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The Passions of Extraordinary Cassie – Starting Over, 02-11-05

by LauraBelle

Passion is such a larger term than we normally think of. It doesn’t have to be confined to the physical sense, but it can also be broadened to be anything that excites you, be it mentally or spiritually. I happen to be passionate about many things, and one of them is Starting Over. By the time it’s done, my mind is spinning with all sorts of ideas of myself and the women that reside in this house, and how the life coaches will encourage them on the path to better themselves.

Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan hold private meeting to discuss a few of the women in the house, and to coordinate the direction they will be taking. First up is Bethany and her trip home to North Carolina. Rhonda tells the others they didn’t learn of any specific big trauma that had faced her before her memory loss, but her mother, grandparents and brother all thought she had had a mental breakdown. Dr. Stan believes those memories are repressed and he would like to possibly bring them out by hypnotism. He states she needs to be open and relaxed for it to work, and he intends to keep her that way by teaching her a form of self-hypnosis, where she will be in complete control of her memories that come back to her.

Next, Rhonda brings up her concerns over Cassie, who has been on an emotional roller coasts ride this week after the adoptive mother’s refusal to help and the disappointments she faced learning more of her own birth mother and family. Rhonda sees that pursuing information from the adoptive father could also fail, and between that and getting the results of her GED, Cassie could be headed for a total breakdown, but Rhonda remains hopeful that Cassie will prevail.

Iyanla would like to discuss Renee and the possibility of her having a learning disability. Renee represents a large number of adult women who have done poorly in school, yet have never been tested for learning disabilities. Dr. Stan is going to meet with Renee and a neuro-psychologist who will test Renee on her strengths and weaknesses in learning to help them see where she is at, and also help Renee to see that all this time she wasn’t stupid, just had trouble processing the information.

Dr. Stan moves on to a one-on-one with Cassie, and he wants to know what kind of homework she has done on a future career for herself. She sees her skills as largely anything secretarial and anything that is nurturing. As those are the only things she has done and has confidence in. Dr. Stan adds to her list that she is friendly, warm and kind. He also finds it interesting that she enjoys writing poetry, but creativity is not listed as one of her skills.

Cassie sees medical assistant, massage therapist for the elderly, social worker, creative writer, and doing something in the adoption field as future jobs she would enjoy, without necessarily looking at skills. Her dream jobs. Dr. Stan encourages her to think of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) as something worthwhile. It takes more schooling, but with her GED, she could certainly do it. She agrees if she had the training she would rather do that than be a medical assistant. Dr. Stan tells her there is a tremendous demand for nurses in the city, and she agrees to research LVN programs.

Rhonda meets again with Bethany with a “long time no see” joke, and asks what she feels she has taken away from her trip home. Bethany says she has learned more of what type of person she was and about all the different things she was trying to do back then. Rhonda wants to know how she feels about herself now after seeing where she once was. Bethany admits to seeing herself going back to that. Rhonda would like Bethany to watch all the interview videos she tape and to choose her top three, then write a history of her life as she knows it now.

In Group today, Rhonda would like to talk about passion and being passionate about life. Asked what it is, Bethany explains it’s a love for life, and excitement. Cassie believes she was passionate at one time, but was deterred. She had a passion for writing, and when she would do creative writing on her own, her adoptive mother would tear it up. Denise had a passion for theatre, and believes she gave up on it thinking it was too hard and too late. Candy always had a passion for photography and felt her location and the market being too flooded held her back. Bethany obviously doesn’t remember her passion, but from what she has learned assumes music was at one point.

Yet Bethany’s passion now is finding out who she is. Rhonda tells her she is not alone; the other women in the house are all searching for who they are as well. The reason we don’t express our passions, Rhonda believes, is that we are in fear of our own power, always pushing against our many fears. There are so many things that can stop us, but we have to trust our passion, as we are more prepared to pursue it than we think.

Dr. Stan and Renee meet with the neuro-psychologist, who asks for and receives a brief history on Renee’s life at school and at home with her family. While discussing her brother, she becomes very emotional talking about him often beating her up. It got so bad she dreaded coming home from school every day, and for a girl that didn’t like school, that says a lot. Her parents were divorced by that time, and her mom excused he brother’s behavior. Renee explains he was four years older than her and very moody. For her present life, she says she doesn’t have a dream job now as a bartender, but loves her customers. Based on this history the neuro-psychologist will prepare a battery of tests for Renee that will be more interactive to test her learning capabilities.

Back at the house, Renee now meets with Iyanla, and says she feels today like there is a dark cloud hanging over her head. She tells Iyanla how she became unexpectedly emotional talking about her brother. She says no one protected her and believes her only defense was running away or crying. Iyanla explains crying is now and was then her defense mechanism, and behaving badly or lashing out is how she covers her fears of not being able to do things.

Bethany meets with Dr. Stan. He explains there is a downside to her having memories as she would most likely have some painful memories that happened at some point in those seventeen years. Dr. Stan explains the hypnosis he would like to put her through and she agrees to it. He tells her the visit she had to North Carolina will help provide data for him to use with the hypnosis. They decide to do this the next day, and he says he wants her to write “It’s okay to remember … NOW” on a card as a visual stimulus, and look at this last before she goes to bed. This will help her mind to open up while she sleeps.

Meeting with Rhonda, Cassie explores her passion for writing. Rhonda encourages her to start it on the side and work on it diligently. She tells her to make a career choice and follow the passion of writing on the side, and hopefully one day the writing will take over as her career. (Jump in, Cassie, the water’s warm!) Cassie explains she would like to write a poetry book of recovery, and Rhonda tells her she can do that AND go to college.

Asked how she is feeling since the phone calls to the adoptive mother of her birth son, Cassie says she is concerned, but grateful he is okay. She is not afraid to have Rhonda try calling the adoptive father again. Once again she says she knows she walked trough those doors of the Starting Over house for a reason. She agrees to work on a letter in case they never contact him by phone. Rhonda calls and leaves a message this time.

Shortly after, Rhonda bursts through the door telling Cassie the adoptive father called her back and agreed to talk with her and Cassie on the phone together. Cassie is so delighted, and I admit, I love seeing her excited. Rhonda puts the adoptive father on speakerphone so that Cassie can hear. He says his son is okay, healthy and happy. The last time he saw his son was on the street about a month ago. Rhonda asks about the drugs and alcohol that the adoptive mother had talked about, and he says he doesn’t know, he doesn’t have a relationship with him any longer. The son doesn’t call, and the adoptive mother does not allow the adoptive father to call him. He is not sure if he knows he is adopted or not.

Asked if he believes it would be appropriate or healthy for his son to know Cassie, the adoptive father says to ask his son, as he’s eighteen now and that’s up to him. Asked his own feelings of Cassie, the adoptive father says he had no problems with her; she gave him a baby boy (it is hard to read my notes here through the tear stains). He says his relationship with the family fell apart due to the adoptive mother and has nothing to do with Cassie. He agrees to meet with Cassie and Rhonda to discuss what he knows of his son and shares pictures with Cassie.

Rhonda hangs up the phone and Cassie says, “I knew it; I knew he had a heart! I feel closer to him; there’s hope!” Later, telling the story to Denise, Denise says the integrity of the adoptive mother is in question. She feels she is threatened by Cassie, and that the mom is now cutting everyone else off. Regardless, Cassie is now closer than she has ever been before.

Bethany prepares for bed and says if she does the hypnotizing and it doesn’t work, it will be just like it is now. If it works, she could remember her family and friends. She gets in bed, and reads the card, “It’s okay to remember … NOW.”

This is my passion. Writing is my passion, and I am like Cassie, working at my passion diligently, hoping someday it will become my career. She has such a good heart; I know that would be a good avenue for her to pursue. The storyteller in me sees a great story in all this. “The Passions of Cassie.” Sometimes I wish she understood how strong she really is. To have survived all she has and to come out of it sober and healthy and trying to fix everything and follow her passions, is extraordinary. “The Passions of Extraordinary Cassie.” There, I like that one better.

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

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