I just survived through the crazy season premiere of “Iyanla Fix My Life.” For those of you who are unaware, I’m referring to the three-part series about a man named Jay Williams who has fathered 34 children by 17 different women.
I’ll pause and let that marinate for a second.
Anyway, typically I’d prefer not to sit through 43 non-commercial minutes of Iyanla’s overbearing antics, but this particular episode was an exception — a very entertaining exception. Oprah really hit the jackpot with this one.
The episode was broken down into three parts, in which Iyanla focused on getting down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of Jay’s deep(and I mean deep)-rooted issues. The first part was centered around Jay’s childhood, during which he had been abandoned by both of his parents at some point. We learn here that the pattern of abandonment that Jay now practices with his children and their mothers was inherited from his biological parents. The second part introduced four of Jay’s oldest children, who expressed that they are not at all interested in pursuing a relationship with their estranged father. The final part focused on several of the 17 women and their relationships with Jay. Iyanla instigated — I mean, mediated — a session between Jay and some of his children’s mothers. A few were still romantically involved with him while some were disillusioned to believe that they were in the process of “working things out.” Two of the women were actually friends at one point before they both had children by Jay. Ouch.
And of course, Iyanla used plenty of melodramatic tactics throughout the process to emphasize her points. My favorite was when she made the man carry 34 baby dolls at once until he had no choice but to drop all of them. The blatant satire of the whole scene made me burst out in uncontrollable laughter (Even now as I write this, I’m snickering through clenched teeth).
But in the midst of the overabundance of baby dolls and Iyanla’s countless theatrical rants, there were many lessons to be learned from this episode:
- The only way we can truly give our love to someone else is if we first love ourselves. Jay had no idea how to love himself or others because his parents never showed him.
- A person’s upbringing can have a tremendous effect on their future. We all have the power to overcome our past situations, but we have to be willing to channel that power within us in order to do so. Unfortunately, Jay’s deep-rooted issues from his childhood not only carried over into his romantic relationships, but also his failed relationships with his own children.
- Know yourself and your worth. It’s as simple as that. We all have the power to make our own decisions, but we have to first know ourselves in order to truly know if we are capable of handling the consequences of certain decisions we make. On top of that, we must know our worth in order to decipher what we can and can’t tolerate. Seventeen women sharing one man shows a severe lack of self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-worth.
I’m not Iyanla — trust me, my life needs fixing on its own — but I hope that as I continue to learn and share my own journey, others who can relate will learn as well.