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Dirty Dirt in the Dirty Dirt Dirt – Starting Over, 10/28/04

10/28/04

I like this season’s practice of beginning each show with the Housemates waking up for the day. Today it’s Nancy, Josie’s mother, getting up and greeting Chloe. Then Nancy lights some candles and does a little prayer ritual. Chloe almost always has an expression of pure wonder on her face.

We see more of Sommer and Maureen bonding out in the smoking area, possibly from the day before.

Josie and her mother discuss their plans to all live together in Illinois. (I wonder what happened to their earlier conversation about moving to an assisted-care facility?)

The women meet with Dr. Stan in the loft. The topic is loss. Maureen says the fire will be an opportunity to move forward from things that were holding her back anyway. Dr. Stan observes that this sounds healthy, but she’s purposely skipping a step: grieving. He advises the women that when something catastrophic happens you should make a point to have an emotional catharsis before moving on. Jen and Kim mention how they use anger for that, but it doesn’t feel good afterwards. Towanda talks about how she just tries to ignore grief it reaches a certain limit, then runs away from it.

Iyanla’s outside at some park scratching around in a flowerbed. Towanda comes over and Iyanla tells her this is what she will do today. When Towanda realizes she is going to have to get into the dirt with her manicure, she looks at Iyanla like she’s crazy. (Hello, gloves or a little soap under the nails before digging? Iyanla has her doing some other crazy things too, but I’m just wonky about gardening. And maybe they don’t care if the flowers die right away, or anything planted there for the next 2 years. End of tirade.) So they compare the weeding to rooting out the bad in her life, and then planting pretty flowers to grow, you get the idea.

Rhonda has a one-on-one with Nancy. Nancy explains that she made the decision to have Josie stay with her parents because she was living behind the bar where she worked (I thought Josie said she owned it) and it wasn’t safe for Josie to be back there alone. They are not shown discussing whether there could have been child care or if Nancy’s own drinking problem was an issue at this time. She tells Rhonda she would still make the same decision. Rhonda asks her if there is a difference between being a mother and a grandmother and Nancy says there might be no difference because she might be the mother sometimes and the grandmother sometimes, and there might be times when Josie will be the mother to her.

Towanda narrates that while gardening she felt like it was going to take some getting used to, getting down and dirty in that dirty dirt dirt. She understands the message behind the exercise though, that to accomplish hard things you have to get down and dirty.

Rhonda wants Josie and her mother to have a fun day together, her idea of which is to subject Nancy to a haircut and makeover. Nancy looks horrified and Josie just grits her teeth and hopes her mother will let it pass. Nancy decides to be a good sport even though she’s never worn makeup in her life and in my opinion, doesn’t need any, except maybe someone should offer to update her eyeglasses or spring for some dental care.

Maureen’s on the phone with her friend Dorothy, who observes that she’s never seen Maureen cry. Maureen says she cries only about her two dead children, and only in the car or in the shower where nobody has to see. She narrates that if she ever does begin to grieve fully, it will be like a dam bursting and she still doesn’t know if it will ever happen. She meets with Doctor Stan, who narrates that he will try not to push her too far. Maureen tells him she had wanted to die before her own mother because she had always felt she couldn’t live without her. Then when Mo’s daughter Linda got leukemia, Maureen’s own mother declared she would survive until Linda was well. So when Mo’s mother died anyway, Mo took it as a sign that Linda would get well. Then Linda died, and shortly after, Mo’s son Joe had a heart attack and died. She starts to cry and she’s got me crying too, the pain is so palpable. She tells Dr. Stan she can cry about losing her home if she thinks about her children at the same time. Dr. Stan wants her to stay in this moment for a while.

Iyanla is telling Towanda that family business is messy. Towanda narrates that this exercise has freed her from all the years of not communicating with her father and that he is going to know, whether he wants to or not. (1. She’s trying to convince herself 2. She has figured out what to say to earn a step in the S.O. House.)

Dr. Stan tells Maureen it’s ok to be devastated and that she needs to be really sad right now and not warp it all in a neat little package just yet. She doesn’t like to feel weak, and he assures her it’s not a sign of weakness, just of sadness. Mo doesn’t want to cry in public and be a downer. He encourages her not only to feel sad, but also to be angry.

Josie narrates that she and her mother have had days of fun but not with makeup. She’s quite sure this is her mother’s worst nightmare. Nancy persuades them not to dye her hair (which would be a mistake in my opinion because she’s on a fixed income and can’t afford to re-dye, so she would have a giant stripe in her hair for the rest of her life). She is also having a hot flash, but is more willing to let them chop her up as long as Josie is holding her hand.

Maureen tells Dr. Stan she thinks if she goes through the grieving process and lets go of her children, they will not be in her heart anymore. They discuss parental guilt and the tears really start to flow now. She narrates she can never cry for her own life, and that if she ignores pain she can get away from it. Dr. Stan tells her they can figure out how to make the past meaningful so that she can have the future she wants.

Nancy steels herself for a lop job. They take off several inches and it is a lot smoother and thicker (but now it doesn’t go with her clothes). She narrates she’s not wild about the hair but she’s glad Josie was there and was open-minded with her. Back at the house, Josie tells Rhonda she did all the communicating and felt sorry for her mother, because after all they were raised the same way. Rhonda is hoping Josie will have the courage to break the cycle of abandonment and loss. Rhonda tells Josie her mother said it was years before she stopped asking to come home. Josie doesn’t remember that and Rhonda wants her to discuss it with Nancy so there won’t be any resentment. She wants Josie to listen to her mother from an adult perspective. Josie is worried her mother might feel guilty. Then she starts crying that she would never just pass Chloe off onto the next person in line. Rhonda asks how Josie likes the plan of all 3 living together and Josie says she’d rather have her own place with Chloe but still have her mom in the picture. Rhonda narrates that Josie always dreams of “forever” but needs to get it together NOW. Josie tells Rhonda that her way is to run whenever things don’t feel good, but no longer has that option.

Iyanla wants Towanda to show the other housemates what she learned about gardening. They have some cardboard flats with soil in them. Towanda explains that her flowerbed started out ugly but was beautiful after she worked on it.

Nancy, Josie and Chloe are going to go out to dinner and then Nancy will babysit Chloe in a motel.

The other housemates work with the little garden patches and each pick something icky to throw away. Jen throws away a worm. Maureen makes a little pile of rocks for stability. The smallest rock is her house.

At dinner, Josie and her mom talk about living together, then Josie turns the subject to the past. She asks Nancy if she would have taken Josie back if the dad had reurned, and Nancy does not like this question. (Neither do I. Who wants a violent man?) Josie asks if Nancy thought it was better that Josie should live with her grandparents, and Nancy repeats it was safer. Josie wants to know more about her parents’ breakup and Nancy insists that she has already told Rhonda she would not be discussing it, only that she was fortunate she got her to her grandparents house at all. Josie narrates that her mother is shutting down and she has probably gone to far. She apologizes to Nancy for offending her and narrates that her mother has not given her an explanation.

Iyanla is adding little piles rocks to everyone’s garden box to illustrate financial abundance and beauty. (I think Iyanla has to do this because everyone except Maureen refuses to touch dirt.) She narrates that the women are now ready t grow and heal. (Right on schedule!) Towanda enjoys teaching and being a leader.

Josie and Nancy are now in the hotel room and Josie is giving instructions about caring for Chloe. She is trying to be casual about it but feels weird doing it to her mom. (She shouldn’t.) She tells her mother she loves her but is looking at Chloe when she says it, so Nancy doesn’t realize she’s supposed to respond until Josie repeats it. Back at the house, Josie tells Towanda the relationship is improving, but slowly. She didn’t get any questions answered but feels her mother will not be resistant to the changes in Josie. I believe Josie has gotten through an entire day without screaming the F-word while holding her baby.

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