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Perspective Shifts – Starting Over, 02-25-05

by LauraBelle

Body image is a very delicate matter with us women. It can take years to feel comfortable with what we see in the mirror, and some of us never do feel comfortable with it. There are so many different types of things that can cause it, and the longer Bethany is in the house, the more it looks like her poor body image seems to be somehow connected to whatever traumatic event it was that caused her to get amnesia.

Iyanla walks into Group today with her very familiar greeting, “How Ya Livin’?” All the women answer, “Large!,” in unison. The focus is particularly on Renee as she asks how she is today, and Renee replies she’s okay. Pressed for information, Renee admits to getting into it a little with her brother, Reggie, on the phone. When he had asked how the visit with their mom, Suzanne, went the day before, Renee had answered that she felt her mom was a little overwhelmed. Reggie’s first response was, “Why, what did you do?” Renee spoke up for herself and told him not to speak to her like that, yet then still went and made explained to Reggie what exactly she had done. “Why do yo feel compelled to explain yourself when someone is dishonoring you?” Iyanla asks. She suggests to Renee it is probably just old habits. She tells Renee she needs to believe in herself if she expects others to feel better about her.

Iyanla points to the empty chair next to her, otherwise known as the “Love Seat” by Rhonda, and says that means someone is possibly leaving or receiving a step. She makes the women wait as she caresses the seat, before finally mentioning he seat happens to be for Candy, and Iyanla laughs as she says she was trying to provide a little levity. Candy is receiving two steps today – transcending tabus and define femininity, and she admits getting past some of the tabus were harder than others.

Telling the women she has a little assignment for them, Iyanla pulls oils, lotions, lingerie and feathers out of a bag. As she pulls the lingerie out, one of the women quips, “Did you take that out of my drawer?” Iyanla holds up the items and wants the women to decide whether each is sensual or sexual. Holding up the thong, five of the women say sensual, but Bethany says sexual. Asked why, she says it doesn’t do much for her, so it would have to be for the other person.

Next, Iyanla tells the women to put their hands over their eyes, and stick out their tongues. Iyanla drips honey over their faces. Bethany has a problem being able to do this and feel it. Cassie says receiving the honey is sensual as it is soft, and feels good on her skin. Bethany says she understands sensual to be how she feels, and sexual she doesn’t understand at all, just getting her first kiss a few days earlier.

Rhonda and Vanessa are going to work on Vanessa’s first step, facing failure. Vanessa defines failure as not accomplishing a plan, and her plan was to go to the Olympics and win and get sponsors, etc. Because she didn’t succeed, she feels she failed her mom, dad, brother and fans. After she quit, she feels some fans still loved her, but some thought she was a spoiled brat. To see how close she is in her perceptions of her fans, Rhonda is asking her to go the corner of Hollywood and LaBrea with a huge picture of herself on the balance beam. She is going interview people about failing to make the Olympics and ask if she failed them. Rhonda wants Vanessa to realize she is asking her to do this not to shame her, but to set her free.

Candy and Iyanla set to work on her next step as they work towards awakening her dormant power. Seeing that Bethany and Candy have similar body image problems, Iyanla is assigning the two of them to go to a lingerie shop, which Candy admits sends shockwaves through her. Iyanla says they need to see the difference with class and trash. After, they are going to crate body oils for themselves.

Vanessa is on the corner of Hollywood and LaBrea and apologizing for letting people down. Along with her picture, she also shows them a list of the awards she has won and not won. Looking at her accomplishments she is told it is impressive and she did not disappoint them. One person says if you put something into it, you are definitely a success and not a failure. Another says it is so low on her list of disappointments this day. Finally, a man tells her not going after her dream is the true disappointment.

Iyanla meets with Renee, and they decide they can now offer Suzanne compassion after finding where they were both at in the relationship. Next up on the block is a visit with Renee’s dad, as there are definitely some things they needs to clean up. Renee says she tried to write a letter to him, but got stuck. When Iyanla asks her to reach into her heart, she says she felt abandoned, and everyone was able to make her feel this way as she held no responsibility. Iyanla hands her several pairs of sunglasses that look like they were right out of the Elton John Collection. She would like Renee to look over her journal from when she first came to the Starting Over house and attach those earlier perspectives to these sunglasses.
?Driving to the lingerie shop Bethany says she is sick to her stomach and she hopes there is no mirrors there. Yeah, good luck with that. At the store, the owner shows them around and then tells them she will take them to brassiere measuring. Bethany believes her boobs are too big for the lingerie, and feels like her fat is is going to be hanging out all over the place. Candy tries on several stunning pieces and Bethany tells her she is so brave. Bethany is putting up such a fight, and Candy asks how she is ever going to have sex if she can’t take her clothes off. This makes me remember my grandma saying her own grandmother was proud of the fact that no man had ever seen her naked. My grandma always wondered how her grandmother went on to have a stable of kids without a man ever seeing her naked.

The two body image-impaired women move on to a scents store where they will create their own scents. Candy says she is looking for something sensual and Bethany is looking for clean and fresh. Bethany’s gives her scent the original name of Bethany. Candy says she wants her scent to be one a man can be in when he smells it on your neck. She names her Pure Love.

Rhonda meets up with Vanessa who tells her she still feels like a failure, but that it was okay to fail. Mostly she found she really doesn’t affect other people that much, as they are all busy living their own lives. Rhonda asks what Vanessa would say to the broken picture of the young girl on the balance beam so that she knows it’s okay to take risks. Vanessa says she would tell her you don’t have to carry other people with you, in the end you are the only one that stopped.

Renee shows Iyanla her collection of old perspective sunglasses. She sees that before she was selfish, she overreacted, cut herself short and look for external validation. Iyanla helps her make some new perspective sunglasses which include not thinking the worst in people, opening up, and that Renee herself matters. She has had a dramatic perspective shift.

Now that she has new lingerie and her Pure Love Scent a color stylist comes to meet with Candy and the other women to show her what colors work best on her. She drapes the different colors around Candy’s neck, who is astonished to see how much better she looks in some colors than others, such as thinner and/or younger. Next up is a makeup lesson, and Candy says in her entire forty-four years, she has only wore makeup three times. The color stylist tells Candy she has great skin and hardly any lines on her face for her age. She is simply astonished when she hears Candy has eight kids and eight grandkids.

Bethany talks to Rhonda about her day, which she calls not good. She tells her she doesn’t feel well, and Candy did so well. Bethany thinks she looked horrible in everything she tried on. Rhonda is shocked at just how distorted Bethany’s body image really is and wonders if it’s somehow connected to her amnesia. Ding. Ding. Ding. Rhonda asks her if she’s willing to think differently and Bethany says she doesn’t know how not to be disgusted.

It is just all so incredibly sad. Someone who feels that badly about themselves. If before her amnesia she was so much more vivacious, it just makes you wonder what it was that shut her down that way. What could have happened to her that was so horrifying it shut her down physically and emotionally and took all her memories away from her? Stay tuned this space, as I think Bethany and Dr. Katz are going to uncover the truth very soon.

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

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