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I DID Tee a Puddy Tat – Starting Over, 10/11/04

10/11/04

Iyanla comes to the house early and goes into the bathroom with Kim. She has Kim get out all her makeup in the order she would put it on, and asks Kim to describe her routine. Kim tells her about all the products she uses and why. Iyanla snorts at the idea of using concealer. (At this point I am wishing rosacea and broken capillaries on Iyanla. Not forever like me… just maybe a week so she will see what it’s like. And what is the big problem with makeup anyway? Didn’t she bring in makeup people to tart everyone up for the glamour shot, and didn’t Rhonda then tell the women these photos are who they really are? I mean pick a problem already!) So anyway, Iyanla wants to explore why makeup has caused fights in the house, and how being picture-perfect may be a factor in Kim’s chain of broken relationships. She has Kim look in the mirror and tell herself she has beautiful eyes. Kim acknowledges her face is pretty and that she has had an epiphany: Everybody’s a critic, she can’t look to other people to validate herself, and she will now dress appropriate to herself. Translation: “I won’t change, don’t make me.”

Towanda’s on the phone forgiving her husband for threatening divorce the day before. He can’t remember saying it. (Um, maybe cause he didn’t???)

Iyanla is telling Kim that makeup is a smokescreen to hide and protect the person inside who’s afraid she will be hurt. Iyanla shares that as a woman of color, she has to filter media information or she would believe that only blonde caucasian women are beautiful. She wants Kim to use this morning’s group session to ask for feedback. Kim thinks it will be criticism but Iyanla assures her it really is feedback. She makes Kim repeat “There’s something I do that breaks off relationships.” “You are fighting for your life, Kim.” Iyanla tells her.

Rhonda comes to see Josie to talk about Josie’s habit of reacting in a volatile way. She has a poster that’s half black and half white, and has Josie write the word TRUTH across it first in white, then in black, to show her that you can only see half the word. She tells Josie that in her world, every person is either black or white – bad or good, and she cuts people out of her life based on this rule. They go through each person in the house. Kim is bad. Towanda, good. Jennifer, good. Sinae, bad. Sommer, bad. Then Josie gets to mix the white with the black to make grey and write the word in grey so she can see the whole word. She will practice grey today.

Towanda is getting ready to confront her biggest demon of all, anger. She works on her book with Iyanla and they decide that since Towanda’s mother had been urged not to have children (doesn’t say why) but wasn’t trying not to get pregnant, all her pregnancies were surprises and Towanda was a big baby, so an even bigger surprise. Iyanla shares that she found out a lot about herself by looking at her beginnings. Her own mother was the Other Woman, so Iyanla “marinated in that shame” all her life. She shows Towanda a photo of her middle daughter. Iyanla says Jamilah (I think this is the name) lived her whole life in a rage that came from the circumstances of Iyanla’s pregnancy. It seems Iyanla had debated the idea of abortion until she was 5 months pregnant and the knowledge of this ate her daughter alive, that she died of cancer at the age of 31. (It is unclear to me whether Jamilah is supposed to have known it from pre-birth or whether Iyanla actually told her kid she was almost an abortion. Also, this will be news to the millions of cancer patients & survivors, that you gave it to yourself by being angry.) She says Jamilah surrendered to the cancer rather than just trust herself and be pissed. (More news, you can cure it yourself if you’ll just start thinking right! I am rapidly losing respect for Iyanla. In fact I think she’s a nut job.) Tonight Towanda will be meeting with an anger therapist. She doesn’t want Towanda to end up like her daughter, who didn’t feel she could say anything to her mother and that her mother would survive. Towanda narrates that it’s scary to separate your mind from what’s in your heart.

Later Towanda tells Kim about the anger therapist and Kim acts really blown away, like this is the most astounding thing she has ever heard. Then she gets hold of herself and says she would be afraid of what might come out in anger therapy. Towanda is afraid she herself might hurt somebody.

Now everyone is gathering in the loft and Kim narrates she is quite sure she is going to die. She is surprised to learn everyone else in the room has had at least one broken relationship. They all describe one and Iyanla observes that it’s all about what THEY did to YOU. She tells them there needs to be a distinction between the value of the person and their behavior. She asks, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be healed?” She tells the women Kim will take this divine opportunity to ask them for what she wants and that she guarantees they will support her. Then she leaves. Kim asks them all to tell her how her behavior may be causing breakdowns. Towanda says that when she’s hurt she gets an attitude and there’s no talking to her. Kim agrees that she lets things build up. Sommer starts to tell her that it affects all her senses, but then Kim interrupts and Sommer does not finish. Jen tells Kim that “all of us could prove you wrong” but that Kim would still feel right. Josie basically agree. Kim tells them that she doesn’t say how she feels, then blows up later. She tells the women she needs support but only wants to hear it one-on-one, never in a group. They end with a group hug, Chloe in the middle. (Yuck, 5 different kinds of perfume! She’ll be lucky if she doesn’t grow a third arm from all the fumes!)

Josie meets Rhonda at a place that looks like Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market. They go into Kip’s Toyland and Rhonda tells Josie to barter for a toy and Rhonda will videotape her. (Why not use the cameras that are already rolling?) So Josie picks a package of rubber ducks and tries to dicker on the price, but the store only gives discounts to schools. (Um, pre-production, where were you?) Rhonda tells her she didn’t succeed because she was slouching and going along with the refusal.

Kim emerges from the group and Iyanla gives her a standing ovation. Kim says she knows she hears only what she wants to hear, but that she stuck up for herself today by asking for feedback only in one-on-one. Iyanla points out that Kim is trying to control how she receives information, but that it will be ok for now. She makes Kim repeat “I am aware that in relationships I try to control how other people will behave.” Kim mutters something that sounds like “cheeky” and then says “I didn’t mean that, you know what I mean.” Iyanla says no, she does not. Now Kim wants to know how Iyanla functions after the loss of her daughter, since the idea of losing loved ones to death is something that frightens Kim so much. Iyanla says she wonders “why?” every day, but at least she can come and be here. By helping to save others, she can help herself.

Back to the Farmers Market where Rhonda is upping the ante. She takes Josie to All Spice Teas and tells her she must get someone to give her something for free. Josie picks some tea and asks for a free sample. When the person tells her he has no way to make tea, she gets him to promise her he will if she can find hot water.

Kim and Towanda are talking about Iyanla. Towanda narrates that her life is going to be amazing. Kim is saying they were brought together for a divine purpose. Jen interrupts and tells Towanda she will be joining her in anger therapy.

At the tea shop, Josie miraculously appears with 2 styro cups (One for herself and one for him) and he gives her a free sample to drink. SHe narrates that they talked “like two grey people”.

Jen and Towanda meet Judith Milburn, the anger therapist. She gives Jen a baseball bat and shows her a rectangular cushion, covered in vinyl or leather, about as high as a kitchen table. She has to wail on it and use her voice. Jen says she doesn’t know how to yell or scream because it makes her feel like she’s being like her dad. So she kind of wimps out. But Towanda is ready. She starts with her father, pounding to emphasise the words. “WHY did you HAVE to LEAVE with that UGLY WOMAN! She LOOKS like a TWEETY BIRD!” She asks for gloves and keeps on going.

We see Kim taking off makeup and saying she is starting to feel like she can heal, and if she can make it, anyone can.

Towanda’s still going. She has beaten up an old boyfriend and who knows who else. She’s also mad at God for causing pain. She beats God to “TAKE it AWAY so ME and MY HUSBAND can BE HAPPY!” When she’s done she feels clean inside and relieved to have had a safe place where nobody got hurt. She narrates this is only the beginning of her being angry. “Get ready,” she sighs.

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