‘Family, In Italics’

Once again, the family – notice italics, obviously courtesy of mafia movies and for the gratuitous nod to Dan Harmon’s Community -, seems to be fractal. By family, I’m referring to my old group of friends from back home and being the natural alarmist that I am, the slightest shift in status quo has sent me into a bit of an unwarranted panic. It’s not like they haven’t or we haven’t argued or fought in the past but now, as we all drift into our own lives, I worry that perhaps that each fight is the last. Growing up in an Italian family (definitely not a family), where grudges are held onto for dear life like footholds in free-climbing, it seems to be my curse to notice the changing winds. In all fairness, it’s probable my recent avoidance of their birthdays isn’t helping.

It was always going to be a natural part of life to lose touch with friends from school and sixth form and happens all the time. Just today I was talking to someone who is only in contact with one person who went to their college back home which is something that seems somewhat alien to me. Obviously, there were people I didn’t like and haven’t bothered speaking to since leaving home and there are people I’m still unsure about nine years on within the family. We all bonded over things like Community – which by the way, is a comedy institution –  but the cracks in the foundations could and can never be fixed up. Yet, even though these people sometimes infuriate and irritate me, the troubled waters make me very fucking uneasy indeed.

Maybe it’s time I realise the unfortunate fact of life that so many have come to understand that most friends don’t stay friends forever. Hell, even Justice League Unlimited was cancelled which I’m still bitter about some eleven years on. While that insert may seem random, the point is that example, like the eventual death of what I have come to know as, The Group, is totally out of my control and will finally kill my childhood; much like Warner Bros. Animation did all those years ago. Yet, we’ve all got to grow up at some point, I get that, and I’ll just have to be happy with Ben Affleck rather than Kevin Conroy as Batman.

The fact of the matter is, all it will take is a rough night out to kick start an avalanche. We’ve already had three or so this year out of the five times we’ve all got together and to quote Ensign Kim of Star Trek: Voyager: ‘hull integrity is failing!’. This problem is definitely universal and a quite the gut punch. The nests we once knew are suddenly becoming too small for our lives and our dreams which is a reality no one takes into account until our bundle of twigs is an empty husk. Is it futile to try to keep everyone together, or is it just cruel to clip our wings for the sake of ourselves?

No matter what happens, based on all the slices of pizza I bought the family at break-times over the years, I better at least get an invite to a wedding or two. I sincerely believe that the world would be crushed under the sheer weight of all the passive aggression if not.

‘Family, In Italics’

Running

I missed a close friend’s birthday today. The excuse was being financially bankrupt yet perhaps the truth is that I’m more morally bankrupt as it wouldn’t have been a stretch to be there. It’s the second time in a month I’ve missed a birthday of a close friend for no reason at all other than perhaps selfishness or laziness or a fear of nostalgia. It’s also the second time the person has made efforts to make sure I was there. The party is ongoing right now and looking at Snapchat is like punching myself in a gut and I don’t know how I got here.

It makes me wonder do we lose touch with people by accident or accidentally on purpose? I mean I like these people and have a strange history with one of them but I find myself making less and less of an effort with them. It’s almost the same way people who promise to always remain friends after a relationship ends amicably (as rare or fictional as that may be) and they always drift apart despite good intentions. Still, I’m trying to work out how that applies to me considering it’s as almost as if I’m actively being apathetic. Which perhaps defeats the point of apathy entirely.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it and I’m just another cliché being protectionist and cagey with all that feelings bullshit and I’m too scared to look back. To look back and to go to these gatherings and make an effort would be to be confronted by the fact that I need these people as over the eight years I’ve known them they’ve become more family than friends. Obviously, it’s a dysfunctional and somewhat incestuous family like the cast of The Brady Bunch but family none the less. As I type these words I feel a reeling sense of nausea at this uncharacteristic exposé yet maybe my own very raw nerve is just damn typical.

Running from things that didn’t happen or did happen is incredibly tiring and I’m low on the number of excuses to throw around, maybe we all are. Yet for the first time in my life and perhaps, this is the same for everyone else, to stop is more difficult than keep moving. Hell, I moved one-hundred miles north to a place where I don’t know anyone just to prove a point to myself that I could. Now, I’m sat here alone in a shell of a house rather than actually enjoying myself with people I care about because I’m far too chicken shit to confront those goddamn roads not taken or those I did. Or perhaps it’s more than that and it’s a level of unwanted exposure being around people who know what I’m going to say before I say it.

Our entire society is driven towards moving on whether it be from a relationship or being turned down by an employer. It’s all about looking forward rather than back because constant self-analyses and mental exploration of what-ifs would drive anyone insane. I’m being driven insane right now and every time I sit down and think about the good old days that I failed to recognise and appreciate at the time. Yet maybe I and every other person with this uncomfortable feeling should grow some fucking balls and get that train to the birthday party.

Running