home Archive Don't Look a Gift Sock in the Mouth – Starting Over, 10/29/04

Don't Look a Gift Sock in the Mouth – Starting Over, 10/29/04


It’s time for Josie to take her mom from the motel to the airport. All in all, Josie feels it was a good visit.

Kim and Jennifer were asked by Iyanla to get up early this morning. Neither knows why. Iyanla calls Jen on the phone and tells her to look behind the bar, where a canvas and some paints and brushes are hidden. Jen’s assignment is to paint a picture of what anger looks like. Jennifer is miffed. “I don’t know why everyone thinks I have this anger issue.” She thinks the other women in the house are the ones who need this exercise. Kim narrates that deep down, Jennifer is angry. Jennifer doesn’t know if she will be able to complete the task.

Josie helps her mother pack and Nancy carries Chloe to the van and buckles her into the safety seat. Josie drives to the airport.

Back at the house there is a visitor for Kim. He is captioned as “mystery man.” He’s got a long-stemmed rose and a tray with 3 breakfasts to choose from: a cinnamon bun, a bowl of cereal and a croissant garnished with grapes. Kim chooses the croissant and grapes and Mystery Man hands her a note from Iyanla which reads: IS THIS THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOU? “Do you get this?” Kim asks Jen. “No,” Jen replies. “Do I get MY assignment? No.”

Josie drops her mother off at the airport. Nancy’s wearing makeup and her hair is pulled back in a pretty braid. She kisses Chloe. “Bye, Sugar Bear.” She’s proud of Josie, and Josie narrates she believes the near future will consist of them supporting each other.

Kim’s trying to figure out Iyanla’s note while Jen begins painting. She decides to draw a line down the center of the canvas and paint a pretty picture on one side, then on the other side, something to show the explosive anger she admits to having.

Time for a loft meeting, without Josie who’s not back from the airport. Sommer’s on the lo-o-o-ve seat – the chair right beside the Life Coaches that’s reserved for whomever’s on the spot that day. The plasma screen comes down and Sommer has earned a step- “reality check”. Rhonda asks Sommer what her reality checks are, and Sommer says food issues, mainly that she didn’t know she had them. Another was anger – turns out Sommer is not that happy after all and does have anger. Rhonda goes around the room and asks the women how they all relate to this. Towanda says for her it means she doesn’t know everything and isn’t always right. Jen says she doesn’t forgive people and holds grudges, so she can’t love anyone. She believes she has forgiven her father, but Rhonda’s not so sure. “Do you smile when you think of your dad?” No. “Do you feel loved by him?” Yes. “Do you want anything from him?” No. Rhonda just gets this spooky smile on her face and says, “Congratulations. You’re close.” Back to Sommer, the next step will be to meet challenges. They go around the room again and Towanda wishes Sommer could take a compliment. Sommer narrates that she always thinks it’s insincere because nobody could possibly mean anything nice they say about her. Rhonda observes that this might be due to body image problems, and Jen remembers that getting ready to go out, Sommer didn’t want to try to look good, in case she got rejected. “What are we waiting for?” Jen demands in a rare moment of lucidity. Sommer’s “challenge” (I think this is the new word for “assignment” will be to spend some time with Linda Arroz, a plus-size model who is also a makeover consultant. The woman all applaud the idea of Sommer getting some clothes that fit.

Jen finishes her painting. The happy side has a tree, the sun and green grass. The angry side has a red blob contained within a field of white canvas.

“Mystery Man” returns. (At least this one gets to keep his shirt on.) He presents Kim with another rose and tells her she must choose one of three tasks: Make lunch or a snack for all the other women; clean the pool (she’s disgusted with that one right away); or create decorations for everyone’s bedroom. Kim chooses to make lunch for her housemates.

Sommer goes shopping with Linda and she is more enthusiastic. (I wonder if Linda is less of a threat because she’s big, unlike Sommer’s mentor Andy, who’s several years post-op and maintaining a thin body? Anyway, Linda seems very sweet and they get along well.) Linda shows her how to choose clothes to create an optical illusion. She narrates that Sommer really doesn’t have a preferred style, but she’s happy to work with that. She wants Sommer to try for softness with strength, pretty with an edge. Sommer gets a little apprehensive at try-on time because she’s afraid she might choose something that turns out to be too small and make herself feel bad. Linda keeps her on track, even though she refuses to try touching the fabric of a blouse she has on, because the top is form-fitting and Sommer doesn’t want to feel her body.

Jen shows her artwork to Towanda, who wants to explore it with her. Jen shushes her and tells her not to analyze it because Iyanla will be “psychologizing it” later on. Towanda wonders how Jen will prepare for her meeting with Towanda and Jen tells her she does not prepare and has done well so far. In confessional, Jen admits she is in denial about having any anger.

Kim has everyone in the kitchen and each one in turn, tells her what to prepare for lunch. It’s leftovers from the fridge, and Jen narrates that Kim has chose this because it’s the easiest. Each housemate has to stand there and show her which piece of leftover meat, how much potato salad, et cetera. Maureen stands there while Kim does a p-b and potato chip sandwich for her.

Meanwhile, Sommer has discovered to her surprise that putting on clothes that fit, makes you look at the shape of your body. She narrates she’s feeling good for the first time in a long time. With the help of a clerk who’s a dead ringer for Star Jones, She and Linda leave the store with 3 bags of clothes.

Jen brings her painting to Iyanla. Jen repeats that she feels like she’s not angry “but you guys keep telling me I am. Iyanla points out you don’t have to be angry to be harboring anger. She notes that Jen’s picture of anger is very contained, but anger isn’t usually like that. Jen says this is where she gets confused and Iyanla orders her to “stop claiming confusion.” Jen backs up and says she doesn’t know how to pinpoint what her anger would look like, unlike someone who goes around kicking animals. “I hear anger and I…” We see her pull her body back and sigh. “Don’t edit!” Iyanla prompts, but it’s too late. Reined in again. They go through a printed list of anger symptoms like irritated, bothered, annoyed, critical, controlling, isolated. Then Iyanla asks which traits fit her mother’s anger and Jen picks out depressed and withdrawing. For dad, it was yelling, stomping and temper tantrums. She thinks her own is a combination on the two. Iyanla reminds her that her housemates have said she’s not really conscious or aware of her anger.

The show is interrupted here by a special report from our local affiliate, announcing the Red Sox will not be coming here for a parade next week.

When we get back to the show, Sommer is showing off some one the new clothes she bought. Rhonda shows up and Sommer models a few things, the women telling her she looks slim and Rhonda squawking buzzwords. (“Own the room! Own the room! Awwwk!”) When things quiet down, Rhonda asks if Sommer might be willing to put on some lipliner and possibly risk rejection. Sommer narrates that she’s now more available – to the idea of going out and talking to people.

Kim meets with Iyanla and thanks her for the roses. Iyanla shows her a table covered with presents. Some gifts are wrapped and some are not. She tells Kim she can have 3 items from the table. Kim chooses a Bible first because she says she wants to read it. Then she chooses a stack of what looks like towels, saying someday she’ll have grandchildren and give it to them. The third choice is a little harder. She doesn’t want cash or a big shiny ring because they don’t mean anything. She’s not thrilled about a wrapped present because she doesn’t like surprises that she can’t control. In the end she chooses the biggest of the wrapped boxes and Iyanla gleefully narrates it’s a nice package with something not so nice inside. It turns out to be a pair of dirty socks and Kim says now she KNOWS she doesn’t like surprises, and it wasn’t the best choice. Iyanla points out there could be someone out there with no socks and maybe Kim could wash these to give to them. There are no good choices or bad choices, she tells Kim. There are only choices, and they all have consequences.

Jennifer’s assignment is now to ask her housemates where they have seen her angry. Josie narrates that Jen has anger inside and she has grown comfortable with it. Jen’s just angry that she has to talk about anger.

Iyanla and Kim are talking about the other choices of the day. We don’t really get an explanation for the different breakfast choices, but Iyanla asks what she did for the other women and Kim tells her she made chicken, steak, potato salad. “You cooked all of that?” Iyanla asks, and Kim says, “I baked it. Well, it was left-overs.” Iyanla clucks her disapproval and Kim protests that it’s what everyone said they wanted. “But it was YOUR choice, not theirs,” Iyanla points out, explaining that all choices are conscious, unconscious, or by default. They go over the choices she has made in relationships. Kim says her relationship with her sister is by default, but with her stepmother and stepdaughters, conscious based on things they did to her. Iyanla tells her that living by default means being a victim, and “choice is the only power you have.”

Jen has the other housemates around the table and they are reminding her of times when she was angry. She tries to get them to describe the anger itself, and they do finally get around to it. She announces that she has to invite them all to a gathering at 7PM but she doesn’t know what it’s for.

Meanwhile, Iyanla calls a meeting with Rhonda and Dr. Stan in the loft. Based on “what I’m seeing, feeling, sensing from Jennifer”, Iyanla thinks she’s in trouble. When things get difficult, she gets a placated (sic) grin, smiling and laughing. They need to break through or Jen won’t make it in the house – or if she does, something bad will happen in the future. Iyanla wants to get her together with the other women in a situation where she can feed off their rage. Rhonda observes that Sommer is also in denial, that she eats her anger with food. They believe Josie is ready for a release and will be a good example for Jennifer. Rhonda calls it “Joke joke anger anger hide hide hide.” They want to see if Towanda can access this part of herself.

Then we see the women standing in a line looking at something while the Life Coaches get ready to watch them from the loft, on the plasma screen. Iyanla sighs that if Jen does not get in touch with her anger tonight, she doesn’t know what she will do with her.


Freelance writer, webmaster of realityshack.com, chief editor at applemagazine.com, contribtor to TechLife News and maketecheasier.com, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.