Thankful For What’s Next

“Okay then Big Ari!” I said as I bopped my head to and fro. My puff bounced as a mass and the beat thumped through my car.

After the first listen I turned the radio off and pulled up the lyrics. As I read them I was taken aback. So we thanking our exes now are we?

Oh Hell nah!

Thank them for what? Learning a lesson? Causing tears to pour from the inner depths our souls? Being the cause of trust issues?

How could you learn from them when they weren’t the teacher?

I am a firm believer that our lives are in the hands of an omnipresent being that has already written a will for what must occur for our growth. It doesn’t matter who is sent to deliver the message but where the message is coming from.

The message didn’t originate from your ex and you do not have to thank them for anything. Whatever you experienced occurred because it was meant to shape you. The same lesson would have come at any given moment from any given person but only by the will of one being. In addition, if you didn’t learn what you were supposed to, that being will send another in a different form.

I’ll be damned if I give thanks to an ex as if he knew his mistreatment would mold me. Hear me out, no ex deserves credit for any of your greatness. TUH!

The lessons you were taught in spite of the aforementioned came from your creator. Say thank you to what you believe in, now what’s next?

Star (Estrella) Candelaria

The essence of feeling and imagination

I was in grade school when I decided that I wanted to be a defense attorney or a writer.

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly.

Oscar Wilde

Throughout the years I excelled in reading, challenged myself in language arts and read the dictionary to expand my vocabulary. I eventually chose my elective courses with my goals in the back of my mind. Each class birthed a new skill or aided in the growth of another.

Those were a few of my defining moments that created who I am today.

My Name Is Star Candelaria And My Background Is All Over The Place. Literally.

I’m from Willingboro, New Jersey. It’s a small-ish township in South Jersey, that’s 30minutes from Philadelphia and an hour away from Atlantic City. Growing up, I had different nicknames: Punkin, Sweet Pea, Sherman in a skirt, fatty-head daddy-head. My favorite great uncle and aunt nicknamed me Star and that’s the one that’s stuck with me forever.

I learned who I was and what I wanted to do with my life while attending Twin Hills Elementary, or at least that’s what I’ve found out. I transferred to Joseph A. McGinley for two years and then to Mildred McGowan for my final year in New Jersey.

In 2003, my mother and I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.

When I woke up in the Uhaul the sight of the area 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? Where was the school?

While I never found the types of people I was accustomed to, I was enrolled in school. J.F. Burns Elementary staff and students welcomed me like I was brand new barbie. It was almost as if I had five arms and spoke seven languages.

In school I was looking for color everywhere! There was not a single person to connect with, without having to befriend a gang of people. However, I did find two good friends from two different cliques, Kristin Balzer and Taylor Hosey.

Finding Myself Through Others 

I became friends with almost everyone in some way. Due to this, I was exposed to a variety of backgrounds and mindsets. As diverse as their personalities were, all of my friends were white. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there was always an important disconnect.

It wasn’t until fifth grade, when all of the fourth graders from the three elementary schools merged, that I saw another black student. We didn’t become friends immediately and I was also in a new space with another type of white person.

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 clique.

I laughed. Mostly because I wasn’t allowed to throw hands, there’s nothing I feared more than my mom’s wrath.

Still, these instances did not go unchecked. Instead of using my hands, I used my words and in the end I was punished anyway.

It didn’t matter then, because I knew I was in the right. I knew that I shouldn’t sit and allow someone to shit on me. I was a strong, intelligent, quick witted, black and sassy fifth grader. Thanks to them, I never allowed that to slip into the back of my mind.

Developing Awareness

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, sexism and covert racism. Thankfully I had a powerful voice and the mind to back it up. I also, never gave out any ‘black cards’ or passes…

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, forgetting my goals, 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 finally did it. I’M HERE! Through the moves, the tears, the bullshit, the growing pains, the setbacks, and everything else. I made it.

I was finally on my way to becoming a 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. After years of seeing how the world works, the disadvantages and other obstacles holding folks back I wanted to be apart of the change.

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 the way that I wanted it to.

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?

I read five to seven books per week, plus papers, general studying, reading for other courses, busy work/homework and had lacrosse. My first few years of college went exactly as expected. I was the only one of my friends who kept an early schedule instead of having classes mid day, so I spent a lot of my time alone. In my alone time, I over analyze. This is when I noticed that my professors in different departments were sharing plans. My quizzes, and exams were all too similar. The wording would differ but it’d be the same questions from one class to another.

I didn’t feel challenged and I was getting lazy. Barely showing up for class, and still passing. Two years in, I transferred to the University of Cincinnati.

There, I was working full time and commuting so 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 course debates or discussions. Again, there were no black students in ANY of my core English courses. So I went out of my way to have a discussion with the Dean about how the school should add any type of African American literature to the core coursework. That conversation went nowhere, and he basically told me that if they wanted to study it they would choose from the many electives offered. I’d grown used to the isolation but I still cried about it. 

Well, if it wouldn’t be studied in school then how could I expose my peers to the black experience? Just showing up wasn’t going to be enough. Eventually I figured something out.

I obtained my English degree and a minor certificate in Political Science on April 30th Spring 2016. But, I was still working in the Public Health field.

My work left me no time to work on my hobbies but I found a way to get more work done. Hydration and sleep deprivation. I began blogging and from there I reached out to entrepreneurs and other companies to build my portfolio. The portfolio I created in undergrad was full of work that would only get me into an MFA program. Since I wanted to be freelance I had to get to build anew.

It was all so much fun!

To expand my portfolio I had to network. After practically working in isolation for so long, I didn’t know how to do that. Unless you were a youth a needed to recruit for one of my programs. That was also easy because I only had to be corny and engaging.

I stepped out into the city of Cincinnati’s young professional atmosphere. There were a handful of orgs and networking events to participate in. While I was all about work and only making time for loved ones, I got a taste of the happy hour lifestyle.

It was the out of office networking that led me to meet new people. I didn’t have to acknowledge everyone, no, but it made the room smaller. It made me comfortable, seeing as I was always on alert.

Because, unfortunately, all people aren’t good people. Being of age, doesn’t make someone an adult.

Music: GROWN WOMAN by Beyonce


People are inherently good.

I believe everyone is born good, but we all face challenges that make it difficult to choose good over evil in every instance.

Due to those challenges that shape our attitudes about the world, we make mistakes.

We are also entitled to those mistakes, however, we must hold ourselves accountable when they are made.

I’ve been both offended by others and have also offended others. I avoid victimhood but, for the victimizers, there is Lex Leshay.

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 person

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Essence Of Feeling And Imagination

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’s the description of my birthdate and time of birth. Totally perfect for my writing prose, poetry, short stories and the like.

As you read this blog, you’ll enter into different times, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the story whether you’re the antagonist or the protagonist. You’ll desire to read more and you’ll want to attempt at expressing your own emotions and thoughts in a healthier way.

The words shared may make you cry, they may make you laugh, they may provoke your thoughts and they may reintroduce you to your imagination. Whatever these words do for you, don’t be too shy to share your feedback with me!

I’m Estrella Candelaria and it is a pleasure to have you here

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That’s Black Face, And You’re Weird For Doing It.

Pop culture has re-centralized its focus on black women and this time, it has gone too far.

What the hell is this and why aren’t we charging for it??

Screenshot from IG


White women are literally imitating black women in every way.

From the lips, to the eyes, to hair, to the hips, to the thighs, to the butt, to the breasts, to the style and even our dialect.

Now only if they could imitate how to season food…


These frauds have deleted certain photos from their social media accounts to avoid further criticism, i’m sure, but why do it in the first place? I honestly want to know what made them wake up in the morning offer their skin to the tanning bed, purchase weaves or texturizes, and even go as far as to get injections.

Could it be that black women are the prototype for all women?


I say let’s give them a pass (ya’ll did let Kim K pass). It is said that the best form of flattery is imitation. While this is uber creepy, I can’t blame plain jane and boring betty for craving some of the attention that beautiful melanin enriched women have received. We make waves. Accomplish goals. Raise the bar. Fall and stand up tall:

Black women own about 2.4million of the businesses and are THE ONLY racial OR ethnic group with more business ownerships than male counterparts.


Black women are the most educated group in the United States.

Black women created hairstyling and hair products.

Black women fight (figuratively- with those votes and literally- with these hands)

Black women aren’t afraid to break molds and bust down doors because,

Black women created life (periodT)

So in essence, black women created these frauds. Rather than bash them into oblivion, we should create an account. Every creator knows it costs more to model after the prototype. Let’s add to the amount of black female owned businesses with this wave.


>>>>>>>Calling all frauds!<<<<<<<

For just FOUR* monthly payments of $99.99 YOU CAN PASS AS BLACK!!!

You still can’t say the n word. Ever. All you have to do is pay your fees to your local black owned business. If you are not located near one, simply hop in your car and drive to one. If you are SO far out that you cannot drive to a black owned business you are automatically ineligible for this program.


Prices will double on Black Friday.


*There are five payments in March.

Prices are subject to change. Prices may vary depending on how problematic you are. Prices may vary depending on how problematic you may become. Prices may vary, just because. 



245(a)(1)- Fallon Diego

The last thing I can remember is my boyfriend nodding his head yes. I couldn’t admit this to the detective though. My lawyer told me not to say anything until she arrived.

~      ~

      “Babe stop, I have to go to work.”


“But do you see him right now? This is all for you. All you have to do is lay right there.” Jeremiah urged as he thrusted towards me.


I jumped up,  ran to the bathroom and locked the door so I could get dressed in peace.


“Remember that you started this Fallon and it’s going to get settled today.” he yelled from the other side.


Once I was ready, I made my way into the kitchen.


“So this is what she looks like four years later?”


“I didn’t take that long, sheesh.”


“Oh, okay. That’s how you feel?”


I bent down to hug him, “I’m just kidding, Happy Anniversary msn of the year.”


“You mean man of your life.”


Before he could get me in a headlock, I ducked. “I’ll see you later my love!”


I grabbed a bagel on the way out the door. Downstairs the driver helped me into the car. I slid into the back seat to the other side. The ten minute drive to my boss’s apartment building wasn’t enough for me to finish my bagel so I tossed it out the window when the car stopped.


“Good morning Fallon.” she greeted as she slid in beside me smelling like a freshly shampooed dog.


“Good morning Rebecca. I have your schedule here.” I said as I handed her the folder from my purse. “Today is a busy day for you but I made space for lunch with Todd.”


“Perfect. It has been awhile since I had an uninterrupted lunch hour.” she said as she reviewed the documents. “I won’t need you until the on o’clock conference meeting. Be sure to take better notes this time too, I had a tough time understanding your shorthand.”


The car stopped and she hopped out for her first meeting of the day as the driver took me straight to the office. Inside I was greeted by the security guard as I made my way toward the elevator. Our office was on the ninth floor, which was serviced by only one of the five elevator currently in use. I waited. My phone buzzed.


Hey babe, did you forget something?

Jeremiah I didn’t have time this morning remember…

Not that. You forgot your lunch!

Dammit. I guess I’ll have to– another text came  through before I could finish

Miss forgetful I’ll be by to drop it off. What time is your break?

Around noon, so 11:45?

See you then.

Thank you my love, you’re the best!

Man of the year. Man of your life. I title I wear proudly, but it doesn’t pay. I’ll add this to your tab of favors

Wow, petty.



The elevator smelled like fresh ass. A fart lingered as I held my breath praying that I’d make it to my floor without passing out.


I entered the office gasping for air. Shirley didn’t even speak, too busy reviewing the voice after-hours voice messages. Likewise, I went into my office and began sorting through the endless e-mails.


Time flew by and surprisingly no calls from Rebecca. On the rare occurrence that I finished work before lunch, I would walk a few blocks over to my favorite restaurant for a well-made Caesar salad and herb salmon.


I called Jeremiah.


“Hello my love, how about we go to lunch today?”


“Too late.” he said through the receiver as he barged into my office.


“Wow you don’t play around with time do you?”


“It is our anniversary.” he planted a juicy kiss on my forehead.


“This isn’t my meal prep ha ha.” he surprised me with my favorites. We sat on the floor as I cut into the salmon and sprinkled it on my salad.


“Your secretary didn’t even see me come in. She needs to get on her p’s and q’s.”


“Yea she seems to be distracted today, I’m going to check on her later. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”


“Where’s Becky?”


“L O L you know if she heard you say that she’d probably fire me.” I giggled. “She is out until our next meeting. I’m hoping they cancel it and she just doesn’t come into the office at all. You know she threw shade this morning, talking about she can’t understand my shorthand.”


“What’d you write?”


“I’m assuming she’s referring to my usage of Nat’l instead of national and i.e. instead of example. She knows what it mean, she is just being a biah. She needs to get laid. Hopefully today’s lunch datewith Todd will set her right.” I spoke in between bites.


“Hm. Speaking of, it’s time I cash in this favor.”


“What?” I said through the fork hanging from my mouth. He stood and pulled me too. “Where are we going?”


He led me into the door with the male silhouette hanging from it.


“Ohmygah. Jeremiah, I–” he kissed my spot and my legs flew open. I dropped the fork on the floor. As I unraveled, he stripped me from my pantsuit. Naked we danced around the bathroom trying to be as quiet as we possibly could. We pressed up against the light switch and it clicked off.


We found our way into the only stall, he sat down and I sat on him. He was so deep I almost peed.


The door opened and the light came on. I shrieked.


The sound of heels clicking on the floor quickly approaching the stall made my heart beat quick.


“This is what you do when I’m out of the office Fallon?”


“Rebecca, no. I’m. Oh my gosh.” I said as I hid our naked bodies behind the door. I felt like a teenager all over again, except this time I wouldn’t be grounded. I’d be fired.


“No. Don’t hide.” She said calmly.


“What?” I was confused.


“Don’t hide him, I mean.” Rebecca said as she took her blazer off and threw it over the door.


“I’m not, he’s going to leave. Can we talk about this? Am I going to lose my job here?”


“We don’t have to talk about it.” She responded coyly. “You have two options. One– you get dressed and pack your office up. Two– you come from out of that stall and let me in so he can sip on this fine wine.”


“So that he can do what?” I cocked my head to the side.


“She wants me to eat her–” Jeremiah looked up at me.


“What’s it going to be Fallon?”


“Jeremiah, please get dressed. We are leaving.” I said as I grabbed my clothes. She had me fucked up.


Rebecca slid to the side, still looking into the stall. I peeked my head back in to see Jeremiah still sitting there.


“Babe, do you really want to lose your job? We can’t afford our apartment and lifestyle with just one income.” He questioned me, still sitting there.


“Jeremiah, get up. I’m not playing with you and I won’t repeat myself again.”


“He made a great point and it’s just head.” Rebecca said as I reached down for my blouse.


“Is the offer still on the table?” Jeremiah questioned.


“It’s actually under this skirt.” Rebecca replied. “Are you saying yes?”


Jeremiah nodded his head in the affirmative.


The world went black and when I came to I was in handcuffs.


There was blood on the floor and in between my toes. I had to wait until the stretchers were in the ambulance before they moved me. Shirley was speaking with one of the officers and shaking her head in disbelief as the other officer read me my rights and escorted me out.

~      ~


“Okay Miss Diego, you’re the only one that isn’t in the hospital. This doesn’t look good for you. You still have time to decide whether or not you will work with us, we just want to understand what happened in that office.” the detective said as I concentrated my attention on the wall behind his head. “It’s your choice and your freedom on the line not mine.” He said as he gathered his files and left the interrogation room.



This short was written in response to a suggestion made by IG: autyfrancisco The main character Fallon Diego, is my dedication to you for the submission. ❤ Check out her work on



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