The Double Helix Doesn’t Lie

I am making some changes this year. My work wife gave me a vintage tree with old-fashioned multi-colored lights. Huge ass fake spruce that takes up half my living room with rainbow of lights that are well out of style. I have not had a traditional tree for the season in what? Six or seven years?

She said, “Think about it. This could be your solstice tee, or whatever your people do.” And so it is. Let’s talk about my people.

I got my DNA results back. It did not take 10 to 12 weeks as predicted. I’ve only had about 48 hours to digest it all. I immediately jumped into research, knowing virtually nothing about my newly discovered origins. I have only told ONE family member; the only one I thought could handle it. Like me, her world is rocked.

The test confirmed a few suspicions and completely debunked others. Now we know which relatives were lying to us all these years. We are not who we were lead to believe we are. Never in a million would we have guessed who we really are. As I imagine is the case with a shit-ton of Caucasian Americans, we are not really white. Or not all white. Not only white. We are also brown. And not by a small percentage, by over 50%. You would never know it from our appearance, of course. In fact, I don’t expect anyone to believe it.


My sister and I are delighted but we have not shared it with the family at large. The rest of them would be appalled. Or would disbelieve and cry foul play or mix-up or error. No one likes to have his or her identity challenged when it is based on prejudice and supremacy. It will probably come up the next time a relative starts spewing the tired old vitriol of my youth and formative years. My sister and I will have science on our side of the arguments. Or perhaps we won’t bother to argue. Perhaps we will give a few key relatives the gift of their own DNA tests and let Nature take her course. Truth is liberating.

So now that I know the truth, what am I going to do with this new information about myself? Learn, learn, learn. The biggest reason I wanted to know the truth was to discover my ancient spiritual roots. What did my people believe before mass conversion to either Christianity or Islam? But as my sister and I mused, it is also fascinating to consider all these cultures we never knew were once ours. I don’t imagine it will change our everyday lives much. Or maybe it will, who can say?

The more you know the more you grow. It definitely made me feel more cheerful heading into the next round of holidays. I have new connections to explore and embrace. New names and place names. History. Survival. Gratitude. Reverence. Respite for my orphan soul.

— Mercy

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