Somewhat Of A Gangsta. Somewhat Of A god.
Somewhat of a gangsta. Somewhat of a god. Which is how I replied, when asked who I was. And before you get you knickers in a bunch. Just roll with it for a minute.
There was a period of about 20 years, that I worked doing crisis work. Those years shaped my life forever. Late nights, over caffeinated, adrenaline pumping living in the moment. Doing things that most would never have to do. Acting as a poet, preacher, police officer or first responder, we wore many hats. Having to have the tough conversations, breaking the bad news, or simply calling someone out on their bullshit. Some days you swore you were hit by a truck. But the sun rose again, you grabbed your cape, and clocked into another shift. You were a bad ass, and felt like you were invincible.
I can remember that feeling. Smart enough to know I wasn’t, dumb enough to ignore it anyway. Because when the call came, people didn’t need someone who would hesitate. They needed someone who would get shit done. I know I felt it. And I certainly know my friends in the medical profession felt it. Some may compare it to the “placebo effect.” There is no evidence that you would get better, but you believe you would, so you did. I guess that is more of an accurate depiction of these feelings of being indestructible.
There were times that I would be called into a drug infested neighborhood, or sitting in prison across from a killer, or responding to a veteran who was trying to take his life. You just respond. You don’t react. And you definitely don’t think about it. You hesitate, someone gets hurt. Cops know this feeling. Knowing that I could not control the environment, I could only control how I reacted to it. That was the difference between going home at the end of a shift, or going to the hospital.
I don’t want to paint the picture that it was all adrenaline. There were many times where it was sitting in an office, doing obscene amounts of paperwork and smoking entirely too much. But you stay sharp by training and education. You surround yourself with people who can keep you in check. People you trust that can pull you back when you get a little too far out there. It didn’t happen often, but you knew you needed an anchor.
Those days represent some of the finest work that I have ever done. I’m sure many of you have felt the same way. Life got so bad or complicated, you didn’t know how you would get through, you just believed you would. As for me, I knew I was mortal. But in times when all seemed lost, I reminded myself that I am somewhat of a gangsta. And somewhat of a god. We knew we couldn’t save them all. We just acted like we could.