What is a Wapsi girl?
Ideas often come quickly to me– brain lightning, a flash and then they’re gone. I’m left trying to put the pieces together from the after-images, which are never entirely perfect. Wapsi Girls thrive in the imperfections of the moment. It’s where you’ll see them shine. Even when their inner demons are on parade and feeling frisky, as Monica’s so often are, or when their insecurities make them hide, as Katherine often does, they find a way to transcend their own discomfort and rise to the occasion.
Wapsi Girls recognize that there is power in a tub of warm bath water, that the local watering hole serves something far more valuable than a well tapped beer, and that a girl can still find joy in being a girl even when she’s under a hood, smeared with motor oil, or pumping iron. What I love about Paul’s women is that they are always struggling to be themselves, even when they don’t always know who they are. Despite being in fantastic circumstances, they are very warm, real, and relatable. Reading Wapsi Square is a gift I give to myself every weekday. I view it as an injection of inspiration, and I’d probably get withdrawals without it!
The Wapsi Girl Project is like rich, creamy icing on a delicious, perfectly baked cake. The cake was great without it, but it’s even better now. Getting to read what real women have to say about their lives, their passions, and their challenges is strong motivation for making some positive changes in my life. I can be a lot like Shelly, head up butt and running forward full tilt, mowing over anything and anyone that happens to be standing in my way. I’m working on that, trying to remember that unbridled passion and enthusiasm can be destructive when not tempered with compassion and empathy.
For a long time, I’ve said that I don’t trust women. Most of my closest friends in my life have been men. As much as I love my male friends, I came to realize just how imbalanced and backwards that is. I started thinking, “I am a woman. How can I not trust women, unless part of the problem is that I don’t trust myself? Aha!” That moment of epiphany opened a door I didn’t even know was there. Uncharacteristically, I stepped through.
Now I’m in new territory with a strange new guide. Fear came forward, one of my most strident and powerful inner demons, and beckoned me to follow. Running away had gotten so utterly exhausting that I did it. I got a new job, started socializing with my female co-workers, and took on an area of my department at the university that had been so neglected there was literally dust on all the books and the files.
A position I was told would be dead end is being upgraded to a higher pay scale and more responsibility, and I’m being asked to do things I never would have thought I had it in me to do. I’m meeting my deadlines, going beyond the requirements, and at this point, I honestly don’t know where or what the limit will be.
Fear is there, but she’s not telling me I can’t, or I shouldn’t, or that I’m not good enough. She’s telling me I can. I should. I’m better than I think, and THAT is terrifying. It’s also exhilarating, liberating, and energizing. These days I find myself thinking about eaglets shoved out of the nest by their parents, that first terrifying moment of wind rushing into their faces, the ground rising to meet them at an alarming speed, and then, the frenzied flapping, the wind catching beneath their flight feathers, and the realization that flying is what they were born to do. Never again will they be content to squat in a nest and wait for someone else to bring them what they need to survive. Now they’ll live, and even if it’s a short life, it’s the best life possible for them. These days I’m an eagle, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.