Updated on January 26th, 2023
Mad things I’ve done while Grieving
Queenstown, New Zealand – March 1995
Grief is a very unpredictable state in my experience. Sometimes when the calendar tells you, you should be emotional, you’re not. Other times for no apparent reason you burst into tears in random places. And at times you throw caution to the wind & do something completely ridiculous bearing in mind your circumstances… like apply to go on the TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”….
Believe in Yourself
I have always believed in the idea that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. If I wanted to, I believe I could climb Mount Everest, as long as I was focused & did the right training & preparation. I choose not to as I don’t want it enough (especially after seeing the film “Everest”!). In addition, I believe that we don’t know what we’re capable of until we put ourselves in the situation & see how we react. For example, standing on top of a bridge in New Zealand with a glorified elastic band strapped to your ankles – can you go against every instinct you have & dive off? It turns out I can!
So, if I choose to put myself in a situation where I am stranded on a desert island & have to rely on my wits & some basic training to survive, to hunt & kill to feed myself & find a reliable supply for drinking water etc, could I do it?
Last summer I watched most of the last series of “The Island” & it fascinated me. I was especially interested as it was the first time they had included women, the women had a shocking time, mainly (in my opinion) because they did everything to resist selecting a group leader (once they finally did everything seemed to fall into place). I then saw an interview with 3 of them afterwards and when they were asked, if they were given the choice to live in their normal lives in the UK or go back to The Island which would they choose? All of them chose The Island, without hesitation.
It got me thinking….could I do it? Should I do it? And once they said you need to be available to be away for 2 months for filming… Do I have any reason not to? So I did.
Leaving It Until The Last Minute
Of course, my decision wasn’t immediate, I’ve always worked better with deadlines so by the time I got round to completing the form time was running out. A lot of the questions were aimed at leadership experience (I was good with this), survival experience (none of this but surely that was a good thing?), the biggest challenge you have ever faced (obvious but should I share?) & why you wanted to be involved (I thought about holding back about my “situation” but decided it was best to be open, honest & be judged as my true self). At the end of the application, I realised the final part was to attach a video – anything you liked but no longer than 3 minutes. This was more of a problem as I was running out of time.
I thought about what I could do to make it stand out. I thought about getting some input from some of my more creative friends. But while thinking I ran out of time. On the last day open for applications I made a couple of notes as to what I wanted to say, practised it a couple of times to check the time & just pressed record. I decided being myself was the most important thing. Without thinking any more about it I attached the video & pressed Submit.
I received an email to say that due to the high volume of applications, you would only hear from them if they were calling you to an audition. I showed the video to a few encouraging people. Everyone was convinced they’d be in touch. “When will they call you?” “When are they be filming?” “Don’t you need to make sure you’re free?” I decided not to change anything & not to sit around & wait. They had to like me first & the chances of anything happening were so slim that it wasn’t worth waiting for.
It turns out I was right as I never heard a thing! It is a weird thing though, speaking as somebody who has never been good at rejection. I think there are 2 potential reasons why I didn’t hear anything:
- I am clearly emotionally vulnerable and in situations like this it could either be a good thing (good TV?) or a bad thing (put a vulnerable person under this kind of physical stress & they are exposed to all sorts of criticism, unpredictability & potentially car crash TV),
- I didn’t attach the video correctly, they never got to see it & my application was incomplete!
Either way, it was an interesting process & after I submitted my application I have felt nothing but a deep sense of satisfaction and pride that I actually went through with it & put myself “out there”. I am also really pleased that I had to make the video. For me, it captures a moment in time that would otherwise have gone by without note.
The first episode came out & I watched it with my friend Zena, having just finished a delicious stir fry and with a glass of champagne in hand. I wonder, could I do it & do I wish I was there? The answers… who knows & absolutely not!
So it has prompted me to put myself “out there” anyway & share the video. Hopefully this time I have attached it correctly but as I said it’s very unpredictable how grief has affected me…