Sarah Rafael García
Sarah Rafael Garcia was born in Brownsville Texas on April the 23rd in 1974, however she was raised in Orange County California. Although she was raised in Orange County she moved around a lot throughout her childhood. In middle and high school she attended school in Santa Ana and in that time she even went to a private Catholic school for a couple of years. While she was in high school, her mother moved their family to Rancho Santa Margarita, and Texas. When she graduated from high school, she attended community college in California, and then moved to Texas to finish her undergraduate degree at Texas State University. She is now currently living in Texas and studying to get her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) at Texas State University. One constant in Sarah's life has been learning to overcome the obstacles in her path.
Spanish was Sarah's first language and so when she began to attend school it was a struggle for her to learn English. Another struggle for Sarah when she was young was that of being an overweight child. Like many pre-teens Sarah began to rebel at the age of twelve and as if that were not hard enough already her father died when she was thirteen. This was one of the occurrences that created such a struggle in Sarah's life. She was still dealing with her father's death in high school when she got involved with her first love. Her boyfriend was involved with gangs, and this was when her mother decided to move from Santa Ana to Rancho Santa Margarita. This move was a big change not just in location but because Rancho Santa Margarita was a predominantly white neighborhood and the people were from a significantly different socioeconomic class.
Sarah was already having a hard time getting along with her mother and this move did not help make the situation any better. During Sarah's sophomore year she was sent to a continuation school because of the excessive amount of absences she had accumulated. This she says happened because of her arguments with her mother and because she just wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend. While at the continuation school Sarah was able to catch up with her classes and pass classes that she had previously failed, she was even on the Dean's list and received the Kiwanis award. All of this however this was not enough for her mother. Sarah's mother did not like that Sarah would purposefully complete all of her work before noon so she could leave campus and spend time with her boyfriend, therefore she sent Sarah to live with her uncle in Texas for her junior year.
While in Texas she was not allowed to leave home unless it was for a school related or church related event. She then became the editor of the newspaper, was on the dance team, involved in two youth groups one Catholic and the second Christian Pentecostal. She received A's and B's in all of her classes that year. After her junior year she returned to California and although she no longer had a boyfriend because he had impregnated another girl, the arguments with her mother continued. She barely graduated from high school but when she did she immediately moved out of her home. After doing this she moved in with a friend, worked 2-3 jobs at a time, and attended Irvine Valley community college. This time in her life was difficult for her because she did not have much guidance and support. Because of the lack of these two things she did not know financial aid existed and therefore had to pay her entire school expenses until she transferred to Texas State University four years later.
Sarah's family life wasn't the easiest situation either. Sarah stated that her family has always been close however she feels that after the death of her father her family started to get filled with feuds and distance, because of this she feels she's only really ever been close with her sisters. To her they are not only her sisters and unconditional family but her most loyal friends. Even after Sarah moved out after high school her relationship with her mother did not get any better. When she moved out her mother and her uncles completely stopped talking to her because they expected her to be pregnant, involved in drugs, or already be living with a man. It was not until after six months of having been completely banished that her mother went to visit her at her apartment.
To make it even better the first thing her mother did as she walked in was to examine every inch of the apartment expecting to find a man's clothing and belongings hidden somewhere. When she finally asked where all of his belongings had been hidden, it took a while to convince her that there was no such man. After finally convincing her of this Sarah's mother began to question how Sarah and her roommate were able to afford living in the apartment, paying for all of the utilities and college all on their own. Even after her mother found out that Sarah was working 2-3 jobs and having such a struggle all she did was call weekly to check on her, never did she offer to help her with anything. Although Sarah went through many struggles with her mother she says that her family has always been important to her. Her mother currently lives in Miami Florida, her sister in Austin, and most of her extended family lives in Dallas and Brownsville Texas.
Although there have been many interesting occurrences in her life what first got Sarah writing was the death of her father. She was given a journal by a grief social worker at the hospital and has been writing ever since. She has written numerous pieces but has had three poems, one essay, and a childhood memoir with twenty vignettes published. She is pending the publication of one poem, and is currently working on a travel memoir and a novel. Not only writes poems, vignettes, essays, and memoirs but she also performs spoken word, writes creative non-fiction, and is now even exploring into the world of fiction writing. When asked what inspires her to write she responded that everything real and in this she included family, human rights, and dreams. She aspires to promote cultural awareness, community empowerment and global sharing. Her favorite themes are magical realism, feminist empowerment, creative non-fiction, and ethnic fiction.
Although Sarah is a writer she enjoys doing other things as well, some of her hobbies include writing, hiking, yoga, cycling, traveling, and reading her favorite author being Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Her favorite books include One Hundred Years of Solitude, Memorias de Mis Putas Tristes both of these by her favorite author, Aphrodite by Isabel Allende, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Law of Love by Laura Esquivel, and everything by Dr. Seuss. Last but not least when asked if she had children Sarah responded that she doesn't but at the same time she does, this is because she has approximately 100 Barrio Writers (a program of free workshops and tutoring for teens so that they can build skills in different academic areas), two nephews, a niece, and a godson that she claims as her own.
Sarah is overall such an inspiring young writer who not only writes but helps shape the communities that she lives in not only with her program but by serving as such a good role model. She has had to overcome so many obstacles in her life and this can serve as an example for teens that feel like they have no choice but to stay in rough situations. They will have an example of someone who has encountered obstacle after obstacle and through hard work and dedication has bettered themselves. Even through just reading some of her pieces, you feel the empowerment and how proud she is to be who and what she is, a strong, young, Latina writer.