Zeke Smith Wants To Be Known As A Survivor Player, Not A Trans-Survivor Player

Never in my life have I been more committed to something like how I am committed to Survivor. I have seen all 34 seasons; I have favorite players, favorite challenges, and favorite episodes. I have even dreamed of competing on Survivor one day. However, through all of this, last Wednesday really caught me off guard.

Per usual, at the end of every episode, one tribe (team) is sent to tribal council where one player on the team is voted off by their tribe. Occasionally, tribal council gets heated–even more so this season because every contestent has played the game before and has been considered a “game changer”. So, a lot of loud personalities bouncing around.

This Wednesday was different though, more shocking than ever. In order to try and advance in the game, Jeff Varner outted Zeke Smith on national TV as transgender by saying to the tribe, “Zeke is deceiving you because what Zeke is not telling you is that Zeke is transgender”. 


Zeke Smith has played two seasons and has been able to keep his sexuality private. Which is exactly what it should be: private. The fact that Zeke Smith is transgender and chose to keep it private has no indication of how Zeke plays his game. 

Though stunned, Zeke handled it very well. It did not go over well with the tribe, and the unanimously voted out Varner, Zeke handled himself with poise. He simply didn’t want to be known as the transgender survivor player. 

Jeff Varner took a lot away from Zeke Smith that day. Most likely without realizing, Varner not only outted Zeke to the tribe but also the millions of viewers.

Now, that was filmed months ago. Today, after the episode aired, Zeke has moved forward and forgives Varner. 



I Like Murder (Podcasts)

Hi, my name is Allison, I like burgers, long walks on the beach, and murder. 
Wait, what!?

Yes, that’s right, I find the topic of murder to be exciting… in the most respectful way. I never knew how interested I was in this topic until I started listening to podcasts–Serial and My favorite murder to be exact.

I always found myself wanting to know every detail of that murder I saw on the news that night but I was just curious–passionately curious. 

I started listening to Serial on my grueling 18 hour drive back to Washington from Southern California. This podcast, hosted by Sarah Koeing, discusses in depth a murder that occurs back in 1999. Koeing reopens the line of conversation for the murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school senior, by sorting through thousands of court documents, talking to everyone she could find that was in the friend group or involved in the disappearance and murder of Min Lee. Koeing discovered that the trial for this murder covered up a far more complex story which ended up convicting a possibly innocent ex-boyfriend of the victim, Adnan Syed. 
Serial is all about answers, but in the end leaves it up to the listener to determine the innocence or guilt of Adnan Syed. However, Serial led to the order of a new trial for Syed in 2016. 
After finishing Serial, I found myself listening to My Favorite Murder, and yes, it is exactly how it sounds. This podcast has two hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, who bounce off each other in a discussion of their favorite murders weekly. Every week they have a category, such as murder with a strange object. Then they proceed to share the sometimes graphic stories.
I think my curiosity stems from the unknown. 
I always wonder when someone thinks or acts a certain way that seems unimaginable to me, why would someone act that way? In My Favorite Murder, the hosts always try to determine a motive. 
Some like reality shows about housewives, I like podcasts about murder. 

Coming Back Stronger Than Ever

So, you’re probably reading this because something has happened in your life (recently) that has changed your life forever.

You failed your entry test for your program, you lost a loved one, you are going through a breakup, depression/anxiety has hit you like a ton of bricks, or that certain something is keeping you awake at night… you have a traumatic situation you are facing–head on. 
But remember, you are not alone and you are a warrior.

I struggled with this for a long time after I lost my mom. I swear I could almost feel this world stop rotating and I was willing to let it do just that. I definitely did not feel like a warrior; shit, I hardly felt like a human being. 

To this extent, I had never felt anything like this but when I tried to explain it to people, I would relate it to a bad breakup. That feeling you get in your chest, how a person feels literally engraved in you DNA and your brain. You let the tragedy become you. 

Don’t get my words twisted though: grieving is different for everyone and depression can come in all different sizes and forms. I personally just have faith in these steps that helped me bounce back to become a better me. 

Ask for help.

Of course admitting to needing help can feel like you’re taking a loss. It is in fact the exact opposite. Being able to ask for help from a friend, family member, or even a counselor shows that you not only know your body but you’re also not afraid to say “hey, my brain and well-being need some TLC right now”.

Don’t Push Yourself. 

You will get back to a routine eventually, but for now, stay in bed if you want to. Skip class and go get that much needed fresh air. You aren’t going to be 100% for a little while, so celebrate the small victories. You may have not gone to all your classes, the gym, or even the library; however, you made it to the grocery store to get food for dinner. Go you!

Not Everyone Will Understand.

People in your life that love you so dearly may not know how to react to your situation. They don’t love you any less and they aren’t annoyed. Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t understand something and it makes you uncomfortable? That’s all it is. What leads me to my next helpful tip…

Identify What You Need.

I found myself more emotional than ever…and for good reason. I let my emotions seep into certain aspects of my life that would have otherwise been fine aside from my current situation. For example, I couldn’t stop causing arguments. In those moments, I had to identify what exactly I needed and what I was looking for out of the argument. Most of the time, I didn’t even want to be involved in an argument i just wanted comfort or sympathy… whatever, i’m a Cancer.

Make Sure You Are Eating… A LOT!

This one is pretty self-explanatory. When going through something traumatic, your body goes into shock (for far longer than just a day). Fuel it with all the yummy stuff you need to keep your body healthy and intact! 

Ride Each Wave As It Comes.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STEP BACKWARDS–I want to scream that at the top of my lungs. This life is in a forward motion, therefore, steps backwards are nonexistent. I like to look at every day, every emotion, every moment (good or bad), as a wave. You could have a great day on Tuesday, but Wednesday could be a real kick in the ass. This does not mean you took steps backwards, it simply means you had a bad day. You are still moving forward. 

Don’t Be So Damn Hard On Yourself.

You are so worthy and so great. Like I said before, you are a warrior. Warriors don’t always win, but they always fight.