Making It Work Monday: Who Am I?

I’ll be back with more of “The Princess of Peach” story next week, but I’ve got something else on my mind today as I consider my “origins” story.  For years now I’ve debated whether to submit my DNA to one of the growing services that provides analysis on the different places my predecessors came from.  As an African American, I’ve grown up like lots of other African Americans, wondering which of the stories told in our families are fact versus fiction.  I’ve always envied those around me who can trace their lineage to “an old country”.

There’s something about being able to know from whence you came that helps you know/find your place in the world.  Am I African? Am I American? Why am I shunned if I seek to claim the “other” parts of who I am?  Do you know the strange looks I get when I try to talk to people about my “white” heritage?  Such ignorant comments have I suffered just in an effort to better understand where I come from. “Oh, you must be trying to claim some of Thomas Jefferson’s estate like those Hemmings,” is one of my favorites.  As if Thomas Jefferson was the only white man who had children by a black woman.

So, I finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago and paid for my 23andMe kit.  The emotions that came rushing forward once I mailed off my sample have been interesting to say the least.  I don’t know what this profile will really find.  I wonder how I will react if something unexpected shows up.  I wonder if there are other branches of my family who have reached out looking for answers like me whom I know nothing about.

And I wonder how my immediate family will react when I share the results with them.

I still think knowing is better than not knowing so I’m still counting down the days until I get my results.  I have a feeling it’s going to spawn more questions than answers though…

~Marta G.

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