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Beach Babies-Starting Over, 10/15/04

10/15/04

Towanda is excited to be seeing her husband tomorrow. She wants to freshen up by taking off her braids and having them put back on.

Josie is observing her grandmother’s birthday. She must have been told ahead of time what is in store because she states that she doesn’t want to bring out mistakes with her grandmother today.

Towanda is ready to submit the first chapter of her autobiography. Iyanla tells her to “perfrom it”, and she does read it with more enthusiasm than you would usually expect from Snoop, I mean Towanda.

We see Sommer cooking, a big pile of something with cheese sprinkled on top. Chloe is sitting in the highchair looking puzzled. This poor kid doesn’t know what it’s like not to have a camera in your face or someone holding you while screaming.

Dr. Stan meets with Kim outdoors to talk about anxiety. Kim narrates that she will not hide things as is her usual practice because she really wants to get better. She tells Dr. Stan her mother had anxiety problems, and that the dad left while she was sick with cancer. (I thought he left when she was 6 and the cancer happened much later?) He remarks that she hadn’t mentioned this before and she acknowledges she hadn’t said it yet. She said she had to take care of her brother and sister. (At age 6?) Anyway, she’s now having panic attacks every day since being in the Starting Over house. Just before starting college she was diagnosed with Hysterical Conversion because her right leg went numb. Her parents took this opportunity to stick her in a mental hospital and she’s assumed she is crazy ever since. Dr. Stan assures her she’s not crazy because she can tell fantasy from reality and that 30 years ago people were often hospitalized for behavior problems.

Sommer calls Andy, her mentor, and says she will be going grocery shopping with Marcus, the trainer. Andy says that if they are going to Trader Joe’s, there are salads but you have to watch out for the dressing. Sommer tells her she’s still working on the junk food stash she brought to the house and Andy wishes she’d just give it away. Sommer balks because it was so much money.

We hear more of Towanda’s story, about how she was a troublesome pregnancy and a huge baby (8 pounds but it was a long time ago and her mother wasn’t healthy) She grew up trying to see her mother’s point of view, being split among six kids and later having to share her husband with another woman. After initially becoming a mean child, she eventually did not want to make her parents deal with her feelings on top of everything else. Iyanla’s next plan is to have Towanda sing this chapter.

We see another shot of Josie reminiscing about her grandmother.

Iyanla suggests some key phrases for Towanda to sing. She improvs and eventually gets to something that sounds and feels cathartic. Iyanla says she wants baby Towanda to know she’s not a burden and didn’t hurt anybody. Iyanla wonders out loud what Andre will think of his new wife. Towanda really seems a lot lighter, more animated than a few weeks ago.

Iyanla meets with Kim next. She tells her the next step will be intense and Kim hears that as “hard”. So they work on filters again for a few minutes. Iyanla gets out a big bag of rocks and reminds Kim that since she will be leaving the house with all the training and information, it will be her responsibility to try to heal the relationships. Kim protests, because she’s still not used to the idea of giving without being reciprocated. Iyanla asks her to think of giving as contributing to her health, and also that when you give, what you get is another opportunity to give.

Josie’s getting Chloe dressed for the beach. She doesn’t know what the exercise will be, but has been told it will be hard.

Back to Iyanla and Kim. Iyanla tells her she always looks at what others don’t do, so now she wants to know what Kim doesn’t do. She has Kim think of the last nice thing she did for each person in the broken relationships queue, and Kim remembers that she invited her stepmother to stay in her house for Snowden’s graduation. But Iyanla points out that Kim was not nice to her and gossiped about her while she was there in her home. They keep loading rocks into the bag. Kim narrates that it seems like Iyanla wants her to have unconditional love for everybody. She hefts the bag and weighs herself while holding it. This relationship baggage makes her weigh 219 pounds. They relax and Kim brings the suject to Iyanla. She wants to know why Iyanla never says “Why me?” “Why NOT me?” Iyanla responds. “Would you like to recommend somebody?” Iyanla relates that with her daughter, it was she who wrapped her in the first receiving blanket and she who zipped up the body bag for them to take her out of the house. Her thoughts on it are “What a blessing, what a divine opportunity.” (What a kook.) She tells Kim that her healing will be her sister’s healing.

Sommer’s getting ready to have a burger with the housemates. She says she knows she shouldn’t but she’s hungry and not about to watch the others eat while she starves. Jen narrates that she should put more effort into her diet. By the end of the meal Sommer has realized this was not a good choice and will be going to the beach with a negative attitude.

They all get to the beach and all seem happy except Sommer, who won’t wear a swimsuit because she doesn’t want to put herself on display. Josie stays with Rhonda while the rest of the women take Chloe down the beach to play. Rhonda puts one of Josie’s glamour shots up on an easel. Josie will use post-its to put up all the bad things she did to her grandparents, to get past the mistakes. Rhonda wants Josie to honor her grandparents by being the girl her grandma saw.

The other women are all playing on the beach and Towanda narrates she’s not concerned at all about her husband’s visit tomorrow. Her real hair is short.

Sommer is acting very bummed.

Back to Josie and Rhonda where Josie’s picture is now completely covered in mistakes. Rhonda asks, what if you are not your mistakes? Josie says she doesn’t get that, and Rhonda sends her to fetch her housemates. Rhonda believes the exercise will help all of them because they identify so closely with their mistakes. She sits them down and asks them to give examples of mistakes but nobody speaks up. Josie is painfully aware they are looking at her mistakes. Finally Rhonda asks them to describe an “If only” regret. Kim says that if only her parents hadn’t gotten divorced and she hadn’t gotten divorced… “Only everything would be perfect.” Jen’s is “if only I could let myself love other people.” Sommer’s is “If only I could have spent more time with certain people.” Towanda: “If only I could be honest and tell people how I feel.” Sinae: “If only I could speak my mind. So clearly, nobody has offered herself up the way Josie has been made to. When they get to Josie, it’s “If only I hadn’t been born, none of these things would have happened to the people around me.” Rhonda has brought some kind of paint in resealable bowls and as she reads off Josie’s mistakes, they are to smear some paint on themselves if they have also done this. This seems to be safer for them and they do it, showing Josie she’s not the only one. Sommer refuses to paint any higher than her legs because she is not planning to go all the way into the water and have her clothes cling to her. The women hold hands and wade in together, except Sommer. (Please let this paint be biodegradeable!) They scrub each other and Rhonda hollers and cheers them on while holding Chloe. (If that kid has any hearing left after all this, it will be a miracle.) Rhonda says the next step for Josie will be to rid herself of guilt. She sends everyone else home with Chloe while she and Josie sit on a blanket with a big clay pot (or plastic made to look like clay, I can’t tell). Josie is to put a scoop of sand into the pot for each gift her grandma gave her. Things like security, a proper home, and so on. Pretty soon it’s overflowing.

Back at the house, A friend of Towanda’s is braiding her hair (I don’t know where she came from. In season one you had to get a Papal dispensation to bring anyone in there.) The women are singing “Row Your Boat” and Sommer is making a bouquet of paper roses for Josie. She leaves them on her bed with a computer page of a friendship poem with a border and nice picture.

Still on the beach, Rhonda wants Josie to stop clinging to grandma because the loyalty is keeping all other love out. “Do you want to be the scared Josie,” she asks, “who has no love in her life, keeping a lid on the only love she has ever known?” She wants Josie to know love can renew itself. It’s very hard for Josie to pour the sand out into the surf but she understands it and feels better.

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