This is me, I thought, a poor, ugly, unworthy girl from Brooklyn, talking to an executive of a major
television network who, on behalf of Barbara Walters, is asking me what to do. This could not be happening to me! But it was. I was amazed. I was scared to death. I was primed for self-sabotage.

I had become so busy, so self-directed, I had lost touch with my inner voice and my sense of self. My marriage, my most intimate relationship, was failing. What better way to boost my sagging ego than to have the two most powerful women in the television world talking to me, courting me, wanting to make a deal with me? That was not my first thought, but I must admit, it was a thought. Beneath it all, I now realize that I was still trying to heal the poor, dysfunctional, ugly, bad girl who needed to prove to herself and everyone else that she really was good enough. Someone once said that those who are buried alive do not die. They smolder. They steep. They emit a lingering stench that invades the most secret parts of your life. They stimulate the pathology and ignite the patterns. The only reason I could even consider living beyond what I was feeling was because I remembered to pray—Oh God! Please help me! Please! Tell me what to do!

The network flew me to New York and put me up at the Plaza. Over a lovely meal of food that I could not spell and did not recognize, Barbara Walters and three other network executives plucked my brain and stroked my ego. Back at home, I got the first in a series of telephone calls from the network asking that I consider an offer to host a new show. My response was, "No, thank you. I am happy where I am." The executive said she understood. She just wanted to ask in case I had changed my mind. There were changes going on at the network, she said, and they needed to make some decisions very soon. If I changed my mind within the next week or so, I could call her. She gave me her home telephone number. That bothered me, but it was also intriguing. Why are these people so hot on my tail? What do they want from me? What do I have that they want?

©Iyanla Vanzant 2010. All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of SmileyBooks.