At the peak of its time, The #WCW Project saw me travelling to Canberra to meet my idol (future wife) Michelle Heyman. I was invited to a Canberra United game down at McKellar Park as a special guest by the legendary Heather Reid. She had emailed me a few nights before the game saying how fabulous she thought my article on Michelle was, and then continued to sing my praises making me blush while I was standing on the platform of Hornsby station at ten to six in the morning as I waited for my train.
From there, The #WCW Project just took off. I met Celeste Barber, I interviewed some of my favourite authors and then, completely unexpectedly, my blog got picked up by SBS Zela. Though, unfortunately, that wing of SBS is no longer funded, I was able to say to my friends and family, “My name is Leah Cwikel and I am a writer for SBS.” I had achieved a dream, well and truly. From there, I interviewed Lydia Lassila and Lydia Williams, and Alice Ivy.
And then life got in the way and I moved house and went through a break-up and changed jobs and everything slipped away. In a moment of fuck this, I also deleted my entire website. And then I cried. And drank all the wine. Or was it gin? Who knows. Basically, The #WCW Project and everything I had worked so hard for came to an abrupt and untimely end.
But now, phwoar. Now? The #WCW Project is back, baby! (Please read in George Costanza’s voice, inflections and all.)
Years ago, when I first started this project, it gave me the most solid, unshakeable sense of purpose and pride. Always a writer, I have never felt that my words had a purpose until The #WCW Project. It felt like, “Yes, yes this is what I was meant to do.” And it still does feel that way, possibly even more so now that I have had a break(down). I once again feel that incredibly powerful tug of knowing one’s purpose. Every waking moment I find myself wondering who else I can get in contact with, who I can celebrate, and what I can eat – I am still me, after all. I have a running list across three separate notebooks with ideas, and women’s names and people’s contact details and every time I add another glorious woman’s name to the list, I smile a huge, crooked, dorky smile.
This week I was catapulted right back into the feels when I posted and celebrated the very first #WCW of 2018, MY QUEEN, Shari “Soul Sister” Nementzik (who, coincidentally, I am having a sleepover with tonight – complete with champagne, chicken tikka masala, and naked pillow fights, obviously). Celebrating her, honouring her, writing about her, reading the comments as they were posted, receiving messages from my friends who all want to meet Shari, completely and utterly made my week. Then, two more women who I approached to be #WCWs – and who both said YES - emailed me their correspondence for inclusion in the coming weeks. As I read each of their answers, I cried. Just as I did when I read Shari’s, I was reminded once more why I love The #WCW Project. Every single week, when I am reading the words of my peers and of women I look up to, and some who I never thought I would have the privilege of communicating with, I am astounded with their wisdom, their humility and their intelligence. I learn something new and profound as I read each woman’s words and as I write each new piece. I feel honoured to not only learn from these women, but also so very lucky to be able to share it with the public.
I can see how big this project has the potential to be – I really can – and it isn’t often that I can see a dream of mine eventuating. But I can, and in everything I do, it is with the vision of The #WCW Project and all I see it being. I see a huge event with long tables of food – mainly pizza and antipasto. I see glasses of champagne and cocktails and all the whiskey and hand-lettered banners and really fucking cool packages and presents for the attendees. I can already hear the speakers; the women who will grace the stage (probably not a stage, more like a level area with a microphone stand) and share their stories and achievements and ideas and hopes with us. I can hear the constant hum of conversation as people get to know one another, the laughter and smiles and handshakes as partners and friends and families are introduced to one another.
I can also see me being totally emotional. But I guess, with me, with this, it would be a given.
I don’t know how it is all going to play out – I don’t know how long it is going to take me, who I am going to meet on the way, how many glasses (bottles) of whiskey (and wine) it is going to take me (and Man) to get this project to where I truly think it can go, all I know is that with every woman that says YES to being celebrated and loved and honoured, we are all one step closer towards it. And with every woman that says YES every week, we are already doing our little bit to shed a light on the ferocity, beauty and downright fucking magic of women.