I believe in new choices. No one can argue that life is all about choices. Sometimes those choices we make are the wrong ones. Through time we realize those mistakes and if we are lucky, and not too stubborn, we find the power to change. While no one seeks to make wrong choices, somehow I always thought I was different, smarter. I wasn’t. My police uniform defined me to the extent that it buried my own unique identity. The badge on my chest was my voice. The gun on my hip represented my passion for justice.
Decisions I made during the early years of my adulthood led me down a road of self-destruction. These choices destroyed my dream. It took seven years of wanting to be a police officer to actually achieve the honor, and only four months for my dreams to shatter. Poor decisions included an abusive boyfriend and later an unwanted pregnancy. I could not take care of myself, and when I became pregnant, I faced my fears of motherhood, especially with the father, whom I feared more. I did not reach out to anyone for help. Ultimately, I became so depressed that I looked down the business end of my duty weapon. I still shiver at the anger, knowing I would never pull the trigger. The only smart choice here was my resignation. There are no words to describe the feeling of un-holstering your gun and feeling that weight lift from your belt. Nor is there any expression to illustrate how cold my badge was when I unpinned it from my chest. Without my badge and gun, I was completely lost and had no purpose. The tears came then and they still come now, just not as often.
Eventually, I faced my mistakes head on by telling my boyfriend about our pregnancy; he walked out. I soon miscarried, which was a blessing in disguise. Then came the unthinkable: the move back in with my parents. I crawled and stumbled a bit but was walking again in a couple of years. I focused on making better choices and rediscovered myself and took advantage of new possibilities: dating, returning to school to finish my degree, and living on my own again. Soon began the process of becoming an officer again. Unfortunately, I faced a lot of department rejections, but on October 31, 2009, I took my new oath. As I once again recognized my reflection in the mirror, I vowed to remember the person underneath the badge and gun. After work, the uniform would come off, in more ways than one. Now I’m in a healthy relationship, and enjoy life with my renewed sense of determination.