The Evolution of Olivia Dunham


Season 1: (blue)

my first gif

Olivia is serious. She is driven. She does not trust easily and often hides her feelings. She is intuitive and smart. She is good at her job. She is brave. Once she learns about Walter and William Bell’s child experiments and her part in them, she is hurt, scared of herself, and angry at them.

 

Season 2: (blue mostly, travels to red in the last 2 episodes)

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She is still guarded (What Lies Below e12, kind of). She is really hard on herself (Grey Matters e10, e14,). She is strong (Bell, first meeting flashback Jacksonville e14), but impatient (Weis, bowling lessons). She wants to be self-sufficient, to do it all on her own (Weis, bowling lessons). She hates her human weakness/ too strong emotions (Grey Matters e10). She does not share her feelings easily; she tries to shield her loved ones (What Lies Below e12), really she wants to protect everyone (Olivia…the Revolver. e16, Brown Better e19, Northwest Passage e20). She is self-sacrificing (What Lies Below e12). She has a good memory, but can’t remember the illegal experimentation she experienced as a child (Jacksonville e14).She does not feel fear anymore; she feels angers, which makes her good at her job (Jacksonville e14). Intimacy scares her; she has trouble forming relationships (e14). She has insomnia and constantly goes over her choices again and again, beating herself up over them (Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver. e16). Family is the most important thing to her (Over There: Part 1 e21 – spending her last night with Rachel and Ella and going to the hostile Other Side without a plan to save Peter). “She is always trying to make up for something, right some imaginary wrong” (e22). She switches to begging rather quickly! Then again, who knows what anyone would do when trapped in a strange, hostile universe alone (e22).

 

Season 3: (alternating blue/red, last episode is gray for accelerated, but original timeline)

sunrise

She is spirited. People are always portrayed as talking back, but I don’t know if that is the smartest course of action when someone is trying to break you. I suppose it depends on the situation. If they are trying to get information out of you through torture, that may be smart because it may provoke them to kill you, but if they’re trying to brainwash you into believing a lie, it may be smarter to play along relatively soon. However, the first day would be rather quick and we don’t know how much time passed. (e1) Olivia grows a lot in her ability to trust. Furthermore, by the end, she trusts herself a little more. She is able to tell Peter she loves him!

 

Season 4: (Amber) – re-set timeline, without Peter, after he went in the machine. Fringe_Olivia saves that double agent char

Never having met Peter, even as a child, Olivia is harder, more caustic, less compassionate. For example, she is tough with Lincoln after his partner dies. She also antagonizes Fauxlivia…except for Walter…She is maybe even better with Walter. I assume because it is only her and Astrid taking care of him, not Peter. Eventually she recovers original timeline Olivia’s memories.

 

Season 5: time jump 24 years in the future

Fringe_olivia surprised

Things are strained between Peter and Olivia because when the Observers invaded and kidnapped their daughter, Peter refused to stop looking and left Olivia. On the other hand, after searching, Olivia grieved for her daughter, but joined Walter and Astrid in attempting to stop the Observers. As a result of Peter leaving Olivia, she regresses a little bit in her inability to trust. She also finds seeing her adult daughter awkward. Of course she loves Etta, but Olivia was stuck in amber for 20 years. As far as she was concerned, 3 year old Etta disappeared without a trace only months ago. Now Olivia has to adjust to the idea of her daughter as an adult. Furthermore, like the others Olivia not only missed out on Etta’s childhood, but also missed out on all world developments for the past 20 years. The world is strange, even compared to the world they knew. Peter seems to adapt to adult Etta better than Olivia, but he always had an easier time with emotions. In the end, Olivia and Peter reconcile and turn to each other for comfort.

Change is Good: Over the past 5 years, Olivia has undergone an immense transformations. The time jump caused some regression in her emotional development; nonetheless, she blossomed at Fringe division. She remains rather serious, but her smile comes easier. She (understandably) has trust issues, but she learns to let herself be vulnerable. She conquers her fear of letting someone into her heart. She accepts her flaws and she accepts her past. Olivia is not perfect; after all, she is human, but she made a lot of progress.

Fringe_olivia run fingers through hair

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Non-Violent Communication? Here? LOL!


Emotions are running high lately because of me.

A half hour ago…

Mom: “When are you planning on getting up?”

Me: “Soon.”

Mom: “You’ve wasted almost half the day already.”

Me: “I’m planning on getting up soon.”

Mom: *attempts to slam door* (It won’t slam because it is already broken – not by me)

Me: *sighs and starts getting up*

Meanwhile down stairs I hear thrashing, banging, pots hitting the ground, and possibly china…more things thrown on the ground…”

Fringe_Peter hit head bang

Me: “Are you throwing a temper tantrum like a child or are you trying to wake me up? I can’t decide.”

Mom: “I’m NOT trying to wake you up.”

*banging stops, so I venture downstairs*

As I eat Mom is stomping around and sighing heavily.

Me: “When I start working, can you please stop throwing things or I can leave the house.”

Mom: “Working? You’re not working.”

Me: “Yes, but when I start studying can you please stop throwing things and slamming doors?”

Mom: “Yes.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Ha, I realize I’m a tough person to deal with, but seriously?! What are you, 5 years old?I’m beginning to think the woman has anger issues outside of dealing with a mentally ill daughter. Usually I would say more mean things right back, but I’m very serene this morning. I suppose it is because I just woke up. It was sweet, I didn’t get angry feeling her anger.

I can also see more of why my brother and I developed our coping skills. Mom throws things and yells when she is upset. Dad refuses to speak to you or runs away and on rare occasion hits. My brother, I have no idea what he does! He withdraws like my dad and I, but somehow he remains calm. I guess it is because he remains detached somehow? I withdraw and hide my emotions to, but I can’t hold them in like my brother. I’m not sure why, maybe I’m weaker or maybe his detachment is real and he just doesn’t care. I get caught up in the emotions of people around me; he does not. I don’t let them see my emotions because I’m afraid of their reaction. Yet, they fester inside me and I must lance their wounds. So, I cut myself, starve, binge, purge, or let someone else hurt me to erase the emotions. (The interchangeability of these mechanism is why I fear masochism is secretly an unhealthy coping mechanism for me and not just a sexual proclivity.) It is like letting air out of a balloon that is about to burst from being too full of air, instead of letting it pop.

What should I do with my life?


Ah, skipping school again. On the bright side, I took my meds today. Oh, and I’m awake before 4 pm!

sunrise

I want to help people. I want to ultimately leave the world a better place than when I left it. Am I an altruist? No. I bet this comes from the same part of me that believes I’m evil, always atoning for some nameless sin. Since my motives are less than pure, I don’t think I am doing true good works. Nonetheless, I want to make a positive impact.

I despise law school. Yesterday I said I’d wait until my meds had a chance to kick-in again, but seriously this sucks!

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Jobs that have a positive impact:

  1. Justice (Prosecutor, Child advocate, Forensic psychologist)
  2. Healer (Doctor, EMT, Nurse, ultrasound technician, MHT, Therapist)
  3. Protector (Armed Forces, FBI, CIA, Police Officer, ICE, DoD)
  4. Knowledge (Researcher – Psychological, medicine, physics)
  5. The Next Generation (Teacher)

The first thing I remember wanting to do is to work for the CIA as a spy. My parents quickly discouraged that because of the danger. All of the jobs listed above are job I’ve considered. In fact, when searching for undergrad universities I looked at teaching and nursing programs. I entered undergrad as a nursing student, but shadowing students scared me away (they were doing a microbiology lab at 10:30 on a Sunday night) and I switched to psychology before Freshman year even started. Realistically, I don’t think any of the careers I listed as protectors would accept me. Theoretically, I could work on nutrition and fitness to pass their various fitness exams, but they all require in-depth psychiatric evaluations and my dad, who dealt with government agencies in the past, says they don’t take people with depression.

Fear of Vulnerability and Trust


I am capable of forming relationships; I’m not a sociopath. I want strong bonds. There are a few people in my life who I would die for and who I do not think could ever be replaced. I like people, but they scare the hell out of me. I’m not shy because I am arrogant, aloof, or unfeeling. The opposite it true. I feel too much, too strongly, too often. I resist letting people in because the more I let them in, the more they can hurt me.

It sucks because I want the bond everyone dreams of: The 60 year marriage, where the couple enjoys each other’s company, stands together through the storms of life, and takes care of each other to the end. Yet, I’m terrified of letting anyone in because that gives them true control.

incaoable2

The illusion of control seen in SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) BDSM scenes may appear scary, abusive, or coercive from the outside, but using RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink)/SCC guidelines the submissive is the one with the real control. She says the word and everything stops.

Emotional vulnerability is infinitely more terrifying. When you let someone know your deepest emotional pain or fears and they do the same, that person leaves an indelible mark on your heart. No matter how much time or distance separates you, a special bond remains. It is almost as if you gave part of yourself to them.

So, armed with this emotional bond and secrets, they can twist a knife in your soul. They can hurt you more than any blade, brand, or whip ever could. It may not even be intentional! I still remember the day my best friend from PHP discharged. I cried, as in hyperventilating sobs… I did not cry when I left treatment or when anyone else before or after left any of my higher levels of care. This was a girl who knew what it was like inside my mind. She knew and she still liked me. She saw greatness where I only saw mediocrity. She knew things I’d told no other human being and vice versa.

Haha, we were in the art room, sitting next to each other after one of the last groups of the day and I don’t know when it happened, but we both started crying. When it was time for dinner a nurse came into the room, saw tears running down my face and asked, “Is it about the lasagna?” I laughed through my tears and explained I was crying because my best friend was leaving that night. Staff were nice, we had name cards and they set them out before dinner at four tables. Therefore, you never got to chose who you sat with. We got to sit next to each other that night. Plus, our favorite nurse was the table monitor. I don’t remember what I ate or didn’t eat, but I do remember my friend was too upset to finish her meal, which worried everyone because not finishing your last meal before discharge is a bad sign. I’m awful at keeping up with anyone from anytime in my life, even family! If I don’t live in the same house with you, it is unlikely I will reach out on a regular basis. I feel bad about it. I think about various friends often, but somehow I never get around to writing a letter. I still send a message to her occasionally and we chat like old times, but then inevitably, I get sucked away and into some life crisis like a major depression relapse or law school exams and suddenly months have flown by. I’m going to go write her a note as soon as I finish this post.

Anyway, her therapist wrote a long letter in my goodbye book. They had a tradition of giving each patient a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” with encouraging handwritten notes from staff, therapists, and other patients. Her therapist’s note took an entire page of that book! He said I helped her open up. That made me happy.

However, I still remember crying and thinking (maybe I even said it in therapy later?) while I did not regret our relationship, getting that close to anyone else in treatment and losing them again was not worth the pain.

At the time, there were only 3 teenagers in the program. The other 16+ were adults. A nurse always waited with us until our parents came to pick us up after dinner. I was still crying and my mom couldn’t understand why it mattered so much. Obviously, we were friends, but she didn’t understand how I could become so incredibly close to someone I’d known only a month. She didn’t understand what spending 10 hours/day in the same room with someone, talking about things you never said out loud before, and sharing similar thought patterns can do for a friendship.

Granted some of those thought patterns and fears were part of the disease, but I think they leave behind traces even after recovery. In my experience, eating disorders affect people with similar personalities. I don’t know if ED makes us that way or we all already had the same thoughts in our heads. I imagine it is a little of both. Nonetheless, even those who recover usually remain compassionate, intuitive, quiet, unassuming, and kind. It is almost scary how thoughts from so many people from treatment could easily come from my mind!

…Not everyone is like that…Oh drama created by malnourished, angry, terrified teenagers. Haha, actually, from the adults to…

Argh, sorry long tangent!

The point of telling the story of my friend from treatment is getting close to people yields great rewards, but at great personal risk! If I knew I would end up with the relationship I want, I would be willing to crash and burn a few times, but no matter how many people I date, I cannot guarantee I’ll find that lifelong bond.

On one side, vulnerability leads to stronger bonds. For example, I feel closer to my brother and sister-in-law than I’ve ever felt. On the other side, the fall is bone crushing.

I don’t feel lonely right now. I have friends, I have people I could go out to a movie with tonight if I wanted to. I have family. I have potential significant others. I’m afraid of winding up alone because people move on, move away, lost touch, or die. Yet, for the moment, the fear of loss and vulnerability outweighs the fear of loneliness and the loss of never feeling romantic love.

Interesting pictures I found while search for quotes:

and finally, ouch!

Olivia Dunham: Fandom Explored


In an earlier post, BDSM: It’s not about the pain; it’s about trust. Right?!, I mentioned my love of strong female characters. Although I dismissed a potential contradiction, I do find it a bit odd. My favorite TV characters have similarities; they’re mostly tough, independent, fighters. To try to find more common characteristics, I’m going to do quick character analyses.

Olivia Dunham from Fringe.

Oh, Olive! At first, I didn’t like you. I think it was because you remind me too much of myself. You grew on me though! You are insecure at times (okay a lot of the time), you have trouble letting people in, you’re too serious, but…

First of all, you are a BAMF all the way! Who else could survive this?

Second, you are emotional, maybe too emotional, and you know it.

Yet, you play your hand close to your vest. You hide your emotions as much as possible, you do not trust easily. Your ability to bluff and hide is a type of strength.

Third, you risk everything for the people you love and the principles you hold dear. You would sacrifice yourself for others. There is no greater love.

Fourth, you can take care of yourself! Left behind in a hostile alternate dimension? Not a big deal! You can problem solve like a champion! Plus, you can fight and shoot a gun rather well!

Fifth, you are empathetic and instead of letting it make you weak, you learn to harness it and make yourself a better FBI Agent.

Sixth, you dedicate your life to helping others and putting away the bad guys.

Seventh, I love your sense of humor!

Eighth, you stand up for what you believe in, even against people in power. You don’t mince words.