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Honor your inner Prynne – Starting Over, 9/29/04

2.13
9/29/04

The show opens with Kim journaling and narrating that she still doesn’t understand her current assignment.

A flashback to Josie narrating the Chloe almost choked (she bit off a piece of a teething cookie but Josie was right there to scoop it out) anyway, Josie was upset and frightened by the incident.

Dr. Stan arrives to meet with Kim, and on his way in Josie tells him Chloe is so spoiled by all the attention she gets from the other women, that she cries whenever Josie leaves the room. Dr. Stan tells her they will be discussing it later, but for now he wants her to know that the fussing shows that Chloe is not detaching from Josie in favor of the other women, and that it means she is not spoiled.

He sits with Kim and asks her what it’s like to be on TV with no makeup. Kim says she goes out a lot with plain clothes and no makeup, so she still doesn’t understand what this is supposed to teach her. They explore the issue for a while and he tells her that it’s for her goal of healthy relationships with women. With makeup and fine clothes, she is presenting herself superficially, just attractive with money, but nothing deeper. (I’m not getting it at this point either, so maybe someone would like to post and help me with it.)

Sommer is on the phone with her friend Curt. She knows why she has upset Josie and Kim, but still isn’t sure what she did to Towanda.

Meanwhile Towanda meets with Iyanla to talk about her person-on-a-stick with all the labels on it. Towanda has taken an Enneagram personality test and will meet with an expert to discuss the results.

Towanda’s husband calls and she says she is getting ready to tell Iyanla how she really feels about her. Andre seems surprised that she hasn’t done it already. She thinks Iyanla is mean and rude to her.

Josie is in the van with Chloe. Rhonda narrates that Josie is going to have to mourn the loss of being a perfect parent. It isn’t possible or desirable. They meet at Creative Leap and Josie is to ask other parents for their one most important rule of parenthood. Afterwards, Rhonda returns with cardboard cutouts made to look like a giant toy key ring. There are 10 keys for Josie to write her 10 favorite parenting rules. Her assignment is to come up with a ceremony to dedicate the 10 keys to Chloe. Rhonda suggests she also ask Kim for parenting advice and Josie balks. She says she’s mad at Kim for complaining about her assignment and wearing fancy pajamas to the belly dance class.

We go to Kim in her session with Dr. Stan. She tells him she was shocked to hear that people see her as sad no matter how she’s dressed. She knows she is sad because her life did not turn out the way she wanted. She tells him the women know all the things that have happened to her, but they don’t know how much pain she carries.

Towanda goes to meet Claus, the Enneagram guy. He tells her she’s a number three, The Achiever. The Achiever’s basic fear is being worthless, so they act how they think others want them to, losing their identity in the process. Towanda feels this is accurate and wants to talk more. She asks Claus how he is able to appear calm. She wants to tell people how she really feels, especially her dad, but worries about hurting their feelings. He tells her not to take responsibility for other peoples’ feelings. She shows him her person-sicle and all her labels. In confessional, she says she’s ready now to express her true feelings to Iyanla.

There’s a meeting in the loft and the topic is control. Iyanla and Kim discuss the buildup of feelings that led to her destructive impulses the day before. Kim realizes she will need to address issues as they come up. She apologizes to Iyanla and says she apologized to her housemates as well, and they have been supporting her in her assignment. Iyanla says it’s important to be ready with appropriate ways to express feelings, and asks them what their anger reactions are. Josie says she is snappy when things are not going well. Sommer manipulates. Kim “flips” and then withdraws as a way of controlling what she hears and whom she hears it from. Towanda withdraws. Iyanla wants to know if the housemates trust each other enough to be able to tell and accept the truth. Sommer says yes, so then Towanda has to say no because she has already decided she is going to disagree with Sommer whenever she can. She did have a good point about not wanting to hurt others’ feelings, so Iyanla tells her that not speaking up is a way of controlling how others feel. Jennifer says she trusts enough to receive the truth, but she is afraid of other peoples’ reactions. Josie says she tells the truth but feels some others are not speaking from their heart. When asked who she trusts the most, it’s “T”. The least, is Kim. She feels Kim has said one thing to her face, then has been overheard saying the opposite behind her back.

Later Josie meets with Dr. Stan and shows him her big key ring. (I think this prop is genius. It is the universal baby icon.) He asks if there is anything in her life that will impact her ability to do the key parenting things, like possible future dating – for instance if she brought in a man who was not good parenting material. Josie tells him she has pretty much decided she will not be dating anyway. In all her previous relationships she lost her self-esteem and gave the guys total control, which would be injurious to Chloe, so she will avoid that scenario by avoiding men. Dr. Stan wonders if she is avoiding romance because she is waiting for the F.O.B. (Father Of the Baby) to come around. She says he has only seen Chloe twice and has never held her. Dr. Stan reminds her that it’s ok to be happy and in love, because happy parents produce happy kids.

We hear more of Towanda’s phone conversation with her husband. She is telling him Iyanla is mean and reminds her of her mother. Later Towanda meets up with Iyanla and they get out the stick person. Towanda replaces the bad labels with corresponding positive ones. Iyanla tells her the mind will work to hold onto limitations but the heart is more co-operative, so we should work from the heart whenever we can. As they wrap up, Towanda gets up the courage to speak.

We cut to the others back at the house getting ready for Josie’s dedication ceremony. Kim asks if she can wear pajamas and Josie advises her not to.

Then back to Towanda, who tells Iyanla she’s mean and harsh. She doesn’t offer empathy and makes Towanda feel she’s “not right about nothin’.” Towanda says she feels Iyanla is insincere.

Cut to more of Sommer’s phone call with Curt. She tells him her affair is a black mark with the other women.

Back to Towanda who is now backpedaling, apologizing, qualifying. She says maybe Iyanla offers sincerity but she just doesn’t feel it. Iyanla draws her out a little and Towanda reveals that Iyanla challenges her and she does not like to be challenged. She decides it’s because she wants to control Iyanla’s feelings and with that cleared up, they are both happy. They make a deal that each will always tell the other the truth. They shake hands, have a funny exchange about who has the bigger booty, and part for the day. In confessional, Towanda is energized and says she can finally exhale.

It’s time for Josie’s ceremony. Kim has her fancy PJ’s on. Josie makes a speech about what great surrogate moms they all are. Each woman gets a cameo to tell what they like about helping with Chloe. I have had the impression that Towanda may be dealing with infertility because of previous comments, and here she says that waking up in the morning, she imagines that Chloe is her responsibility to dress and care for. After the ceremony, Josie apologises to Kim for aingling her out, and Kim seems ok with it.

The next day in the loft, Rhonda tells the women Sommer was courageous for telling her story so honestly. She solicits reactions. Jen tells Sommer that she made the effort not to judge. Josie admits that she immediately pegged Sommer as “one of those girls that’s burned me before”. But after talking to her, she now likes her. Towanda tells Sommer she should have gotten up and left Nathan at that party, and wants to know why she didn’t. Sommer, who is now crying, says she knew it was wrong and that she can’t explain why she did it anyway. Towanda tells Rhonda she feels Sommer is no different from her father’s wife. Rhonda gives Sommer a scarlet letter “A” to wear on her shirt and even Towanda has to agree that’s kind of tough.

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