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‘As I Am’ – Star Wars Changed My Life

‘As I Am’ – Star Wars Changed My Life

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sandra, are you Haitian? You don’t look Haitian. Oh, you’re from another country. You listen to New Kids on the Block. You’re not Black. Throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years, these were some of the comments I had to hear from my peers. I blamed their reactions in part on not being exposed to other cultures. I used to stare in the mirror and wonder why did the other kids think I was so different. At the time, I used to giggle and laugh at the comments. I also didn’t realize the negative effects it would have in my life.

I was born in Haiti. A small island in the Caribbean. Haiti became the first Black independent nation on January 1, 1804. I grew up in Pierre Payen, a small rural area in the Artibonite Department of Haiti. My father was an educator and mom was a homemaker. Since my dad was the local school’s director, I started school very young. I began reading and writing at an early age and that’s when my passion for reading began. Reading books gave me an opportunity to visit different places and go on adventures.

FullSizeRenderAs a kid, I was exposed to many different people and cultures. The missionaries that opened the school worked closely with my dad. They would visit frequently. Because of this, my family and many of our friends had access to things that most people in Haiti did not. I remember when one of my dad’s best friends got a television. We would gather at his house on a weekly basis to watch the news and comedy shows. Once in a while, the kids got to turn the knob with all the numbers as opposed to the one that turns the television off. It was glorious!

While flipping through the channels one day, I stumbled upon a show that captured my attention. It was Lost in Space. I loved the idea of space, aliens, and visiting different worlds. I tuned in every week to watch these old episodes of the series that were translated in French. That show is what started my passion for Science-Fiction.

IMG_9905I moved to America at the age of nine. My love for books and Science Fiction is what helped through the struggles of moving to a new country, learning a new language, and making new friends. And it was not long after that I fell in love with Star Wars.

Star Wars became my outlet. Whenever I was going through a tough day dealing being teased for having an accent, reading way too many books, or getting straight A’s in school, Star Wars helped me to cope. I would run home, pop in my VHS tapes and be hyperspaced to another world. A world where it was common to look and be different without judgment. A world where you can be a scoundrel and find love. A world where you can be a tiny green alien and not be judged by your size but for your wisdom. A world where a woman can lead a Rebel alliance and shoot blasters. A world where you can be a villain and find redemption in your final hour.

star_warsFor years, I kept my ‘Geeky’ lifestyle a secret. My family and a few friends knew about my double life. I would think back at the memories of being teased for being and thinking differently and shut down. I didn’t want people to laugh at me because once in a while I like to dress up as Han Solo, wear a Darth Vader mask, do my hair as Princess Leia, and blast the music of John Williams while I painted my nails. As I grew older, being a teacher made me realize that it was time to step out of the box and live as me.

I choose to no longer live a double life. It’s exhausting. I no longer want to keep the things that bring me joy and happiness a secret. I no longer give thought to what others think of me. I no longer seek and wait for acceptance. I live my life as me. The geeky me.

Star Wars has helped me in some ways to grow into the person that I am today. The compassion I have for others, being open-minded, and the willingness to try to learn new things. Over the years, I have met and become friends with some wonderful people who love, accept and respect me just as I am.

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How has Star Wars changed your life? I would love to hear your story. Please leave a comment on the site.

Contact Sandra by email at SandraC@CoffeewithKenobi.com and on Twitter @geekchic9

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6 Comments

  1. Jay Krebs
    July 31, 2015 at 14:58 Reply

    What a powerful testament to the way Star Wars has shaped your life! Thank you for the insights into who you are, and of your personal journey of fandom.

    It’s always intriguing to me to hear everyone’s stories. We are all so different, yet are brought together in such a special way through our beloved saga.

    My story is a lengthy one, with many different pathways. Perhaps one of these days we can share a “cup of coffee” and discuss!

    Great premiere entry – welcome to the CWK “family!” 🙂

  2. Sandra
    July 31, 2015 at 18:19 Reply

    I am always excited to share my passion for Star Wars. Thanks for reading! I’d love to participate in CWK Bloggers meet up. Something to think about for the future!

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  4. Melinda
    September 1, 2015 at 09:32 Reply

    Welcome to the club, Sandra! 🙂

    I don’t know if Star Wars changed my life in any way (I ALWAYS have walked through life to the beat of my own drum 😉 🙂 ), but it certainly has enhanced it. In many ways.

    Growing up a “tomboy” in Chicago, I finally had someone (albeit a character) to whom I could point, and say, “Who wouldn’t want to be THAT girl?” 🙂 I was talking about Princess Leia, of course — gutsy, a dare-devil, a leader; she led an army, was not shy about brandishing a weapon when need be, and was someone with a great deal of compassion. (Luke Skywalker was — and still is — my favorite Star Wars character, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate others in the galaxy far, far away. 🙂 ) Times were changing — finally (yet we still have far to go). 🙂

    Years later, as a substitute teacher, I oftentimes would bring my lunch to school packed in my Star Wars lunchbox. As (especially) the grade school children would file into the classroom once the bell had rung, many of the boys would see my lunchbox sitting atop the teacher’s desk, come up to me, and ask, “Whose is that, Mrs. Wolf?” When I’d answer that it was mine, one of the boys invariably responded, “Mrs. Wolf, you’re a girl. You can’t like Star Wars.” I’d smile, explain that wasn’t the case, that lots of girls like SW … and know I’d have so much more to teach these children than their ABCs, math and geography. 😉

    Share your love of Star Wars, Sandra — with us here at CWK, and with the world. It will be a better place for it!

    MTFBWY … always 🙂

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