(Written Aug 7th 2010)

She whispers to me, passes me notes in the schoolroom with a sly smile.
I have let her be my friend cause I don’t have one.
She revels in every shared secret as ammunition for later, to make herself feel bigger, better, more of a conscientious person than me.
She needs Conscience to gang up on me. There’s always two of them, and then they can make me the third wheel.
I’m the friend that hides her talent in case it shows up anyone else’s lack of it. Who doesn’t want to shine brighter than her friends for fear they don’t want to be friends anymore.

Doubt’s father is the Saboteur.
He steps in with eager, oily intent to be the “Father that I don’t have”. Not caring that I have found a father figure and mentor elsewhere, he usurps immediately. He is thin, believing starving shows discipline. He reassures with firm Christian conviction. He quotes from the Bible, and has dusty framed tapestry needleworkings on his walls.

I met the saboteur when I was 15. He spoke nothing but the language of “Christian Love”, sitting on that muttering back bench with the other grey haired, puffed up important leaders. He steps in, as soon as the flow of continued reassurance of friendship is broken for a split physical second.

He picks us up from school, Doubt and I, to go and sleep over.
He takes us on holiday to Amanzimtoti.
But I know his duality. I know that in broken moments, shared with me by his child that he offers her money to sleep with him. And she does, cause she’s Doubt. She has whispered these secrets to me after midnight, when we giggle and talk about boys. They have their own twisted convolution, warped familial love. She tells me of acts she has committed with him, and how she thinks her mother knows.
But no one talks about it.
The Saboteur tells us girls not to engage in sexual congress before marriage, how even oral sex is a sin, even thinking about sex means you should confess. He salivates at our trust. He rubs his hands together, to remove the sweat that he is hiding at the thought of us engaging in sexual congress.

I am afraid of him. And I don’t want to lose my friendship with Doubt, she’s my best friend in the world, didn’t you know?

But I know him.
He’s the Saboteur. The one that speaks in your head later in life telling you to play safe, don’t take chances, don’t explore.
Incestuous, fake and slimy. He offers you societies picture to adopt you into his home. But you will have to play by his rules.

When I sleep over at Conscience’s house I meet Regret.
Regret is the Hippie. The seemingly free – spirited uncle who visits the family. The one who talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. The one that actually makes me feel dirty when I’ve committed no violation. He’s the one who talks to us girls about how he would be the one to show us how to do it, he wouldn’t want us to have to learn from some “dirty boy” in the street. He exposes himself to us and asks if we want to touch it.
I do. Curiosity. Never seen an adult naked before.
And with the innocence of youth, I want to go home and tell my mother. But Conscience begs me not too, says she’ll get into trouble. I ask her how it’s possible that we did something wrong, when he exposed himself to us, but she cries.
She always gets me that way, she cries and pleads and asks me to think about her. Not me, never me.

She tells me of Abandonment, the black sheep of the family that lives with the rubbished souls, the guttered, homeless, alone people.
You never want to end up like Abandonment you know. That’s the horror story of the family. The story told to make small children behave, drink their milk and do what they are told. The story gleefully resurrected at family get – togethers where smoky Sundays and alcohol, bring out the well picked over corpses of family failure.

I have lived with this family and their relatives for so long, that writing about them makes me feel physically nauseous.
They have created the internal script adopted by me, as they adopted me with supposed familial intent. The problem is they have stayed with me as inner dialogue, built into my sub conscious.

The Saboteur didn’t have any real familial intent. He came into the room when I stood, exposed breasted on the Amanzintoti holiday. I told him I was changing, he didn’t knock, he walked straight in, he knew he would find me bare.
He always finds me bare.
He always creates guilt when he sees me that way. He overlays innocence with his own agenda.
He smothers and fathers with his own twisted plans to break barriers before he introduces you to the cousins, Fear and Judgement. The saboteur stops you dreaming. Negates belief that you are talented or capable.

I don’t like this dark family anymore. I have outgrown them.
They are shadows drooling over bright energy. They feed on dark matter, on sins’ definition. They are the vampires of my soul.

They live in the house of Secret. The one on the corner with the blinds always drawn. The Saboteurs wife is mousy. Her name is Gossip. She talks with her mouth pursed, and chain smokes.
“That girl won’t amount to much, but we felt it was our duty to help her. Shame, Doubt has been such a good friend to her, she’s such a good girl that Doubt. Although..” Gossip sighs dramatically “Her taste in friends..” She smirks knowingly with her ladies.

In the time invested in my friendship with Doubt, I start to see these traits exposed.
I decide to forgive them all, in exchange for the only friends I know, trading love for twisted friendship.

But I was 15 then
Now I am 39, and this adoptive family doesn’t welcome me anymore. They talk about me. Gossip uses me and Abandonment to scare the grandchildren.
I can still hear them though, I haven’t managed to completely banish them.
They speak continuously in my head if I am not inspired. Gossip’s high inflection, and Doubts’ safety in the familiar. The Saboteur stills sounds like he is an authority on matters. They all very confidently proclaim they are “protecting me” by not letting me “take chances”. No room for expansion or growth or life with this crew.

I met a soul who has helped me choose to disassociate with them. The voices and scripting don’t serve me anymore.
This wonderful new relative, he comes and goes though, he is not with me all the time yet. Doubt does still tell me I can’t trust him cause he hasn’t been around as long as her, and she’s my best friend, remember? But her voice is annoying me, and I don’t believe she’s telling the truth anymore.
He has shown me pathways within my own soul, overgrown with fruit trees and sunlight and shady snoozy benches. He urges me to walk the road anyway I desire, without a guaranteed map. He laughs, as he tells me that the only guarantee is love anyway.
He embraces me fully, picnics with me and makes love to my soul.
His name is Love.
He has shown me the true family, the one that exists to embrace and open up talent, the family where we are all related.
”We’ve always been one you know. Don’t you remember?” he whispers to me, running his breath and hands over me and into my soul. He has known me before, in every way, and for many lifetimes, and loves me unconditionally.

For you see, my name is Joy.