Millennials’ relationship to vulnerability is shaky and contemptuous at best. We evolved beyond the baby boomer ‘lean on me’ rhetoric and ventured into a dismissive, crass ‘I don’t give a f*ck’ mantra tunnel. Despite honesty and openness being the super glue holding together any lasting, meaningful relationship, a lot of young adults have denied that reality and opted for the safe cocoon of not caring, not connecting, and autonomy.
If there is any time where ‘not caring’ is particularly celebrated, it would be in the post-breakup lab of moving on. We are encouraged to put on our best don’t let them see you sweat social media mask with captions that emphasize how over it we are.
Even though we’re not.
Years and memories don’t wash off just because one person waves the white flag. That’s why the kitchen scene between Issa & Lawrence on last night’s ‘Insecure’ finale had a particular beauty that is rare in this post-feelings age. Both Issa and Lawrence actively avoided the pain of their breakup throughout most of this season. Their choked emotions often came up inappropriately in their encounters with others as a result—Issa’s inexplicable anger towards Daniel, Lawrence’s trust issues projected on Aparna, and the fiery hate-filled conversation between Issa and Lawrence after the birthday dinner.
And while their relationships and surroundings burned around them (literally, in the case of Issa’s apartment ceiling), what was left in the ashes was deep unresolved grief.
And this is where fiction gets real af. So many of us spend months, seasons, years carrying around the baggage of broken relationships. Like on the show, those unhealed triggers continually pop up as we forge on to new connections, new IG photos, new passport stamps, and new purchases hoping to absolve the ghosts of relationship’s past with something new and shiny.
In my best Solange Cranes In The Sky voice “I tried to drink it away….”
That’s why it was so important for us to see this crowning, moving moment between Issa and Lawrence. The rawness of the kitchen resolution was so real it edged on fantasy. How many times do our friends and loved ones warn against the pursuit of closure in the aftermath of a breakup? The idea that ‘questions, beget more questions,’ leaves us hungry for answers with no hope for emotional satisfaction.
We are forced to move on without hearing the words that could free up that heart space for future healthy connections, “I’m sorry.” “I was wrong.” “I love you.” “I wanted to be better.” “I could’ve done more.”
And even though the end result of those conversations often doesn’t culminate in reconciliation or fantasy montages of marriages and babies, the reality is, there is a freedom that comes when each side of a connection takes off their emotional armor and weapons and openly admits wrong doing.
Because that’s what’s really brave right? Not the bravado and the inauthentic ‘unbothered’ act– that’s easy to pull off, especially in the age of heart-eye emojis and ‘likes.’ But the courage to stand in yourself and allow your flaws to be fully seen, that’s G. That’s healing.