#TheLOVELANDERProject brings you Tracy, the elegant voice of Outcandour.

If you are not familiar with the recap/review/ponderings of Outcandour – I suggest you check them out. Tracy has been taking us through the episodes since Season 3. She always identifies the core of what the episode is shouting at us and in her very unique way gives us the recap we wanted all along.

Tracy doesn’t give away much about herself in her writing except you quickly see she is highly intelligent, compassionate and damn, the woman is a deep thinker. It becomes obvious she researches what she speaks of, whether it is theological, Greek/Latin based or social issues. You can find these things in her writing and all are clearly composed for her readers.

I found ‘Outcandour’ in season 4 but didn’t nudge my way into Tracy’s life until the middle of the season. One, to support her by linking our blogs and two, to reach out. It is what we should do when we find people out there that we feel “Hey, I would like to have that person in my bubble.” I knew I could learn from her. She was gentle where I was rough. Her prose, eloquent where mine was, let’s just say unladylike *snort*, see? I enjoy the way I write. It’s only, different. I was drawn to her style. That is the reason I asked her to be featured in #TheLOVELANDERProject.

I know Tracy has many dedicated readers, I thought they would like to know about this incredible woman behind her words. I must say, she is just as lovely as I thought she would be. Actually, she is even better and I’m not even mad.

Classical music loving, Tracy, a self described awkward child, she grew up in southern California. Frizzy haired, thick eye browed and a step behind her peers in regards to the latest trends, she thought herself a late bloomer. Like many introverts, Tracy was quiet around people she wasn’t familiar with but goofy around her closest friends and her family. Being a good student, a rule follower, her love of books and athletics helped her build her confidence in senior high school. Thus developing into this woman we have grown to admire so much.

Tracy now lives in northern California with her husband and two young sons (ages 4 and 7). She is a small animal veterinarian. Hearing this was no surprise, even with only online interactions her compassionate nature shines through.

I wanted to know more about how Tracy found her way to her profession as a vet – “Like most people, I’ve always loved animals but I wasn’t someone who had wanted to be a veterinarian since a very young age. My uncle is a veterinarian so I saw a bit of the profession growing up. But I actually started college at the University of California, Irvine as an International Studies major. I thought I might want to work for the UN someday. I had to take a few basic science classes as part of my general undergrad education, and I actually ended up doing really well in them. I had never considered myself a science-y person until college, so I was happy to find that I not only really enjoyed biology but I actually understood it! So I took a few more science classes to explore that, then began considering veterinary medicine as something I might pursue. I began working as a veterinary assistant near the university (one of my friend’s fathers was a veterinarian), and then before my junior year I decided to transfer to UC Davis to study Animal Biology. After college I worked for three years as a veterinary technician in my hometown (huge shout-out to Dr. Edward Jezbera of Riverside) so I could get even more experience, and then I applied to veterinary school. I just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of my vet school graduation this week!

Such a wonderful achievement. Congratulations on that. I could easily see you working with the UN as well *smile*

Having a young family is enough to keep any mom busy. Tracy is one of those women that I look at with a touch of awe and a side of ‘good on ‘er’- She is an avid runner, having completed four marathons. She and her family (pre-covid) are very active in sports, basketball, little league and soccer. This little family is a whirl wind of activity and laughter.

Tracy and her beautiful family.

Tell us how Outcandour came to be. “I’ve always loved reading in-depth takes on television shows or movies. I’m that person watching movies with the director’s commentary turned on. Tom and Lorenzo are some of my favorite bloggers, and they used to write great recaps for Mad Men and Outlander. They stopped recapping Outlander during Season 2, and I found myself missing the sort of commentary I was used to. When Season 3 started I figured, why not attempt to write something myself? And
thus Outcandour came into creation.

When did your interest in Outlander start, Tracy? ” I discovered the show first during Season 1, after reading a number of articles praising its female gaze. I was hooked from the moment I saw those opening shots of Glen Coe with Caitriona’s voice narrating the mystery of what was about
to unfold. I read all the novels in the Droughtlander between Seasons 2 and 3, and I’ve since read them all multiple times.

Someone else in your family was a long time fan –My grandmother, who is 95, was amused when I discovered Outlander and started my blog. She read all the novels back in the 90s…like all Outlander fans, she wondered what had taken me so long!

I want to take a moment to remember Tracy’s grandmother, who since we did this initial interview has passed away. Her name was Sherry, too! She was born Shirley but she always hated the association with Shirley Temple, so she went by Sherry her whole life. Her death wasn’t totally unexpected and she was suffering quite a bit at the end, so although it’s so painful I find some solace knowing that she’s finally at peace.
Like all conversations that we wish we could remember, I can’t remember specifics as it relates to Outlander. I know she read the novels and I think perhaps Dragonfly in Amber might have been her favorite. She was rereading
it just a few years before she passed away. She was very proud of her English heritage and her outspoken nature, so I think she really identified with Claire.” Sherry, sounds like a woman we all would have been honoured to meet. I’m very sorry for your loss.

Tracy and her Grandmother, Sherry.

It seems there may be something hereditary going on there. 😘 That, and the compassion that comes out in your writing. Who or what would say were some of the bigger influences in your life? “Well, thank you for that! I’m not sure I can name only one thing or one person. Certainly, my parents are most responsible for instilling a sense of compassion and empathy in my life. My husband and sister are my best friends and I’d say they probably keep me the most honest. I was fortunate to have some truly great English teachers in middle and high school who really fostered my love of reading and critical thinking.

Critical thinking, yes, that and a depth of knowledge of the subject matter. You introduce those aspects so clearly to the themes in your recaps – why do you think that is important to do – delve so deeply? I could never presume to know what the Outlander writers ever intend, but I think it’s important to remember that they are writing intentionally and with their own artistic perspective in creating an adaptation. Sussing out an episode’s theme makes me appreciate the writing; I find I enjoy the episodes more if I try to look deeper. Hopefully my readers feel the same way.

It is one of the comments I see often. Your readers thanking you for giving them a new perspective. It’s refreshing to have an unbiased view dig into the middle and work their way out. It is akin to reading comprehension but via a different medium. When did you realize you had this gift with words?I’ve always really enjoyed writing. As I mentioned before, I had some really wonderful teachers growing up who gave me invaluable feedback and encouragement. And so much of my love for writing comes from my love of reading…I’m so jealous of beautiful prose that I’m anxious to create it myself.

I’m curious, many writers have a certain process, where they feel comfortable gathering ideas, do you have a time or place you do your writing?Usually while I’m running. I’ll start thinking about something, then pull out my phone to jot it down before I forget. Running really is mind-clearing for me. Otherwise I do most of my writing at the dining table after my kids are asleep.

I find that fascinating…while you are running. It makes sense as your writing has such a flow and beauty to it. I am going to wonder aloud, if you were to write a book…I think you should…what genre do you think you would lean towards? “Hmmm, well, that might not be a totally theoretical question! *wink* So I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say it is an adaptation of a well-known story with a modern political and feminist slant.

As avid readers, we all have those books that impact us, what books have made the biggest impressions on you, Tracy? “As a Californian, I’ve always loved John Steinbeck. There are a few books I’ve read as an adult that have stayed with me in significant ways: The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger), Circe (Madeline Miller), The Underground Railroad(Colson Whitehead), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez), and Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurty) are some of the ones I cherish the most. And, of course, I truly love the Outlander series. I find that after I’ve been reading any of the Outlander novels it’s difficult to slip into another author’s voice and point-of-view…Diana Gabaldon creates such a distinct but relatable voice for all her characters.

I completely agree, I seemed to have read them over and over until I knew the characters so well that I was “O.K. NOW, I can leave you all for a bit. *laugh* It was ridiculous. I now can read other genres, fluff and stuff but I do always return to them and they feel like home. Sort of like the show. I know you have a love of it, like I do. If you could put the five seasons in order of favourite…What order would you put them in?Hmmm…well Season 1 will likely always be my favorite as it was the one to capture me with its magic and beauty. Then I suppose I would rank them as follows: 3, 5, 2, and 4. But, honestly, it’s only a hair’s difference that separates them in my mind…I have truly enjoyed them all.

Same, same. Though I am a bit of a weirdo *shocking I know* I always seem to put the latest season as a favourite. I love them all. I hope it goes on til Diana is done with it. Is that likely? No one knows. What do you expect the future looks like for the show? *HUGE shrug* “I do get the impression that Season Six may be the last one…it is so rare for a premium television show to last longer than six seasons. I really hope I’m wrong, of course. I can definitely see a Lord John spinoff coming down the line, as well as a feature length film, similar to what Downton Abbey did.

Anything is possible, I am happy we got anything at all. Now what’s your take on the books? Any thoughts or ideas?As for the books…only Diana knows! I’m personally hoping to have all my conspiracy theories about Frank either confirmed or denied.” *wink*

Oooooh, I got some of those myself! So many things I am hoping are wrapped up all nice and neat – however, Diana has a lot more writing in her devious/delicious mind, I am sure.

Diana mind power

It is due to that deliciously devious Diana mind that we have this huge community, this fandom. Which of course is the reason why we have come into each others lives. The fandom continues to grow every day, what do you find are the greatest joys and the biggest challenges of being a part of it?I’d say the joy comes from the expansion of my world this fandom has given me. There are so many smart and thoughtful people I would have never known otherwise…present company included, of course! Of course! *snort* And I really love reading all the different opinions and takes on the episodes and characters. It’s fascinating to me that we can all watch the same thing and experience it so differently. Such is art! I think the challenges do come from that subjectivity, though. We all feel such a personal connection to Outlander that it’s hard not to be possessive of the characters and stories.

Sometimes it does get to be a lot. It is lovely to see that much of the interaction you have online is positive and really respectful.I find the engagement I get through the fandom, especially on Twitter and through my blog is very rewarding.

It’s Droughtlander time and we are all going through some fandom pains, what is your advice for us to get through this?It’s going to be a long one, isn’t it? I don’t have the most original advice…lots of reading, catching up on all the movies I’ve missed, discovering new shows, etc. I recently watched Normal People on Hulu and found it to be one of the most
beautiful shows I’ve ever seen.

Oh, Marianne and Connell absolutely broke my heart! I was bereft when I was done the last episode. Genuinely had a good sob. I was 15 again, watching that. *sigh*. It seems we have something else in common, any other shows you love?Well, like most parents of young kids, I find that most of the shows watched in our house are children-oriented. Shows I’ve loved watching or catching up on recently include Call the Midwife, The Spanish Princess, Downton Abbey, and Mad Men. They’re all essentially period dramas that provide good social commentary on their times.

That is one of the things I liked most about getting to know Tracy better. It solidified why I was drawn to her. This is a woman I personally don’t have a lot in common with, however, I admire her. We see things differently and we live contrasting existences yet we find ourselves seeking the others outlook. It really is how we grow as people, isn’t it? I want to thank Tracy for accepting the invite to be a featured guest with #TheLOVELANDERProject. If you want to follow her on twitter CLICK HERE . Fill up on some of her archived blog posts, by going back to the beginning, they age well, CLICK HERE.

Finally, our close out ABOotlanders silly Albertan question (which I am going to have to switch up soon because ya all are starting to figure them out- derp)

The ABOotlanders have invited Tracy to a fancy get together and we are letting her choose the main course.

What do you choose, Tracy? Moose Droppings, Beaver Tails, Prairie Oysters or Taber Corn?Okay, well I know what Moose Droppings are from reading your previous installments of this series. So, I won’t pick that. I have no idea what any of these are! Are Prairie Oysters the same as Rocky Mountain Oysters (testicles?). I guess I’ll be brave and pick that! See? Tracy is a smart one! That is exactly it. Prairie Oysters are bull testicles – they say they taste a lot like calamari or seasoned rubber, depending on your taste buds. This is Alberta so naturally, we have a Testicle Festival. That is not MY fault, Tracy picked this one.

Now with that wonderful thought in your head and taste in your mouth, I leave you with this. I do hope the fandom sees how truly lucky we are to have people such as Tracy in our orbit. She ‘overthinks Outlander for the masses’ so we can take a look through another window. When we take the time to see the different shades in a painting it creates a depth we may have missed.

Thank you so much for joining me for another edition of #TheLOVELANERProject. I have a great line-up that includes other fan accounts, cast members et al. in order to keep our gullets quenched during this Droughlander.

Until next time,

Sher xo

The L🖤VELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space Edition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist

ABOotlander L🖤ve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley






Fear. My last ‘not a recap’ for Outlander Season 5. Never My Love.

Whether we were captivated or horrified by Outlander’s season finale, Never My Love, I believe we can agree that it had an impact.

I debated whether I would write about this episode, I also had an inner dialogue if I’d go my regular route of running further afield. Should I break my streak and face real talk? I have a rather, let’s say, intimate relationship with sexual assault and rape. I have spoken of it pretty openly.  In my 30’s, I spent time working as a victim services coordinator which gave me an opportunity to sit with, walk beside and rage alongside women in impossible circumstances. Rape should never be brushed away. It happens often in our society now, we know damn well it happened in the past. In fact, it happened so often that it wasn’t even considered rape. It was considered a right by the aggressor and a duty by the victim. I decided not to take a deep dive there, this time. Droughtlander is going to be long, I  do have some things I want to say and I will because I have plenty of time.

The finale was steeped in fear. I know we all have different ideas of what fear is. Motivational speakers like to say fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”, and hey, I’m not knocking that mindset, hell, I have said it myself BUT when you have a boot being swung at your head that’s fucking scary and real, there is a legitimate reason to fear that.

Fear, like many things in this life – isn’t simple.

The series of events we witnessed were spurned by the deep-seated fears that Lionel Brown had. Before someone thinks I am defending that piece of flaming garbage, I am not. People act with violence ‘because of’ and Lionel was acting through his hate for Claire and everything she was/represented. That hate constructed a fear he felt powerless with. In order to gain some dominance he recruited and included other men. This gave him the impression of strength and control. All the while, his fear and hate continued to build because Claire refused to cower to him.

Sadly, we can see this in ourselves. Naturally, the degree that Brown hits isn’t the norm for most of us🤞🏻 . When we ‘hate’ someone, that is mostly predicated by a perceived threat (or because someone we trust has told us we should).  We may feel inadequate, powerless or somehow ashamed when we are exposed to them. Those feelings can cause us to lash out.

In Lionel’s case, they are exhibited in violent acts and rage. We aren’t complete misogynist slime balls so we react in a less vicious manner. We may be passive-aggressive, withhold kindness, gossip or spread rumours. It is a usual tactic to try and turn others against those who we have had felt threatened by, Lionel did exactly that with his men.

Lionel thought he had power over Claire when all along, she had power over him. Did it matter that Lionel’s wife refused his bed? No. He would beat her and raped her anyway.  Did it matter that Claire made eye contact with him and called him out on shooting a man in the back? Not really, her accusations held no water legally. None of these things truly changed Lionel’s life BUT he invented Claire being a personal threat to him. He created that narrative and brought his friends along for the ride because when we get others to join in our treachery it validates it.

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The big bad girl scared all of them with her big brain.

Let’s face it, spreading hate is especially easy when the one person fighting against it, is bound, gagged, beaten and raped into submission. When this kind of fear/hate finds it target, it becomes emboldened and so do those who follow it. When their target falls they use this as fuel for their hate.

This is something that we see regularly. Those who are oppressed, have to fight harder, be louder and they are still consistently beaten into silence – yet – they don’t give up.  Those who are bullied, beaten, shot, denied work, incarcerated and forced to sit at tables alone…think about it. We see it on Outlander on a dramatic scale, when we travel to the other points on the spectrum, there you will find us. It’s the human condition and not all of it is pleasant to look at.

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No matter what side we are on, it’s embarrassing to be ‘in’ this society sometimes.

The show writers made it easy to despise Lionel. We don’t really give a shit if he was afraid of Claire, do we? That’s his own shrivelled up masculinity, too bad he couldn’t keep it to himself.  All we wanted to see was that he and his buddies were punished.

The reality of that punishment, in this story, is that would also come from fear. I wanted to look at 2 of the characters that truly used their fear as fuel.  This is why being aware of the scope of emotion is so important, why looking at life in black and white can be dangerous.

Marsali and Roger both used their fear as fuel.  Marsali, has become aware of her worth as a women in a world that doesn’t especially find worth in her. This man not only threatened her and the child she carried by assaulting her, he tormented and raped her Ma. Brown was laying in the room with her, threatening to kill everyone on the ridge. Her experience with him tells her that he is not lying. These are not threats, these are promises. Marsali is not willing to live with this fear, she ends it the only way she can. I could hear the cheers across the Outlander fandom.

We have the ability to do the same in our lives. No, I am not advocating jabbing a big ole needle full of poison into someones neck, that’s pushin’ it.

Imagine for a moment, we have that person who is in our life that is constantly forcing toxicity into our life. We listen, take it in, allow it to seep into our days because we fear the fall out if we stop engaging.  I know many of us can relate to this, afraid to hurt feeling. Confrontation is hard. Yet, here we allow ourselves to go through the stress for a harmful relationship out of fear of hurting the feelings of someone we don’t respect or even like. We need to love ourselves more than that.

Roger. Deep down is a pacifist but his fear was clearly build from love. His fear was for Claire and her safety. He used this to push through his natural instinct to be a man of peace, to fight for his family.  We will find this with mothers and fathers regarding their children. It is why I was so happy to see Outlander utilize Roger in this way. His nature is not one of violence, yet, for his family, for the woman who is very much a mother to him, he will do whatever it takes. Even if it means stepping over a line that he will never forget crossing.  We have those moments too, we are so terrified, we don’t know if we can do something, yet we do.  Getting married, having kids, getting on that roller coaster, taking that promotion, buying that house, moving across the country, getting a divorce, getting help for that thing we don’t want anyone to know about.  No matter what it is, if we think it is worth going for, we will push through that fear and do it.

This fear thing, we all live with it. It’s an emotion that we can learn to manage, understand and even embrace.

Now gimme a HUG! We all need it after this season. Let’s try and get through Droughtlander without too many injuries, eh?

Sher xo

I’m not going anywhere during Droughtlander. I have some fun things up my sleeve so staytuned my Twitter account and this blog!

Our REDBUBBLE STORE is open.  You will find some fun #Droughtlander designs there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

A Whisper In Our Ear. What I heard during Ep06 of #Outlander. My ‘not a recap’.

Better to Marry than Burn was another one of those episodes that had a whole lot going on – on top and under the surface.  There is much discussion and given the state of the world right now, I think people may be shaking out some frustration.  I get it.  This is a stressful time. We need stress balls, outlets of energy. SQUEEZE ME!

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That might work.

In reference to episode 6 of season 5, we witnessed some heartbreaking, inspiring, fury inducing and puzzling actions – all ignited by the whispers our characters were reacting to. You know the whispers I am talking about as you have heard them yourself.  The ones that influence our thoughts, the decisions we make and assist us in, hopefully, not repeating past mistakes.

Let’s look at Roger first, tough job, someone’s gotta do it.😘 He and Brianna, domesticity personified with a sick little one, when suddenly the heavens open up and BOOM – grasshoppers!  (I know, I know, locusts)  We see the concern along with the hesitation that takes over Roger. He struggles with what to do about the predicament that has flown straight over the ridge, quite literally.  Tiring of racking his brain for solutions, he quiets his mind, he hears the whispers of his childhood.

The stories his father used to tell him.  Smoke and locusts, this not only stirs a theory of how to battle this beast they face but it connects him to the world he once lived in.  This place of warmth. Where he was once being cared for, read to and loved.  Those moments, when we reach back to them can fortify us.  They give us knowledge that we have carried into our lives and we are able to use it to help those we love. For those who lived lives with parents who may not have given the love and nurturing they needed, those whispers maybe the daily nudges of ‘my family will be different’.

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Show’em you love ’em

For Roger’s story, it is a beautiful moment of fulfillment. The folks of the ridge seemed to lack the ability to organize themselves, looking to him to come up with a plan.  When he does, the satisfaction he feels isn’t just for himself or his family. These actions he has taken have made a true difference in the history of what happens on Fraser’s Ridge. This wasn’t a day’s work of fixing a fence as he mentioned but the diversion of a disaster.

With that being said, do we thank the Reverend Wakefield for telling Roger the story of the smoke and locusts or give credit where credit is due?  With Roger, for remembering the story, for carrying it with him and for using it to formulate a plan of action when it mattered the most.

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Yes…YOU!

There was another character who had the past whispering to her and many  (by the chatter online) were annoyed by it. Claire still wears the wedding band that she wore while married to Frank. It is always a good thing to recall, Claire was a person before Jamie came into her world. She had a life whether or not other people approve, isn’t the point. She was married to Frank when she got flung back 200 years.  Last week I wrote about guilt and how it weighs us down. 

It makes sense to me that Claire has a piece of her that is holding onto that last tangible vestige of her previous life with Frank. She did love him, once. The second portion of their marriage wasn’t easy being built around Brianna. Claire spent a great deal of her time focusing on her career and we saw that as much as she tried to put Frank back into the husband role, it wasn’t and couldn’t be the same as it was. Those whispers of ‘you owe him this much, at least’ must be loud.

Imagine being her for a moment. Claire found deep happiness with Jamie, yet she spent 20 additional yrs married to Frank – fantasizing about Jamie. That is a lot to come to terms with and Frank’s ring isn’t just a wedding ring. It’s an homage to two decades of shared sacrifice. It’s a reminder of his dedication to Brianna and in turn, to Claire, as shaky as that may have been sometimes.  Claire isn’t attached to Frank, she is attached to all that he gave her. Peace of mind while she achieved the career she aspired to, a loving father for her daughter and eventually, a husband that didn’t ask more of her than she was willing to give.

There are things we hold onto in our life that represent people or moments that we feel if we let them go, we would be doing a disservice to them. Those small tokens bring us comfort and possibly silences those whispers of “Remember me???” Without them, we fear the whispers will turn into thundering bellows we would never be able to silence.

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Just. Shut. Up!

Jocasta was the character in our story who took her whispers as life lessons. She has heard hers for decades, they have kept her heart safe from shattering again. So far. Murtagh and his sly silver fox ways managed to sneak past her guard and we can see she fell in love with him but knew that his love would not be something she could allow herself in the long run.

Jocasta hears the voices of her daughters, now long gone. Those words, only she hears and she uses them to keep her path clear for the times ahead. Nothing will ever fill the space they left, she knows that. The fleeting moments of happiness she felt in the arms of a man she fell in love with, they happened, yet she knew the limits of her future because of the past she survived.

Some say love is worth it, though I believe Jocasta knows peace has greater value to her. That is as a result of her listening to those voices reminding her of all of the pain she experienced due to another’s choices. Being in control of that is precious, especially at a time in her life when she feels she is not in the prime of it.

The older we get, we tend to run out energy to please others. These days people say they have no fucks left to give. It’s true. Coming to see that they’ve spent a good portion of their lives giving up parts of themselves to make others happier, richer or making someone else’s lives easier while theirs were being sacrificed in some way.  This leaves them in their, so-called, golden years wanting to achieve the thing they crave the most.

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Nailed It!

We see very clearly that yes, Jocasta does love Murtagh, she would find some happiness with him. She is intelligent enough to know that happiness would be mixed with uncertainty and head butting – they are from two contrasting worlds and the relationship involves more heartache than she could take.  She also promised herself something. The promise of not giving her heart to another man like Hector (who is willing to lose everything for something he believes in). It is that constant whisper, reminding her of the pain she has endured throughout her life and continues to suffer due to those men and their choices.  She has the power to not go through that again. Does it hurt her? Yes. It also gives her the strength to say “I will stop it now before I fall deeper and lose who I am to this.”

Her whispers guide her, they come with trauma, they come with the memory of her daughters. They come with the pain of seeing her youngest killed at the hands of her husband in the protection of something material.  These emotions are mixed up with Jocasta’s whispers of if she even deserves happiness. Perhaps peace is the most she feels worthy of. I believe Jocasta is capable of receiving love, happiness and peace.  I do, sadly, agree with her. As much as I am team #Murcasta, with her history and knowledge of the kind of man she can be happy with, it won’t be Murtagh.  It probably won’t be Duncan either. I mean #Duncasta? It sounds like a super lame carnival game and #Jocan…ya gotta be. 

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Super lame…no passion for the game.

We can only hope Jocasta finds the peace she craves.

There may be times in our lives when things like plagues, past relationships and current loves unsettle us. We will take the time to listen, contemplate our actions and do our best to move in a direction that makes sense to us.

I hope that those reading this know, there are many with you if you are alone with your whispers.  I am sending you all love, peace and strength during these uncertain times. Lean on those you love and if you are struggling, reach out. I’m here.

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Get in here…

Sher xo

Don’t forget we live-tweet while viewing W Networks airing at 7pm MT. Sunday nights using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

The Weight of Guilt. My ‘not a recap’ look into Ep05 of #Outlander. Perpetual Adoration.

Outlander continues the story with another fast-paced and visually interesting episode and the whole thing is POPPIN’ for me.  The combination of Perpetual Adoration’s softness and grit was something I found all together satisfying.

This episode was alive with undertones I could have chosen for this blog.  Normally I gravitate to what sits beneath the surface and give it a tug. This time guilt pulled at me from every corner.

Every human (who is not 100% psychopath) is familiar with that feeling. No matter how righteous, how good or well-intentioned we may be, we’ve all felt guilty about something.  Guilt is shown in different ways, as we saw in our characters and we know by looking at ourselves, honestly.

The story of one man’s death encapsulated the episode for Claire. There was a heaviness she carried when Graham Menzie’s died, which spurned her actions to head to the UK and interestingly enough, into the past.

She, of course, couldn’t have predicted his death as all precautions had been taken.  We can’t count on logic to keep guilty feelings at bay, the gut/brain connection just doesn’t work that way.

Plenty of us sit with those feelings. What could we have done? If we had only…the should’ves, could’ves and would’ves that we think may have changed the trajectory of what might have happened.  We hold them over our heads with guilt because we didn’t take the actions that we have had all the time in the world to contemplate after the fact.

It’s really unfair, this game we play. No one ever wins. We can replay as many scenarios as we want, that particular moment has passed. We humans need to learn how to forgive ourselves as fast as we have taught ourselves to take on unnecessary guilt.

When Claire was speaking to Joe, it was apparent. She blames herself for getting attached to her patient and like a good friend, he smacks her with a reality check.  Our lives would be much less complicated if we cut ourselves a break, especially with those things that we can’t control. Particularly after the fact.

Pain is to the body as stress is to the mind, and guilt is to the spirit.

One of the characters I have come to truly love is Brianna. In her, I see the combination of the above quote so clearly, especially in this episode.

She literally feels her guilt, whether it is something we believe she should be feeling, she does. When something is said to her that strikes her deep, she folds in on herself. It’s as if something knocks her in the belly. Next time you watch, you will see Bree react physically to the words that connect to those feelings if you hadn’t picked up on it before. (Kudos again to Sophie Skelton for making those subtle yet strong notes for the character)

Ofttimes when we feel guilt it isn’t because we have done something against someone intentionally.  We end up in a space where we see our choices, as innocent as they may have been, caused pain to someone when we didn’t intend them to.

Bree’s guilt comes from not telling Roger the truth about the visit with Bonnet and all that came with it because it was a lot. Did she have good reason to not tell him?  Yes. Did the guilt gnaw at her? I think that was apparent.  Unburdening ourselves of the things we feel guilty about doesn’t always make us feel better though.  That, my friends, is life. Guilt causes internal pain because it’s messy and complicated. As with all other hurts, it takes time to heal.

Bree’s regret was evident. Telling Bonnet he was Jemmy’s father was something she now wished she could take back. She thought he was going to die and take her words with him.  Since he didn’t, she now must live with him knowing this information she doesn’t want to be true. More often than not, with regret comes guilt. It’s painful seeing her go through this as Brianna deserves to be free. SunnuvaBonnet has done nothing to deserve all the space he takes up in her world. 

How much guilt should we feel when we do something we know is wrong?  Is there a scale? Should others tell us the appropriate amount of guilt we should exhibit by the level of our misdeed?  Also, should we project that guilt for everyone to see?  If your neighbour knows you did a baaad baaad thing – do you make sure you look really guilty or do you walk around like you haven’t done a damn thing? 

We are now talking about Jamie.  He obviously did a pretty bad thing by killing Knox. Did he have a good reason? He thinks so (I agree). He was going to be handed over as a traitor to the Crown, likely hanged and his family/those on the ridge removed to frig knows where. It was kill or have everyone you love scattered three sheets to the wind AND be killed. 

Jamie is no stranger to the murder game. He started his career as a ‘bloody man’ pretty young in life. He killed his own uncle when Dougal caught him being a ‘traitor’.  Traitor might be Jamie’s trigger word. Call him that, he is going to turn off your lights for you.

He has killed his fair share of men in the service of protecting his family and his beliefs.  Does he feel guilt for it?  I don’t think he feels great about it however, I think Jamie compartmentalizes it. Guilt does exist for him but it’s the guilt he uses as penance. He knows what he needs to feel in order to pay for what he has done.  It is a logical pain that he carries with him. Will he show it the same way that Brianna/Claire/Roger does? No, because he married this particular kind of guilt early in his life. If he allowed it to affect him with great waves of emotion it would stop him from doing the things he needs to do. We don’t always need to see someone’s guilt to know they carry it. We only need to know they are a decent human being. 

There are plenty of us out here that have done things, admittedly on a smaller scale than, you know, murder, that we keep close to the vest. We know that our guilt may be the price we pay for the action, the secret or the lie.  That is ultimately our choice and it isn’t always a bad thing. 

People may like to believe the only way to be a good human is to be 100% honest with everyone and share exactly how we feel at all times.

That isn’t the most fitting method for everyone. Once and a while, the best people keep their mouths shut and what they are feeling to themselves. It’s almost a superpower.  

Ultimately, we determine the weight of the guilt we carry. We can also bring in someone to help us lug it around just by talking about it.  It doesn’t have to be someone involved. It can be anyone to help us take a load off for a while.   

That is why Claire had Joe, Brianna had Roger and Jamie had Adso. I mean, that kitten was pretty conveniently placed, wasn’t he?

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Adso, Jamie’s immediate emotional support animal.

And you…me…we have each other. Many of us are spending much more time at home these days so I encourage you to check out other points of view about Outlander. I find other’s views of the show fascinating, especially when put together in a way that is respectful to others and spoken from a place of sharing. These are some of my favourite people who do this in the land of the interwebs, check out their websites/blogs/vlogs/chats.

Outcandour gives a brilliant, deep dive into the episodes. There is always something about the way she dissects the episode that resonates with me. I don’t tap into the same spaces she does, I end up reading them twice. I ALWAYS end up watching the episode after reading her blog, I then read it again after watching. It’s like a loop! So if I seem dizzy, blame it on T. 😘

Beth’s recaps/reflections are very different from my ‘not recaps and I love them because of that. So well written and I adore how she explains her views, helpful for those who see things from other perspectives. To me, that is the point of sharing our thoughts, not to be an echo chamber for people who agree with us but to help one another stretch a little.  Not necessarily to change people’s opinions but to have them see things from another person’s lens. I get to do that a lot with Beth and I admire her.

Erin from Three if by Space covers so many great shows so Three if by Space will keep you busy if you want busy. It’s her reviews of Outlander that I read most of course. I don’t read many reviews bc as you all know, I’m a happy finder. I want happy happy happy, even though Erin doesn’t pull any punches in her reviews, she writes with integrity. I don’t always see eye to eye with her (not just cuz she’s tiny…she IS tiny) but that isn’t the point. She expresses herself with honesty and isn’t a dick about it. I really enjoy smart people. So…I enjoy Erin, very much. 

Blacklanderz ~Vida puts together some wicked conversations, in print, between members of the Blacklanderz community. I find them fascinating. Not only do I see things from more than one perspective but I often learn things. I don’t claim to be anything other than who I am. I am a middle class, privileged, white woman. That is the lens I see through. Do I try my damned best to listen and be an ally to POC? Yes. Do I always get it right? Nope! Sitting with the community that Vida has created here, is pretty damned impressive.

Courtney and Company, from Outlander BTS. Oh, they make me smile.  They are another group of really friggen smart women that get together to talk about the episodes. I don’t always agree with them but holy shit, do I respect them. The beauty of their video discussion is they don’t always agree with each other and like the adults they are they keep the discussion going. I’m not relegating anyone here…Courtney has the most adorable dimples to go with her delightful brain, you just get the best of all the goodness.

I know there are many others, if you have a favourite, please add them to the comments. I think it would be nice to support one another in our Outlander adventures rather than get all wrapped up in things that might not bring us joy. The world is going all kinds of everything out there – we know it, we are doing what we can to stay healthy- maybe this will help us stay sane(ish).

Be well – virtual hugs…6 ft apart eh?

Sher xo

Don’t forget to live tweet with us Canadians while watching W Network at 7pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

 

Before and After. Episode 4 of #Outlander and the thoughts that kept me company.

There is so much happening in season 5 of Outlander, it seems each episode flies by so quickly.

Last week hit a whole lot of nerves, as you might have been able to tell.  I spent many years working with victims of violence. I was only a footnote in their worlds yet they all have impacted me beyond words.  My ‘life lens’ focused it’s energy there.

While watching ‘The Company We Keep’ I was able to take a large step back to see it from the stands.  There were so many moving parts in this episode, I found all of them interesting, entertaining and I believe we can appreciate them as story building.

My mental thread was weaving through the characters and their stories.

We are seeing clear lines of their before and after pictures. I suspect we can define our own.

For some, it is a before and after

  • college

  • marriage

  • children

  • the death of a loved one

  • a traumatic event

  • a joyful event

  • physical transformation

You get what I am saying. We have those moments in our lives that define ‘breaks’ in who we once were and who we now are.  We were reminded of those moments numerous times with our Outlander family, both on the ridge and on the road.

I have this feeling that we will be looking at season 5 through the B.B and A.B eye. Before Brownsville and After Brownsville.  There is a very heavy feeling around that town, owned and occupied by the Brown family.  Dank murkiness doesn’t only describe the landscape but the patriarchy taking place there.

Roger became a Captain of the militia at the ridge, however, it was this trip to Brownsville where he discovered what being a Captain truly was. Its Outlander, nothing goes as planned. Roger was put in a position to test his improvisation skills. He didn’t botch the job, he went with what he knew. Whisky and song. 2 thumbs up from me.

As Brownsville is a tipping point for viewers, it is for Roger as well. Apart from the fact he was sent to escort Claire and the twins back to the ridge, it was in Brownsville that Roger became Captain MacKenzie of the Fraser militia. He was shot at, negotiated terms and announced to everyone within earshot HE was Captain MacKenzie. This was it. Remember that time in your life? When you had ‘that moment’. When you stepped up and into a position, you weren’t entirely sure about but once you said it out loud, it was finally real?

Josiah and Kezzie, those boys have obvious before and after pictures.  The before was dark and filled with the pain of neglect and abuse while the after is yet to be seen. We know though, not because of the books, because any life after what they have been through will be better. Especially in the hands of those on Fraser’s Ridge.  Picture having a ‘Family lottery’ and the Fraser’s are the grand prize – yup – Josiah and Kezzie won, big time.  This is most assuredly a case of they deserve this win.

 I will wonder out loud for you. Where do you believe Jamie and Claire’s collective ‘before and after’ is? They do have important ones in their lives, individually and together that have shaped the humans they are now.  I am curious about what YOU think.

In my view, one of Claire and Jamie’s largest before/after pictures is ‘before Bree showed up in the 1700s and after Bree showed up in the 1700’s’.  Their relationship shifted to a new level.  They started seeing one another differently and the dynamics in their relationship varied more than we had seen previously.

I’m interested in your take. I hope you share it in the comments.

We have seen Brianna through some darkness and each week, the looming knowledge of that SunnuvaBonnet is out there. Inching closer. This version of before and after of Bree will not last forever, however, the foreseeable future we have Bree before Bonnet and after. Bree was always determined and filled with a fire that wasn’t easily put out. Those things haven’t changed.  Her ‘after Bonnet’ self is turned up for lack of a better term.  She is hyper-aware of her surroundings, it seems as if she wears part of her inside on the outside. Feel things sharper, sees things in higher contrast and hears in higher pitches.  To those living on the outside of Bree, they seldom seem noticeable, as she is undoubtedly doing her best to keep on the inside. This task of hers is particularly painful. Essentially, the nerves are on the outside while being covered by a sheet of thin muslin that is only protected by her ability to keep it from slipping off.

Those who have suffered a trauma, such as rape, know that the assault itself is different than the post-trauma.  That it goes beyond the physical and the initial emotional damage that was done. Brianna may have worked through some of hers in the time between believing SunnuvaBonnet was dead and finding out he was not.  The latter would be what we call a triggering moment. Triggers are very real and can bring us immediately back to our traumatic event, sometimes causing the process to start all over again. Brianna overhearing Bonnet was still alive builds the real fear is that he will attempt to find her in order to get to Jemmy. We can only hope that Bree shares her anxiety with those who care about her.  I have said it before, just because we can do it alone, doesn’t mean we should. 

I can see many Outlander viewers relating to our ‘after Bree’. Living with the agony of sexual assault in any form can be overwhelming.  We may be comforted while watching, being reminded we aren’t alone. There is also the possibility of being triggered, seeing our own traumas reflected back at us. The only true advice I have is, take care of that piece of who you are. Nurture them. Remind them they deserve kindness, compassion and love.  And then…give it to them.

We all have our ‘before and after’ stories. For some, there are many, lives being in a state of constant change.  Others have that moment that created such a shock it sent them spinning and there is no denying it changed everything. Either way, we become who we are not only as a result of what happens to us but how we process/see/react to it.

It is my hope that we all take the time to cherish who we have become. We are worth it.

Sher x

I still do try to LiveTweet with the W Network 7 pm MST airing of Outlander using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN (missed The Company We Keep) but have high hopes for next weeks, Perpetual Adoration!

 

Are we the villain in someone’s story? A self-examination after ‘Between Two Fires’ S05E02

Between Two Fires, has brought us a very different look than the first of the season. Basically, shit is getting real.  Once the final scene cut to black I said out loud “What? That was an hour?”  You know by now, I don’t do recaps but I do take something I noticed in the episode and dissect it.

Speaking of dissection – yes, I will be talking about Claire and her being elbows deep in Mr. F but I really think we need to start with Murtagh.

There were a lot of people talking about how they hated seeing Murtagh involved in the tar and feathering of political figures in Hillsborough. I was one, then I thought about it. Murtagh is the same man he always was. He decapitated Sandringham, ffs (we cheered), he cracked the skulls of MANY (also, cue us, cheering) and he has killed all manner of men.  We as viewers always saw the other people as the ‘bad guy’.  The villains.  We justified Murtagh’s actions and that was the difference.

This time, we didn’t know these men being tortured. The townspeople and the Regulators did. They know them as the political figureheads that took away their homes and overtaxed them. They are the elitists that live in luxury while they struggle to feed their families.  We sat back horrified that these men were maimed. The reason being, we had empathy for them. Whereas the Regulators, with Murtagh at the lead, were exacting revenge for themselves and those families. To them, completely justifiable.

This can open our eyes to our own worlds. How many times have we gotten into situations where people have thought of us as the ‘bad guy’ when we were only doing what we thought was right and/or the best for our family? We weren’t doing it against anyone but we were doing it for ourselves.  Some have a very hard time separating themselves from other people’s lives and understanding other’s decisions aren’t about them.

Jamie, for instance. The Regulator’s that were imprisoned, he freed them, they still questioned his motives.  They did so because they couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact he let them go because of his own conscience. His need to do something for what in his heart he knew was right.  Ultimately, he doesn’t care what these men think of him. What he thinks of himself is his paramount concern. He is mindful that he is a villain to these men. His willingness to be seen as less than, in their eyes, is what he is ready to do. For Jamie, the end justifies the means. I believe that particular phrase will play very heavily in Jamie’s story this season.

It has been my experience, “There are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle, lays the truth.”  This isn’t because everyone is a liar, it is because people naturally put their lens on and tell their story through it. It is what makes us…us. The story is our truth.

It does give me a chuckle when it is said, “They only told you their side of things”  Well, of course, they did, whose side are they going tell?  There will be instances in everyone’s life where relationships were ended because of horrible circumstances where someone was CLEARLY at fault. The interesting bit, I assure you, is both sides will claim the other to be the bad guy and the clincher will be convincing arguments from both sides. Will one be very skewed?  Unquestionably.

When we think of these instances, we would like to think we would be unbiased when it comes to seeing who is culpable.  Being completely truthful, we often side with the person we care about the most. This will be the one we feel the most empathy for. No matter what the argument is, the story they tell, how convincing the tale told, we will choose to trust the person we want to, not always the person that is right. That is one of those horse-pills to swallow.

A very small moment in ‘Between Two Fires’ gave us a situation in which we can see this clearly.

A man, with his family, taking a break from travelling and stretching their legs. On the road comes a huge group of mostly red-coated soldiers. Not a word is exchanged but the soldier near the head of the pack throws coins at a child’s feet. Insulted by this action, the man spat in the direction of the soldier.

From the man’s perspective. This soldier does not know him or his family’s circumstances,  the assumption he needs or wants the soldier’s coin is insulting. To throw it at his child’s feet takes it a step further to be degrading. This is why the man spits in his direction. It tells the soldier what he thinks of his ‘charity’.

  • Others in this man’s shoes (even Jamie) would feel this insult and understand why this man would be upset by Lt. Knox’s actions. Some may even say they would have done worse than spit at him.  We know the bravado society puts after the fact.

From Lt. Knox’s perspective, a poor helpless family is needing assistance so he tossed them some coin he had on hand. It obviously wasn’t enough for them and the father spat at him. It was ungracious and disrespectful.  His obvious generosity was a caring act to be commended, the man and his family should have thanked him for this good deed.

  • The soldier’s and elitists in Lt. Knox’s company would see the situation exactly as he does. The reason? a) the soldiers because going against what their commanding officer says can pose a problem, so follow and agree. b) seeing themselves doing the same thing Knox has done, would feel exactly the same privilege.

The truth…

Lt. Knox is as thick as a brick so he is offended that this man couldn’t see his generosity. He was literally so high on his horse, he missed the fact this family was asking for nothing. He saw himself as superior to them and he chose to give them money.  Not just ‘give’ it to them but throw it at their feet. This was not an act of kindness but more an act of power.  Expecting thanks and accolades for such a deed is pure arrogance.

There are small instances such as theses in our everyday. Telling someone to smile, not saying excuse me when we bump into somebody, moralizing and proclaiming to others “I don’t see colour”. Sure, using the word “villain” does seem extreme, however, things like those mentioned can really mess up ours, or someone else’s day. The examples were more along the lines of being the type of person that makes others feel better when we aren’t around. Micro-villains, I prefer that.

My mother used to say “If it quacks…it’s a DUCK!” She didn’t waste her didn’t time with “if it walks like a …” stuff.  We know on Outlander, the whole “People show you who they are,” adage can be tricky.

Take Claire, she is working very hard to bring her knowledge of modern medicine into the past. Whipping up concoctions of this weird sounding ‘peniwhosiwhatsit’ that is supposed to cure all sorts of sickness. (I know what it is, I’m pretending to be from the 1700s and hearing the word…work with me)  You can imagine what prying ears might hear. Or, lawd-have-mercy, what they might see. Like the body of a man that apparently was buried, now with his chest cracked open and his giblets laying all over the place.

Claire’s acutely aware that what she is doing would be seen as sacrilegious, macabre and downright inconceivable. Which means, Claire, our heroine, the matriarch of Outlander if standing in the middle of her community being 100% herself would be 100% a villain in the eyes of those around her.  Given the people, the times, their education and knowledge of things that are – their perception would be altogether accurate.

Mrs. Bug thinks the woman is mad, hoarding all this bread to make some magic medicine! Imagine if she saw this poor chopped up man in Claire’s surgery.  What we have to admit, unless you truly love Claire, understand what she does, how legitimately intelligent and medically knowledgable she is, the things she does in the world she lives in would never be perceived as anything BUT evil.

Hard to wrap your mind around it isn’t it? Thinking of Claire as a villain.  While you are giving a go at those mental gymnastics, I want you to think of this – Stephen Bonnet as the hero.

WHAT THE ACTUAL F??? Yeah, me…I said that. I know…I know.  We all know how deplorable the man is and of course, he is a villain. The worst kind. THE villain.

The truth of the matter is, Bonnet doesn’t think so.  Get what I am saying?  Most people who we see as villains have no problem at all seeing themselves as heroes. They have zero qualms with excusing their behaviour as justified and often blame others for forcing their hand.

This describes Bonnet. Seeing him in Between Two Fires sent shivers down my spine. Yup, he has still got IT. That thing that makes your skin want to crawl off of your bones and run away from home. Every nasty thing that SunnuvaBonnet does, he justifies.

Rationalizing behaviour like this gives us permission to a) repeat it b) excuse it.  My point is, frequently those who so many of us see as the villain – will never see it themselves.  That is why they exist in the first place.  Those that have a measure of empathy and compassion – have the capacity to change.

As I sat with my own thoughts on this whole villain concept, I’m conscious of being the villain in other people’s stories. For some, I have made peace with that. It isn’t possible to alter their perceptions of me and for another, I don’t want that responsibility. I would rather be the perceived villain in our story than open the door to the chaos that created the situation.  For others, it makes me sad and embarrassed that I know I could have behaved in a different way. As a consequence, the story may have had a happier ending.

How many times have we justified our actions? Whether they were out of anger, self-preservation or ego?  I don’t know about you but my honest self says more times than I like to admit. Justifying something doesn’t mean we were right to do it, it only means we excused our actions at the time and painted ourselves on the “right” side.

The most interesting things cause us to sit back and look at the world, others and our own actions. This week it was this nugget of how we are seen through other’s eyes.  We can say we don’t care, some don’t. Some, care too much. Maybe if we were all just a little more aware, it would make us a little kinder to one another.

Boy, I hope I find something FUN to talk about in next week’s episode.  I am sure you do too.

Sher XO

PS – Don’t forget to join us as we livetweet to the W Network airing in Canada at 7 pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

Silence can be so loud. What I ‘heard’ during The Fiery Cross. S05E01.

Wow.

That was worth the wait, wasn’t it?  Wedding, weeping and wtf’s. Outlander is back and it means business.

Even though many watched the opening scene over and over again in previews, it took on new meaning once we viewed the final moments of the show. (Yet another reason we fans should reserve judgement until we see all the things in context.)

We can appreciate the deeper meaning when the episode is complete. In the opening we see Murtagh, (beautifully played by Duncan Lacroix) upon his knee, giving his oath, taking the weight of the world from this young boy.jamiemurtagh

 

The episode ending with that boy, now a man, on his own knee, with the weight of the world back upon him.

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Young Jamie said nothing to Murtagh as a child, yet, we knew the gratitude and the love he felt for this man.  When Murtagh and Jamie finally parted, there were no “I love you’s, I will miss you’s, I shall never forget you’s and all you have done for me’s.”  All of these, simply were. The silence between them was loud and busy with all of these things. With no end to the words needed said, best to say none. My poor heart came out of my chest and rolled around on the floor.

We can internalize the gravity of that particular parting. What makes me feel the greatest amount of empathy for Jamie is his loss of his protector.  Of course, Jamie is a capable, responsible and grown-ass man but don’t we all hold onto a part of the child inside of us? Especially those who have trauma in our past?  Young Jamie lost his mother and brother (not to mention the baby his mother lost during childbirth), this is when Murtagh stepped up and into that guardian role to Jamie. This is why the pain of having to release him of his oath was so painful.  Jamie didn’t want to. The child in Jamie still needs Murtagh whereas the man Jamie has become, can’t have him. Once again, proving LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

No matter how old we get, the protectors of our youth are chained to a piece of our very being.  I believe that child remains inside of us, never growing up or having the feelings/logic our adult mind possesses. As a consequence when faced with that loss, it is with our child’s heart, we grieve.  It explains why it is so incredibly painful when we lose those we loved dearly when we were children.

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The perfect visual.      Click for Source

Sam Heughan’s performance in this episode, as a whole was impressive. The last scene chewed me up and spit me out.

Murtagh and Jocasta – the fans lovingly call them #Murcosta. Didn’t we just get these two hot seniors?  They’re perhaps an unlikely pair but I do love them together. They offered one another a soft place to land.  Murtagh, after a lifetime of fighting, his guts/heart and mind are called to it again, this time he is in the driver’s seat. He doesn’t have time to be banging boots with Ms. Jo.  We know, they both get this. 

Jocasta broke the news, rather deliberately, that Duncan Innes proposed marriage to her. Murtagh seemed to be thinking ‘Good time to let her go without too much pain involved’, told her straight up he wouldn’t stand in the way of her happiness. This is where we can give Maria Doyle-Kennedy all the awards. The look on Jocasta’s face only altered in the slightest of ways, the slip of her fingers from his, without a word we knew that Murtagh was her happiness. She would have held on to him had he asked or given any indication that was possible. He didn’t and we felt that because of Jocasta’s silent but instinctual reaction. Maria Doyle Kennedy is so. damn. good.

Lord Yumm Gorgeous. Ummm, John Grey. Excuse me. I get confused, my LAWD that man is beautiful! David Berry is my favourite produce.

We didn’t get to hear too much from him in the episode. That is the whole point of this blog though, isn’t it? Those silent moments that were captured throughout the wedding are what touched us. Unrequited love is something most humans can relate to.  We know that LJG loves Jamie ergo whenever we see him alone and silently observing it can be painful. We know even if he did find love with someone, he would never be able to openly express it. Thanks, backwards 18th-century small-mindedness! 🙄 LJG is intelligent, pragmatic and above all, he knows where he stands with the Fraser’s. He is quite the extraordinary man who allows his own feelings to take a back seat to be the best BFF to them all. 😍

Our last moment had LJG next to John Quincy Myers,  with the latter passing out cold beside him – which was hilarious. The juxtaposition was Lord John, sitting alone in the dark, drink in hand. This wasn’t funny or fun anymore. I felt the urge to cuddle him. Not just because he is a scrumptious yummy bite of sweetness. It was a sad silence that I think many of us want to fill for him.

Even though there are other moments, I want to focus the rest of my attention on Brianna.  Her quiet demeanour, in the beginning, was beautiful and what so many brides go through on their wedding day.  Her silent moments built her strength in this episode. Oh, I know, people may want to slap me for saying that.

Here is a woman, carrying her pain in silence. The question is why?  Is she carrying it in silence because she doesn’t want to burden others with it? Is she carrying it in silence because she has already done a lot of the work and now, she is continuing to process? Is she learning how to function with these emotions? Is this yet another step in the healing of PTSD that comes from being a victim of sexual violence?

We or Brianna can feel safe in answering yes to all of those and would be 100% accurate.  Some may argue, “That is what family is for”, “You need to share with your partner”.  Those arguments can both be defended with  “We do and we don’t”.

We try to do what is best for our own healing. Taking a moment to catch our breath when we have an instance of recall or a panic attack when we need to get back to things, that’s exactly what we should do. That is what Brianna did, she found something/someone that was going to center her. Jemmy. She picked him up and held him close. If his little hand patting her back didn’t clench your heart, I would double-check to make sure yours is workin’, just saying!

I was privy to conversations saying Brianna didn’t get to enjoy her wedding night but I would like to give another perspective on this.

Bree had a moment during her wedding evening when she was facing an instance of recall aka flashback, of her rape. It caused her panic, anxiety and fear. Like a tower of blocks, she was knocked down – just as quickly, she put herself back together. Hastily, maybe not completely steady.  The rest of the evening, she might have been a bit unbalanced nevertheless she allowed those she was with, to hold her up. First, Jemmy.  Next, Roger. There’s no denying the love in her eyes when Roger serenades her, the joy in her face when they dance and the passion when they make love. She wraps around him pulling him as close as she can get him. Brianna did take solace, comfort and love from her family. They held her together and she let them while they could.

When the silence became deafening, Bree lay there with only her thoughts.  On the outside there wasn’t a sound but we know damn well, inside that woman’s head there was noise. A lot of it.  We can only imagine how much.

There, in that noise,  is where I believe she is gathering her strength, not losing it. Is she in pain? Yes. This kind of healing hurts. Scars like this don’t show on the outside so it makes sense we rarely speak of how they feel while they are healing.  These moments are easier to open up and talk about after we have processed some of them ourselves.  Giving these thoughts to others isn’t an easy task, mostly because it is difficult to express things you are only beginning to understand yourself.

To assume that Brianna wasn’t capable of feeling love and joy in the same evening as she experienced pain and healing is to accept Brianna is a one-dimensional person. This implies she is incapable of complex emotions and that theory goes against almost everything we know about this character.

We have to keep in mind, this isn’t the beginning of Brianna’s healing journey. We are walking through it with her.

I applaud Sophie Skelton and her attention to Brianna’s thoughts, subtleties and mannerisms during this process. Her character’s life is always moving forward while she is still healing and dealing. It is a balance and Sophie’s interpretation is en pointe!

What I am going to say now isn’t about Bree but about us humans overall. Many people keep their secrets locked inside because they are aware of how the people in their lives will react.

Common reactions when difficult news is shared;

  • feel sorry for them and pop them on the “I’m worried about you” track
    • this causes them more anxiety because they now worry about someone else worrying about them. The fear of becoming a burden comes true
  • take what they have said personally, get upset or angry (with or for them)
    • this causes more hurt because they will now feel they have to defuse this situation or make things better for others
  • to get involved, try and fix it
    • if they wanted someone to interfere that would have been their first request. Also takes the power away from the person with the problem, they may fear losing control and why they were hesitant to share

We should always let those we love know we are there. No judgements, no advice, just a hand to hold or lots of chocolate to give. “I know something is bothering you. I don’t need to know the details. I only need you to know I have chocolate and hugs. You can choose to tell me what is going on or you can tell me what you need me to say to you, I am here.”

And if they just want to be silent. Trust them but still listen. As we learned by watching The Fiery Cross, that silence still can speak to you.

Sher xo

I would love to hear how much you enjoyed the first episode of season 5! See our live tweet stream by following #OutlanderCAN  on twitter.

**Watch this space for a very special blog with a lament worthy cast member. COMING SOON.**

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The Women of #Outlander.

I have been trying to find a graceful way to open up this blog.  Should I be eloquent and flowery or hard-hitting and humorous?  I settled on being a bit all over the place – it suits my mood and my nature.

I have wanted to write about the women on Outlander for a while, I chose now because it is helping me pass the time until Season 5 airs.  I figure like attracts like making this mutually beneficial.

Those who watch Outlander are exposed to women who are brave, strong, stubborn and determined.  They grapple with heartbreak and persevere.  They love fiercely and protect one another.  Do they have flaws and imperfections?  Ummmm, yeah! We all do. It’s another reason they are believable and relatable. That is what this blog is really about. How is it that we, as women in 2020 relate to these fictional women set so far in the past (mostly)?

I knew I wasn’t the only person that saw myself in these women on the screen. I was aware that this is how we stay involved and connected, or not. This made me ask those in my twitter bubble, what woman in Outlander did they relate to the most and why? The question wasn’t specifically for women to answer but no men jumped in to tell me which woman they related to, hopefully in the comments, some will. (Not who they like the most, who they relate to – just making it clear).

Gender stereotypes on television have been played to death and it’s intriguing that we have gone back to the 1700s to see them getting knocked around.  Of course, we still see them in characters like Mrs. Fitz, from season 1. She was a dutiful head housekeeper to Colum. She warned Claire, if she did as told, she would gain favour with The MacKenzie. She caused no stir when her grand-daughter was about to be beaten in the great hall. Yet, she stood up to the likes of Father Bain. She ran that kitchen at Leoch like a boss and she smacked around the highlanders if they messed around in her domain. She was granted authority and demanded respect even still abiding by some of the patriarchal rules. I mean, historical accuracy is always a thing in a period drama.

That bit about Mrs. Fitz wasn’t mentioned as a part of who she was when people replied to my query on Twitter. I do love the hashtaggery.

fitz comp

All of these women are aware of Mrs. Fitz’s place in the Outlander universe. It is with their 21st-century lens they are able to pull her strength and fortitude forward. I don’t think they are ignoring Mrs. Fitz’s place in her 18th-century life, I believe they accept and see that Mrs. Fitz was bucking her place where and when she could without putting her life in danger. Something a great majority of women have done – for centuries.  Those women hold shit together while making a difference behind the scenes, subtle changes that help push society forward. It may not be as loud and in your face as some but it still has an impact.

Jenny was a younger, stronger and higher ‘ranked’ version of Mrs. Fitz. For an 18th century woman, Jenny really did have and do it all. Career (Lady of Lallybroch for all intents and purposes), children and adoring husband. This maverick of woman could express milk and torture a dude all in the same day. Her strong personality and capabilities help today’s women feel empowered by their own image of “doing it all”.

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As we read these tweets we see that these women not only relate to the character of Jenny, they can see themselves as her and she as them.  Being Jenny is exhausting work.  Besides taking care of everything and everyone – there were plenty of shite pots that needed stirring. 😜

Joking aside, this is why seeing representation on the screen is important. If it is powerful for someone like @ChaoticOctopus who has 6 children, imagine what it is like for women who understand what being abused and manipulated is like.

We might be surprised to know that there are women that feel a kinship with (the often slammed) Laoghaire. If we take a moment to open our hearts, minds and gather some empathy, it shouldn’t be surprised.  My friends express it very well below.

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Sure, some people are pure evil. I don’t think Laoghaire is one of them. She is a product of her environment and eventually, her bitterness clouds a lot of her story. This is not a Laoghaire trait. It is a human one. It isn’t a flaw that is singular to her, it is one that many of us live in. We tend to judge others for doing it instead of recognizing it in ourselves.  I was humbled to see women confident enough in their own character to say they related to Laoghaire. I think many of us, whether we like to admit it or not have had the same feelings of jealousy and bitterness in our lives. Sure, we probably wouldn’t have sent someone to burn – but who knows, it’s not really an option these days either, so there is that.

There is also the fact that I don’t believe that someone truly evil would be able to raise a daughter like Marsali. She is quickly becoming one of the women on Outlander that we are falling in love with.  Her character started out prickly against Claire, not shocking given the circumstances from her viewpoint. Marsali is no dummy, she feels deeply and goes by the information she has. Once she had more information, her disposition changed.

Marsali is seen as someone who is clever and uses her observations shrewdly.  She doesn’t strike anyone as a wallflower. Many fans note her loyalty as one of her most relatable qualities.  I believe that the way she was introduced to us showed her loyalty first and foremost but because of the way so many feel about Laoghaire, I suppose some felt it was misplaced.  When we step out of our own perceptions and step into Marsali’s I think we can have empathy for her. She loves her mother. She sees her hurting and the source of her pain is caused by this woman who dropped out of the clear blue sky. Any of us thinking we would react calmly and love Claire, probably doesn’t remember being a teenage girl.

Thank goodness Marsali’s loyalties didn’t disappear, they only grew.

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Season 4 brought us Marsali’s fierce loyalty to a fever pitch, do anything for family and not just along for the ride but literally in the driver’s seat on the excitement side of things. Her courage was not only entertaining to watch it was plainly setting the tone for what we have to look forward to. There is no doubt that we will have many relating to her character in season 5.

My friend Cat of @CatsandKilts was the one person who mentioned relating to Lizzie.  You know the one, Lizzie, who went by exactly the information she had seen, processed what made sense and drew conclusions based on said information. Like every single person does every single day.  In the Outlander universe, this always has crazy consequences. Cat is a brave fan by admitting she feels a kinship to her since Lizzie took a lot of heat last season.  Which was kind of a bummer because Lizzie is so many of us, fallible and doing the best she can. lonelizzie

“Tries to do right tho she often fails.”  I mean, how vulnerable and human is that statement?  We all know how this feels but we rarely say it out loud.  We all make assumptions about someone or a situation just by catching a glimpse yet we don’t always admit if we were wrong.  Though if someone does this to us or someone we care about – the hell to pay – hot AF.

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Another woman who made her Outlander debut was Aunt Jocasta Cameron. She was mentioned in season 1, during the Wedding when Jamie was weaving his family tree together for Claire. We finally met this formidable woman for ourselves. She made quite the impression.  Some say she was a mix of Colum and Dougal, I prefer to say Colum/Dougal and Brian all borrowed pieces of HER. Cunning, determined and affectionate is the perfect Jocasta blend. There is definitely more to her than what she shows us.  She is the blind one but that seems to be a subtle nod to “You can’t see me either”.

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The two studies of Jo above, show us how detailed our personal lens can be when viewing characters on screen. They both relate to her for very different reasons, yet both are powerful and full of meaning.  Both are also 100% accurate.

I am endlessly fascinated by women. How we relate to one another, how we lift each other up or tear one another down, the mechanics of our pasts and the trajectories of our futures.  The layers/levels/shades and intricacies can’t be explained easily.  Though we can see some of these dynamics when we pay attention to how we relate to one another, how we respond to one another’s personalities and the things that make us…well…us.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many identified with Brianna.  I have seen some interesting assessments of Bree on social media over the years.  It is my belief, the wonderful people in the tweets below…get her.  They see her for who she is, why she is that way and how that makes her special. They know those traits aren’t always perfect. In truth, none of us are and nor should we be.

Perhaps some of Brianna’s qualities go unnoticed so people downplay her. I hope with these women pointing out why they relate to her, others may start to see some things they may have missed before.  For instance, her creativity (not everyone can draw the way she can draw) and intelligence (engineering, need I say more?).

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Bree, like her mother, chose a career that was male-dominated.  Even by today’s standards, women are still underrepresented in the Engineering field.  Have things gotten better since the 1960s? Of course. Are they where they should be? No. That is why we have women like Claire and Brianna to represent these themes. Hopefully, it inspires other shows to focus on POC and LGBTQ+ in these types of storylines in shows with target markets like Outlander has.

The matriarch of Outlander, as we all know is Claire.  She can’t be described in a few words for the reason that she is notably complex. We have seen her as a nurse from WW2 to a stranger who was dropped into Jacobite era Scotland. She bounced through time, lovers, became a mother and eventually a grandmother. There is a dizzying amount of person there as you will see when we head to this twitter breakdown.

I don’t think I was surprised when it was she who had the largest number of people feeling they related to her.  I mean, many of us really take a shine to some of those classic Claire lines.claire comp

I’m right there with Julia. The first second someone wants to control my decision making – the hackles engage. Oppositional defiance. Whatever you want to call it, I feel it in my bones. That is one of those things that will connect some of us to Claire.  I mean, someone tells her “Stay here.” She hears “Runaway at the first opportunity”.

claire comp02See what I mean?  She does what she damn well pleases when she damn well pleases.  The housework thing is mostly from the book but same – same.  It wasn’t heavy-handed while reading. It was subtle and if it was something you personally identified with you would pick up on it. Which obviously, a few of us did. Imagine it was laundry day on the ridge, everyone is heaving heavy yards of linen and scrubbing in washbasins, Claire would run out of a herb and have to go traipsing through the woods. “OH NO! I ran out of cameltoes guys! George from the pond down the road needs some for his glaucoma! Biiyeeeee!”

Yes, depending on how we live our lives and the focus of our lens – we will get 2 reactions “OMG, ME TOO!” or “UGH! So selfish!”  Both can be right.  It comes down to empathy, understanding and kindness. It is never that black and white.  We can pretend it is, so our point can be simplified and easily argued however, life and relationships rarely are that simple.  That is why when those simple things are explained by a point of view, it helps us ‘get it’.

claire comp01

Now, we might think “I’m not the meek and obedient type” is what makes us relate to Claire. When Karen explains the WHY, she peeled back the layers and showed us. It reveals it’s not only surface ‘stuff’. The connections we have to these characters are strong and often personal. We, as fans, could be kinder to one another sometimes if we took a mental note of this.

Relating to them also brings out a desire to develop characteristics we admire. Sorcha mentions this in her tweet about Claire. It makes me grateful that we are exposed to these personalities and qualities on screen. We may see aspects of their spirit we would like to emulate, this supports our purpose to grow as individuals as we move forward and upward in our lives.

It is obvious to me that even though the men on Outlander get a lot of attention, the WOMEN OF OUTLANDER have developed profound connections with those watching.  We may draw comfort from them or they may infuriate us but one thing is certain, these women are like us. They love passionately, struggle with heartbreak, lash out and experience joy.

Here is to seeing our favourites still with us (and a few more new ones) #RockTheRidge in season 5!

Sher xo

PS- if you didn’t get to weigh in on what women you relate to in the Outlander universe and why, please leave a comment. I would love to hear more.

PSS-Don’t forget we will be live-tweeting while watching on W Network here in Canada, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN!

WOO