I write this knowing that in April 2016, I was on an island in Fiji. Sometimes I can hardly believe I actually did it. Receiving a phone call telling me I was going to participate in Survivor season 33 was probably the best phone call I’d ever received. I was on my way to a Minnesota Wild hockey game with my sister, brother and sister in law when I noticed I’d missed a call. After listening to the voicemail, I could barely hit the buttons on the phone, I was shaking with excitement. Hanging up from getting the good news, I screamed because I didn’t know what else to do – my poor siblings!
This was it, the call I’d been hoping and praying for. I was getting the chance to follow my dream of being on the reality television show, Survivor. I wanted to pinch myself 1,000 times. It was hard to sleep, think, or plan. I was going to be on the show we’d watched as a family for almost 17 years! Survivor season 33 would air that fall and I was going to be on my TV screen!
Being on the Island and playing the ‘Survivor game’ was the fun part, but I was completely unprepared for the ‘watching myself on TV’ part. We planned a large premier party for the first episode with almost 300 people in attendance, even though there was a massive storm. Friends and family supported me weekly at viewing parties and through social media. Watching the episodes surrounded by my community, friends and family was exciting, until the storyline progressed. It was episode #2 when I realized things were not airing the way I had hoped. My first indication was the fact that not one of the conversations revolving around my breast cancer made the air, even though we won an immunity challenge on the anniversary date of my diagnosis! A ‘secret scene’ was released online the next day, which was great, however, I honestly expected to see a confessional or at least a snippet of the conversation with my tribemates on the air during the episode.
As the season progressed, there was less and less of me in the episodes. At the viewing parties I laughed it off, smiled and acted as though it was all fine, but it wasn’t fine I wasn’t fine! I was confused, but most of all I was disappointed.To be honest, dealing with these negative feelings is what prompted me to write this post (be watching for a video and second blog post), realizing so many of us face this feeling on a regular basis. I was disappointed in the tv edits, but more importantly, I was disappointed in myself. Leaving the island after playing the game, I was on a high, thrilled with my time on Survivor. Although I didn’t win, I was extremely proud of myself and how I’d played the game. Unfortunately, the memories I left Fiji with did not get aired on tv. I want to be extremely clear, this post is not about tv editing or production. The editors are talented professionals who are telling a story and they’re good at it. This post is about ME and MY feelings of crushing disappointment. My thoughts were so consumed with how little I was in the episodes, I hardly noticed the parts where I was in them. All I could think about was the disappointment of feeling like my dreams were being crushed in every episode. The feeling of disappointment was overwhelming. Disappointment can take many forms, you can be disappointed in yourself, in others, or in situations; either way, it’s not a fun feeling. Because I was blinded by the disappointment, it stole the fun out of watching my experience play out on TV. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how much or how little I was in the episodes, I allowed this feeling to control my thoughts and emotions. This robbed me of the excitement and love for watching the show that I’d had each season for the past 17 years!
All of us have experienced overwhelming disappointment in different ways and on more than one occasion. Here’s the thing, we are all going to have to deal with disappointment at some point in our lives. The question is, what do we do about it? We can allow it to consume our thoughts, control our actions and dictate our outlook on life or, we can grow as a result of it and learn what to do with the feelings when we have them. The question isn’t if we will be disappointed, it’s when will we be disappointed and how will we deal with it? My goal is to be Survivor Strong in every area of my life and dealing with major disappointment is no different. How do we deal with disappointment? In my next post, we are going to look at some of the reasons we get disappointed and how to move past it.
Leave me a comment below I’d love to hear your stories, are you facing a major disappointment? How are you dealing with it? I believe the more we open up, the more we are able to encourage each other!