I remember sitting on my mum’s bed, struggling to keep the pen firmly between my small fingers and hand-write my name on the top of a scrapbook that was to serve as a yearly update on my growth. Each page had a space for that years headshot, my current height, weight, shoe-size, current best friend, what classes I loved/hated and what job I wanted to be as an adult.
Every year since the age of five, I had written in “police officer” as my dream job. My place in this world was to serve and protect, and I knew that before I had even entered into kindergarten.
My senior year of high school, I had enrolled in the Calgary Police Academy and was getting started on my career. I knew the day I turned 18, I was going to drive down to the city’s headquarters and hand-deliver my long awaited application.
It took me months prior to compile my application. I needed record of every home I had ever lived in, every job, class, family member, wrong-doing and why I thought I would be a great fit for the force.
I was a fearless 6″ tall athletic woman, who had a spunky but compassionate attitude. I had completed several classes that would aid in law enforcement. I had even gone to college and obtained my Emergency Medical Responder certification. I trained in martial arts. And most importantly, I wanted to serve and protect my fellow people. I would be the perfect fit.
Less than a month before I was set to apply, I was in an accident that involved my best friend. I watched as her head blew open, and I was ultimately responsible for saving her life. No one else there had gone through intense medical training, and the responsibility of holding her skull together was, literally, in my hands.
This experience knocked my self-confidence down a notch and I realized that I wasn’t mature enough to be wielding a gun. I was incapable of coherently making life-or-death decisions, so on my long awaited 18th birthday, I stayed home and never delivered that application.
It’s been about five years and I still can’t shake the image of myself in uniform. I feel an overwhelming sensation of pride and camaraderie every time I meet an officer, yet I am just a civilian.
I had never considered any other career options. The only thing I had ever thought about being was a police officer, which leaves me feeling like I am running in circles, trying to find “the thing” I was supposed to be.