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

 

 

 

 

Just because you can do it alone…doesn’t mean you should. S04E09 #Outlander

I am going to open this #TheBirdsandTheBees blog with a huge SIGH.

There. I feel better now I suggest all of you do the same.  Deep breath in…let that sucker out.  Feels better, doesn’t it?  Episode 409 was one that made us hold our breath more than once.  I want to talk about all the things that made me tear up…the things that made me rage and the things that made me just sigh with pure joy and happiness.  That isn’t what my blog has been about this season though and I shouldn’t change that now.

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This time for me, the loudest thing was the silence.  Bree’s silence, in particular, was deafening.

Like most of us, Brianna learned from those around her.  To protect those we care about, we deny them the truth and shoulder the burden of our secrets. Her mother and father both did this for her.  It is her natural go-to whether or not she understands it, almost like a reflex.

This young woman is so protective of those around her that she carries each worry on her own. She is taking such great care of Lizzie, that she holds onto the joy and heartbreak of her time with Roger. She keeps the subsequent violent rape at the hands of that sunnuva bastard piece of Bonnet to herself. Lizzie all but begs her to share her burdens but instead, Brianna holds them even tighter. Bree shows she is strong enough to weather any storm alone and as impressive as that might be, there is no reason for her to do it alone.

Ian retells the horrid story to Brianna, of how Bonnet attacked the family on the river and stole Claire’s ring. She takes note of this and puts this in her own personal file as “Reason 132 why I should heap more onto my breaking heart to protect my mother and Jamie and not think of how it will eventually affect me”.  Yes. Brianna, you are strong, you are mighty, you can handle all of the things, but should you?

We can see the toll that the secrets are taking on Brianna as the episode goes on (I would mention the meeting with her bio-da and reunion with her mama but I would just cry again and I have Bells-Palsy and my ugly cry is a butt-ugly cry so…no).  Bree is distracted, uninterested in things that would usually thrill her, flustered and easy to anger. All normal reactions that happen when we are holding onto something toxic, they poison us from the inside and start showing on the outside.  Claire notices, not just because she is in tune with her child but because it is like looking at a mirror.  Claire does exactly the same thing when she is hiding something, the behaviour is familiar to her.

How often do we walk through life saying “I can do it on my own.” “I don’t need help.” Or “I’m fine by myself, I’m good.”?  You know what?  We probably are.  It’s also probably hard and would be easier with help, it likely would feel better if we said “Sure, here…thank you.”, and simply allowed the person who offered to help, to do that, help. We struggle and we carry the heavy stuff all for…what? Who does it help? Who does it end up protecting? If we answer this question honestly we will often find out the answer is – no one. In fact, sometimes, it ends up hurting someone in one way or another.  We become so busy protecting people we lose focus on the important things. We become so involved in hiding our hurt that we fail to see the other things going on around us.

Brianna keeping the truth from Lizzie allowed her to create a story from the information she had. Something all of us do. We take visual cues and fill in the blanks, it is how the brain works. Brianna not telling anyone about the ring ensured no one knew who raped her. Leaving those doors open for further misunderstandings. Yes, Bree, you can do it alone – you definitely should not have. We all make mistakes, some repercussions cost more than others.

Jamie rounded out this picture for us at the end of the episode. He chose to go it alone. Demanding Lizzie not tell Claire or Brianna what was happening. Storming off to take care of who he thought was Brianna’s rapist.  Just because you CAN do it alone…doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

The proof is in the pudding with this one…the pudding being poor Rogers beautiful face.

We may be strong. We may be capable. We may be all of the things we think we should be.  We also are allowed to be tired. We are allowed to lean on people. We are allowed to accept help without shame or regret.  We never would tell a loved one they are weak for letting us help them, we would never tell a friend they couldn’t rely on us for a hug or an ear when they needed one – so someone please tell me why do we feel we are any different? Why should we be the exception?

I wish you the happiest of New Years.

 

With Love,

Sher (founder of the ABOotlanders)

Join us for Live tweeting while us Canadians watch on W Network Sunday nights at 8 pm MST.  Use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN so we can find you!

 

 

Hidden messages. Blood Of My Blood S04E06 #Outlander thoughts and stuff.

We have experienced yet another powerful episode of Outlander. There are discussions abounding all over social media about changes, wigs, performances and what is to come. I love reading about them all (mostly). I thought about what I would write this week and had a few different things run through the old jellified grey matter.

There were many times in this episode where our characters would say one thing and mean another. There would be a different intention behind the actions they were demonstrating. It really is something we all do though. Sometimes, we do it intentionally, to prove a point. Often we do it subtly, that way we can claim it isn’t what we meant if someone calls us out. Maybe it is just a way to protect the feelings of someone we are with.

In Blood Of My Blood, we can observe many instances of hidden messages being sent our characters way.

Claire’s moments are so well hidden, we barely see them. Mostly because they aren’t present in front of the person they are for. The conflict she has in this episode is 100% focused on Lord John. We have jealousy and annoyance for sure and she doesn’t hide it from John, at all. However, around Jamie, she holds onto it tightly. In fact, she encourages Jamie to spend time with LJG, she actively listens while he shares memories of Willie. She wants him to tell her the stories of the time they spent together. Her love for Jamie has reached a point that his happiness is paramount yet there is that streak of jealousy of knowing someone else is in love with her partner. I don’t think that is a fault either, not many people would take that lightly.

Speaking of that someone else – the super handsome, dignified and yumtastic specimen, Lord John Grey.  The way he watches Jamie cutting wood (sounds suggestive but alas, it’s just wood- hmmm still suggestive) shows that he still has that glow of admiration, in his heart. No, it’s love…he loves him and it shows.  Yet, when Jamie asks what he is doing there, the answer is because Jamie painted such a beautiful picture of his land, LJG just had to see it for himself. Uh-huh.

LJG feeds another story to Claire about why he has come to the Ridge. Naturally, Claire is pretty perceptive and she called him out on it. She knows he came to see Jamie, full stop.  He admits that it is true, sometime later. He says he wanted to know if he could still “feel”.  I think we all know John was quite sure he could feel. He likely wanted to be reminded of how much he could feel. To be reassured of the depth of his emotions. It is my guess that Isobel’s death reminded him of how disconnected he was.  There was likely guilt there and yes, as he admitted, shame.  What better way to drown all of that away than to flood it with love?

LJG tells Claire she is devastatingly straightforward and she claims she can’t help it, she was born that way.  As she turns her back, he whispers with a tear streaming down his cheek “So was I.”  He isn’t speaking of being straightforward, he is speaking of being born loving who he loves.  This scene defies centuries. It is before its time and it is beautiful. It contains that hidden message that people today still need to hear.                                                 Capture3

Lord John gives Jamie his chess set as he leaves. Claiming it would please him to think of Jamie having a game now and then.  I believe this is a very pointed way for John to be sure that Jamie is reminded of him each time he takes the chess set out.

Murtagh had his own moments in this episode but he really isn’t one to shrug away from the truth is he?  His comments are much more angled towards getting his point across without saying exactly what he wants to say.  Not passive aggressive but cuttingly contentiousness. Even with his direct comments about Gov. Tryon and eating rats, it was obvious that Murtagh was still holding back.  It certainly makes you wonder just what he would say if he wasn’t. Say…not do. We have seen he will chop off your damn head if he wanted to. I am talking about if he were to put that particular energy into actual words.

Murtagh is not one to be trifled with and LJG got his dander up and hard. He doesn’t have the benefit of the, let’s face it, unlikely friendship between LJG and Jamie. He can’t quite figure out what the hell is happening here until he gets Jamie alone for a moment.  His sleuthing pays off quickly when he deciphers the clue of pain in Jamie’s eyes at the question “And how does that make the lad YOUR responsibility?”  Murtagh knew at that moment Willie was Jamie’s son. Which spoke to something else. Jamie had a son he didn’t know about. A son in which he trusted this English red coat to raise as his own. A very big bitter pill for his godfather to swallow. Some secrets cause us to grow closer, others, not so much.

I am surprised Jamie’s tongue didn’t split straight down the middle during this episode. He said SO many things while clearly feeling otherwise. To start, “Best he doesna remember” in regards to Willie not remembering the groom he knew as Mac.  You can see in his eyes and his stance he wants nothing more than to be remembered by him.

When LJG introduced William to Jamie you can feel the emotions running through him. The tension as he steels himself in the hope the boy will run to him and when he doesn’t – a Claire quote from Dragonfly in Amber comes to my mind – “I stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem.”

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However, a simple moment of Jamie calling to the horses in Gaelic does trigger Willie’s memory of the groom, Mac.  Which leads to the boy questioning him as to why he didn’t say they knew one another.  Jamie replied with an anticlimactic “I dinna ken”.  That was cool because William served him a dish of the same back when he told him he was too old for toys in regard to the wooden snake.  You don’t want to give it to me straight old man, well, let me tell you something. Chew on that.

It’s funny, not haha funny but hmmm funny.  When Willie and Jamie return to the cabin after their adventure, Lord John asks “I trust he was well behaved for you?”  Jamie completely omits the part where the little turd nearly got them both killed and plays the OH he was GREAT! Awesome time…you’re a great dad card.  That hidden message was for William. It was praising him for his bravery, it was giving them their own private moment to share.  Jamie did it for himself. A moment to be just theirs. Reminds me of all the times I babysat for little hellions and told the parents the same thing. I did it so I had something to hold over the little buggers heads for next time though.

William is a boy in pain. The loss of his mother, the fear for his father and the recently ripped off band-aid from when he was a small, Mac leaving him. He repeatedly uses his words to hide behind.  From the fly fishing moments to wanting to go home after having enough of rough living. William has a need to protect himself from further heartache and he uses the most useful tool he has in his arsenal. His words. Whether they are effective or not makes little difference, as long as he says them, it makes him feel some control and relief.

Willie asked Jamie quite plainly why he didn’t look back at him when he left Hellwater. This obviously is a very important moment in the child’s life. It is very likely the boy made up a few reasons why in his own head, not all of them good. Jamie let him know it wasn’t because he didn’t care but because he cared so much. Not wanting to give him a false hope that he would see him again because he truly thought they never would. You could see on Willie’s face this was the answer he hoped for.  In return, when Lord John and Willie leave Frasers Ridge we are gifted with a turn of a head. A message to Jamie that they will see one another again.

I won’t leave out the ring. The hidden message really isn’t so hidden I suppose. Although, I believe the deeper meaning was beautiful.  The ring is fashioned from a candlestick that belonged to Ellen, Jamie’s mother. Designed by Murtagh, Jamies godfather and someone who also cares deeply for Claire. As we know, a ring is something that is endless, just as love should be.

Jamie seems to have an affinity for giving Claire jewelry that has to do with his mother, while Claire is naked – so I am going to let YOU decide what that one means. *I’m laughing right now…you can’t see me or hear me but it’s really loud and snorty like*

On that note, I will leave you with a kiss. Or a thousand.

Sher (ABOotlander person)

Don’t forget to LiveTweet every Sunday with your Canadian friends as we watch at 8pm MST as Outlander airs on W Network, use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN to play along.

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