Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You???


Some of you may be surprised to know that I am taking a 9 week course in my town that is a Citizen Police Academy. No, this doesn’t mean I will walk around with a gun or even a taser when I’m done. But it is giving me a close up perspective on what the women and men do on my city police force.

The idea behind this Academy is to build community between the citizens and the police department. Of course, the folks who show up for the course aren’t necessarily the ones they need to preach to–we are their choir already. But we’re also tax payers and some of us are future police officers, and it’s a good show they put on.

They give us all the bells and whistles; or at least dogs and flash bombs. Every section of their department gives a presentation from the marine unit to the SWAT team to dog officers. We’re up close and personal with equipment, loud noises…and maybe not too close to the German Shepards.  Not only do they present the history of this department, but of how certain units came to be initially; like SWAT units started during the race riots in the 60’s.

Having been a paramedic I’m used to working near the police, so some of the stuff is familiar. But I admit, this is a medium city and this department has some pretty big advantages. This also means different types (and more) crime. In some ways being in the class gives me the willies knowing what goes on around me, like the gang violence for instance. Who knew they are high school kids? But in other ways in is comforting to know these people are quite dedicated to serve and protect in some extremely dangerous situations.

An interesting thing I have noted is how many women work in this department; the Chief is currently a woman and one Assistance Chief too. Even one of the SWAT members is and the program is incredibly rigorous. It’s also a very culturally ethnic department.

This department does other community events like Coffee with A Cop where they meet the public at none other than Dunkin’ Donuts just to have open dialogue. Not a bad idea in these troubling times.

We get to sign up for two ride-alongs with an officer on duty. I’m looking forward to that one. Hopefully I’ll get some action that night. Maybe we’ll catch some bad guys? It might bring me back to my ambulance days…sigh. One (silly) man asked if he could bring his gun that night if he had a concealed weapon license; the answer was a resounding NO. Really?!

Anyway, a lot of effort goes into this course, and I know it’s really a bunch of PR for them, but they do have a hard job. My cop friends would tell me over and over that all they saw was bad stuff and bad people. It got old for them and some were pretty bitter. Maybe this is a way for these guys to do something good for a change? And to get a good rap for once? It’s not an easy job by any means; trying uphold the law when there’s so much negative stuff in our world these days. I don’t envy them.

And some of these Officers do this stuff on a voluntary basis simply because they love what they do and are committed to it. There are certain teams (like SWAT) that are voluntary to be on call until you’re called.  That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. And yet they train constantly! These Officers were not folks I would want to meet up with at any time! Yikes.

So, I’m learning some interesting and new things. And trying to look with an open perspective. Even though there are some police that don’t exercise good judgement , I wonder what it would like without any of them?

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Sponges


In one of my karmic lives, I must have been a sea creature–specifically some sort of sponge-like aquatic marine form no doubt. There I was, a mulitcelluar organism filled with pores so the water could just flow through me. As the oceans currents would flow around me, whether turbulent or calm, I sucked up the salty stream going my way.

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Well, not quite an ocean stream…

Now, in this life time, it appears I continue to suck up most things that float nearby me. The energy that is around me, whether positive or negative, seems to sink into my pores like a sponge out of water. It absorbs into me, even if I am trying hard to deflect it with the best of my defenses: meditation, positive self talk, exercise and simply just being happy myself.

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This doesn’t absorb water, it explodes with it from build up pressure!

As long as I can recall, I’ve been chided for not have that tougher skin, that shield to bounce the bad ju-ju of others off me. Nope, I never could do it successfully for very long. In fact, many years ago I would actively try to save every soul until (finally) I learned this was a lost cause and slowly ruining my soul.

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My ruined soul??

But even working hard to create my own bubble–with my absorbent nature–stuff seeps in and I find myself struggling to stay afloat, focused, energized and positive myself. It’s often the chameleon effect. I try to stay upbeat, but it becomes slowly draining and the sponge, more and more full of water, can hold no more. Simply wrung out.

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Just blending in…..

When being in an environment that is consistently difficult, trying to stay afloat is like treading water to exhaustion. Nothing can float forever and eventually one dips below the surface and, well, disappears. One loses oneself no matter how hard you try.

This isn’t what I want. If I once lived below the ocean, while a beautiful and wondrous place I’m sure, I am now a creature of light. It’s where I belong and am meant to be. Some days I feel like it’s hard to be around others because of their energy…but maybe it’s because I just haven’t found my tribe yet.

Meanwhile, I rejuvenate when I’m alone, work hard not to absorb when around others and continue to keep my head above water following the sun while looking for my island.

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Ahhhh….peace….someday? Maybe?

Friends and Perspective


Happily I had a dear friend visiting this weekend with her daughter. Well, honestly, she’s really family to me as we’ve known each other for like 33 years or so and she was 11 when I first met her. She is my ex-sister in law, but more like a sister/daughter and surely a best friend. Her daughter is the age when she first came to live with me and my ex-husband.

It was many years ago and much has passed…for both of us. Divorces, children, jobs, moves, heartaches. Through it all, our love has remained strong. There were years where others tried to keep us apart, but we found each other through it all–and like all good friends, picked up without skipping a beat.

Our laughter together is the kind that comes with tears and a bellyache because it comes with things remembered. The ‘you had to be there’ stuff that others just look at us like we’re nuts. But we know how hysterical the stuff was because we lived it. I always said, she and her brother were the reason I was meant to be married to that husband. They saved me during those times. And she continues to save me.

Of course, we talk like old friends do. About everything. I can tell her everything that’s going on with me, and she me. Especially the hard stuff, and there’s been a lot for both of us, but especially for her. She’s made some particularly brave moves in the last year. But sometimes it’s hard for us to see for ourselves the amazing accomplishments we’ve done for ourselves. How we have disentangled ourselves from bad relationships, stood up for what is right, raised wise and wonderful children, held down steady jobs and simply survived despite pasts that didn’t give many role models. Sometimes we are so muddled down in the difficultly of the day-to-day and the pain of life that we forget just how far we have come.

But then we see an old friend and they say one thing and it puts it all into perspective for us. My friend said to me last night as we sat around a little campfire I made….”you seem so at peace now”. And I thought: why yes, I am. I knew I was moving in that direction, but her saying it made me know I am there. It gave it validity because as another friend of mine has said “she knows me AND she loves me”. She has seen me through so much, my un-peaceful times, my hardships, my discontent, my fear, my disillusionment. Over 33 years of it. So for her to say she sees me at peace…well that says a lot!

Now I am helping her to get there. Because that’s what friends do. She still has a way to go. There are still some demons standing in the way. But together we can battle her fear. And her little girl is so wise and strong too! We are warrior women. We circle together and give each other strength. Love, laughter and perspective is the gift we give each to one another. And there are no more precious things to give.