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Memories of Yonder Years – Starting Over, 02-03-05

by LauraBelle

Yesterday the Starting Over women learned of the pitfalls of living in the past or future as compared to the present. Today two women delve into more of their past and another makes a huge step to finally moving past it.

Cassie opens the door first thing in the morning, and a man greets her holding flowers and an envelope for her. He tells her the flowers are from John Davidson and the envelope is from Rhonda. Inside the envelope is a pink plaque that says “Courageous Cassie”" with a picture of a school and a house, and a note from Rhonda wishing Cassie luck on her GED test. Cassie takes the plaque and a small pink rose from John’s bouquet and heads out for Part One of her GED exam.

Dr. Stan wants to meet with Bethany to discuss her memory loss. And he, along with all her doctors, has a hard time believing her loss of memory is due to her case of viral encephalitis when she was seventeen. Seeing that the doctors don’t believe the memories were erased, but have been actually rendered inaccessible, Dr. Stan suggests to Bethany that it may have come from some type of traumatic event. Bethany cries and says she has never seen anything but love from her family, and believes that was the case before her amnesia.

Bethany is asked by Dr. Stan if it’s possible that she was somehow hurt and has since blocked it out. She begins to cry and says that would mean she had done all this to herself and that it’s her fault. Dr. Stan offers to help Bethany to recover those memories and determines if this was a traumatic event, and if so, what it was, but urges that it has to be Bethany’s choice and not his. She insists it is; she wants to know. When Dr. Stan tells her she needs to be the captain of her ship, she laughs and says that was the words to the song John Davidson sang to Cassie. Dr. Stan says he wasn’t aware of that, and ends the meeting with a hug for Bethany, who says the other women are getting jealous that Dr. Stan never hugs them.

Rhonda gathers all the housemates minus Cassie who is still taking her GED exam, and says they have a special assignment to do for Bethany. To help recover some of the memories, she wants the women to put on a play tonight for Bethany. Renee will be Bethany’s brother, Caleb; Rachael will be her sister, Jessica; Candy will play the dual role of Bethany’s parents; and Denise will be Bethany. They will be required to call Bethany’s family to research their role and get some memories to reenact, and perform it for Bethany, Dr. Stan and Rhonda that night. Everyone starts practicing Bethany’s native North Carolinian accent. Bethany hugs Rhonda this time and the hug nearly swallows Rhonda.

Iyanla walks into Group wearing a gorgeous shiny outfit. She wants to talk about the perception of beauty today. The women laugh as Rachael is having a non-beautiful day feeling fat. Iyanla says she doesn’t get the size problem. As long as there is a size larger than the one she is wearing, she’s okay. On a more serious note she says that bodies are organic and asks why size needs to dictate beauty. Bethany says she doesn’t think being overweight is beautiful. Candy points out clothing stores aren’t made for overweight women.

Asked what makes them beautiful on the inside, Rachael says her heart, Denise says her energy and spirit, but Bethany still can’t seem to separate the inside from the outside. Asked how to develop inner and outer beauty, Bethany’s first thought is still losing weight, because it makes her feel better about herself.

Asked if she is beautiful now, Bethany says no. Iyanla tells her she thinks she is absolutely exquisitely beautiful now. When Bethany doesn’t believe this, Iyanla asks if she thinks she is telling her a lie, and goes on to further say she herself can’t be ugly; her soul won’t let her anymore, but she used to be. Candy and Bethany will now become workout buddies to help enhance their idea of beauty, Iyanla tells them. Every woman has a right to feel beautiful.

Cassie finishes with Part One of her GED test, and when she leaves the classroom, Rhonda is waiting for her. She tells Rhonda she wasn’t nervous, and Rhonda replies after twenty-five years of waiting, Cassie deserves some ice cream. Cassie feels she did well on mostly everything, but was hesitant with the Social Sciences section. Rhonda asks her if she ever believed it would feel like this, and Cassie replies that she never thought she would feel this free. She realizes it is just the first step to achieving her goals, and knows that first step is crucial.

Rachael, Renee and Candy make the required phone calls to Bethany’s family, but it’s Denise that is having the most fun with this. It gives her an excuse to use her humor and drama. She is practicing Bethany’s accent throughout the day, and saying it’s great to be the start. Candy is growing very irritated with the fact that Denise is always “on.” Denise points out that she has nothing else to do, by the way. Bethany even sits down for a one-on-one North Carolinian diction lesson with Denise, and instructs her on how to draw her words out and use phrases like “over yonder.”

Iyanla and Candy meet in Candy and Denise’s bedroom. Asked if she is experiencing a short temper after not being allowed to clean or cook, Candy says she is frustrated. Iyanla says she doesn’t even see a mess, and is led into the bathroom where there is a lump of clothes on the floor. The attitude from Iyanla is more or less, “So what?” and is called evil by Candy. She also discusses her growing irritation with Denise, and how she tries to avoid her, but it isn’t always easy.

Candy and Iyanla move outside for an exercise designed to allow Candy to let our her anger in a safe manner. She takes water balloons, labels them with the name of someone she is angry at and whips them against the wall of the house. She is angry at Denise, her ex, Debbie and her self, but mostly she is angry with her father. She cries out, “Where were you when I needed you most? If you cared, this wouldn’t have happened!” and fires the balloon at the wall. She enjoys the needed release and tells Iyanla she feels much better, only to have it pointed out that this is only the first step.

Meanwhile, Denise realizes Candy is very irritated with her, and does her best to draw that anger out of her, only to be rebuffed by Candy either walking away or rolling her eyes. Eventually Candy tells Denise to please leave her the hell alone. Still using Bethany’s accent, Denise tells Candy soon she’ll be a four foot body walking around with no head, as she’s going to explode. Candy retorts that she thinks “Bethany” is picking up bad habits from Denise. Eventually Candy admits she has an upset stomach and headache and just doesn’t have the strength to deal with Denise, and Denise says that next time Candy should just be more upfront if she isn’t feeling well and admit it.

Candy moves on to a one-on-one with Dr. Stan to discussion her relationship with her dad. She is angry because of her disappointment in her dad. She was given the role of a son, even though there were eight boys of the fourteen children, but she was the oldest, and thus treated like a boy. She was only a girl when it was convenient for her dad and he needed her to take care of the house and kids. But when she was a teenager, she was told she couldn’t wear makeup, as only whores do that. Dr. Stan advised her to unmask her dad to see he wasn’t knowledgeable about those things.

The women present the play the have prepared for Bethany of her younger years, an Denise has titled it, “Memories of Bethany’s Yonder Years.” Denise as Bethany and Candy as her father act out when Bethany quit basketball practice and hid the fact from her parents. When it’s pointed out that she lied, the authentic Bethany is shocked. She can’t imagine her ever being that deceitful. Rachael as Bethany’s sister and Denise as Bethany act out driving in the car and Jessica teasing Bethany about her crush on Kevin, the drummer. They then get into an argument over what type of music to listen to, with Bethany saying they need to listen to God’s music, as dad would approve of that. Renee as Bethany’s brother and Denise do a small skit of Bethany tattling on Caleb. In the end, the real Bethany is very shocked she had all those facets to her original personality. She says it’s still not coming together, and Dr. Stan and Rhonda tell her not to worry, as it will. It’s just pieces of a puzzle right now. Rhonda drops the bomb that in four days they will be leaving for North Carolina to revisit this place Bethany has such a hard time remembering.

The more these women can understand their past, the quicker they can move past it and towards their future, yet if they dwell in it, they will be stuck, unable to move forward. And only after they understand it, and how it relates to the women they have become, will Candy and Bethany realize they are beautiful and have been the whole time.

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

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