There are different things that we can attribute to an era that makes you wish you had been alive during that time to witness it firsthand—the music of the 70s, the fashion of the 90s, Michael Jackson live in Munich. These culture-defining moments are among others that make me wish I had been born at a time to experience them. As I watched the final episode of Insecure, I felt a random wave of assurance that I was exactly where I was meant to be in that moment. I know that Insecure changed the game for Black television and storytelling. The show undoubtedly had the undertones of its Black-sitcom, woman-centered predecessors, such as Girlfriends and Living Single. But the show’s emergence from a web-series and taboo topics made it so modern. So millennial. As a 90’s baby, it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I began watching Insecure when I was 25 after binge-watching season one. From there, I was hooked!
The parallels between this show and my reality were so freakishly similar. Issa being this Black woman working at a well-intentioned, but still color-blind and tone-deaf non-profit organization in her late 20s became my daily life soon after I discovered the show. Her professional missteps, but also creative yearning to do something that she couldn’t articulate at the time (but would later discover) were me entirely, again. I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not this. Eventually, Issa lands a new gig as a property manager at an apartment complex. This opportunity mirrored where I found myself when I stumbled upon a new, unlikely career that is surprisingly fitting for where I am in life. It has positioned me to explore and (hopefully) define what my creative niche and passion is, which I believe will become my life’s work…Issa’s “The Blocc.”
I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not this.
Aside from the similarities between Insecure and my life, the differences also spoke to just about every void or insecurity I have: friendship and love. Friendship is nothing that I lack, but it is hard for me to say who exactly is my “Molly.” My friendships span every phase of my life, from elementary school to adulthood. And I believe my “Molly” is divided among so many women who I am blessed to call sisters and friends. But feeling like I can’t pinpoint one woman who has been a common denominator throughout most of my life experiences has led me to question why several times. In fact, I began to wonder if I had commitment issues. Yes, friendships are commitments. Have I ever committed myself to anyone, anything, or any place long enough to develop a Molly-Issa relationship with any woman? I’m still processing that even now. The final moments Issa and Molly shared on-screen made me wonder if I could ever have that exclusive experience with someone or will it always be divvied up among the cohort of genuine friends I have accumulated over the years. And is that okay? Do I really need to have a singular best friend?
In addition to my presumed commitment issues among friends, romantic relationships are even more complicated for me. I could relate to the history Issa had with Lawrence because I once encountered a similar situation that spanned a decade. And, yes, I’ve had a handful of other relationships (official and unofficial) that transpired over the years against the backdrop of my lingering uncertainty about the guy I fell for first. And that’s just looking at Issa’s relationships. Lord knows Molly’s questionable decisions seemed like a re-run of some of my own situationships at times. And when Issa was repeatedly called “messy,” “inconsistent,” and “all over the place,” I thought God was reading the list of ingredients used to make me. Regardless, I felt seen.
Molly’s questionable decisions seemed like a re-run of some of my own situationships at times.
I did not look to this show for answers although the final episode was everything that could be hoped for. I just appreciate finding this show in my late 20s and having art that has resembled my life so well as I just entered my 30s. I saw women like myself in communities like my own, highlighting issues that I care (and too often, worry) about. Insecure has prompted so many girl-talks and been a source of bonding, relatability, and connectedness. It has depicted my life. It has inspired and influenced the way that I want to share my experiences with the world.
I recently found myself binge-watching 90’s sitcom, The Nanny. My mother asked, “What made you start watching that show now?” I told her that I just wanted to see what these classic shows looked and felt like as an adult. Similar to how I revisited Living Single and Girlfriends. These shows just hit a bit different now that I can relate to the characters more. The thing is, I was a child when Living Single and Girlfriends were new, so they were in the background of my childhood. Now I can fully engage with the episodes. But due to the era in which these shows were filmed, I must remember the context of how things were “in those days.” The fact that Insecure happened in my day feels like I got to witness history. When my future daughters and their friends discover Insecure, I can tell them what it was like to dread the season finales and anticipate new episodes. I can attest to the #TeamLawrence vs #TeamNathan debates and which side I was on. And I can lend my perspective to what Insecure did for the culture.
Hopefully, I can attribute my future, immense success to the motivation and inspiration I received from a show with brown-skinned, Black female leads who depicted modern Black women during a time when this distinction is over-scrutinized. I’m grateful that I’m part of the Insecure era. And because of that, my insecurities have become a bit easier to live with.
Oh, and the music was superb!