Monday, March 17, 2014

The Text is Saturated

The original plan was to wait until I had work before joining J up in Sydney, but, well. I really like him. And it's been three months. And fuck that noise.

This whole expedition has not been as organised as anyone would have liked. Winging it. It has been completely wung. To the point where I didn't know how much notice I had to give work, checked the HR policy and discovered that if I wanted to be in Sydney by the end of the month I'd have to give my notice that very day. Big step like that, I like to be psychologically prepared. I wasn't. It was a rather wide-eyed day.

Post like this should be about beginnings. About everything I'm looking forward to, and anticipating, and the new shape my future seems to be taking on. But, there's that word. "Should."

I've worked for the Victoria Police for over eight years. Although I've changed roles and positions, I have always worked with the crime reports themselves. I read the narratives of what happened, I read the dossiers of people in regular contact with police, I read detailed statements, I read charge summaries, I listen to 000 calls, I watch interviews, I look at photos of crime scenes and photos of injuries.

Every day.

I remember, all the way back in 2005, when I first started, how incredibly confronting this was. A deluge of trauma, fear, hurt and pain. All of it laid out in objective, unbiased terms. Date, time and location. Realising how easy it is to enter a home. Processing my first rape report. My first child incest report.

This was, is, paper. It's just information. No contact with the persons involved, not even the police members.

That wasn't distance enough. I'm a reader and a writer. A life time of training has my mind honed to extrapolate the lasting impact of every crime, and I couldn't stop it getting under my skin. You can't, I couldn't, pretend it was fiction. Empathy can be a right arsehole at times.

But a job is a job. I got used to it. There were always reports that would sink into me, sit in my gut like churlish poison, but when years go by it all becomes familiar furniture. I learned how to turn the volume down.

Last night, talking with mum about I don't remember what and I don't remember how it came around, but she said she'd never understood how I could tolerate the work I did. Sometimes I can't, I said. Sometimes the anger that is simmering rises up and I'm furious, unable to speak from the fury.

Maybe it's a good thing you're resigning, she said.

And that sunk into me to sit with the anger.

This morning I read an interview transcript that made me sick. Then I read a collection of statements that forced to get up, walk away, lock myself in a toilet cubicle and do nothing for a while. The subconscious knows it doesn't have to be resilient to this siege of trauma anymore, and the walls have come down.

Sitting here in my last week working for VicPol, my growing impatience and refusal to compromise on social justice issues, on issues of sexism, gender discrimination, homophobia, racism, misogyny, ableism, classism, all the fucking know I've never been quite sure where that comes from. A lot comes from my own experience, being as I tick various oppression boxes, but I've never...I'm not...these personal things don't feel as though they're equal in balance to the anger.

When I think about all that I've read over the course of 8 years I understand where the anger comes from.

And it's time to leave.

Maybe, after this, I'll have the space in my heart to

I don't even know how to finish that sentence.


  1. thingamabobby17/3/14 09:22

    This hits home a little more than I was expecting - more the idea that you keep it down and bury it all. All in the name of a job. The horrors and sadness that is shielded from society, we/you/select others have to take upon our shoulders on a (kinda) daily basis. Then you sometimes take that home, because you can't escape it all the time.

    I'm yet to have that moment where I know I no longer have to keep it in, but I'm not looking forward to the feelings that will go along with it.

    Highfives to you, m'dear. Highfives all round.

  2. It changes us. It can't not. Got a bit of a hunch that the next couple of months might involve an emotional leaking, like lancing a boil. Argh.

    You hold on, crazy bird lady. And when you've had enough, gtfo.

  3. So, job in Sydney police then? Seriously (for a change), well done you. Good luck job hunting in Sydney. It might prove easier once you're actually living there. All the best. Alan

  4. Anonymous21/3/14 05:07

    pickI have an inkling of what you've experienced over the past 8 years. Some of the histories of patients I saw in ED still haunt me.

    Here's to finding a new job that suits you much better.

    I'm in Sydney now, so we should definitely catch up!

    Alison C.