jeff probst making a wide-eyed face and holding his hands up

Why I Could Never Compete on Survivor

“Do you watch Survivor? Or are you not still stuck in the year 2002 like me?” This is how I start many conversations from March through May and September through November every year.

Survivor has been on for over twenty years now, and I recognize a large majority of people have not watched it since season 5. While I haven’t seen all of them, one of my friends has watched the show religiously since it started and got me back into it during college. Since my junior year, I’ve watched every season. My friend, her boyfriend, my fiancé, and I actually went to a few watch parties in Philadelphia one season when a local competed (and won!).

renata, wendell, and dan in a bar

Now, I have a few other friends who have gotten back into the show and we all discuss it weekly as new episodes air. In the world of binging, it’s nice to have a show that releases new episodes weekly. It really gives me something to look forward to and breaks up the week.

Season 42 just ended last week (congrats Maryanne!), and after watching the very first episode, I texted my friend, “Literally the entire episode, I was in a continuous loop of ‘oh wow, this is so cool’ and ‘lol I could never ever do this.’” While some parts of Survivor (like some of the challenges) seem fun, a large majority of it seems like things I would never want to do, much less be able to do. 

Now that the season is over, I’ve decided to write a list of all of the reasons that I wouldn’t be able to compete on Survivor.

I’m not a great sleeper and don’t function well without sleep

After being on hormonal birth control for much of my adult life, my sleep has been (potentially permanently) messed up. I cannot sleep without a sleep aid, and during the times I’ve been back on birth control, I wasn’t able to sleep even using my sleep aid. If you were to drop me on an island and force me to sleep in a shelter with a bunch of other people without my pillow, blankets, temperature-controlled room, and sleep aids, I would not sleep. For 26 days. At that point, I would either begin hallucinating or annoying everyone else with my snippiness because I hadn’t slept. Either way, it’s not a good situation.

I am weak and tiny

Speaking of the shelter, I’m not sure how helpful I would be constructing it considering the fact that I am super weak and only 5 feet tall. Use a machete to hack up bamboo? Nope. Reach high up to get something or place something? Nu-uh. Help people carry materials through the woods? Doubtful. My tiny, weak self would largely be useless back at camp. During challenges, I could probably help with puzzles and the like, but you can count me out of anything physical.

I don’t eat seafood

Survivor would be a struggle for me food-wise somewhat because of my aversion to seafood and somewhat because of my disordered eating issues. When you’re eating only a few hundred calories a day (if that), you need every bit of food you can get. I would struggle with this because I would still try to eat as little as possible and I also wouldn’t eat any of that protein-filled seafood that could fuel everyone else.

You want me to pee where?!

I am not a camper. Never have been, never will be. The few times I’ve ever done anything remotely close to camping, I’ve hated it. One of the main reasons for this is that I like having indoor plumbing and my own bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sharing a bathroom and shower with my family, but I don’t want to use some group bathroom or a hole in the middle of the woods. The most “camping” I will probably ever do in this sense was living in a freshman dorm where I shared a bathroom and set of showers with a hall full of other women. I also don’t go to the bathroom in the ocean. I really can’t, it freaks me out.

I can’t even use a port-a-potty. One time when I did a bike race with my dad, I had a bathroom emergency and went to a local business to knock on the door and beg to use their bathroom. They weren’t open, so I had to cave and use a port-a-potty for all of the riders (this is a fun story that I might have to write about fully one day).

Assuming that contestants on Survivor are using a hole in the ground or in the ocean, I’m not sure how I would go to the bathroom. I would probably end up dehydrating myself until I never went to the bathroom and then got medevac’ed out of the game…

Dirt and bugs are not my fave

Speaking of hating camping, I am not a huge fan of dirt and bugs. Believe it or not, I don’t hate nature and I actually enjoy hiking. But bugs (especially those that bury under your skin and/or poison you) freak me out. I also have an issue with having dirty or wet hands. Even if I am not out in nature, I struggle mentally when my hands are dirty or wet. In a game where I would be constantly filthy, I would never feel calm.

Not to mention the fact that in one episode a bug flew into someone’s ear during one season and she had to deal with it buzzing around inside her head?! Sounds like hell to me.

Overthinker extraordinaire

Paranoid overthinkers historically do not do well on Survivor. People don’t want to align themselves with skittish people and often vote them out. As someone who would overthink absolutely everything, people would probably stay clear from me until they eventually just got rid of me. Not to mention the fact that if I won a reward and was asked who I would want to take with me, I would overthink who to bring with me and probably have a meltdown in front of Jeff Probst. I wouldn’t be the first person to do so, but I would possibly be the first person to do so over the smallest decision in the game.

I cannot tell a lie

I am a terrible liar. In a game that is all about using deceit to get ahead, I would never be able to convince people of any lie I needed to tell them. Because I am such a bad liar, I tend to be a bit too trusting of others as well. They must be telling me the truth because there’s no way someone could lie that well, right?! 

I’ve never been good at reading subtext. When I was 5 years old, I told my best friend that I wanted her to come over some day that week, and her friend responded sassily, “not on Wednesday, because she’s coming to my house that day.” Young, naïve, unable-to-read-subtext Renata took her at face value and responded, “no worries! Some other time then!”

I’m also not sneaky at all. I would definitely be caught looking for a hidden immunity idol, then if someone asked me if I was looking, I wouldn’t be able to lie my way out of it! I’m sure that any advantages that I found would be discovered very quickly as I would be indecisive about where to store it and someone would see me moving it from my bag to my underwear to hidden in a tree to buried in the woods to —

I love shocking people

No, I don’t mean with a taser.

One day, my friend Marisa and I looked up our entire astrological charts and read them from top to bottom. They were super accurate. One of the parts of mine stated that I enjoy shocking people, and that is 100% true.

Did I tell you that I almost committed gluteal manslaughter?

Not only would I not be able to lie or hide my advantages, but I would also be so excited about them that I would just have to tell someone. When there’s exciting tea to spill, I can’t help but to spill it. And that would make me a terrible Survivor player.

Do you still watch Survivor? Do you think you would last, or would you be as terrible at the game as I would?

19 thoughts on “Why I Could Never Compete on Survivor

  1. I watched religiously when I was living with my parents throughout high school then the first 2 years of college, but fell off the wagon when I moved out. I’ll occasionally tune in to watch the challenges if I can’t be bothered to find anything else to watch or if I’m killing time, but I don’t keep up with the social politicking. I think I would be pretty good at living the Survivor life, but the social aspect of the game would be my downfall. I’m not a super social person and one of the skills you need to be a good game player is to be social and build relationships. I could probably make it through to the middle of the season by coasting as a ‘floater’, but would be voted out due to my lack of strong bonds with any one person or alliance in particular.

    Also, I had a stink bug crawl into my ear a few months ago while I was sleeping and that was the closest I have ever come to having a legitimate heart attack. Luckily my unwelcomed guest only stuck around for a couple minutes, but it has had lasting effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha…I feel like that’s how most people are! They watched with family for the first several seasons then they’re like “wait, it’s still on?!” The challenges are definitely my favorite part…I miss the days when they did 2 challenges per episode 😢 I feel you…I think I would probably make too many friends that I wouldn’t be able to eventually backstab haha

      OHMYGOD. That’s literally a nightmare come to life. I could totally see that having lasting effects…sorry that happened to you. Super frightening 😬


      1. Almost as bad as the time a carpenter ant got stuck in my throat and not as bad as the spider I saw inside my helmet while riding my motorcycle home from work. 😬

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t watched since about season 5 LOL Back when there wasn’t any streaming services and you had to make a choice about what you were going to watch because there was no going back and finding it again, so I think I just moved on from it. But Paul watches it all the time and during covid he got me back into season 41 or something? The one with Rob and Amber playing again as parents? It was good!

    I would also not survive! I would be on the island for a grand total of 15 minutes, be burnt to a crisp and would have to be evacuated to a hospital for heat stroke LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m late to the party on this post but I love Survivor and have watched every season! Don’t worry, I’m not one of those who can remember all the details and names of winners, or stuff like that. But I watch!

    I’d like to think I’d do okay at the game, but basically living off water for a few weeks will definitely give me headaches. I don’t know where they get the energy to run and climb and dig and swim during challenges.

    As for where they go to the bathroom, I once heard the term “aqua dump” from one of the players in relation to doing their business in the ocean, soooo good luck forgetting that term haha

    Liked by 1 person

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