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 societal rules 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 often took notes in my many journals about any classroom occurrence that I deemed unfair.
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 yelling. Although I had only spoken up for the wronged, the entire classroom took the freedom as an opportunity to act a fool.
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 but she assured me that she had surgery on her ‘voice box’. She then advised me to use my own voice for the greater good instead of jumping to everyone’s defense. Not every person or action can be excused.
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. When I woke up in the Uhaul the sight of Ohio made me nauseous. 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 a playmate? How was I supposed to walk to school if there are no sidewalks?
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. As a true individual I am still avoid cliques and group think.
Finding Myself Through Others
I became friends with everyone in some way. Due to this, I was often the match maker for boy-crazy friends. As diverse as their personalities were, they were all white. 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 nigger 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 kids or as my school referred to them, the poor-poor whites, brushed past me with her smelly posse.
These instances did not go unchecked. Mrs. Gravante would have been proud about my response, and even if she wouldn’t my mother surely was proud.
I knew who I was. A strong, intelligent, witty, comical, flirtatious, bootylicious, mature fifth grader. A black girl (not yet a woman). The total opposite of that parent and that student. A lesson they learned in those moments.
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-aggressions 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 through high school and made it to the University of Toledo. In an introductory law & social thought classroom, I smiled because I made it.
I was finally on my way to becoming a public defense attorney!
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 and political science as a minor to quench my thirst for comprehending our political system. 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. Two years in, 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 became a positive statistic. FREEDOM! J/K there’s barely any freedom in your early to late 20’s but, I was grown-grown.
People are inherently good. I believe everyone is born good. Unfortunately we all face challenges and obstacles that develop and shape our attitudes and outlook on the world. To protect my good-natured self, I created 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
Otherwise known as my good-natured self is used as a tagline. But, it isn’t a tag line exactly.
It is the description of my date and time of birth. As you read my writing you will read 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 and thoughts 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.