I wrote this last October when Trent’s episode aired for the first time. What a wild and crazy ride this Naked and Afraid Journey has been and it just keeps getting better. As I watch the amazing survivalists on this seasons Naked and Afraid XL, I once again think about those loved ones that waited breathlessly to hear from their loved ones after sending them off to Africa….. I post this for all of you and for all the fans as a reminder…… please be gentle, there is a person watching your comments on the forums ….they are REAL…….and they did their very best….. show these amazing people the respect that they truly deserve because if the world implodes (as it seems to be doing)…. I want every one of them on MY team!!!! Here is a little peak at the perspective of a loved one of one of these BA survivalists…….
For obvious reasons, I am a huge fan of Discovery Channels TV series Naked and Afraid. Every person that goes on this show has my utmost respect for going into an unknown challenge of epic proportions. There are many articles written on the Survivalists and I won’t even try to keep up with these fantastic journalists.
This post has a slightly different perspective and this goes out to all the unsung heroes that are behind the scenes, who quietly sit in the wings and watch their loved one attempt the most difficult challenge of their life. You know who you are….. you’re the one that raised the eye brow when your loved one told you that they just applied for the show Naked and Afraid. “You what?”
Then…. You’re the one that took pictures, shot video, helped write bio’s and emails that would catch the attention of the producers of Naked and Afraid. You are the one that cheered them on when they left for their casting interview and waited anxiously on your phone to get text updates about what the producers were asking you all about. You are the one that watched your loved one check their email anxiously every day waiting for the announcement of where they would be sending them. You are also the one that held your breath when they excitedly announced the location they would be sent to. You are the one that shouted “Yippee!” and secretly wondered …. “Where the heck is Belize, I really should have paid more attention in Geography class!” You are the one that sat by their side and googled everything there was to know about the location they would be going to. You are also the one that secretly googled “most dangerous animals in Belize” when your loved one wasn’t watching. You are the one that walked around barefoot for months with your loved one to prepare for the challenge just to support them. You are the one that couldn’t stand it when your loved one wanted to go without food for a few days just to prepare, so you cooked a steak and told them you caught a squirrel for them. You are the one that watched countless episodes of Naked and Afraid hoping that your loved one would have a partner that had all the good qualities of every great survivalist that was on the show. You’re the one that paid attention to how every survivalist found food, water and made fire and obnoxiously pointed it out very dramatically. You are the one that ran all over the city finding bamboo and demanded that your loved one “MAKE FIRE” from it so that you could have proof that they really would have fire to survive.…. (OK…. Maybe you all didn’t do that one. That might have been just crazy little me…. In the middle of winter, at the bottom of our bed… and yes! He did make fire from that stupid décor bamboo from the home decorating store Tai Pan.) You are the one that anxiously awaited the departure date and became annoyingly bossy of what “not to do” on your episode. You’re the one that was told by the producers that “no news is good news” when you asked if they would be updating you while you’re loved one was gone. You’re the one that received one last phone call and when you hung up you cried and cried, then, you prayed and prayed. You’re the one that spent sleepless nights knowing that out in the middle of the jungle you’re loved one probably wasn’t sleeping either. You’re the one that appreciated every meal you ate and sent hopes to your loved one that they were being able to find food too. You’re the one that every moment you thought about what it might be like right now to be hungry, tired, cold and all the rest you’ve seen on every episode. You’re the one that sat outside spending time each day in meditation sending love, light and energy to both your loved one and their partner (ok…. that one might have just been me too.) You’re the one that looked at the calendar every day and celebrated when you crossed off 11 days because you knew it was half way through and you hadn’t heard anything so as they said, “No news is good news.” You are the one that received countless texts from curious friends and family, asking how you were doing and if you had heard anything yet. You were the one that watched the phone the day of extraction and when it finally rang with that unknown number, tears of happiness and a knot in your throat finally choked out an anxious “Hello? Honey?” You are the one that wanted to hear every detail but also knew that your loved one had just been extracted and probably wanted to go eat, shower and rest…… oh how torn you were not to be there and wrap your arms around them. You are the one that spent the next two days with no sleep, awaiting the time when your loved one would walk off the plane. You are the one that held your breath after you received the text that the plane had landed and held that breath until their face appeared. You are the one that felt tears well up in your eyes when you saw that smile you love so much. You are the one that cried when you saw their body so thin, so malnourished, so completely riddled and scared with bug bites and finally you took a deep breath in relief that they were finally home with you….. now this is NOT where the Naked and Afraid journey ends …… now you are the one that listens to stories and are so glad they are sitting next to you as you hear the terrors your loved ones endured for the last month. You are the one that loves to hear these stories even after you have heard them 5782 times and you want them to tell the stories again and again. You are the one that waits anxiously to find out when the episode will air. You are the one that listens to the post interviews and hopes that the episode will show the world just how amazing your loved one is. You are the one that hopes that the thoughtless folks in the world will not make horrible and terrible comments about your loved ones on all the Naked and Afraid forums. You are the one that watches the previews when they begin to show up on live TV and scream like a rock star groupie as you realize the world will soon get to see what you see everyday….. and I mean see everything!!! You are the one that is thrilled when the big night arrives and there is so much support and love for your loved one that you are overwhelmed with this whole adventure…. In a really good way. You are the one that watches in awe when the narrator introduces your loved one and you see them Naked and Afraid for the first time. You are the one that cheers when their PSR is announced and quietly think…. It should have been way higher than that! You are the one that feels a sense of “I can’t believe this really happened to you” as you watch the brutal conditions they faced for 21 days and your glad you can squeeze their hand as they are sitting next to you. And that night…. You are the one that snuggles up close, so grateful they are alive and right here in your arms. You are the one that watches as their phone lights up with messages, texts, emails, Facebook messages and all other sorts of social media communications about their adventure. You are the one that watches from across the room as they continuously check social media to hear the opinion as strangers weigh in on how they judge your loved one on how they did on this wicked undertaking. You are the one who loves that they are getting all the attention they deserve for enduring this challenge. You are the one that sends out a prayer to the universe that people will remember that behind their tiny little phone screen or computer screen that they are thoughtlessly commenting on….that there is a person on the other side that put their heart and soul into the hardest challenge they have ever done in their life and no matter whether they made the 21 days or not, they did their best and they are reading your comments.…. and you whisper a small prayer for your loved one and for their partner to be strong and also to the strangers to be kind.
AND at the end of today…… you are the one that takes a slow, deep, heavy, breath when someone on the forums says, “I hope we see you on Naked and Afraid XL.” If you are the one I’ve been talking about please know…. I know you!!! I love you!!! You are my new family!! I feel for you, I have felt every emotion you have had…all the good, all the bad, all the ugly and I salute you for your support and encouragement from the wings. If you are NOT this person and you have had a loved one on Naked and Afraid, I beg you to take a moment and see if you can shift some of your thoughts into loving, supportive and encouraging behaviors. Our loved ones just accomplished the challenge of a lifetime and they became highly vulnerable on TV for friends, family and loved ones across the world to see. If they didn’t come out looking like a rock star be kind, be gentle… after all it is Hollywood…… our loved ones need those closest to them to truly see that they are among the elite that would even consider doing this challenge. They need us to be their safe place, their protection against the thoughtless comments…. A safe place to turn. My hat is off to all of the survivalists, especially to the man who rocks my world every day. This challenge wasn’t just for the survivalists out in the wild….. this challenge also taught me about who I am, what my character is all about and I faced a few of my demons on his Naked and Afraid journey as well. Thank you Naked and Afraid and thank you to all the unsung heroes that quietly love, support and encourage from the wings…. I salute you as well!!
– Sheri Joi, Founder of Redefining Joy, October 2015