Insecure: On second thought, are we really team Nathan?

OPINION: Nathan dips out when things get tough. Is that really what Issa needs?

Loading the player...

So, I’m a whole Nathan fan. (Not a half one like some of ya’ll.) I speak my love for Nathan with my entire chest, and I even wrote a little something about him last year. 

But as much as I love Nathan, the Bankhead Bounce that he did out of Issa’s bed on Sunday’s episode of Insecure really makes me wonder whether he’s even able to be what Issa needs in a romantic partner right now.

To be point blank about it … Nathan dips out when things get tough (I love him, but this is true.)

He may have his reasons, but the one thing that remains constant is that leaving has been his go-to move when things get uncomfortable (Think Homer Simpson disappearing into those bushes. That’s him). 

He doesn’t open his mouth to communicate how he feels or talk about his boundaries. Instead, he chooses his ability to easily bounce as the ever-ready solution rather than having those necessary conversations. 

Insecure
(Photo: HBO)

That moment in the bed with Issa was an opportunity for Nathan to be there for her emotionally while also providing a springboard for him to eventually have a discussion with her about his feelings and his boundaries. But he chose to jump ship. 

Issa had a vulnerable moment with him. No one wants to ugly cry about their ex in bed with a new guy. That was what I call a wig-flying-off-the-head moment — those messy moments in life that no one wants or plans for, but that still happen in epic and embarrassing fashion anyway. In those moments, you need your real ones to hold you down. 

Nathan didn’t. And that’s his choice. He’s not a bad guy because of it. But it does mean that he’s just not in a position to be what Issa needs at the moment. She needed a lover and a friend. 

There was one tweet that captured it best: “Issa was searching for intimacy not sex so I can see why the crying happened.” 

Issa’s been through some sh*t lately. Season 4 for Issa is what old folks would call the “rainy season” in her life. Her man had a whole ass break baby (Not a half). She and her Day One, Molly, are just now reaching the other side of an explosive rough patch in their friendship. And currently, Issa is in the middle of trying to stand on her own and leave her mark on the world by building her company, which requires a lot of energy. And on top of all of this, sis is still kind of heartbroken. That’s where Issa is.

Anyone stepping into her life is going to be met with that reality — no matter how much they wish otherwise. That includes Nathan. 

But we like to play pretend a lot in relationships. We pretend that people aren’t who we can clearly see that they are, or that they aren’t in the predicaments that we know they’re in just so we can be with them. This game of pretend is an age-old recipe for disappointment. 

Issa is busy and healing and heartbroken, all at the same time. That’s reality. Nathan walked into Issa’s bedroom pretending to not know all that she had going on. And on the flip-side, Issa invited Nathan into her bedroom pretending to not know that she was dealing with Mr. Casper himself. They both were playing a game of pretend. 

Insecure
(Photo: HBO)

And while Issa bursting out crying mid-kiss with Nathan was kind of humorous, it was also a real life kind of moment. Feeling like you’ve backtracked after progress is real. Healing isn’t a linear process. The reality is that moving on is difficult. Your mind can be made up, yet your heart is still grieving. You may no longer have romantic feelings for an ex, but still miss them. Still miss the possibilities of what can never be. Still grieve for the time that feels wasted. And yet still desire to move forward. 

So, I’m not one to say that you have to be completely healed before you step into a new relationship or situationship, but you do have to make sure that you’re ready for whatever you’re stepping into, and that it’s ready for you. Whether it’s friends-with-benefits or some other kind of intimate relationship, we always have to ask ourselves, am I ready for this and is it ready for me … just as I am. No pretending. 

Nathan is not ready for all the baggage that Issa is bringing (He’s our very own Spirit airlines out here). 

But that’s why God created Day Ones. Like Molly. Nathan’s disappearing act underscores the importance of maintaining those healthy friendships, even through conflict. You can’t buy the kind of support that comes from those tried and true friendships. And so investing in those relationships through the tough times matters. 

Insecure
(Photo: HBO)

As Black Twitter has pointed out, even the imagery of Issa and Molly laying in bed together during their sleepover versus the empty bed that Nathan left symbolizes how fleeting romantic relationships can be compared to the support of our true friends. 

So, while I would never say that Nathan is a bad friend to Issa — he’s not — he’s just not ready for where she is right now. And that’s ok. But I think it does mean that we can lower these #teamNathan banners just for a bit.  (But we can still look at him.)


Kamaria Fayola, theGrio.com

Kamaria is an attorney, poet, writer, and lover of all things created #ForTheCulture. She runs a blog, ‘Words of My Mother,’ has lived all over the DMV (heavy on the V), and enjoys skating, debating, and car karaoke. (Because, why not?!) She can be reached on Twitter at @like_tha_moon.

Have you subscribed to the Grio podcasts, ‘Dear Culture’ or Acting Up? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...