Brittney survived college, but she thrived at the police academy. Finally, she could see a direct connection between what she was doing and what she wanted to do.
She studied all the manuals. She started by memorizing every crime her father had ever committed and their codes, then she worked outwards from there.
She learned how to use a gun and imagined her father’s face on the paper target.
The only place she struggled was teamwork. She had never been good at it, but that had never bothered her until now. A police department had to work together, to depend on each other, but Brittney had never learned to call for backup because she had learned early on that none would ever come.
Now she was penalized for not calling for backup when she was overwhelmed. But Brittney had never learned to assess when she was overwhelmed, and learning to call for backup required learning a completely new behavior, a new approach to life and the problems it presented, and for a while Brittney wasn’t sure she could do it.
Then she remembered the rules. Everything existed within a set of rules and the police academy was no different. In fact, the police academy was the most rule-oriented environment she had ever inhabited. This should be a piece of cake.
But she had let herself slip. She had allowed herself to be lulled into a false sense of security by letting herself think this place was designed for her instead of designing herself for her surroundings.
So she did what she did best: she learned the rules. She learned when her teachers thought she was overwhelmed, what they thought her limits were, and when she found herself in those situations, she called for backup.
As with the role she had played with her father, it was important to separate her outward appearance from her true self. She didn’t have to hide how strong she was this time (she made sure everyone at the academy knew how strong she was), but she knew she also had to be careful not to internalize the limits others set for her. It was a delicate balancing act, but Brittney had grown up on that tightrope. It was her home.
So she called for backup when she knew they thought she should, but she also imagined other ways she could have gotten out of that situation on her own. She went through as many possibilities as she could think of, trying to anticipate every possible reaction from her adversaries and accounting for them in each of her solo scenarios.
To be continued…