The women in the Starting Over house all get there because of a desire to change, and because of the knowledge that they can’t do it alone. Yet, even after they enter the house, it is still hard to change that old way of thinking.
Rhonda continues to be concerned about Bethany and her poor body image. she pulls out a picture Bethany drew of herself, and the size is so distorted, she has drawn herself to resemble Mr. Sta-Puff the marshmallow man. Rhonda thinks it’s time for a reality check.
“How ya livin’?!?” Iyanla enters Group asking. All the women say “Large” in unison. This day she would like to talk about the women accepting less than they want for themselves, making their decisions become sabotage.
Vanessa believes she has sabotaged herself by not going to college. She has always wanted to, but feels getting her degree would hurt her relationship with her boyfriend. Asked why, she says if she worked less so she could attend school, they wouldn’t have anywhere to live. She would rather be with him with a high school diploma, than without him and have a college degree.
“Did you make that up?” Iyanla asks incredulously. Vanessa insists that is what she truly thinks would happen, as then her actions would be affecting his life. She would have to move back in with her parents, leaving him alone in Las Vegas, and away from her. Back to her original point, Iyanla calls this the most delicious case of sabotage she has ever seen. She believes Vanessa is making up he needs a place to live as an excuse not to follow through with college.
Renee would like to go to college, too, but what is sabotaging her is her fear of failure. Rachael believes other people’s fears sabotage her, Candy fingers a fear of ridicule, and Cassie and Bethany stick to their standards of self-doubt and not remembering.
Iyanla asks the women to focus on what they don’t want to happen by shaking their arms out and dropping forward. Vanessa admits what she’s really afraid of is that she would go back into a state of depression if her boyfriend left. Iyanla tells her if she lives her life fearing that, she better prepare herself for it to really happen.
After Group, Vanessa is visibly upset and commiserates with the other women in the kitchen. They say they have all been there, and Rachael tells Vanessa she’s been putting off her dreams for her boyfriend, which Vanessa isn’t ready to agree to. Rachael follows this by asking why she is here. When Vanessa answers that it’s because she is not happy, it’s a slap in the face to her. the realization that her life with her boyfriend obviously isn’t as happy as she would like it to be.
There is one more person on Renee’s “Giving List” and Renee knows it is her father. Even though she is disappointed her dad didn’t come for his visit, she realizes she still needs to make amends. Iyanla is sending her to the Ronald McDonald house that helps out children with life-threatening illnesses, most of which have cancer. It is a perfect time for her to practice her newfound skills of listening and compassion. Iyanla tells her she needs to be present for these kids. She needs to do for others what was never done for her, in order to forgive fully.
Bethany and Rhonda sit in front of a gym and watch people going in and out for Bethany to gain some perspective on other people’s body image. Rhonda asks her to point out those that she feels have bodies she thinks look good. Bethany, once involved with softball, likes the more athletic bodies.
Now instructed to interview the people leaving and entering the gym, Bethany asks them why they work out. She is told varied reasons, such as it makes them feel better, it starts the day off better, and for overall health. One of the men even tells her he doesn’t know why she is trying to figure all this out, because he thinks she looks great.
Bethany is asked by Rhonda what she heard these people saying to her, and she says she heard them saying exercising doesn’t have to be something you have to do, but can be something you enjoy doing. It’s more than just something physical to them; it’s also about feeling good about yourself. Having worked out myself regularly since 1990, I readily agree. To me not to do it is like not brushing my teeth in the morning.
Suddenly Bethany has an epiphany. This is all because she always feels inferior to her sister, Jessica, feeling she is better at everything and much thinner. Bethany thinks she is perfect. Rhonda notes how interesting it is that before the amnesia, Bethany was the one that was regarded as perfect by Jessica, and after the amnesia, it’s Bethany thinking Jessica is perfect. Bethany eventually says she is willing to give up her chase for perfection so she can have a life. She wants to just enjoy singing and playing the piano again.
At the Ronald McDonald house, Renee joins the kids coloring, making cards and even making cookies together. Her goal is for the kids to smile, laugh and have fun. The kids make a huge giant cookie for Renee with nearly every type of sprinkle imaginable decorating it.
Renee interviews foreign-born seventeen-year-old Marcela about her time in the Ronald McDonald house. Marcela had twelve surgeries since 2000 to remove a brain tumor. The doctors told her family five separate times she was going to die, and her family began taping all the important events, believing they would be her last. She calls the Ronald McDonald house her home and says she wouldn’t change anything about her life. She enjoys helping out the other younger children now that she is better.
As Renee leaves she says these kids are very strong, and her heart goes out to all of them. She calls her dad to tell him about this assignment and he says it really puts things into perspective.
Rachael gets together with Iyanla and says she has had yet another conversation with her biological father. It is getting easier for her, as it’s not as emotional. She realizes her emotional attachment to him will need to be developed. Iyanla tells her it’s time for her to complete the mourning process for her mother and stepfather. Rachael would like to accomplish this by writing letters to them and by going to their gravesites. She would appreciate her brother and aunt being there as well. Iyanla tells her to lay the program out.
Vanessa calls her boyfriend and tells him she would like to go back to college, leading him to ask why. When she says she feels she wants to, he says he is behind her one-hundred percent, but he doesn’t understand why she wants to since she already has a future. Vanessa tries to assure him she is serious about this. He tells her not to quit this like she does everything else. Nice. Dump him now, Vanessa; it’s not exactly what I would call one-hundred percent.
Rhonda, having been told by Iyanla about Vanessa’s comments in Group, meets with her to discuss this. Vanessa, never having been able to cry before, now can’t seem to stop. She says she is afraid of no support. Rhonda tells her that anybody who loves her will help her dream come true, and asks if Vanessa really thought she should be here at Starting Over, but didn’t think her relationship would need to change. Vanessa tells Rhonda he is afraid she won’t follow through.
Rhonda doesn’t understand this viewpoint of Vanessa, and says she has always been an overachiever, but her earlier dream just ended. It’s normal to be depressed, sad and mad. Rhonda adds she is concerned Vanessa is more concerned with his feelings than her own. She doesn’t want Vanessa to make a huge mistake that most women make, twenty years from now, into a marriage with three kids, and thinking she has made a mistake. Well, she wouldn’t be the first one, Rhonda.
Rachael meets with Kelly who belongs to a Motherless Daughters group, and asks her how she can better heal her past. Kelly tells her not to feel so alone. She explains her story of how her mother had what they thought was a simple asthma attack, but was already gone by the time Kelly got to the hospital. Rachael admits to Kelly that she can’t get out of the car sometimes at the cemetery and hasn’t been there in nine years. Kelly tells her when she is able to let go she will find a balance and realize it’s just part of who she is. She encourages Rachael to realize her parents would want her to be happy and move on.
Bethany calls Jessica to talk to her about the jealousy she feels since her amnesia for her. Jessica laughs and says she doesn’t know her very well, and that since her amnesia, she just has no faith in herself. She tries to get Bethany to see that this image of perfection is one that Jessica doesn’t have of herself, only Bethany sees that.
Vanessa tries calling her boyfriend again, and he asks if she is made because he wasn’t supportive earlier. She says that college would make her feel better, and that it has nothing to do with him. There ya go, Vanessa. You’re on the right track. He tells her it involves his money too, funny since Vanessa admits to giving him $8000. He tells her she just doesn’t have a good track record for following through, and asks why he should believe her.
Woah. Every little hair on me is standing up, making me say forget him and go to college. She obviously feels a tie to him and a sense of security. I know Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan will help her to believe in herself and empower herself again. Although, growing up spending seven hours a day in gymnastics, perhaps she never believed in anything in herself that wasn’t centered around gymnastics. It’s time for that to change.
I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.