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The One About The Broom – Starting Over, 01-17-05

by LauraBelle

For a reason that is never explained to us, there is no Group meeting today, no whole house gathering led by Rhonda, Iyanla or Dr. Stan. The show instead seems to be built around the difficult relationship between Candy and Denise, as they are quickly becoming the perfect catalysts for one another.

Candy is quite happy busying herself in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for everyone. Denise doesn’t like this at all. She realizes this makes Candy happy, but as a thirty-five-year-old woman, she wants to eat breakfast when she feels like it, not when Candy fells like making it. Yet Candy is so used to earlier caring for her thirteen siblings, and now her eight children, she gets great satisfaction out of doing this for others.

Iyanla is working with Renee to create a plan on how to best help Renee heal from her childhood abuse. When Iyanla had helped her map out her original plan, she wasn’t aware of the abuse Renee had suffered through. In an assignment that I can’t fully understand, Renee is asked to make a huge mobile with her values dangling form the middle, and her emotions that her values can help her with dangling from the outside. She spends hours being quite creative with this. When Iyanla sees it later, she is very impressed, and realizes this is the first assignment Renee has given all her effort to.

As Denise and Candy are in their bathroom together, Denise is feeling a large amount of pressure to be clean. As Candy putts about tidying, Denise starts straightening her sink, making little snide remarks as she goes along. Candy is noticing it all, and saying Denise doesn’t realize who she is messing with.

Rachael’s first assignment of the day was to creatively dress to show her emotions upon waking up. Her second is to meet Iyanla at a specific time and place. Her taxi is late arriving, and as Rachael tries to explain it is not her resisting yet again, and that it was the cab driver’s fault, Iyanla vehemently disagrees.

Iyanla has brought Rachael to a boxing ring. As she is wearing her self-made tags made that morning that say among them, “WAR” and “12-yr.-old child,” Rachael is asked to fight in the open boxing ring. As she tells Iyanla there is nothing there to fight, Iyanla tells her it is just like every other thing she fights, like her parents death. That is something invisible that she fights every day.

Rachael sits on the side of the boxing ring quite frustrated, and begins to cry. For the first time since she arrived at the house, and probably since her parents’ death, she stops resisting, and gives in, quite tired. She would like Iyanla’s help, but Iyanla makes her ask for it. She makes Rachael physically move towards her to receive a hug, and as Rachael quietly sobs, I wonder if she has ever allowed herself to cry before. She straps on the gloves and begins hitting a heavy bag. As she punches, she yells the negative feelings over being abandoned, and then finally … finally, she beings to see the positive, all of this leading to a greater independence in her.

Back at the Starting Over house, Candy is still cleaning. She asks Denise to buy her a better broom, not happy with the current one in the closet. She is asking for specific bristles even, which blows Denise’s mind. She wasn’t even aware there were different types. Denise obliges, and when she brings back the new broom, Candy sweeps the whole house again, the second day in a row. Denise tells Cassie it seems so odd to her, and Cassie, her upcoming GED test making her wiser by the moment, tells Denise that her and Candy are actually very much alike; they just approach it from the two totally different spectrums.

Bethany, feeling very homesick, meets with Dr. Stan. He would like to know more about her amnesia, as he is wondering if it was only caused by the encephalitis, or whether there was some tragic event that happened just before her illness that is preventing her from remembering her previously happy life. The things she can’t remember are most surprising. When she came home from the hospital the first time, she was surprised to see a tree in the living room. She saw them only outside on the way home, so was surprised to now see one inside. Having it explained to her that it was a Christmas tree didn’t help, as she didn’t know what Christmas was.

Noting that since her amnesia, the previously vivacious Bethany has become a non-risk taker, Rhonda takes her on a mission to take a risk. They go to gym with a small climbing wall. Bethany is very afraid, but with guidance, does eventually climb up the wall that is probably ten to twelve feet. She is so excited afterward with her accomplishment that she gives Rhonda and the climbing expert robust hugs, then turns around and gives Rhonda yet another hug. They sit down, and Bethany shares with Rhonda her idea. She is still having a hard time facing watching her Senior Video, and the memories she doesn’t have of the people and events. Her roommates at the house are all reaching out to her, but she doesn’t know how to reach back. She wonders if she could watch the video with her roommates, to bring them closer to her and help her get through watching the video. Rhonda feels this is an excellent idea.

All six women sit down with popcorn to watch Bethany’s Senior video. They watch in astonishment at this beautiful, happy woman, and listen to her beautiful singing voice from the pageant. As they ask her which of the people on the video are her friends, Bethany tells them she doesn’t remember. She finally reaches the end of the video for the first time in four years. She is not sad watching it for the first time as well. She credits her housemates for this.

Looking at how Candy has rearranged and lined up everything in the kitchen, Denise wonders if Candy will notice that she has moved one of the canisters out of the perfect alignment. She, of course, does. They discuss it in the kitchen after, and Denise is shocked to hear herself ask Candy to please not always clean up after her. She is hoping she and Candy can split the chores, and maybe Candy can help her in her efforts to become more tidy. She wonders after why she had something she had always wanted, someone to clean up after her, and now has shooed them away. I think Denise, in the house to “Clean Up Life” must be in for a huge breakthrough.

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

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