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Dropping the C Bomb – Starting Over, 03-08-05


by LauraBelle

Every housemate in the Starting Over house changes themselves and life within the house. But by the unassuming way the new housemate arrives, no one would have guessed just how much she is about to change everyone’s lives.

The newest housemate arrives and we immediately recall someone from Nanny 911, as she’s wearing a plaid cape and red hat. She introduces herself as Allison from North Carolina, and Bethany, her new roommate, is elated to have another of her home girls in the house. She makes a quick impression, as Vanessa says she’s falling in love with her after just the first five minutes, and Candy likes her good sense of style.

Rhonda and Iyanla both lead Group this day as we all meet Allison together. Allison shows pictures of a very lovely life – a good-looking brother who has given her a beautiful niece, and even in her baby pictures, Alison mentions her resemblance to Cindy Brady. Then she starts to open up more.

Allison’s father died when he was fifty of cancer. She admits they were a close family, but not deep. She was a cruise director for seven years, leaving it only to not be able to find another job in the cruise/performing industry, forcing her to become an executive assistant at a bank.

Things like not succeeding, not being happy, and being alone stress Allison. When asked why she is alone, she says she hasn’t been able to find anyone. This confuses Iyanla, as she says some women marry five times.

Allison drops the C bomb when she discloses that less than nine months before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy to remove a lump that quickly grew to the size of an apple. The drugs that are normally given for this are for older women or women who have bore children. She may never get her menstrual period back, and has gained twenty pounds from the steroids and chemotherapy.

Rachael is crying, feeling much compassion for Allison, remembering her parents. Allison notes how odd it is to see others crying for her, as she’s only cried three times for herself since her cancer diagnosis.

Looking at Allison’s self portrait, Iyanla says it looks like a mask, and tells Allison she sees a lie. Allison is overwhelmed that she is so translucent with Iyanla. Noticing Allison is still wearing her hat, Iyanla asks why and hears Allison say she is afraid she’ll be uncomfortable without it. She gives in, takes it off, and we see a darling salt and pepper short ‘do. Iyanla tells her now her eyes show up, along with the truth of who she is.

Allison’s goal will be to “learn to live” as she hasn’t really lived for thirty-eight years. Vanessa believes they’ll learn a lot from her, and I believe she is right.

Rachael has a one-one-one with Iyanla to discuss how her plans are going for the memorial service for her parents. Rachael admits to not liking the way she is being treated by her family as she’s calling them asking them to come. Her Grandma has always made her feel unwelcome and has even caller her a tramp. Rachael’s aunt and uncle told her she always stirred up trouble, and called her a hateful little brat.

Iyanla asks why Rachael puts up with all this, and Rachael says they’re part of her mom. Iyanla asks if her mom were still alive would she allow them to treat Rachael like that, and Rachael admits she probably wouldn’t.

Switching gears back to the memorial service the only people Rachael knows that will be there for sure are her brother, Iyanla and her youth pastors. She would like Aunt CeCe to come, and will asks her. Iyanla tells her to work on writing the eulogy.

Rhonda tells Bethany it’s time for their “Comin’ Home to Jesus” talk, and Bethany knows that means they’re “gettin’ down to it.” She would like to change and Rhonda suggests she needs to learn how her body works, and that includes going to doctors to learn more. Bethany doesn’t tell people she gets headaches when she eats because it embarrasses her. Even though it’s the scariest thing to face, she’s tired of being the sick girl.

Bethany is asked what if her body became her friend. Rhonda tells her she needs to make a choice to do it, and Bethany agrees. Rhonda wants her to meet with a nutritionist and to take Vanessa for support, since she too eats unhealthy. Also, Marcus will there at the house today to take Bethany and Vanessa on a hike.

Rachael tells Allison about her parents memorial service that she’s planning, and tells her that her mom had died from ovarian cancer and Jess had lung cancer, which then led to a brain tumor. Allison suggests maybe it was meant to be. Rachael, still having the hope and faith shells she had made weeks before in honor of her parents, gives one to Allison and tells her it’s because she wants to keep the faith alive in her.

In a private session, Iyanla asks Allison how her first day is going in the Starting Over house. She says it’s been quiet; she’s used to being alone, and she’ll usually have music or the TV on, and admits to Iyanla if the house is still and quiet, then she has to think of herself. Iyanla notes the Alison is very aware and conscious of things that don’t honor who she is.

Iyanla asks Allison to close her eyes to go to a place of sadness. She tells Iyanla, while in that place, she is sad as she wants to be loved, but knows she is. Iyanla’s immediately reply is no you don’t. Iyanla tells her to answer from her heart and hot her head. She asks Allison to repeat, “I want to live; I am going to live,” and tells her when she has fears, Iyanla is going to stand for her. She tells Allison she is incredibly strong and is an inspiration. And, of course, Iyanla tells her it’s going go to be delicious, so she needs to get her fork ready. She asks Allison to write down what she is getting out of her life and what she is missing.

Marcus takes Bethany and Vanessa on their hike, and he stresses that nutrition is just as important as exercise. Telling them they have been hiking for thirty minutes, he asks how many calories think they have burned, and their guess is 5000. They are shocked to learn they’ve only burned about eighty, enough to burn off twelve Doritos. He tells them to the goal is to enjoy lief, eat some, but understand what it takes to burn it.

Bethany and Vanessa meet with a nutritionist, Amy, after their hike. Vanessa says she doesn’t eat healthy as she has rebelled against it, and Bethany admits she gets headaches when she eats. Amy gives them a quick lesson in proper fats/proteins/carbohydrates balance, and mentions Vanessa probably ate an unhealthy low amount of fat when she was training in gymnastics.

Next, their current measurements need to be taken to get a baseline of where they are at, and Bethany freaks form the get-go. Amy assures them it’s only to keep the information for themselves. Bethany admits she’s getting mad, but she sucks it up and does it. After, she admits the world did not end.

Allison meets with Iyanla to look at what she has and what’s missing in her life. She is missing one boob and feels she’s overweight. Iyanla wants to know who says she’s missing the boob and is overweight? Allison’s goals will be to define life, live for or beyond cancer, emotional honesty, learn life affirming practices and embrace simplicity. Iyanla asks Allison to please stop calling herself disfigured. Allison concedes to calling herself lopsided. Iyanla says look at my thigh; that’s a disfigurement.

Moving on, Iyanla meets with Rachael to check in on the memorial service planning again. In attendance will be Aunt Ellen, Bobby Jo and Rachael’s brother. Aunt CeCe has to go to a football game and can’t make it, upsetting Rachael. Iyanla urges her to realize CeCe could go, but it’s not her choice. Rachael is beginning to realize she has never been a priority in CeCe’s life. She says she just really wanted Ce Ce to be there. Iyanla says, “Well, she doesn’t want to.” That has to hurt, but it’s the cold hard truth.

I find myself wishing that Allison would go to the memorial service. She represents exactly what Rachael is mourning, and Rachael’s parents represent what Allison is fearing. I live by the belief that everything happens for a reason, and I believe firmly that these two women met in this house for a reason. There has to be a greater purposes somewhere. I think the two of them will be a help to each other.

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

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