Carol Appreciation Week Day 2 - Favorite Personality Traits: Encouraging, Selflessness, Mothering Nature, Smarts
1. Encouraging. No one encourages others like Carol. Whether she’s in the midst of her own tragedy or watching someone else’s, she’s a beacon of inspiration. Let’s reminisce, shall we?
- Carl regrets the way he treated Lori—as he should—a regret he may never move past since she’s gone by his own hand. But Carol, an old friend of Regret’s, can’t and won’t let him live with it, reminding him that Lori loved him and would be proud of him.
- Though her wounds, both physical and emotional, ravage her, she offers Beth a comforting hand-squeeze, a ‘we’re in this together’ gesture, as the Grady hostage exchange begins to happen. It’s a touch meant to convey kinship as she wills her to hold on to her strength and resolve.
- She sees Maggie desolate, withdrawn, and depressed after Beth’s death. She knows the depth of a pit like that, and she knows what it’s like to navigate it thinking no one else cares—or would care if she stopped breathing. And she refuses to allow Maggie that misconception. “Some people can’t give up. Like us.” With a few simple words, she not only reminds Maggie of the strength within her but also wraps her back into Team Family’s fold. “Us” is better than “you” because Maggie knows she’s not alone.
- Recognizing another wounded soul, Carol can’t help herself from encouraging Daryl. She wanted to show her appreciation for his dedication to finding Sophia, but she didn’t have to give him insight into just how bad Ed had been. But she did. For him. So he’d known how he has value, that his actions, his pain, his single-minded focus means something. And then she went a step further. At a moment when Daryl couldn’t have been more vulnerable—shot, wounded, laying on his back, frustrated at himself, unable to offer any defense except an emotional wall to keep himself protected—Carol slips past it and shows him physical touch doesn’t have to hurt: she kisses him gently, tenderly, and elevates his status, his importance to the group, to her, to that of their leaders. And then reiterates it.
And again when Daryl’s emotionally dejected, has deadened himself against all of the built-up anguish roiling inside, she speaks to his heart and implores him not to self-flagellate his bruised heart but to allow himself to feel the madness threatening his sanity. “I know you.” Words of comfort, words of companionship. Carol lets Daryl know he doesn’t need to punish himself any longer, that he’s allowed to release his pain, to let the guilt and hurt flow cathartically. That he isn’t to blame, no matter how emphatically that has been beaten into him. She encourages him to feel in a way no one else can.
2. Selflessness. I could write annals describing Carol’s selflessness because the woman’s well of giving is unending:
- Carol prayed for her daughter’s safety, offering herself up as a bargaining chip (and as her sorry excuse for a human being ex-husband illustrated, this isn’t every parent’s inclination—though it should be).
- Though devastated about Sophia, though she has every right to despair, to sit down and not do a damn thing, she does chores that the other women argue about, wants to creditlessly prepare dinner for Hershel and his family for their kindness, encourages Daryl and gives him a reason to stay with them, and comforts Carl about Sohpia’s death, which, you’ll note, no one does for her.
- She unabashedly stands between Beth and Axel, whom she doesn’t know—and doesn’t know what he’s capable of—to defend and protect Beth against his advances.
- She leaves the prison gates to unblock the water pipes at great risk to herself because no one else would do it.
- She agrees to look after Lizzie and Mika, giving great ease to Ryan Samuels as he passes. Doing so is painful to her as memories of Sophia are dredged up, but she promises to take them as her own because they need her, because Ryan needs her.
- She returns to the prison to help her family, regardless of the misconception that she’s not wanted. She follows Ty and the girls to ensure their safety, not for a moment considering her own. Despite the risk Ty poses to her, she honors her promise to the girls’ father.
- Though the weight of Lizzie and Mika’s deaths sit heavier on her than they ever would or could on Ty, she takes on the weight of both of their deaths, allowing Ty’s hands to remain bloodless and staying silent because it’s what he needs to do to survive.
- She walks into Terminus, fully prepared to save the very family she believes no longer wants her and die in the process if necessary. She tracks and follows them to return Daryl’s crossbow (what would he do without it!?) and Rick’s watch, knowing she’s not welcome. Because she loves them. And needs to know they have at least one useful weapon.
- She tamps down everything she’s feeling to spur on Maggie and Daryl at their lowest moments, to give them all she’s got so they don’t give up.
- And even though the notion of getting close to children, to letting them in, overwhelms her, when she finds out Sam’s in danger, she heads straight to the man who puts him there and confronts him. Regardless of the trigger for her, she places Sam’s safety above anything she’s feeling.
3. Mothering nature. The depth of love Carol shows to everyone, but specifically children, undoes me
especially since it seems she’s forever doomed to watch them die. She protects Sophia at complete risk to herself, supports Carl, is vigilant over Beth, soothes and nurtures Judith, educates the children at the prison, strengthens Mika, attempts to mature Lizzie, and adores Sam. She’s always present, always available for them, always puts their needs before her own, always cares. Even when it breaks her in the process.
4. Smarts. The woman is brainy AF. She survived years of abuse and managed to keep her daughter safe from a predator. Once she’s learned how to protect herself, she does. And her family. And the kids at the prison. She preps for the future and ensures others are ready as well. She survives in a tomb and on her own when Wreck banishes her. She tracks down her family and saves them. Single-handedly. Because she can. She knows trust is a hard-earned quality and uses others’ misconceptions to disguise herself. She’s not taken easily by emotions but is emotionally sensitive and keen. She doesn’t give up and doesn’t give in, even when others would. Her intelligence even brings Wreck to a semi-apology. And let’s be honest…that’s not something we ever thought we’d see.