So...how does one react to the results of a DNA test? My heart rate became elevated the second I saw that my results had been posted on the Genetree site. At first, I wasn't really SEEING the results...just scanning hurriedly, trying to find out WHAT I WAS. I saw the phrase "Haplogroup A2," which meant nothing...and finally found the link to the ancestry page. That gave me the "dot-map," which had dots of all the people in the database who matched (some exactly, some partially) my mtDNA profile. All in one place - Guerrero, Mexico.
I am part Mexican.
It took a minute to sink in. Instantly I realized how desperately I had wanted to be Italian. I thought it would explain the parts of my personality that make me feel at home with my Italian friends - which are the same parts that make me feel like a weirdo around my adoptive parents.
I feel ordinary. Not b/c of the specific ethnicity, but now? Now there was no mystery. Yes, it's only a part of the DNA picture, but I had erased that aura of "not knowing," of asking people what they thought I could be. The excitement of hearing the theories. The look in people's eyes as they tried to puzzle over my features. Now, that parlor game is over, and I am no longer an enigma.
I raced to Google this "Guerrero" and found pictures like the one above. It is beautiful country. My mind immediately began planning a family vacation there - just to walk among the people - to see if I felt a connection. Synapses firing wildly, I pulled up photo after photo...and then realized I needed to take a deep breath.
My husband's immediate reaction to the news: "Oh, no!" Wasn't sure how to take that at first, but he explained that he felt I wanted to be more exotic, and he was hoping I was partially black.
My kid's reaction was much the same. Maybe as a result of the negative media attention surrounding the illegal immigration issue - but she felt "common," even though she has all sorts of other bloodlines on her father's side.
I went to Walmart a few days later, and looked closely at the Mexican population I encountered. I look so different - sure, most of them are not tall people, but they are so dark. I have to tan for months to be that color. A friend informed me that the Mexican people are NOT all like the immigrants that I have seen. I felt ignorant. And then I thought about the Miss Mexico contestants in the Miss Universe pageant.
As I struggled to assimilate this new "identity," I felt as if I had been haughty and imperious in the past. Am I supposed to look at the illegal immigration issue in a different way? I didn't think I had discriminatory thoughts - but I had secretly resented their actions.
I took Spanish for two years in high school, and two years in college. I retained very little of it, and yet it was an easy language to learn. Romance languages are. But I never felt a "connection," does that make sense?
Should I learn the language again?
I wondered more about my mother. I thought more about the blonde man who carried me into that gas station restroom and left me. And I'm looking at my world differently today.