Sorry I’ve been away for awhile. I started a new job, my boyfriend and I are house hunting and these hits i take are my thank you karma. She finally got my abusive ex.
💖We love it when the only excuse you can give me for him abusing me is you had it worse💖
Guys it is so so important that you know just because someone has it worse that you this does not invalidate what you went through in NO WAY. FUCK THEM if you were hurt YOU WERE HURT. PERIOD END OF DISCUSSION. Don’t let someone take your willingness to survive and avoid the pain and turn it into oh well you just didn’t have it bad enough. There is NO bad enough abuse is abuse is abuse and that’s on whatever God you do or don’t worship.
Suhtai returns to camp. Michaela sets her torch down and turns to Jerri, “Rallying our troops, huh? Does that mean you’re against me now, Jerri?”
“I’m not against anyone.”
“Seemed to be against Hannah.”
“Oh please, you knew it was coming.”
“I’m gonna make sure your boyfriend knows what you did.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.”
“But you know who I’m talking about.”
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a kangaroo rat avoids a pouncing snake.
The next morning, Wendy is trying to reignite the fire after it went out overnight. She’s trying and trying but nothing is lighting. Kass comes up from the shelter behind her. “You need some help, Wendy?”
“No, thank you. I’ve got it.” She strikes the flint a few more times before dropping her head and handing the flint to Kass. Kass crouches next to Wendy and shows her how to hold the flint and how to strike it. She hands it back to Wendy and tells her where to aim it. Wendy does as instructed and voila a flame is born. It builds and shines bright until the the warm light is enveloped by a dark shadow from behind Wendy & Kass. The two women look up to see Russell Hantz illuminated by the flames rising.
“Good morning,” he says, looking down at them.
“Good morning,” Kass and Wendy say as they take their seats back around the fire.
“Great job on the fire, Wendy,” Russell says with a smile as he takes a seat.
“Oh, thanks. Kass helped a lot.”
“Aw, don’t mention it,” she says.
Ben approaches while Tsitsistas gathers to hear him read tree mail.
“These clue’s are becoming less clever,” Lauren says.
“Were they clever to begin with,” Bi asks.
At high noon, both tribes meet outside the saloon to see Jeff in the same corral where they had recently herded cows. This time, he stands with a bull. Tsitsistas takes their spot first. Then Jeff says, “Tsitsistas, getting your first look at the new Suhtai tribe. Hannah voted out at the last tribal council.” Bi looks pleasantly surprised.
“For today’s challenge, everyone will take a ride on this bull here,” Jeff says as he slaps the bovine’s back. “Whoever has the longest time staying on his back, wins reward for their tribe. Want to know what you’re playing for?”
The shocked faces all nod slowly. Jeff no longer holds their attention. That belongs to the bull.
“The winning tribe will receive hamburgers, fries and whiskey back at camp. Tsitsistas, you have one extra member. Gotta sit someone out.”
Kass raises her hand and takes a seat on the bench.
Lauren is the first to take on the bull for Tsitsistas. She wraps her long legs around the bull and grips firm with her thighs. When the bull is released, Lauren is out almost immediately. She falls to the ground and scrapes her shoulder in the sand. Ken runs up to her to make sure she’s okay. He pulls out his water bottle and pours some water over her cut to wash it.
“You’ll be okay,” Ken tells her as he gently grasps her arm and runs a thumb over the injury.
“Thanks, Ken,” Lauren says.
Lauren returns to her tribe and Ken climbs on the bull’s back. Recognizing they could get in the way, he’s rolled his shorts up. His glistening gams are on display for all to see and see they do. His legs firm up as he grips the bull. Once the bull is released, Ken exhibits control over his body and the body he rides for a few moments before he too is tossed off.
Wardog is next. He tries to mimic Ken’s approach, but slides off as soon as the bull takes his first trot. Bi follows him with a calm balance atop the bull. She lasts far longer than anyone else with five seconds.
Jerri takes her turn and does well, but can’t beat Bi. Ben lasts longer than Wardog, but not quite as long as Jerri. Michaela nearly matches Jerri’s time.
Wendy takes her time to focus while taking her seat on the saddle. She places her palms on the back of the bull and wraps around to hug him. The gate raises and the bull goes. Wendy is able to hold on. The bull doesn’t seem to be fighting as hard with Wendy, but when he trots off his back feet once, Wendy bounces into the air and falls to the ground. But, she’s beaten Bi’s record with five and a half seconds.
Russell takes his turn, wiping the sweat from the top of his head. He’s clearly gone bull riding before and beats the record just set by Wendy with six seconds. Todd follows him. He brags to Jeff that he’s “ridden a lot of mechanical bulls in bars.”
“You think that will help,” Jeff asks.
“I hope so,” Todd laughs.
Colby takes his turn with a hesitated excitement.
“Have you ever ridden a bull, Colby,” Jeff asks.
“You know, Jeff, I can’t say I have.”
He tries to mimic the form he’s seen other successful people use. He lasts a few seconds– moments longer than Michaela but not quite as long as Jerri.
Elizabeth takes her turn. As she takes her seat on the saddle, she has a huge smile on her face.
“Oh, yeah, Jeff. I was actually Pee Wee Bull Riding champion at my middle school.”
“Pee Wee Bull Riding Champion?”
“That’s right. And Mutton Bustin Champion in third grade.”
“Well, alright,” Jeff laughs.
The gate raises and she takes on a face as if she’s fighting the bull. She instinctively follows the bull’s movement for seven seconds at which point she loses her balance and falls off. When the dust settles from her fall, Jeff announces “Suhtai wins reward!”
Back at the Suhtai camp, the tribe finds their hamburgers, fries and whiskey and begin their feast.
“So,” Todd begins, “We need to talk as a tribe about the merge. It’s happening soon and I think it’s important we stick together.”
“Agreed,” Michaela says, “We need to come together as a tribe.”
“They’ll pick us off one by one if we don’t,” Jerri says.
“Okay, so who do we have on the other side?” Todd asks.
“Colby,” Michaela and Jerri both say.
“Okay, who else?”
“Bi,” Elizabeth says, “ I could get her to come to our side.”
“That’s eight to their seven. We just need to make sure we win the next immunity challenge so we can go into the merge with the advantage.”
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a tortoise crawls toward a flower.
Around the Tsitsistas camp, the same conversation happens. Colby takes a seat around the campfire and says, “Alright guys. Merge is coming up. We’re all on the same page, right?”
“Tsitsistas to the end,” Kass assures them. She looks over to Wendy.
“Yup,” Wendy says as everyone nods in agreement.
“Yep, Tsitsistas to the end,” Russell agrees when he hears Wendy.
The next day, the two tribes meet Jeff in town for their next immunity challenge. He stands in front of a black train with gold trim. Four cars, including the caboose, are attached to the stationary engine.
Jeff explains, “For today’s challenge, four members of each tribe will race through this train, collecting four bags of puzzle pieces. Once all four bags have been collected, they will be passed to the two people on the caboose who will complete the puzzle. Tsitsistas, you have one extra member so you’re gonna sit someone out. You cannot sit the same person out in back to back challenges.”
Tsitsistas discuss who to sit out. Wendy argues for herself to take the puzzle. The tribe turns back to Jeff. Wendy lowers her head, raises her hand and takes a seat on the bench. The two tribes take a minute to strategize. Suhtai places Michaela and Todd on the puzzle. Tsitsistas elect Kass and Russell.
The eight runners line up on opposing sides of the train engine. Jeff raises his arm, “Survivors ready,” he drops his arm, “Go!”
Tsitsistas separate so one person can take on each car. Suhtai decides to go car by car to find the bags together. Four eyes are better than one, they said, even if one is Wardog’s, they said. Suhtai’s strategy seems to work, as they find their first bag within seconds. Colby checks under the chair where Suhtai found their bag and finds the bag for Tsitsistas. He runs into the second car, where Lauren is already following Suhtai’s strategy. The six of them make it into the third car. Ben’s found his bag tied to a lamp in the corner. He’s untying it as Suhtai enters. Wardog stays back to untie Suhtai’s bag. Everyone else runs into the fourth and final car, the caboose. Bi’s already left the interior and is now waiting next to Kass and Russell as they do their puzzle. The rest of Tsitsistas run out to the puzzle area on the back of the train. Suhtai searches high and low for their fourth bag. Elizabeth finally finds it hanging above the door they entered through. They run outside and hand their bags to Michaela and Todd, “Where’s Wardog,” Todd asks as Michaela dumps their pieces onto the puzzle’s frame.
“He’s still inside,” Elizabeth says before running back to the third car. Inside, Wardog is finally finishing untying his knot. He yells at Elizabeth to run back outside. When they get back out, they see both tribes have made significant progress on their puzzles, but Tsitsistas had more pieces to work with. When Michaela and Todd place their last bag of pieces into the empty spaces of their puzzle, Kass and Russell yell, “Jeff! Jeff!” Jeff runs over to check their puzzle and announces, “Tsitsistas wins immunity!”
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a kit fox huddles under some tallgrass.
At the Suhtai camp, Michaela and Ken meet at the well.
“What are you thinking,” Michaela asks.
“I’m most worried about Elizabeth,” Ken says, “She’s got Todd and Wardog now.”
“So we need to convince Jerri.”
“I guess so.”
Elizabeth and Todd wander through the desert, collecting whatever firewood they can find. A scorpion runs over a branch Todd picks up without him noticing.
“So,” Todd says, “Michaela or Ken?”
“I think Ken is more likely to come to our side than Michaela when it comes down to it.”
“I think you’re right.”
“Yeah, you think we can get Jerri and Wardog?”
“Wardog, yes, Jerri’s gonna be a little harder with her boy and Michaela being close.”
“And, even if we have to force a tie, everyone’s gonna switch over to Michaela to save themselves.”
“Totally,” Todd says, collecting another piece of wood.
Wardog and Jerri sit around the fire. Jerri stares into the fire, then to Wardog, meeting his eyes. She smiles a warm smile at him and asks, “Who do you want to see go?”
“I’m worried Todd is going to be a big threat if we let him get to the merge.”
“That makes sense,” she looks up to see Todd and Elizabeth approaching, “So, you’re a lawyer?”
“Well, law student, but yeah, that’s the goal.”
“Hey, thanks,” Wardog says when Todd and Elizabeth take a seat at the fire.
“Well, I’m beat. I’m gonna go lay down,” Jerri says.
Once Jerri is out of earshot, Todd looks up from the warm fire and turns to Wardog with an inviting smile.
“How do you feel about Michaela?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Well,” Elizabeth says, “Remember in her first season, they took her out right before the merge because they were afraid she’d go too far. Then, in her second season, they didn’t take her out pre-merge and she made it significantly further.”
“Do you want her to make it significantly further yet again, Wardog,” Todd asks, having dropped his smile.
“So, Michaela tonight?”
“That’s the plan.”
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a blue & black whitetail dragonfly buzzes through some tallgrass.
Michaela and Ken find their way back to the shelter and lay with Jerri. Jerri lifts the hat from her face to see them, “Hey guys.”
“Hey Jare,” Michaela says, “Do you have a plan for tonight?”
“I’ve got some options. What were you thinking?”
“I think they’re expecting us to come for Todd. But, I think we should take out Elizabeth right now. Todd’s not gonna win again. If Elizabeth makes it to the end, she will.”
“Alright,” she says before putting her hat back over her face.
“It’s that easy,” Ken asks.
“Sure, what y’all are saying makes sense,” Jerri says, “I’m in.”
As the sun sets, Wardog walks to the shelter for his torch. Jerri is waking from another nap and sees him.
“Wardog,” she says, “There’s a new plan. We’re voting Elizabeth.”
“What? What about Todd?”
“We don’t need to worry about Todd. Just trust me, alright.”
“Yeah, alright Jerri.”
With the pink sky behind him, Jeff greets Suhtai to tribal council once again. He exhales slowly and sits with the tribe around the campfire.
“Once again, Suhtai is at Tribal Council,” he says.
“Please tell us we’re merging soon,” Elizabeth pleads.
“I assure you, the merge will be happening soon, but one of you isn’t going to make it. Wardog, have you seen a lot of scrambling?”
“Oh, sure. There’s definitely two sides on this tribe and both sides think they’re right.”
“What side are you on?”
“I’m not picking sides, Jeff. Me and Jerri are always between the Millennials and the Davids.”
“The Millennials and the Davids?”
“That’s right,” Michaela says.
“You, Micheala, are clearly in the millennial alliance.”
“Yeah, with Hannah and Ken, but Hannah’s not here anymore,” she stares at Jerri from across the fire.
“So, where does that leave Wardog and Jerri?”
“That’s a question we’re all asking, Jeff,” Michaela says.
“Jerri, let me ask you directly. Where does that leave you?”
“Ready to vote.”
“Alright. Jerri, you’re up first.”
Jerri makes her way to the voting booth in the shallow cave. Then Michaela, who holds up her vote Elizabeth. Todd follows her with a vote for Michaela. The rest of the tribe votes. Jeff tallies the votes, asks for any immunity idols and reads the votes when no one gets up, “Elizabeth, Michaela, Elizabeth, Michaela, Elizabeth,” Michaela looks at Jerri with a cautious smile, “Michaela.” Her smile drops. “We are tied,” Jeff continues, “We will revote. Elizabeth and Michaela will not vote. Everyone else can only only vote for Elizabeth or Michaela.”
The remaining four members of the tribe vote again. Jeff heads into the cave to tally the votes. He returns to read the votes, “First vote, Elizabeth,” Michaela reaches over and grabs Ken’s hand to say thank you. “Michaela, Elizabeth,” Michaela looks over to Jerri with worried eyes. Then, Jeff finally reads, “Elizabeth.”
“Damn,” Elizabeth says. She hugs Michaela first before having her torch snuffed.
The first round of voting saw Elizabeth, Todd and Wardog vote for Michaela. The votes for Elizabeth came from Michaela, Ken and Jerri. On the second vote, Todd changed his vote to Elizabeth.
This is not the day and age where people care about others or start connecting with people selflessly. I don’t think it’s wise to do so either because I’ve come across more people who have harmed me or wished me harm, whether intentionally or unintentionally, than I have come across those who have been a blessing. But you know I miss that innocent bonding where there are no conditions. I think I experienced that when I was a young teenager. You know the kind where you don’t care about the strengths or weaknesses of a person or what they do for you or can because you just care about their existence. Where does that come from? And where did that go? The first time a human broke my heart - shocking because why would any human do that? - I ran away very quickly and very far away from the person I used to be. I keep taking steps back. It’s slow and painful. Some days it’s ten steps back to my innocence and faith and then it’s 100 steps back again to my cynicism and fear. That happens every time I come across a selfish person along the way. There are too many of those around. I think…as much as I don’t want to rely on humans for matters as important and intimate as this…I think the only real way back to that starting point is if I find someone along the way who truly wants to go back there too and hasn’t yet been converted by one of the too many human selfish zombies out there. It’s an apocalypse alright, just not the kind you’d expect. I don’t need to ration out my food and water. I need to ration out my love and kindness. And the skills I need for survival are a thicker skin, greater perception, and a whole lot of validation from myself. Who will be my companion in surviving this? We all need one. We need one. I need one.
Why you don’t always have to forgive like me…
As a trauma survivor,
I do not need to forgive to heal. When it comes to rape and racism, the problem with forgiveness is that it allows society to forget.
My friends are going on with their lives while I struggle to simply get out of bed and LIVE. I feel like I am on a rollercoaster of numbness and pain. Grieving and healing is a slow, slow process that cannot be hurried or even skipped.
Remember, I am not the same person I once was, and I cannot act the same way I once did simply because I changed. Though society pressures you to forgive the person who wronged you, the truth is that forgiving may be the worst thing you can do. Many of them focus on forgiving a perpetrator so that the victim can “move on.”
The goal is to make sure that the victim does not become fixated on the hurt. This situation is pretty critical because if you become completely obsessed with your victimization, you will not be able to function. That is a fact. Fixating freezes you, period. If you ever find yourself in this situation, remember that only you can make this decision.
This is one area where you have control. With time you may find it in your heart to forgive, or you may not. As you work through your healing process you find the things that bring peace and light into your life. How you feel is how you feel, and no one can dictate that to you no matter how hard he or she tries. Your heart is your own. Your spirit is your own. Your growth is your own.
There is always a truth that can give you comfort and that TRUTH is that the more active, the less time you will have to focus on negativity. You can find your way out of the tunnel if you just keep taking baby steps like I do.
And one day you may even find that not only have you found some peace, but you may have made a positive difference in the world. You aren’t alone, my friend. 🤟🏼
“and here you are living despite it all.” —Rupi Kaur
You ever get raped and abused and then punished for doing something about it and trying to move on? Or is it just me.