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Gimmee Two Steps – Starting Over, 02-14-05

by LauraBelle

I don’t know if there are only old rock ‘n roll fans out there, but REO Speedwagon used to do a song called 157 Riverside Ave. In it, Kevin Cronin said, “Sometimes if you want to get through to someone, you have to talk to them in their own language.” This is what the life coaches on Starting Over have learned as well. For the women on the show to see it, they have to be outside out of it.

After going to bed reading the card that said, “It’s okay to remember … NOW,” Bethany has woken up with a memory flash. She remembers walking out of her band director’s office, and everyone looking at her, “Like, wow!” She wants to call her parents and double check that memory to see what type of validity there is to it. She calls her dad and repeats the memory, saying she remembers she was wearing her red dress with the black overlay. He believes it to be an accurate memory, saying that was when she was giving her crown up and had performed for the whole student body.

Iyanla meets with Rachael to discuss finding her biological father. She tells her when she first entered the house, she described herself to Iyanla as an orphan. Iyanla tells her this isn’t the case, as she has her biological father out there somewhere. Talking to her aunt yesterday, Rachael triggered a memory of her dad. She went to his house, and remembers crying because he wouldn’t come out or something like that. Iyanla asks how she knew when she was little that was her daddy; someone must have told her. This touches on Rachael’s concerns on finding him now. Her mom had tried to protect her from him, and she doesn’t want to mistrust her mom’s feelings, yet she feels she must get in touch were her heritage.

Denise talks with Rhonda about sending the letter to her sister, and admits she hasn’t heard back from her. Rhonda says the reason Denise has a larger problem forgiving her sister than her father is because her sister is alive, unlike her father, and can refute anything that is said. On a scale of ten of forgiveness, Denise is giving herself a nine. Rhonda tells her the next step is learning how to set boundaries in her relationships, and tells her that her inappropriate behavior is her way of setting boundaries. Instead of pushing people away with the behavior, she needs to take responsibility for herself. I don’t know if Denise is understanding you, Rhonda, but I sure am.

The picket fence slats are back in front of Renee as she meets one-on-one with Iyanla. Those slats, written on in Renee’s first day in the Starting Over house, represent all her obstacles. Iyanla questions why Renee’s mom isn’t on there. Renee answers that she doesn’t want to upset her mom, saying she is all she has. Iyanla tells her, “No, YOU are all you have.” Renee is still upset over the excuses her mom made for her brother, and knows her mom will deny his abuse of her. Iyanla gives Renee some blank slats, and tells her she has been defending her mom and sacrificing herself, and instructs her to make some new slats that deal with her issues with her mom.

In Group, Iyanla brings Renee over to sit next to her in the “Love Seat.” Asked why she is there, Renee knows it it because she has been working hard. Iyanla shows her she was received two new steps toward her goal – Dismantling defenses and Uncovering true story.

Iyanla passes out clipboards to everyone and tells them to write down the five most important aspects of their history. Among the ones she has chosen, Rachael lists her mom going to Liberia, her parents dying, and visiting Costa Rica. Iyanla notes that it is interesting she has chosen all the times she felt separation. Renee chooses her parents divorce, the death of her grandmother, the loss of her relationship with her dad, the molestation she suffered and her relationship with Brent. These all represent tragedy and/or separation. Bethany is, of course, of a different sort seeing as that she doesn’t remember the first seventeen years of her life. She only has four years to choose from, and chooses losing her memory, remembering God and her decision to come to the Starting Over house.

Rachel says her history was that she was a disrespectful brat, and Iyanla corrects her that that is others’ view of her. She urges the women to realize their history is not their destiny. If you think negative thoughts about your history, you will recreate more negative things in your future. Iyanla’s final thoughts are telling the women when they look at their family tree, but not let it put its noose around their neck.

Denise’s assignment for the day is to walk the streets of Hollywood with a sign that says, “I need your input.” She asks about boundaries, and they discuss putting walls up. One woman tells Denise that she holds it all in until she explodes, and then offends people. Denise is amazed that this woman does the same things she does. This woman admits to carrying a fifteen year grudge until she finally forgave the person. She says if she would have never forgiven it would have hindered her making her feel like a hermit. A huge bell has just gone off for Denise, and she realizes this has provided her with an opportunity to step outside herself, and realize she has been pushing everyone away.

Renee’s new slats made, she goes over her mom issues with Iyanla. They discuss the damage that was done when her mom never acknowledged the abuse and how she kept saying the abuser was a good person. Iyanla tells Renee that her own experience was not her mothers. She talks again of the abuse from her brother, and says she depended on him for things like feeding her lunch, and then he went and treated her poorly. She admits to being scared of having a conversation with her mom, but knows she needs to trust herself.

Renee prepares for her fierce conversation with her mother by calling her brother. She tells him how she needs to talk to their mom. She then tells him he was mean to her and it affected her childhood. No surprise here, that he doesn’t remember. He says he’ll have their mom call Renee, and she emphatically says no. It has to come from her.

Rachael and Iyanla make a huge step and begin the search for Rachael’s biological father. They meet with a private investigator who tells them she should have information in a day or two. Rachael tells Iyanla she is not excited, she is scared. Iyanla gives her a blue candle to light that evening to communicate with her mom. Fire is universal for communication and blue means mom.

Denise and Rhonda meet to talk about Denise’s day out on the streets of Hollywood. Denise has the revelation that if she doesn’t say how she feels, no one will know. Ding ding ding, Denise. Took me forty years to learn that. She knows setting boundaries with her husband will make her marriage stronger. Rhonda gives her a video camera and tells her to record a message to her sister and send it in the mail tomorrow. The consequence of not doing it will be a C at the next Board of Review, and since she already has one C, that will mean immediate dismissal.

Renee delves in and calls her mom. She tells her the good news that she received two steps, and instead of congratulating her, her mom tells her they must be getting tired of her. Nice. Renee asks her to come out, and she says she can’t; she has to work. She asks her to on the weekend, and she says she can’t because she needs to bake a cake for someone’s birthday. Have you heard of the bakery? Her mom finally admits she is afraid fingers will be pointed at her in a confrontation. Renee says she’s not blaming her, but feels it would be helpful for their relationship. Her mom says they only had problems from when she was thirteen to twenty-one, but then Renee grew up. She makes some more excuses about having to let the dogs out, then says she thinks Renee is being brainwashed. Gee, can’t imagine why Renee is in the place right now she is.

Renee finds some support talking to the other women in the house, and they talk how her mom thinks this is like a cult or something. Renee says she cried out to her mom, and her mom didn’t her hear. She knows her brother probably called her mom anyway and tipped her off. Candy tells her she is a big girl now, and relationships change. She says Renee is responsible for defining the changes in her life.

Bethany calls a friend, Callum. She asks him for his memories of her. It turns out they were like boyfriend and girlfriend, making Bethany extremely embarrassed. After the phone call she tapes Denise’s message to her sister. Denise can’t get past the jokes, but eventually does, saying she hasn’t been the best sister, and says to her sister that she is very important to her. Cassie, listening in, is excited that Denise is finally taking responsibility.

Denise finally got the message Rhonda has been trying to tell her for weeks, because she finally stepped outside of the situation and looked at it from this other woman’s perspective that happened to be her own. This holds for the other women as well. They could never get past these issues, as they were so deep in them at their home, it was hard to step out. Once in the Starting Over house, they can look outside, and see who they are and how they got there. Iyanla’s right; their history is not their destiny, but they have to look outside first.

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

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