I am just a happy, healthy middle-aged woman fascinated with my own mortality. As I’ve matured, I realize the precious nature of time. Only my mother and brother remain of my immediate family. Since my mother has always been the truest part of me, I have simply taken for granted the loss of my emotionally distant father, both sets of grandparents, beloved aunts and uncles. I miss them more than ever. There’s something tangible about reaching a certain time in one’s life- that mountain top where one can look back and still clearly remember the past; yet, the future is staring one in the eyes from a downward slope. Standing from this panoramic perspective on the apex of my life, I want to know who I really am.
Like all our individual journeys in life, mine has taken a definite course. It is no coincidence that my Spanish and cultural studies in Mexico have made me ponder my own ethnicity and where my roots were established. I have always yearned to be dark like my mother and brother; or, clearly indigenous like my father with his olive complexion, Indian features, and green eyes. Upon inspection, I look Anglo Saxon with my roots obviously planted in Europe. But my background is not that cut and dry. My mother’s people hail from Spain, England, native Americans; and, my father’s people hail from France and the Pechanga native tribe from Southern California. I have always heard bits and pieces of my ancestors’ origins, but I never felt the urgency to research my past. Now that I am a student of the world, I am driven to seek my place in it.
Since I joined a popular ancestry site, I have discovered the documents needed to begin my ethnic search. I wish, more than ever, that I could sit down with my maternal grandmother and write down the family knowledge that she so proudly kept in her steel trap mind. She would enjoy sharing this journey with me. Every piece of the puzzle that defines me makes me feel more empowered and, hopefully, more able to move forward when I do lose my mother.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid, the molecule that encodes genetic instructions) testing has become refined enough to order online. As I type, I am awaiting the results of a rudimentary test I purchased through my ancestry site. I know I won’t get specific percentages of my racial beginnings (inclusive and costly tests are available for more exact profiles), but I can begin to fill in more pieces of the genetic puzzle that makes me who I am. So, fellow readers, follow me on this little quest and witness what I am going to do with this knowledge to make me a better writer. I will share my ancestry results in Part 2.