Closure: Necessary or Overrated?

I absolutely love writing about the characters on HBO’s “Insecure.” I love discussing them. I love analyzing them. To put it simply, this show fills a TV void that I didn’t know I was missing. Sure, most adults can relate to the perils of dating and friendship drama, but as a young black woman, Insecure just hits that niche spot. It feels good to be represented on mainstream television as a black millennial, and I’m sure the men of the #LawrenceHive can agree. Throughout all 16 episodes, there have been many times where I have been Issa. I have been Molly. I have been Kelli. I have been Tiffany, who endures the “light skin” jokes. In the finale of Season 2, titled “Hella Perspective”, I am sure many of us have been Issa or Lawrence, closing a chapter with someone in which we care for deeply. Despite their ever-present love for each other, they both got the closure they needed, which will hopefully put an end to them acting out their pain in an onslaught of meaningless encounters and projections onto others.

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The finale sparked some interesting conversation regarding closure, specifically whether or not it is needed to move on with your life and open your heart again. To some people, yes, it is a key part to healing and finally realizing that this is curtains closed; the ship has sailed, and you can now begin a healthy relationship with someone else. To others, however, closure is a futile attempt to gain clarity on what went wrong, and even an excuse to see the person again and drag out the ending process until there is absolutely nothing left. In a perfect world, closure sounds nice. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a final conversation with your old boo, where both of you address where you went wrong, take the appropriate amount of responsibility, then go your separate ways with a clear conscience and no hard feelings? Ha! Too bad that rarely ever happens. Thank you Issa for putting false hope in our hearts.

You Want Answers & You Want Them Now

One of the Google definitions of ‘closure’ is “a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved.” We often hear of friends saying they got no closure at the dissolution of a relationship. We hear it acted out on scripted television and reality shows. Something ending abruptly or painfully often leaves us with questions unanswered, anger, confusion, etc., and by receiving “closure,” we can tie up those loose ends. We are a logical species, and being unable to understand others’ behaviors leaves us quite unsettled. This leads us to seek answers. We tell ourselves we want the truth, no matter how ugly. I can’t speak for everyone, but there hasn’t been a time where I have gone this route and received the results I so desired. It was just more of the same: pointing the finger back at me, dodging the questions, and either failing to see their part in our demise or shutting down completely. I finally realized one day that if I was not getting the communication and other things I needed while we were involved with each other, what would change in a matter of weeks? Most people don’t reach some sort of epiphany where they can wake up and realize they were a piece of sh*t and have a burning desire to own up to it all. I would leave even more angry and hurt than I was before the encounter, causing me to questions my judgment and decision making ability.giphy3 This does not mean I believe Insecure dropped the ball by allowing us to witness a healthy conversation between Issa and Lawrence where they both accepted their failures in the relationship. If anything, it should serve as an example to the rest of us. The reality is that this is the sort of closure that most of us will most likely never experience at the end of a relationship, and that does not go to say that Issa and Lawrence floated to this moment after months of soul searching. They had their fair share of drama and pain. All of this inner turmoil can manifest in a plethora of ways, like “hoe phases” and picking up random girls for threesomes at the grocery store.

Closure Puts Those Demons To Rest

Hurt people, hurt people, including themselves. While I no longer seek traditional closure at the end of my relationships, I can understand why some people feel like they need it. During a couple of therapy sessions after the end of a tumultuous relationship of my own, my therapist told me it was normal to feel the grief I was experiencing. I learned that after a bad breakup, our brains have the same or very similar reaction as when a loved one dies. We experience the same phases of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, etc. Heartbreak takes a serious toll on our mental health. Pain can manifest itself in many ways, and in Issa’s case, it came out in a self-proclaimed “Hoe Phase.” That lifestyle does not suit Issa. She isn’t cut out for it. Her “hoe-tation” left her even more unfulfilled and frustrated, and a lot of it was awkward to witness, from random romps with her neighbor to unintended facials, Issa failed at being sexually liberated. Her attempts at embracing the single life were unsuccessful because she sought empowerment in ways that were not compatible with her personality. She asked Molly to teach her how to “hoe,” without even stopping to realize that the hoe life has brought giphy4Molly nothing but pain and disappointment. Lawrence, on the other hand, used Tasha as a rebound to distract himself from the pain of betrayal, and ended up hurting and embarrassing her as he lead her on and drowned his sorrows in her vagina and home cooked meals. He then went on to have random trysts with strangers just out to use black men for their so called sexual prowess, and projected his trust issues onto Aparna, who could prove to be a promising match for him. So what did we learn at the end of the finale? Both Issa and Lawrence have gained some much needed insight on what they each could have done differently. They’ve accepted reality and the beef has been cooked up and eaten. Now they both can go out into Singleville with a clear mind and date with dignity. Closure goals, no? Unfortunately, most of our closure looks more like Issa and Lawrence’s 30 second silent romp at the beginning of the season.

Closed Relationship, Open Legs

Raise your hand if during those “lets just meet up and talk this out then go our separate ways”  discussions you did more f’ing and less talking? Or even if you didn’t end up taking an unintended dick appointment, you just opened the can of worms again and invited the drama right back into your life? I can’t lie, my hand is raised too. I was lying to myself when I was either initiating a meet-up or agreeing to one that we were just there to talk. Deep down, I just wanted to see him again. I would get cute, rehearse my speech in my head, and hope that he would either see the light or that my good looks would make him realize what he was giving up. I ended up wasting my time and he was wasting his. Sure, we were done, but after those meetings texts were still coming through, pictures still being liked, and neither of us would throw in the towel until someone else entered the pictured or it had finally run its course. I stopped torturing myself like that long ago. When a breakup is fresh, don’t tempt yourself with a meeting in which you know will put you in a vulnerable position. I have become a part of Team No Closure because unless both people walk into these encounters with honest tumblr_ow3paalzpv1txl6nno8_r1_400intentions and a clear mind, you might as well abort the mission. This is where I applaud the closure scene between Issa and Lawrence, because they took advantage of an opportunity to clear the air. While I still think these are not typical results (still possible though), it did not occur under the guise of “ay, come through we should talk” or “you left your hat here, you wanna come grab it tonight when I get off work?” It was organic. The moral of the story is, if you are out to seek closure, do so with a clear mind. Give yourself time. Give the other person time, and don’t be offended if they tell you to kick hot rocks with no shoes on. Conversations such as these should only be had when your emotions are not running high and you aren’t stuck in the past, being a professor of revisionist history. My current version of closure is learning to accept an apology that I may never receive and moving on with my life. An understanding of why you hurt me does not make the pain any less devastating, and a half-assed sorry is not a percocet for my broken heart. Most people’s egos will not allow them to become vulnerable and hold a mirror up to their wrong-doings, so I would rather not even try and end up disappointed. To each their own though, and I hope we all can seek the closure we need within ourselves.

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