Survivor Insights 285: Season 41 – Lessons of The Story

Episode 1 Review: This new era of the show opened with a two-hour premiere. You could easily notice the tone of the editing felt fresh. The “edit brand” stayed the same. The quality was not sacrificed. It even brought the story to another level when it showed the slow motion edit of select survivors. This “backstory” edit gave value to each character. It made them vulnerable human beings, not just robots who have joined the show to backstab and blindside one another. The noticeable downside was the left and right advantages. There were just too many and some were unnecessary. Survivor is supposed to be a character-driven show. The characters are supposed to be moving the plot forward but with these advantages, especially the Protect-Or-Risk My Vote, the show turned into an ambitious plot with over-the-top twist and turns. 4 of 5 stars (Good)

Lesson Learned: “Either now or then, people were feeding me bull. So now, I have to decipher whether what they said then is true, or what they say now is true.” – JD

Episode 2 Review: Returning to its original hour-long format, this episode offered a solid kind of entertainment from start to finish. This episode restored order in a nice sweet way – camp life, swimming turtle-puzzle immunity challenge and memorable tribal council, in which my top pre-show favorite was eliminated Haha. 5 of 5 stars (Stupendous)

Lesson Learned: “Discipline, determination and dedication get you the win every single time.” – Deshawn

Episode 3 Review: Advantages were all over the place. It attempted to test the characters’ loyalty with each other. The character building decreased as the drama was about the advantages – who wants to get it and who has gotten it. There was even this one scene that three survivors from each tribe went to this island filled with large crates, fires inside clay pots and a clue. The tone of this scene was supposed to be scary as it was a night time, probably midnight where everyone was sleeping. It was fun to watch, not scary at all. Xander and Deshawn were real standouts during the immunity challenge though it still couldn’t be denied advantages controlled this episode. 3 of 5 stars (So-so)

Lesson Learned: “… To not fear fear.” – Jeff Probst

Episode 4 Review: Survivors show vulnerability during the reward challenge and in camp. I love scenes like these. It felt inspiring to watch and it also gave me reasons to be more proactive even when I’m not watching this show. The physical immunity challenge was tight close for the first time. Naseer almost lost it for his tribe. This was his biggest moment yet. The strategic talks before the tribal council were outstanding. This is vintage Survivor, baby! 4 of 5 stars (Good)

Lesson Learned: “They love to hate me. They hate me coz they ain’t me.” – Sydney

Episode 5 Review: The trek journey was a strong character development. Liliana and Shan revealed who they are. They showed a level of vulnerability that you can easily relate with. This was an unforgettable moment though 50% of this episode was consumed with too much strategic talks, especially between Shan and Ricard. I mean, it did not sound logical. It was just talks filled with paranoia, which resulted to nothing. The expected happened. 3 of 5 stars (So-so)

Lesson Learned in Episode 5: “It’s not about who you trust in this game. It’s about who trust you.” – Liana

Photo Courtesy of: CBS

Survivor Insights 284: Season 41 – My Favorites

At last! After the delays due to strict health protocols, Survivor returns with its 41st season. Eighteen new faces divided into three tribes will outwit, outplay and outlast one another for 26 days, instead of 39.

Survivor Season 41 - The New Cast

Yes, you heard it right. “26 Days” is the show’s newest brand. No idea yet how this will change the game’s format but for sure, this new season with diverse amazing “Post-All Winners Season” characters will deliver a story that is filled with more adventure, more excitement and more unpredictable twists.

My Early Favorites

Survivor Season Season 41 - David

It intrigues me how will my four early favorites play a quicker, riskier and scarier game filled with social politics and physically demanding challenges. In real life, doctors are healers. Therefore, you can never blame me for rooting for David Voce, the 35 years old neurosurgeon from Chicago. Determined, passionate and stubborn, this smart physician came into a family in which his father died and his mom stands as the family leader. His mom wants him to become the best version of himself. Admitted to becoming a wounded healer as he is now, David feels confident he can win the show once he finds a way to balance his charm, wit and athleticism. He is well-aware that he can be perceived as a triple threat; therefore, he wants to downplay his strong personality while sailing a step forward.

Survivor Season 41 - Deshawn

Deshawn is a name that sounds dope. What is doper, like David, Deshawn Radden is into medicine too. He is a 26 years old medical student who loves cooking, composing songs and playing tennis. A natural empath as he says and raised well by his parents, Deshawn believes he got what it takes to win the show. He will have the winning recipe. He can analyze the situation well. The game is not made to make new friends; therefore, Deshawn prepares himself to eliminate the physical threats until he can make the individual part of the game. When this happens, fingers-crossed, Deshawn will use his social, mental and social skills to manage jury perception.

Survivor Season 41 - Liana

Never have I seen a student win Survivor. Will Liana Wallace make history happen? Describing herself as adventurous, loving and outspoken, Liana will choose to play like the two-time male winner, Tony Vlachos. She also wishes to have the people skills of Season 39’s Elaine Stott. Liana wants to take risk but in a more authentic way. She knows the game is about the numbers. It is about who you are with rather than who you are against with. For this, Liana will build genuine relationships who can save her when she needs most, or perhaps this relationship will break her game due to her outspoken personality. For in a game full of backstabbers and front-stabbers, it highly depends on what she can do for them and not what they can do for her. Others do not awe her anything so Liana needs to rise above the characters who may put her in grave danger.

Survivor Season 41 - Sara

Sara Wilson is a charismatic 24 years old healthcare consultant residing in Boston. Considering her grandmother as her hero, Sara admits that she has the fighting spirit to win. Her skill to read people can help her win. Her skill to identify liars can help her win too. She trains herself to never give up; therefore, she believes she can survive the physical and mental challenges of the game. She loves what Kim Spradlin did to win the season she was in. Kim inspires Sara to also dominate the game without putting a target on her back. This strategy is possible but it takes patience and proper timing. Will Sara succeed? Will she choose to swim along her other competitors or sink along with her regrets?

Photos Courtesy of: CBS

What Would Have Happened (Part 2)

My dad starts to have a peace of mind after a month of therapy. Full recovery is not impossible.

Every morning, I regularly see him walking with their dog – Buddy. Then, he visits me and talks about his recovery for a couple of minutes.

He feels that more positive things will happen after this journey. I smile, admiring his resiliency.

Daddy and I return to the psychiatrist the next day. This is our tenth trip together to the hospital.

This adventure is all worth it. I sense his physical and psychological improvement each session.

The psychiatrist arrives early. He monitors my daddy’s blood pressure, asks more questions about his hearing and writes on his pad paper.

Then, another session begins. Daddy continues his story,

Rolly genuinely felt happy whenever his children were together. This family reunion happened twice, in Christmas of 2015 and in 2019.

His four children had their own lives to make, and each has a job.

Filled with excitement, he wanted to recover immediately. He wanted to be with his nurse daughter in California.

Rolly admitted to his psychiatrist that he used to not believe in mental health problems. He was scared with this topic, but after reviewing his life since day one, he seemed to realize he already accomplished what his heart desires.

He knew he had been a strong father for a long time. There were times he got tired with all the finances.

There were times he got sad once he feels he was not the young active person he used to be.

“Old age is tough,” Rolly exhales deeply.

To him, getting old is an every day test but with great lessons. “It could never be this simple but this is the start of something new to me, to my family and my bond with you,”

He looks at me when an emphasis on the word “You.” I smile, feeling proud of daddy’s new proactive paradigm. Gone are the days that a professional athlete is my hero.

A living hero sits in front of me, showing his vulnerability and his fortitude.

He adds that he gets too stressed having a new business. Many times he could not sleep due to anxiety.

Probably, it is about time for her wife to take over. “She can run it. I trust her.”

* *

The year is 2023. The world is already declared COVID-19 free. About 80% of the population in each country is vaccinated.

No one wears a face mask anymore. The sales for liquor and cigarettes drop, which means more people choose to live a clean and healthy lifestyle.

All their bags with their passports are prepared. Their round-trip tickets are booked.

I wish I can go with them but I have urgent work matters to attend to. It seems not worth to take a risk for a month-long vacation, which can be extended for 12 months.

Most important character in this travel is daddy. He is well.

He is getting undistracted sleep every night and a good nap during afternoons. His self-esteem is healthy like an ox.

He interprets his new lifestyle beyond black and white. He can still sound pessimistic when having a conversation but he can layer it with such optimism. His hearing improves too.

This is the battle he chose to go two years ago, and he won.

Daddy visits me one late afternoon. He brings his iPad with him. I saw my sisters and brother-in-laws with their kids via Zoom, waving at me.

He turns off the live chat and hugs me tight, “Thank you, DR.”

“It is the other way around, daddy.”

He looks into my near-wet eyes, “What do you mean?”

“Thank you for staying alive.”

What Would Have Happened (Part 1)

NOTE: Below is a fiction story to satisfy my regret and frustration for losing my dad unexpectedly. These are simply the events playing in my mind over and over again.

Some are facts. Some are not. What really happened is written here.

** ** **

“Let’s have a secret. I want to kill myself,” Daddy reveals it to me one late afternoon of July 5, 2021 while we are watching a tennis match in TV.

Out of words, I glance at him right straight to his eyes. It feels like I am having a nightmare and I want to wake up.

Calming my nerves, I ask why.

“I don’t know, DR. Help me figure it out.”

“Is there something who orders you to do it?”

“Yes,” He answers with sincerity and with fear. “These demons are loud. They are going to chase me if I don’t follow them.”

“I see. Are they talking to you now?”

“No. All I feel now is I want to be alive. There is a little voice in me whispering, but when these demons return, I find it hard to listen to the whisper.”

“It happens,” I exhale. “Daddy, let’s get help.”

“Will you be there for me?”

“Yes. First, call this,” I hand him a clean white paper. In it are the numbers of suicide hotlines here in the Philippines.

Daddy nods but says, “I will be back in 15 minutes. I will call them with you by my side.”

It is getting darker outside. Like an ordinary moment, daddy goes home and eats his supper with my stepmother and stepbrother.

I hurriedly call the secretary of my psychiatrist for an appointment. Thank God, she finds a way to book us but the doctor might have an unexpected meeting. She still needs to confirm the next day so she asks for my mobile number.

I am already done with my work online when daddy returns. The TV is still on, but nobody is watching. I find it hard to concentrate when I have my dad in front of me fighting for his life.

He calls the hotline and he talks for almost 30 minutes. I am in front of him, guessing what the conversation is all about.

After the hung up, daddy feels convinced of what he needs to do next. It is my first time seeing him brave.

“I will see you tomorrow morning,” He says without discussing the phone conversation.

I wake up the next morning with a knock on my door. I open and daddy asks me a question, “What time is the appointment?”

I take a look at my mobile phone. There it is, I receive a text from the secretary. She confirms to me that our appointment is now booked before lunch.

Daddy meets my psychiatrist for the first time. I sit in front of him while he talks. The psychiatrist listens attentively without judgment. After the talk, he writes the diagnosis, the recommended medication and the first scheduled therapy.

My curiosity is on. I read his diagnosis while my psychiatrist writes.

I pay for daddy’s check-up and initial medication. The daily medicine is expensive; therefore, I ask support from my sisters and stepmother.

Daddy re-echoes what the doctor said. He assures them he will do every thing to recover as long as I will be on his side during his therapy sessions.

Seven days after, the therapy begins.

Daddy starts the healing conversation by sharing his childhood.

** ** **

Rolly was born on November 22. He was the eldest among the ten. With all the expectations stereotyped to an eldest son, Rolly dug deep to offer a good life for all his siblings. He also made a sacrifice to travel far to the south to work for his uncle.

Rolly worked and went to school until he graduated with a degree in Accountancy. He met Wilna while he was still a student in the university.

Life for Rolly was not easy. He failed his board examinations twice. He nearly gave up. With all the support he could get, he passed after the third time.

Rolly received his certificate for becoming a certified public accountant. He married Wilna. They started a life in a simple house in a simple subdivision in the city.

Inspired by the celebrities in the TV show “Charlie’s Angels,” Rolly and Wilna named their first two daughters Cheryl and Jaclyn.

Four years passed. The year was 1984 and their youngest son was born. They named him Dean as they were fans of Dean Martin, the American singer and comedian.

Things were seemingly okay for the five of them. The three children were going to a private school when the youngest son nearly died in 1989.

Rolly and Wilna needed to travel by plane for further examinations. They met documentation problems but this never stopped them.

The youngest son survived after having 4 out of 10 prescribed vials. He was out of danger, but he was forced to live with a permanent physical disability.

The layers of grief never ended for Rolly. In 1992, Wilna died due to cancer. Rolly felt like the world collapsed in front of him.

After the burial, Rolly stared up to the sky and thought, “What now.”

Rolly chose to move on with the grief with his three children who were 13, 11 and 7. Despite of all the talks and gossips about his son, he chose to enroll him in school.

Happily, Rolly was promoted as the assistant manager in Metrobank. Later on, he was again promoted as the branch manager.

People got jealous. Blood-related names closed to Wilna sued Rolly due to ownership matters. This tragic event added to his daily stress and grief, considering he still has three children to raise on his own.

Despondency never consumed Rolly. He kept fighting for a better life for his children.

Rolly re-married in 1995. He and his wife decided to raise their child on a different house, just in front to where his three children lived.

He made a way for his son to get the Metrobank Scholarship. His son passed. Most of his his college life, his son received a discount every semester.

2006 came and Rolly was surprised that his spastic son finished fourth among the 900 and more graduates in Davao Doctors College. His son did not only received a diploma but also three medals. One of those was an award for being the Outstanding Graduate in BS Psychology.

Dean hardly heard of any appreciation from Rolly. Rolly was not the type of dad who would say, “I’m proud of you.” Yet, deep inside, Dean felt his dad was proud of him.

The year was 2014 when Rolly went to a tennis exhibition live show for the first time. Thanks to his son who was willing to shell out cash just to satisfy his love for the sport he could not play in real life.

Both were anxious about this adventure. Rolly could sense that his son was genuinely happy and excited as well.

It was their first time traveling together by plane just to get to the arena, wherein the event was held. They also returned to this event the year after.

Rolly forced himself to a crowd of Millennial fans just to get the signatures of Rafael Nadal and Ana Ivanovic. His son was on a Cloud 9 upon receiving his cap (as pictured).

To Be Continued

A Letter To Myself

Dear Myself,

You have been through a lot. You were five years old when you survived death. You grew up with a permanent physical disability but you never stop going to school until you graduated with a diploma in BS Psychology.

You were even elected as the Alumni President without expecting it at all.

You lost your mom early. You only have your dad growing up. Your relationship with him was not as close as with your mom but you strived hard to connect with him.

Yeah, you get close with your dad until you eventually took him to an adventure of a lifetime you and him can never forget. You are the reason why he saw Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal LIVE.

This memory is your happiest days whatever happens, right?

In 2017, the one best friend you considered during high school betrayed you. This year was your heaviest and, also your bravest. You had whys in your head. You were traumatized. And, you realized you can no longer trust like you used to trust anyone.

Two years after, your psychiatrist diagnosed you with anxiety and depression. The healing conversation without medication made miracles.

2021 won’t be forgotten for sure! This is the year that your dad left you. This is the start of a new adventure, traveling this life without a mom and a dad by your side.

As their youngest son, your birthdays, Christmas and Father’s Day will never be the same again. Being parentless at 36 is a reboot of your life.

You feel anxious about the future but you are not scared.

There are people who can take advantage of your kindness and humility, kept owning things that do not belong to them.

You know who they are, and be extra prepared with them.

Your dad told you the whole story. You could sense that this was one of his biggest struggles in life. You were already paralyzed, your sisters were going to school and his wife died when they sued him.

This ownership problem was financially solved. He already fixed it for his three children.

It is already a mystery after all these years they still have these delusions to own what is not theirs.

Are they trying to challenge you? Once your intuition says yes, then, get a good lawyer once they start twisting the law again.

They did it in the past. Empathy-deficient people can continue it.

Yes, your mom and dad are on the Otherside and are still watching over you 24/7, but you need to stand on your own against these backstabbers and fake people.

Backstabbers and fake people are living dead. They are weak individuals who you do not owe a dime.

Today and onwards, your proactive habits such as reading/reviewing fiction, non-stop researching and listening to music will continue the way they are.

You know where you stand now. You understand the limitation and calculated risk. And, you will make priorities and goals happen.

Trust the process, one step at a time. Trust yourself more.

Most importantly, learn to trust your intuition.

Also, keep your expectations for yourself and others low. Not every one has the level of courage and curiosity that you have.

Life goes on. In the right time and you know when, you can arrive in your destination even without becoming a psychologist.

Keep going for more,