Don’t mind the pic just yet, it will make sense in a few minutes after you read the post.
This has been something that I have pondered for several months now. In fact, I began mulling this over back in July but for some reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around it completely until just recently. So, here we go but realize that I am not talking about the belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny here.
There is no denying that policing has taken away any semblance of innocence from myself and has done the same to anyone else that chose policing as a career. I would go so far as to say that the lost innocence conversation would extend to military, and all first responders. And, it has happened with the full knowledge and consent of anyone agreeing to take on one of those careers. In other words, you go into it knowing that things are going to get ugly and you are willing to accept that.
But then you must ask yourself, when did this loss of innocence really take place? Is it the chosen career that did it or is there another point in time that you can pinpoint as the End of the Innocence? I have figured out that I can answer without a doubt that policing wasn’t the start of this loss for me but it sure as hell is where it has ended. Yes, a bit controversial to say although I can assure you that this isn’t something that I just proclaimed one day. This conclusion has been the culmination of months of processing and trying to figure out when it happened and how I know for sure that it ended.
As I moved through the processing of this question, I kept on returning to my second year of university. I had just started the next phase of my education in the Faculty of Social Work as a bright-eyed young adult who still held the belief that the world was mostly fair, particularly if you followed the rules, worked hard and did what was right. I had established a core group of friends, four to be exact, who have remained in my life to this point, some 20 years down the road and began in earnest, the forming of my personal views and opinions on life. Although most of those were adjusted as I entered the social service work force and then the policing universe, the basic foundations were laid.
This was also the time of living for the moment and more importantly, living for having fun. My friends became he most important people to me as I began to branch out from family. I worked part time to fund the life of a carefree young adult intent on having as much fun as possible without a lot of worry. But something else began to happen during this time. Some of the people who I thought were friends began to evolve away from me and me from them. I had to begin to focus on my course work and I entered the wonderful world of student placements aka free labour. Thus, began my education into a part of the world that I had only seen in the news, read in magazines and really had no desire to experience. But there it was, real world reality. Humanity at its worse. The ability to fain ignorance was beginning to dissolve, and I had no choice but to walk forward into it. The innocence of my youth was now beginning to become the reality of adulthood.
The deeper I dove into the world of social services, the deeper the loss of innocence went. I began to see the world in a very different light, but I also began to see that things are not all doom and gloom. There was this little thing called HOPE that could make a difference and stave off the decline into the loss. It was powerful and allowed for a person to get through without completely losing their innocence. And it was with that enthusiasm that I went into Depot – HOPE that my actions will make a difference along the way.
Truth be told, it wasn’t long after graduation from Depot that that hope was extinguished. Within my first three months of my policing career I began to see the world through the narrowed lens of good and bad or good and evil if you will. Sure, there were good moment but those were quickly taken over by the bad, by witnessing what evil humans will inflict on one another, sometime for no reason of substance i.e. for fun. In those three months, I dealt with a suicide, numerous knockdown, drag out fights to arrest suspects, risked my life to prevent someone from killing themselves and seen some extreme examples of what one person can and will do to another person. In the end, the results were too overpowering, and HOPE lost out. Any illusions of maintaining innocence was gone. It was the End of the Innocence for me.
Am I bitching about it? Nope, not in the least. It was a necessary evil that had to happen for me to survive the job. And, over the years, as I got involved with bigger and bigger investigations, the idea of innocence became more obscure and distant. Hope was hidden and this little thing called PTSD began to take hold with a slow dance of emotional espionage.
Funny thing though. My PTSD journey has taught me a valuable lesson. My innocence in life ended with my policing career but my hope is still there. It has evolved from hope into a faith, not based on religion but based on a belief that innocence is still present in my life. I can now see it and expeirence it in my son and also by looking for the good inherent within every living, breathing being. Mine might be gone but I can revel in the beauty of witnessing it live on in others. And when you see it again after being away from it for so long, it truly is a thing of beauty.
More Love, Less Judgement.
Ah, the picture. Almost forgot about it. The title of the blog post and the picture represents a song that had meaning to a dear friend of mine and myself as well. So, the first person that correctly names the Artist, the Song and the Album will win a prize (value is about $30.00). To make it fair, email all answers through the Contact me page on the Blog. Good luck