with Lynne and Leslie

Self-awareness is good: The ballad of Abi-Maria on “Survivor”

by SweetMidlife


There are a lot of things wrong with me – my car is messy. I fall asleep in my eyeliner. My timeliness record is so bad that I have sometimes shown up early for things and stunned people, because it was like seeing an elephant fly, as is THAT’S JUST NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.

But there is one thing I pride myself on, and that is my sense of self-awareness. I have not always had this – My father once listened to a tale of something hideously obnoxious I’d done in my youth that I thought was so fricking clever at the time, and said “It’s hilarious to me that no one ever tried to shoot you.”

In my 40s, however, I try to always listen to my words and watch my actions and say “What does this look like to other people? Am I watching the faces and body language and really seeing how this is being received? Or am I letting my ‘Tell it like it is’ blind me from seeing that I look like a jerk?”

I have been reminded of this every Wednesday watching Abi-Maria, the so-called blunt Latina on “Survivor,” bully and paranoid her way through the competition until being voted off to the surprise of absolutely no one last night. I look back on Richard Hatch’s brilliant game play in Season 1, when this was all new and shocking, because his plan was to just be as obnoxious and ruthless as possible, all the while acknowledging and owning his ruthlessness. He didn’t whine about people not liking him, because he wasn’t playing to be liked. And he was smart enough to know he wasn’t going to be.

Abi-Maria, however, wanted to be liked – WAS STUNNED THAT SHE WAS NOT LIKED – all while she was berating people, turning on them, lying the most blatant, stupid and obvious lies ever, and basically making her presence toxic. She made an alliance the first day with RC, and agreed to share the clue to the whereabouts of the Immunity Idol, but found it on her own. But when scheming Pete, in order to break her alliance with RC, planted the clue in RC’s stuff, Abi freaked out on her and accused her of all sorts of biblical and medieval betrayal, when…and this is important…she had already technically betrayed RC by finding the Idol without her. When RC, who had never actually done anything, tried to reason with her, Abi refused to listen.

Her delusions about people’s loyalties, as well as her inability to see how she came off, made her deliciously watchable. My favorite part is when she blamed her tribemate’s dislike of her on her Latin directness. Girl, don’t blame your suckiness on your heritage. Blame it on your suckiness. She spent time plotting against everyone, for any reason, loudly and in their faces, and was then stunned when, say, one of those people didn’t include her in an reward. Why should he? You openly suck, yet can’t tell that other people can see you sucking.

During the tribal council, she let loose on that guy who didn’t bring her along on his award, Michael Skupin, calling him a moron, maybe because she felt that by making herself unlikeable, the others might want to bring her along with them to the finals thinking that no one would vote for her, giving them a clear shot to the money. What she had not considered was that she’s so repellent, they might want to give away a clear shot at a million dollars just to not have to deal with her. No her is better than a million dollars.

I would hope that Abi is watching this show now going “Geez, I was a jerk.” Everyone else knows it. But it’s more important that she does.


One Response to “Self-awareness is good: The ballad of Abi-Maria on “Survivor””

  1. tate_franz@comcast.net' Thaeda says:

    AMEN!! I could not wait for them to vote her off just to not have to listen to her anymore. Good grief!!! And yet….I know I have plenty of blind spots—so no doubt my irritation with her lack of insight has a lot more to do with my awareness of times I have been just like her than it does with who she is or how she behaves.

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