The essence of feeling and imagination
I was in the first grade when I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer or a writer. My fascination with systems and trying to understand why certain rules were in place was considered weird. I often spoke up for the bullied and played defense attorney when a teacher would attempt to punish one of my peers. I took notes in my many journals about any classroom occurrence that I deemed unfair. I had the ability to communicate with my peers and adults fluidly.
The day I recognized my own power, it was too late.
My peers were out of control and Mrs. Gravante (gruh-von-tay) lost her voice from having to yell so often. Although I had only spoken up for the wronged, the entire classroom took the freedom as an opportunity to act a fool.
I stood in front of my peers and got them to settle down, once and for the remainder of the year.
The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly.Oscar Wilde
I recall crying in the girls room because I felt guilty for the loss of her voice. During teacher-student counsel she assured me that she had surgery on her ‘voice box’. She then advised me to use my own voice for the greater good.
That was my defining moment. That is who I am. This is who I have grown to become.
My Name Is, Star Candelaria And My Background Is All Over The Place. Literally.
I’m from a small-ish township in New Jersey called Willingboro, and I lived at 24 Triangle Lane. I learned who I was and what I wanted to do with my life while attending Twin Hills Elementary. I transferred to Joseph A. McGinley for two years and then to Mildred McGowan for my final year in New Jersey.
In my early years, I lived and attended Pre-K in Philadelphia. My cousin will tell you that I got him in trouble by the red brick wall, often, and he isn’t lying. Love you Taiv! #HeavilyHumbled You should also know that I firmly believed that spinach made you stronger and I topped it off with ketchup. Because, #KetchupOnEverything!
In 2003, my mother and I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. No matter how many times I’d sung the states and the capitols song, I couldn’t remember where Ohio was on the map. I noticed that when we arrived, there were no sidewalks, no schools inside of the neighborhoods, no Arabs, no Turkish folks, no Puertorriquenos and no Brown people. Where were all of my brothers and sisters? Was I ever going to find another Turkish friend to play with? How was I supposed to walk to school if there are no sidewalks? I needed diversity and I wanted to be outside all of the time.
I attended J.F. Burns Elementary and was welcomed by the students and staff. It was like they got a new barbie doll. A student from another state and I was black, I might as well have had five arms and spoke seven languages. In school I was looking for color everywhere! There was not a single one to connect with. I did find two good friends from two different cliques, Kristin Balzer and Taylor Hosey. I am still the type of person who avoids cliques and group think.
Finding Myself Through Others
Having the handy-dandy knowledge of my power, I became friends with everyone in some way. I pretty much flirted my way into male friendships and played match-maker with my friends. There were many instances that I had to mediate the arguments between Kristin and her boyfriend Nicholas Hayden. On the other hand, I’d play tag and tether-ball with Taylor and the gang.
It wasn’t until fifth grade, when all of the fourth graders from the three elementary schools merged, that I saw another black student. It was during this time that I was exposed to racism.
I was called a n* by one of the parents after our D.A.R.E. program graduation ceremony. It happened again in the hallway when one of the South Lebanon trailer bugs or as my school referred to them, the poor-poor whites, brushed past me with her smelly posse. I laughed.
I knew who I was, a strong, intelligent, witty, comical, flirtatious, bootylicious, mature fifth grader. A black girl. The total opposite of what she was.
It was rare that I encountered overt racism because I can be intimidating. However, there were plenty of instances where I had to address racist micro-aggression and covert racism. Thankfully I had a powerful voice and a well trained/educated mind to back it up. Although sometimes I got a little stereotypical…
I subconsciously smacked my best friend before our lacrosse practice when she jokingly stated ‘what’s up my nigga’. (yes we are still best friends)
When I’d act out of character my mom would remind me that I was either going to college or going to get pregnant. So I pushed myself and then made it to the University of Toledo. In an introductory law & social thought classroom, I smiled because I made it.
Just as quickly as I signed Pre-Law as my concentration, I deleted it from my agenda. I passed the class, but there was no personal thought involved. How was I supposed to make changes if I had to abide by the book? Precedent. Precedent. Precedent? I was saddened that my life long plan of becoming a lawyer was not going to happen.
I cried and then got back to work.
I kept English as my major but I wanted to be active in some way. So, I chose political science as a minor and quenched my thirst for understanding systems. What better system to study than that of our own Government and its relations with other nations, how it treats its women and people of color? It was awful, but extremely engaging. I didn’t feel challenged and I was getting lazy (which happens to many young black women). So I transferred to the University of Cincinnati.
There, I seldom missed a class.
There was always a debate. I was always the black voice. I was also the only female voice in some courses. In addition, there were no black students in ANY of my core English courses. The isolation had me crying often but I never quit.
I obtained my English degree after five long years (one semester doesn’t count because I was a pothead and another semester I had a meltdown) and minor certificate in Political Science. I had officially beat all odds and become a positive statistic. FREEDOM! J/K there’s barely any freedom in your early to late 20’s but, I was grown-grown.
After having been through some obstacles and been challenged by some overt racism and criticism. I developed an alternative personality.
Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one personF. Scott Fitzgerald
The Essence Of Feeling And Imagination
This tag line isn’t a tag line exactly. It is actually the description of my date and time of birth. As you read my writing you will walk into different realms, you will feel like you are a part of the story whether you are the antagonist or the protagonist. You will desire to read more and you will want to attempt at expressing your own emotions in a healthier way. My words may make you cry, they may make you laugh, they may provoke your thoughts and they may reintroduce you to your imagination.
Whatever my words do for you, don’t be too shy to share your feedback with me! I’m Star Candelaria and it is a pleasure to have you here.