Gold is struck when art imitates life, portraying the good, the bad, and the uncomfortable. This is the reason our Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae’s, HBO series Insecure, has been so wildly popular. In case you’ve been under a rock, Insecure is a series that tells the stories of Black women and all of their relationships in a brilliantly relatable way.
Issa’s character (also named Issa) cheats on her long-term live-in boyfriend who was going through an extended period of unemployment and likely as a result, a bout of depression that led him to be a neglectful boyfriend. Long story short, the infidelity is uncovered and they break up. In season two, we see Issa and Lawrence (her ex-bf) attempt to move on separately after the break-up, stumbling through a number of poor decisions and unintentionally hurting other people. You know, because hurt people, hurt people. Anyone on the outside looking in would easily connect this to simply not processing their failed relationship.
But this isn’t an Insecure recap or review. This is about why closure is so important, and Issa and Lawrence showed us exactly why. Towards the end of the season after an ugly argument, Issa and Lawrence eventually meet and have a very real conversation about not just their break-up, but everything that contributed to it. Each of them spoke about how they treated the other, where they fell short, how they may have unfairly expected too much, and that despite everything that occurred, they still loved each other.
It was such a real moment that far too few people ever get the opportunity to have. As a side note, I’m calling their conversation closure but I don’t think Issa and Lawrence are over romantically forever.
One thing I will concede is that Issa and Lawrence wouldn’t have been able to have such a real conversation at the time of their break-up. And that isn’t because they were too angry, it’s because at the time they both lacked the introspection and emotional maturity to acknowledge what contributed to the breakdown of their relationship beyond Issa’s infidelity.
Read that again.
That isn’t an excuse or justification for cheating in any way. It simply acknowledges that there were more variables at play regarding why their relationship wasn’t working versus why it ended.
Apparently, a lot of people feel as though closure is an unrealistic expectation simply because a lot of us never get it. I was having a conversation with a friend about this recently (hey Chauncey) where he and I agreed that closure is incredibly important and as he put it, is “therapeutic in itself.”
I think a lot of people get ‘stuck’ in the past because they didn’t get to finish a sentence. They didn’t get to speak to the person who needed to hear how they’ve been affected. They didn’t get to hear how they affected that person, positively or negatively. One of the misconceptions about closure is that it’s driven by desiring a change in outcome. But I wholeheartedly believe there’s a difference between broken and separated. Regardless of how or why a break-up is happening, I think if you truly care about a person you should be able to hear what they have to say.
Instead, people are broken and left for someone else to smooth out the harsh edges left behind. That harshness hurts anyone new who doesn’t deserve it and prevents you from moving forward. Hurt people, hurt people and the cycle continues. We carry that uncertainty regarding what worked and what didn’t into the next relationship instead of lessons on how to do better.
In an age where people are craving connections that live up to “relationship goals,” it makes so much sense why we struggle to create those connections. So many of us are still mentally or emotionally stuck with people and situations we haven’t been able to put a period on and instead, unintentionally and unfairly attempt to continue those situations by simply subbing in someone new.
Not necessarily because we still desire them, but because we yearn both for understanding and to be understood.
Obviously, we aren’t all mature enough to seek closure immediately–or ever–and we won’t all get closure for every situation. But does the likelihood of receiving it change its necessity? Its value? Imagine what closure would do for the emotional baggage we all carry into new relationships.
What do you think? Is closure needed? Why or why not?