We saw the same sequence of events unfolding in the lives of Maxine Shaw, Joan Clayton, Mary Jane Paul, and now, Issa Dee. The formulas used in women liberation television seems basic: emotionally derail the characters to maintain the drama and keep the ratings high. In the case of Insecure, Season 2, Episode 1. The outcome was just that…“Jury Booty”.
I admit, I am exponentially concerned for the emotional health of our adorable protagonist. Maybe that is the whole point? After all, the premise is based on emotional (in)security. The first episode in season two was an emotional roller coaster that wasn’t so “hella great” in my opinion. It was hella sad…
I want to quickly re-cap the final moments of the “Hella Great” episode and my thoughts regarding those intense beats that lead to Jazmine Sullivan ushering us off of the roller coaster. I, trying to catch my balance, found myself sinking into the couch with an arched back and a sagging face. Staring at the closing credits…
Q: What the hell was that, Issa?
A: The vulnerability formula.
Q: But to be vulnerable means you are only open to temptation and/or emotional frailty. It does not mean you have to succumb to it.
A: But love…
It’s time we challenge the narrative that says if you’re vulnerable then you’re likely to self-sabotage. We must begin to view vulnerability as an opportunity to exchange words. And if we cannot find words, our best bet is Stillness.
It’s time to reject the notion that sex provides clarity.
I remember the moment Issa sat on that couch trying to process what happened between her and Lawrence. Confused, she ran her fingers through her natural pin-up, debated internally, and waited on her ex to confirm what just happened. He never did. He kissed her on the cheek and ran out of the door.
Issa sat alone. Deep in thought. She chose to smile, which, to me, was not an indicator of victory or satisfaction. Her smile was mechanical. Unlike Molly (another post), who clearly has agency over what she does with her body, this was Lawrence having agency over Issa. Neither Issa nor Lawrence were equipped to handle their emotional decision to become physically involved again. Neither he nor she had control over their emotional well-being. I’m not saying that we need to become emotion-less in our relationships, but we do need to become masters over our emotions.
The sex between them was um…interesting…Lawrence left her and just like that…
“she became herself
brown braided woman
with big legs & full hips
-Lady in Red (For Colored Girls…)
We watched Issa become her main identity: Awkward Regular.
If you think about it, Insecure is a choreopoem and Issa is the new voice in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Lady in Terracotta. She’s the one who tries on different identities. The chameleon whose strength comes from existing outside of society’s expectations. She’s the lady who’s still being sculpted. And we love her. Fiercly.
One thing Ntozake Shange taught us is that you can be regular and still be extraordinary if you find god in yourself. She showed us how you can cancel a downward spiral into an emotional pit by taking back your “stuff”.
Issa, somebody almost walked off wid alla yo stuff, girl.
My hope is that the next time Lawrence just shows up, Issa will be ready to respond to the knock. And if she isn’t; Lord, please, just let her just slide the mail underneath the door.
This is dedicated to all of the Issa’s out there. Be strong in your total coverage boy shorts. Be weak in the presence of God and, when necessary, in the arms of a sister who will offer you her lap so you can cry terracotta tears…
“She held her head on her lap
The lap of her sisters soakin up tears
Each understandin how much love stood between them
How much love between them
Love between them”
-Lady in Purple (For Colored Girls…)
Clinnesha D. Sibley is an award-winning playwright and published poet/essayist. She is the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, MS. For more information, please visit: http://onepagerapp.com/clinneshadsibley.