For my 41st birthday, I received a DNA kit. Not because I am about to join Maury Povich onstage for the latest edition of "Who's Your Daddy", but because I truly wanted a final answer for the question, "Where did you get that nose?"
My quest to determine my ethnic heritage had, up until this point, been an internal journey. Since adolescence, whenever someone would ask me where I was REALLY from, I would tell myself, surely, not from here. The details are sketchy. My father's father had a mysterious life, and most of his adventures and escapades are lost to time. My appearance has been ambiguous enough to raise questions from friends and strangers alike, and I have always wished to find the answers.
And so, with a spit deposit in a tube and a postage-paid envelope, I submitted my history to science.
Turns out, I am pretty much a white girl.
According to my saliva, I am:
British Isles 64%
Eastern European 7%
I was disappointed until I got to that last 7%. There was my loophole, my life raft. A little bit of me that can't be determined, a percentage that I get to keep and grow. 7% of me cannot be put in a corner, labeled and ready for delivery. I get a space on the page to be whatever it is I thought I was, whatever it is I should be.
I can do a lot with 7%. I can break cycles, tear down walls, reconnect with my heart, and conquer just about anything. I can navigate my children through the struggles of life, and fall in love with my husband, again and again. I can overcome crimes committed against me, and learn how to live without fear. I can be proud of my sacrifices, and strong enough to stop sacrificing. I can just be.
Sometimes, we lose ourselves so much, we give so much of ourselves to others, that we forget to keep some for ourselves. I think that was the purpose of the test for me - to show that, no matter what, we all have something inside that can't be touched - it's just for us.
Until next time, keep crowin' and hold on to your 7%!