How 'Master of None' helped me cope with my breakup
I went into Master of None expecting to laugh a lot, and I did. Aziz Ansari has a knack for tackling serious issues (e.g. racism and sexism) in hilarious but relatable ways, and the people he and co-creator Alan Yang chose to help them bring the show to life are capable of the same.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was to be sobbing by the finale.
Let me back up. Nearly two months to the day before Master of None hit Netflix, I ended a two-and-a-half year relationship. At the time, we were all set to move in together in just a couple months, so, needless to say, I was caught off-guard when my then-boyfriend told me he not only wasn’t sure he wanted to live with me but also wasn’t sure he wanted to continue dating. He was afraid that if we moved in together, that would be it — we’d probably be it for each other. I felt the same way, except imagining us as endgame wasn’t scary to me.
I gave him about two weeks to mull things over, but even then I knew that was it. How do you come back from that? I understood that he was unsure, but even if he had said he’d made a mistake and definitely wanted to keep dating and live with me, I don’t think I could have trusted him not to just change his mind again in a few months. So, we broke up.
Since then I’ve kind of shut down emotionally. Part of me thought if I let myself be sad I wouldn’t stop being sad; another part thought I’d sort of dealt with the breakup before it technically happened, during those two weeks he was supposed to be making up his mind about us. Of all things, watching Master of None made me realize I hadn’t dealt with it at all.
(Things are going to get spoilery here, in case you haven’t seen the show and plan to.)
Throughout the course of the season, Ansari’s character Dev meets and starts dating Rachel (Noel Wells). They eventually move in together, and of course there are ups and downs, because this is a pretty realistic show and that’s just how things are. For the most part, though, life is pretty good.
And that’s the problem. Life isn’t amazing or crazy or unpredictable — it’s just pretty good, and pretty good isn’t good enough for Dev or Rachel.
About a year into their cohabitation, the two attend the wedding of a couple who are so clearly crazy about each other it makes Dev start wondering — am I that in love with Rachel?
In short, no, he’s not, and things with him and Rachel finally come to a head with this convo:
I imagine it’s a rough scene to watch even if you haven’t found yourself in that exact situation, but considering the dialogue could’ve been directly inspired by conversations I’ve had with my ex, it was downright daunting.
What was worse was when Rachel later tells Dev he was right, because the time in their life to “do crazy sh*t is winding down.” It was right around then that I broke down.
You see, I never really had that epiphany — I just pretended to. I told myself breaking up was the right thing to do, something I knew (and know) is right — but I didn’t really believe it. I told others I was happy to have escaped a relationship that was apparently going nowhere. Now I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted!
The thing is, as much as I’m fine being single, I loved being in a relationship. I loved being comfortable and content. I was ready to start that next phase of my life, to settle down, to be what a lot of people probably consider boring, which is fine, because it’s what I wanted. In a way I think losing all that might have felt worse than losing the guy (which, let’s face it, is probably yet another reason why things didn’t work out in the end).
When the finale of Master of None brought all this to the surface, I just lost it. I sat on my bed, in the dark, crying and staring at my screen while my alarmed cat stared at me. All this time I’d been convincing myself I didn’t need to mourn my nearly three-year, freshly-over relationship with someone I really thought I might spend the rest of my life with. I’d told myself I really wasn’t in that much pain, when really I’d simply buried it. Now, I have to actually deal with it.
At least Master of None ended on a hopeful note, with both Dev and Rachel heading off on their separate adventures. I guess I just have to figure out what mine will be.
[Image via Master of None/Netflix]