Survival of the Fittest

Naked and Afraid IslandI’m no Bear Grylls. And I’m pretty sure my PSR (Primitive Survival Rating) would hover only slightly above 1. I’m not an Eagle Scout like Ironman and when my dad took us fishing when I was little, I hooked my mom in the boat more often than the fish. Sorry, mom. So based on that, I assumed I wouldn’t be a very good character addition to the Naked and Afraid series. You know, the ridiculous show where two complete strangers are paired up on a remote island for 21 days with no clothes, no food, no water and just one personal item…all for no prize. No prize. No money, no world-famous survival tile, just the knowledge that they can do it. But then I realized I’m addicted to watching these vulnerable, overexposed survivalists because, well, I’ve been one. A little over two short years ago, Ironman and I were dropped off at an amazingly beautiful island. The utopian kind, made of pristine white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and water so clear you could see every variation in the landscape below. In that moment, in a way, we were strangers too. We had just become new parents. I had never known him as Dad, only as Ironman. Everything was new. At first, all we could do was take in the beauty of this new place. Words were amorous and full of gratitude for the perfection that surrounded us, just like the two naked strangers meeting for the first time to start their three week challenge. And then without invitation, it hit us. Survival mode. At about Day 2, the sleep deprivation set in. The storm hit in full force with no sleep, little food and dehydration (since someone else needed all of my water). Small things like a shower seemed like an elusive dream. There were tears, little victories, then more tears. Ironman and I were in constant calorie burning mode with no time to refuel. Days began to blur together. Time became Vegas-like, passing without any sunlight exposure. The island, still beautiful, threw new challenges at us daily and self doubt crept in like dark clouds. Were we going to make it to the “extraction point”? Extraction point. Was there one? Our mental state shaky, we began slowly sinking in the comparison quicksand. Who had changed more diapers, washed more bottles, had more nighttime duty or collected more coconuts? Wait. What? It was then that we had to remember we were a team. We were in this together. And if we were going to make it, it was going to take both of us. So as I snuggled in my fluffy comforter, and sipped on my ice water, I watched those poor, exhausted tv strangers claw their way up to their extraction point. I felt a sense of pride well up inside as I thought to myself, “We made it to our extraction point too. It took about two months, but we made it. We were even crazy enough to star on the show twice. But, come on guys, at least we got an amazing prize.”

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