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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

beautiful Trinidad did not feel so glamorous

By Cilayna Parris  |   From : Oakland Park, FL, USA  |   School : Northeast High school

Hi, my name is Cilayna, also known as Cece. At the age of 10. I had an identity crisis, not really knowing who I was or understanding where my roots came from. My father was a frequent flyer from upstate New York. To Trinidad, which was his homeland, but never came to Florida for my first 10 years of life. He later tried to mend that bridge of separation once I turned 11. My little brother’s dad stepped in to co-parent me, with my mom and my grandparents at a young age. Growing up with my step dad around, I learned a lot about his culture, as well as the language. I speak English, and St. Lucian, creole, and French fluently. As well as being a vegetarian for a good amount in my life. My grandparents on my mom’s side like my father and other family members before them, were all immigrants. They are from the beautiful island of Jamaica. My mother was a first generation American from Staten Island, and New York. I grew up always embracing my heritage that I grew up with the most. Going to Jamaica during Christmas, meeting my family, and overall learning more and more about the island I consider my first love. Growing up, it was hard to live two lives and a third one you so eagerly wanted to learn more about. Trying to make friends at school was hard for me. I didn’t grow up as the other typical American children. Especially since my older brother was considered the “brat”, and my little brother who had all the attention. I always had to be perfect, well behaved, and know almost every manner in the book. It didn’t help that I was the only girl, so I needed to learn to cook and clean as well. But still being overlooked by my family, I was always out shined by my other siblings. I was the most “troubled” out of the bunch, since my other brothers had both their dads in their lives. My older brother has the same dad and a different mom, and my younger brother has a different dad but the same mom. My grandparents helped raise me my entire life.I am called my grandparents favorite “handbag” since I am always with her, and teased/called Winston Head or WH by my aunt since I look like him. And my grandfather calling me his little “Pele”. You could say that the three of us have a very special bond. You could callus the three stooges. It angered me at first when my dad wanted to come back into my life after all this time.It was like looking at a stranger, but I should know who it is. The air felt hard to breathe and the room was tense. He tried to be warm and familiar, but made it feel rushed.
Emotions started to swirl, and all the anger and betrayal I felt from my father started to flair up as he tried a second time, to introduce me to a family that barely knew that I existed. For an 11 year old kid, it was a lot. Especially since I waited so long for this day to come, so I could learn about my second love, Trinidad. But at first it didn’t feel that way. Just like the first day that I met my “new family”, beautiful Trinidad did not feel so glamorous.

 

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