This past weekend, we watched as spiritual life coach and teacher, Iyanla Vanzant, helped repair Evelyn Lozada‘s life. The fiery “Basketball Wives” star, who is notorious for throwing drinks on her adversaries, was brought to tears as she recalled past hurts. Dr. Vanzant stripped her of the glitz, glam, and studded stilettos and forced her to stand in the truth of who she is and how unhealed wounds have impacted her life. That is the power of Iyanla Vanzant. Even the untouchable are humbled by her limitless knowledge.
Long before Dr. Vanzant’s triumphant return to our Saturday nights, she was a healer. Born Ronda Harris to an alcoholic mother who died before she was 3 and raised by an abusive grandmother who spent as much time ruining her self-esteem as fueling her future, Harris was a broken woman. She had no understanding of her own power. In her 20s, she buried Ronda Harris and resurrected herself as Iyanla Vanzant, an inspirational speaker and author. It was her destined calling.
I was first introduced to Dr. Vanzant’s work when I was a teen in the throes of agoraphobia. I was a prisoner of my own misguided thoughts, so I escaped into talk shows, where the issues presented trumped mine. Their extreme problems allowed me to find comfort in my minor ones.
I stumbled on the classic, “Starting Over” in 2004 and was instantly riveted by Dr. Vanzant. It was amazing to watch her work miracles on the lives of women, including Towanda Braxton. At 15, I thought that my life was the epitome of a downward spiral, so watching “Starting Over” mobilized me. It, along with intensive counseling, a loving family and Zora Neale Hurston’s work helped me overcome that hurdle. But it was more than my love for talk shows that kept me engaged. There was something about this chocolate woman with a TWA (teeny weeny Afro) that transfixed me. She was powerful. These women came into this house with tears streaming down their faces and left with smiles and energies that radiated. Iyanla fixed their lives.