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2012-08-06 - 2:43 p.m.

I'm a day late, but it's been 10 years since I started this online diary. Always a sucker for milestones, I had been planning for some time to mark the occasion- I knew it was August and just needed to check the date. I'm not sure whether to be writing a nostalgia filled lookback or actually mark the occasion by trying to get back into the habit of writing what's on my mind. Maybe a bit of both.

A word of warning though if you are one of the few people who have been with me the whole time and are likely to be the subject of many an early entry- review at your own risk- it's excrutiating at times.

The reason I'm a day late writing this entry is that I went to lunch in the city with the family yesterday (Mum, Dad, Sister, Brother and our significant others) which turned into a bit of an alcohol fuelled evening and ended in a bit of a shitfight. I figured I'd be getting home around 7pm reasonably tipsy and still able to write this entry.

I generally don't like writing too much about family in here- not because it's an unlocked diary or anything like that- there's enough anonymity and I can't imagine much interest- but because I do actually struggle to put my feelings about family into words. And that's one of the things that gets to me (among many) about my family. I know I'm pretty lucky to have a still-together family unit, all in the same country, all talking to each other. But I kind wish I was like these people who are always saying "my Mum/Dad/Sister/Brother's the greatest/my hero/my best friend" without the slightest hint of cynicism. Instead almost every family gathering ends with people yelling at each other and usually as a result of drinking too much. I can't remember the last family gathering that I didn't go into really looking forward to a riotous old catch up and come out of in some way embarrassed by the show we're putting on for our significant others.

When it comes to my family I'm as self righteous now as I was with my circle of friends in those first entries 10 years ago. I can pinpoint the moment things turned ugly and use that knowledge to chastise the perpetrator, all the while admitting my own faults in some sort of preemptive strike.

Yes, I'm certainly not blameless in these shambolic gatherings, but to me the biggest issue is my Brother and my Mother living under the same roof. The minute a thought enters my Mother's head that she thinks will either help my Brother or that is a criticism he needs to hear, she says it, despite knowing that he in turn can't just ignore the unwelcome advice, he must argue at all costs that said advice is crap, that he knows better, or that she shouldn't waste her life worrying about... well, anything, despite the glaringly obvious fact that she is a lifelong worrier.

My Dad has a bizarre superiority complex especially after a few drinks which sees him basically make every argument worse by effectively saying we should all be more like him, and just be thankful for everything we have, but at the same time he reacts poorly to any (even jovial) criticism which gets my back up because his reactions are almost always dismissive and disrespectful to my Mother, despite him really not being in any way an old fashioned patriach or having anything but respect for Women in all other ways.

And underpinning it all (from my perspective anyway) is my crippling fear of confrontation and conflict, which sees me just wanting everyone to be nice to each other for fuck's sake, seemingly at the expense of feeling free to speak one's mind (my Mum) or defend one's actions (my Brother).

My Sister, despite generally coming across as far more naive than she is, is more or less exempt from my judgemental rant. In fact I'm glad her and her fiance had gone home before things got ugly and we all started yelling at each other last night. I'm sure she has a view on my Mother's overreactions, my Brother's downright nasty if generally understandable defensiveness, my Father's often ridiculous interjections and my own overanalytical judgements, but she's obviously worked out long ago that "it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove any doubt".

Some may find my sterile deconstruction of my family disrespectful, and I guess that's what- to go back to my initial point- gets to me. I wish I was one of those people who did consider family more or less untouchable. I just don't feel like most of us (myself very much included) have earned it.

So that's the "what's on my mind" piece. I think I'm only touching on the "nostalgia filled lookback" because as soon as I knew I was going to write this entry I knew how I wanted to end it- given how I started this diary all those years ago. And the sad thing is I'm pretty sure I've already used this ending before, for some random entry that I figured was significant enough to make some reference to how far I'd come since my first entry, and even if I found said entry I would still use it again.

10 years ago I was a hyperanalytical drama queen- magnanimously navigating my way through shark infested waters with my two closest friends; equally steering each other through and offering each other up as bait; and my own Daisy Buchanan, or Jordan Baker "whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs". I didn't have to look far to find what at that point in time I didn't necessarily know I wanted, and quite accidentally this diary has almost become a pitch for "How I Met Your Mother", only I took my readers through far less detours before tumbling out of my late onset teen angst and into my happily ever after.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past".

 

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