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Sister Act – Starting Over, 10/14/04

10/14/04
In group this morning, Jennifer is exhausted from dreaming about “the butcher people” all night. She dreamed they chased her and she had to break their knives. Iyanla asks if it might be the energy of all those issues leaving her space, and Jen says that’s exactly what her mother said when Jen called her at 4 AM to tell her about the nightmares. (Oh, you mean the mother that’s never there for you?)

Sinae is a little nervous about her mother coming. When asked how she thinks her mother will feel about her newfound independence, she says she doesn’t care. They explore ways to make that seem kinder for mom.

Kim is called up front, which she hates because she does not want the group to talk to her about her issues. Iyanla notices she is all doodied up, glittering and shining, and Kim assures her it doesn’t matter. Kim is told she has earned two steps: self-awareness, and removing the mask. (Lesson learned: dig in your heels and refuse to do the assignments. You’ll get the grades anyway.) Iyanla narrates that Kim’s toughest steps are still ahead. She dismisses the group and tells Kim, Jen and Towanda they will meet later to talk about sisters.

Billie, Sinae’s mom, arrives and knocks, then lets herself in. Rhonda is there and there’s lots of baby talk, then they go to normal voices after Sinae leaves the room. Billie is happy because Sinae is getting some training that she could not give her. Billie said Sinae’s pediatrician (!) had told her the blindess would be harder on the mom than on Sinae.

Iyanla has Kim, Jen and Towanda together and they are discussing “what is a sister”. All 3 describe an idyllic, unrealistic view of what sisters are, even though none of them has ever seen that kind of relationship for real. Iyanla muses that they have been able to establish a bond among themselves but have somewhere disconnected from their own sisters. Their assignment today will be to take a moment to think about their sisters and come back later to share.

Sinae is taking Billlie to meet Natalie, the young college student she had gone out with last week. She wants her mom to see that it’s possible for a young woman to live independently. Rhonda tells Billie that Sinae will use the bus & taxi to get them both there. Billie looks at Sinae and says, “Your’re not going to lead us into the street against a red light?” Sinae responds that if her mother wants to go out into the middle of the street, she’s welcome to it.

Josie is about to meet with an image consultant to help boost her self-esteem. Rhonda narrates that at this point, Josie may see the consultant’s suggestions as criticism. It turns out she does. It seems like every time the woman reminds Josie that she doesn’t like herself, it just makes Josie think of WHY she doesn’t like herself.

Billie and Sinae get to Natalie’s apartment and Billie is impressed by how cute it is. Natalie shows them a website & chatroom for visually impaired people and they talk about things like public transportation and shopping online. Billie says she’s convinced Sinae can make it on her own – just send over a U-Haul and she’ll be gone.

Jen, Towanda and Kim are shown imagining what their sisters might be thinking.

Josie and the image consultant are going through her clothes. Josie wears her hair in her face to camouflage chubbiness and doesn’t wear makeup because it might get on Chloe and also she does not want to look available. Josie narrates it’s hard when someone you’ve known 5 minutes can tell you don’t give a crap about yourself. The consultant gets Josie to pull back her hair, tells her she has gorgeous eyebrows, skin, lips, what are you waiting for?

Kim meets with Dr. Stan who asks if she’s aware of how she might be contributing to the demise of relationships. Kim says yes but then we hear her say her sister is difficult. She gives an anecdote which, if true, is quite horrible: she gave bracelets to her nieces for Christmas and arrived home on day to find them on the porch of her house. Turns out one was too small and the other turned the girl’s skin green. Kim’s oldest daughter called and berated her aunt, who swore at the girl and hung up. Dr. Stan says he finds that hard to believe unless the sister has significant issues, and Kim assures him she does. Dr. Stan asks, if you make a move and she’s unresponsive, what do you do? “Flip out?” offers Kim, and he says “no, you say `job well done Kim’, and let it go.”

The image consultant leaves and Josie just feels like crying. I hope she can learn not to do this as Chloe gets older because it just seems like she is always mad or hurt while holding the baby.

Josie and Jen go with Sommer to the gym. Josie had told the image consultant she was trying to lose weight but couldn’t think of anything she was doing toward that goal, so she has left the baby with someone at the house to go and work out. She thinks everyone is staring at her and Jen jokes that evidently fat people don’t come to the gym to get skinny. A guy stops to talk and even Sommer notices he’s flirting. Josie protests that he wasn’t, and Jen jokes that she should go on a date and lighten up. Josie quits working out while they banter about whether she should date, since she’s a mom and all. Josie narrates it’s fun to get hit on for the first time in 4 years.

Sinae is leading Billie around town. She narrates that her mom’s worried she’ll take off and not need her any more. They find a cozy lounge where Sinae can ask some questions Rhonda has prepared. They’re still talking baby talk but not as bad. In response to one of the questions, Billie says she wants Sinae to have children and call her for a ride to the park. Sinae wonders why she can’t just take them on the Access Bus and Billie laughs and says she hadn’t considered it, then asks “but can’t you only have one companion?”

Back at the house, Josie narrates she was starting to feel like Queen of Punishment again when the dating issue came up, but now wants to go back.

Billie is telling Sinae she knows she can do fine without her but does not want to be left out.

Iyanla has Jen, Kim and Towanda sitting in a circle with only candles for light. She tells them she is about to share an important story.

Josie meets with Dr. Stan and they talk a little about dating. She’s now wearing makeup and her hair is brushed. She tells him she was hit on and feels flattered. She says it made her self-esteem higher and he tells her that if you get into a position where your self-esteem can be dictated by other people, it’s a roller coaster.

Iyanla tells the 3 sisters her story: She had an older sister who taught her everything. The sister was a dancer and they would go to dance classes all over the country. As they got older, Iyanla doesn’t know what happened, but they just stopped speaking. After a long time she got a call that her sister was dead. Not only was she dead, but she had left instructions not to tell Iyanla. Iyanla could not imagine what she had done to deserve this. She went to the funeral home and did all the things her sister had done for her: painted her nails, put on eyeliner, dressed her. She was hurting because of all the wasted time that she wasn’t with her sister due to arrogance, ego, unwillingness to say she’s sorry and ask what was wrong. She tells the women they do not want to know that pain. “If you ever see your sister lying stiff and cold, you realize what she did doesn’t really matter.” She asks them what each one would like to say to her sister. Towanda says being hurt is taking the easy way out instead of telling Tamar she was humiliated when Tamar signed a recording contract knowing Towanda was out there trying to get a project to do with her. Jennifer says she felt like her sister should do what Jen was doing because Jen’s way was the right way. Kim relates that her mother just wants her and her sister to be in the same room, since right now they can’t even stand to be in the same room with each other. Iyanla tells them they must each write a note, doesn’t matter what, and mail it to their sister.

Billie and Sinae share a hug goodbye. Sinae narrates – in a grown-up voice- that they will always have a strong bond.

Doctor Stan is telling Josie that using other people for a mirror about how you should feel about yourself doesn’t work. He asks her to tell him what’s pretty about her and she tells him she has pretty eyes. He says that a man can see that, but it won’t boost her self-esteem because she already knows it. He says if she can see what people like about her, it will be a good model for Chloe.

The 3 sisters are writing their notes. Kim is hoping to take satisfaction in being the first one to reach out. She asks for an open line of communication. Jen and Towanda apologize to their sisters.

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