Let’s just start with me saying I’m absolutely surprised to have been asked to be a part of this project. There are so many strong, successful women on here, that I know that I haven’t achieved nearly as much. It’s not a contest, of course. I’m just saying I’m nothing magical. I’m an every day person. I’m not rich. I’m not well-known. I’m not even where I want to be yet career-wise. But I do have stories! Many, many wonderful, sad, joyful, funny, scary, frustrating, ridiculous stories. Let me share one with you.
There have been obstacles in my life. Many. You see, among many of the obstacles in my younger life, I was abused and neglected in my own home growing up. Without going into too much detail, I will just say it all boiled down to make me a self-hating mess.
Yet, I eventually realized the reason I was being abused as I was wasn’t due to any fault of my own, but of the weakness, cowardice, and childishness of my abuser. I realized this the day I snapped and fought back, knocking the beer that was about to be dumped on my head out of their hand. I knocked them to the ground, pinned them, and…found myself unable to cause any further harm. I saw their fear in that moment, and it froze me. I let them kick me to the ground, because I couldn’t have willed myself to let them go otherwise. As I watched them run away from me as I sat in the sand, with them cowardly yelling obscenities about me while doing so, I realized they were afraid. They desired to hurt me and knock me down because they were scared of me. What a forty-something year-old adult would have to fear in a sixteen year-old girl is still beyond me, but I realized then that I was stronger than they ever could be. I could have hurt them as they were drunk and pinned to the ground, but I didn’t. I never could. Imagining myself hurting them still is nothing I could ever dream of doing. Why? I don’t know exactly. All I know is that I fought and won, but I never called them names and I never swung a fist. I realized I didn’t have to. I may have still had to live under their roof for another two years — along with two more years of them hitting me, calling me names, stealing my belongings – but, in that moment, I had already escaped. I knew where the door was, and all I had to do was wait for it to be unlocked.
To me, a Wapsi Girl is a girl who fights, but does not seek to harm. She stands up tall and doesn’t step on anyone’s head to do so. She holds her head up high and doesn’t need to put someone down in order to feel pride in herself.
My escape has been and always will be my stories. I write stories about people who could have and have slipped through the cracks. I write them with the hope that one day I can share them and help those who may fall through life’s cracks and find their way out. Or maybe even just help other people identify those who need help, and give them the resources to help those who need it.