Guest Post: Resident Spitfire Celeste
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Celeste is a junior in high school and has volunteered with Spitfire since June 2018.
Reading was always something I enjoyed, whether I was read to or whether I discovered a new book myself didn’t matter. More than reading, I liked making my own stories and I found my own stories reflected a lot of what I read. However, even though I liked reading, I didn’t really identify with many of the girls I read about. The girls in the stories I read liked pink, played with dolls and hated getting dirty. The women in those stories were all longing for a man or needed to be saved by one. So when I wrote my own stories, I felt conflicted. Should I write about a typical girl like in the other stories I read? It seemed more professional, more like a “real” story. Or should I write about a girl more like me? Would people say the girl isn’t enough of a girl? It got too confusing and I usually resorted to writing about animals. Animals were easier to identify with as gender norms weren’t placed on them as much. These gender stereotypes that were implicitly planted in my brain were hard to shake for many years and were a concept I struggled with throughout middle school. How much of a girl did I have to be to be liked? And what defined being a girl. If I had had an outlet like The Spitfire Club where I could read about girls who liked to skateboard, get the lead in a play or run for class president, I think things could have been different. It’s not too late.
Now, as a high schooler, I’ve been able to watch The Spitfire Club grow and serve 120 girls. I’ve been able to read aloud books about strong female characters and help girls who are as old as I once was grow up with the mentality that they can do anything as long as they work at it. The Spitfire Club’s core values set a basis for the girls that they can carry with them throughout the rest of their lives.
Right now, Spitfire is helping girls during their most impressionable years where stories can be large influences but eventually, I hope that Spitfire reaches out to older girls in middle school and high school as well. Having a culture like Spitfire, a group of girls outside school to talk to and an adult mentor could really help you get through a hard day.
When I go to help at The Spitfire Club every Thursday, sometimes I’m really tired but when I get there I get to have an hour of letting all the day’s worries go. I can have fun reliving being eight again. Things that would normally make me feel awkward or anxious like dancing in front of people I don’t know or even reading out loud are a lot easier at Spitfire. Even though I didn’t have Spitfire then, I have it now and I get to help it grow.