a thread that catches my attention in the episode and unravel the why.  This blog is a bit different than that.

The Ballad of Roger Mac came with loads to unpack, at first, I did struggle. I wanted to talk about control and how we truly have none except that over our own self.  I wrote about the breakdown of one’s spirit.  Nearly 1000 words in and I deleted the whole fucking thing because I was depressing myself. I did NOT need to feed to you – especially now. I closed my laptop and watched the episode, again.

Here I sit with thoughts of preparedness for the future. How that is more a concept than anything. We can prepare physically for what may happen but we are never truly prepared for how things make us feel. The wild, crazy ride of life that becomes intensely personal and all ours.

One way we can predict/prepare for our future is to assess our past.  We don’t have to be psychic or psychotic to think we can see what is in our future.  Our past behaviours in similar circumstances can lead us toward that vision.  Often, the lessons we may have learned from situations can be helpful to determine what actions would be logical (or not) next time around.

Roger is attempting to unload a wagonful of burden before leaving Jemmy and Brianna.  Thoughts of his father dying in WW2 enable him to picture himself in both his father’s shoes and Jemmy’s wee booties.  He is more concerned about Jemmy not remembering him than he is about dying.

Brianna knows Roger more than anyone.  She recognizes Roger’s pattern of behaviour. He puts his own safety in jeopardy to help others. “Act first, think later’ Roger. He has this horrible luck of not having a chance to think later because he’s been forced onto a ship, beaten silly, or tossed back into the idiot hut. You know, those things.giphy-3                                          We know, Rog, we know…

The worry Brianna feels as Roger heads out is not just because of the impending war but because she knows him to his core.  He is a pacifist, she knows he will protect those he perceives as vulnerable, putting his life on the line without a thought. Bree knows Roger’s future will be filled with the compulsion to intercede on behalf of those suffering. Which as we have seen, given the closing scene of The Ballad of Roger Mac, may cost him everything.

Caretakers, we see you.  Perhaps you aren’t as ‘idiot hutty’ as Roger manages but getting lost in moments where safety, whether physical, emotional or both are put aside in order to safeguard others, is commendable.

We are seeing this right now, all over the globe. Without proper PPE, tired and frustrated health care workers are going into work, missing their own families, to save the lives of others.  I promise you, the caretakers doing this, their families will tell you, it is no surprise. These caretakers have been reacting to situations their whole lives with little regard to themselves.  Their past predicted their reaction to this crisis, not the crisis itself.

Jamie has been on the wrong side of the law for as long as we’ve known him. In The Ballad of Roger Mac, we saw him move from the flimsy side of the crown to full-on rebel.  Given his history, this wasn’t hard to anticipate. In the past, he turned his body over to save his wife.  He plotted with his sister to give him over to the crown for the good of those at Lallybroch.  As an indentured servant, he extended his life as a stable hand to be around his illegitimate son. He lived under a pseudonym, as a respectable printer to distribute seditious material and smuggle contraband. Jamie created a life of playing the game in order to achieve what he needed or wanted.

Murtagh was a man who was always prepared to die for what he believed in. Yes, he hated the red coats and undoubtedly believed in the regulator’s cause. Above all, he loved Jamie.

It wasn’t the oath that made Murtagh save Jamie’s life or that made Jamie want to save Murtagh’s.  It was love.  Jamie had lost his father – he had killed his Uncle – Murtagh was the last man standing that could show him. Show him what, you might ask. The ‘what’ are those now unknowns that we can never predict. It is needing their guidance of having lived ‘the whats’ and their ability to share them with us.

Even at 50, such a loss isn’t easy.  It is like our foundation is shaken out from under us.  We believed we knew what the world was going to look like and then someone strikes it with a hammer to shatter it into dust.  How do we fix that?  Is it possible to reimagine it? Will looking back help us see the future here?

It is deep breath time. Acceptance that living through it is to know it.  This is the experience to learn from. This is the hurt from which we heal.  Healing does not mean getting over or moving on or any of the thousand clichés we use.  Healing means being present in our grief, giving it room to breathe while discovering our new normal.  Creating a space for a new relationship with those we have lost.

That is how we can predict our future after a loss. It’s never easy. It’s messy and it hurts. People on TV will go through it in hyper speed but us? We need to do it our way.  How we look at our loved ones in life can be what helps define that new every day we establish.

Claire, over and above, is reaching back into the past to straight-up create her future, hers is full of penicillin.  Technically she’s reaching into the future (but it’s her past – it can get crazy confusing – especially for me who is easily confused 😋).  Bringing her knowledge from becoming a surgeon further contributes to her life-saving abilities each day she spends in the 1700’s. There are lives she preserves simply by teaching folks basic hygiene.

How many of our ancestors do you think would still be alive if they didn’t have poop fingers? That’s a legit question, friends.

When Claire sees Jamie off to fight, their departure has a much different feel than Bree and Roger’s.  She is his wife, of course, she has concern for his wellbeing. Claire is also exceedingly pragmatic. She puts complete trust in his word to her.  In order to concentrate on what she needs to do, she puts her worry into his hands.

This tactic is one that many of us could learn from.  Especially chronic worriers. I know they are out there.

I am validating the incredibly difficult times we are in right now.  I am going to urge those struggling to go the way of Claire.  For those overwhelmed by worry about those they love.  Ask questions.  Do you trust their intelligence?  Are they capable human beings? If you answer yes to those. Trust them.

Tell them you are concerned and ask them to share their experiences with you.  We tend to get so carried away with random thoughts we disconnect from the reality.  Claire understands that Jamie has said, today isn’t the day we part for good. She trusts him and his words.  Claire focuses on the things she can control, which are medicine and healing. She can not control each outcome but she does her level best with what she has.  That is all any of us can do.

Imagine we could predict our futures to the letter. Having the information of when we would lose someone or we could foresee falling in love…we could never be truly prepared.  We might picture the physicalities of the situation however the feelings we experience will always be new. Emotion is the element that can not be nailed down.

Claire used her knowledge of how wounds are created, faced off with that skeezy Lyle Asshat Brown. She accused him of shooting Isaiah Morton in the back.  His manbaby ego is battered so badly he smashed her one and only syringe, like a toddler.  Keenly aware of the consequences of his actions, Claire is horrified into silence.

Jamie knew he would be battling against Murtagh in this fight.  He always knew there was a chance his Godfather could be killed, yet, when the moment came that he was. Grief took over.

Brianna wrestled with her fear that something terrible happened to Roger when he did not return to camp before the battle. She knew he was missing.  Her worry was colouring everything in front of her. When faced with her husband hanging from a tree. Shock overcame her.

Emotion. Emotion. Emotion.  It will often be the curve in the path to foreseeing what is ahead.  I believe the key is to feel whatever it is you are feeling.  Anger, fear, sadness or shock. Allow it to take its course, validate why it is there and know it’s all right. The less we suppress or deny our emotions, the sooner we move towards the future we envision.

I am sending you all love and hugs- virtual hugs because those I can give you, up close and personal.

Sher xo

ps. I try to livetweet every Sunday with W Network’s airing of Outlander at 7 PM Mt. using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN