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Focus on Catty – Starting Over, 12-20-04

It stands to reason that when Iyanla enters the Group Session today and announces today’s topic will be Focus, that she isn’t counting on the women focusing on all the wrong stuff. Yet, in the course of the show, things go from bad to better to worse.

After the beginning of the Group Session focusing on Cassie and her non-blonde hair once again, Iyanla passes out peacock feathers to everyone. They are asked to balance the feathers on the tip of their fingers. After all falter, Iyanla shares with them that the purpose of this exercise is to learn focus, by focusing on one thing, the eye at the tip. Not surprisingly, Renee seems to have the most trouble focusing on the balance. Even less surprising is that Towanda seems to do the best with it, as she is currently focusing intently on her solo concert one day away. The one surprise is that Cassie doesn’t claim that her non-blonde hair is the reason behind her inability to focus. I’m sorry … I feel for her, but it’s getting old.

Despite the fact that in Group Iyanla urged her to look past the hair and towards why it was such an issue, Cassie just can’t do this. She writes a letter to Rhonda explaining her feelings. She reads it aloud to Sommer, and notes at the end that she has signed it “Cassie” and not “Thanks, Cassie.” Sommer urges if she feels that strongly, to read it to Rhonda. Cassie goes to the kitchen, finds Renee, and reads it again, noting once more the ending. Renee also urges her to read it to Rhonda.

Rhonda and Cassie have a private session, and we all know what the focus of this will be. Cassie reads her letter, once again noting the exclusion of the word “thanks.” I can’t help but think how juvenile it seems to repeatedly point out that she is not thanking someone. Rhonda appears to agree, as she refers to Cassie as an eight-year-old little girl. As Cassie still doesn’t get it, Rhonda leaves and comes back wearing a black wig. She wants to show Cassie that her hair doesn’t change her; she is the same person. Cassie does understand that concept but can’t understand why she just can’t get a few blonde highlights. While noting that Cassie is fighting for something so silly, Rhonda does add that this is the most real she has ever seen Cassie. I have to agree there. Instead of the little baby doll voice, with all the sweetness, she’s angry, and she’s letting everyone know. There is something else there that needs to be dealt with and figured out, and if she goes back to blonde, she’ll only put the mask right over it again. Rhonda tells her to write another letter.

Rhonda moves on to a meeting with Sommer, and tells her her focus the next few days will be on her remaining step of intimacy. She wants Sommer first to make a chart – one one side is the goals of a man looking for a short-term relationship, and on the other the goals of a man looking for a long-term relationship. She instructs her to call her male friends and get their input, and of course, her first phone call is to Ed. Her chart complete, Sommer moves on to a meeting with Dr. Stan. He points out to Sommer how interesting it is to him that Sommer’s traits of a man looking for a long-term relationship are all negative. He knows Sommer is afraid of this.

Iyanla holds a one-on-one with Renee, trying to get to the bottom of her issues to see why she has such lack of focus on herself, and is so angry. She asks her to list the bad things that have happened to her, which Renee does easily, until she stops and asks if she needs to list things that happened a long time ago. Telling Iyanla it’s a secret, Iyanla knows this is code for something violently abusive happening to her. Iyanla tells her if she doesn’t know, she can’t help her, and as her life coach, she knows to know the things that hurt her the most. Renee finally tells Iyanla that a male babysitter touched her and her friend inappropriately when she was seven- or eight-years-old. The worst was that she kept it a secret for years, and when she eventually told her mom, her mom wouldn’t believe her. Iyanla is happy to get to the bottom of Renee’s anger and selfishness. They now know where to begin their focus.

While it was good to get it out of her, Renee is having a hard time after bringing those feelings to the surface again, leaving her a little more angry. Her and Rachel tussle in the kitchen a little. Rachel, Denise and Cassie leave to run some errands, and by no surprise, Cassie wants to stop at Target to buy a curling iron. This girl definitely has focus. After this she gets a little catty and talks about Sommer, and her breaking the rules by having some type of relationship with a member of the production staff, although it is probably just talking with this person, it’s still against the rules. Rachel picks up the cattiness ball and runs with it, talking about Rachel, saying she thinks she’s in the house for the wrong reasons.

Back at the house, Renee finds the cattiness ball and says she’s irritated with Rachel. It’s Sommer’s turn to run away with the ball as she says she doesn’t trust Rachel. She believes all those tears over her difficult childhood are fake, and that she is snowing everyone. The other women return home, and surprisingly Cassie is sitting at the table with Renee instead of curling her hair. Renee starts talking about her feelings about being upset, and Cassie says it’s great to see her open up, but Renee can see that there is something Cassie’s words. She knows they must have been gossiping about her while out on their errands. Rachel can’t keep out of the conversation, and comes up telling Renee she’s in the house for the wrong reasons. This escalates into a shouting match, and a shocked Denise, on the phone, drops her wine glass on the floor as she stretches the phone cord to hear what is being said.

Is this what Iyanla planned when she wanted the women to learn focus this day? I’m thinking not. However, it is good they are very obviously focusing on themselves, but they take the issue too far and focus on the others’ negative traits. This issue isn’t over, and in previews we see that Renee will slam the front door behind her in disgust, saying she wants to leave as she doesn’t trust anyone. Whether this is for good or just a momentary temper tantrum, they leave us wondering. We also see a special meeting called, with Iyanla saying the sanctity of the house is in question. While I originally believed it was that they found out Cassie had put Lemon Joy in her hair, they show Sommer nodding, and it seems maybe they are again back to Sommer immersing herself in the production staff. This entire week seems like it will be a ‘must-see’ TV event.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.

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