Who are you if you don’t really know? At least your background – not where your mom grew up or your dad’s old neighborhood, but something deeper. More connective. More… human. I set out on a quest to understand what bloodlines run through me with 23andMe. I’ve seen countless people report their ancestry but I never really considered it until now, in 2023 – the year I, myself, turn 23. I thought there is no better time to get a test, spit in a tube, and see which nations influenced my existence.
Well, I did spit into the tube once they set me the kit. I didn’t eat, drink, or brush my teeth for thirty minutes before. I passed the time chatting with my friend about her recent journey out west. She was intrigued with the thought of me taking a DNA test and watched me spit into the tube over FaceTime. She ewwwwed through laughter as I rolled my eyes and added the preserving liquid to the test tube. I said my goodbye and drove to the post office to ship off my kit and then wait a few weeks to reveal my future history.
Some time passed and I received periodic updates from the website, stating the process my spit (DNA) was in. I must say, it was actually cool, though I wasn’t a huge science fan in school. Something about this process was the unknown becoming known. And known it was, when I got my email at 1am last week. I quickly logged in and read through my results…
My majority was expected: Sub-Sub Saharan Africa with Nigerian coming in with the highest percentage, followed by Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, followed by Angolan & Congolese. I never knew what parts of Africa my ancestors were from, and now I have answers. I quickly went through the articles 23andMe has on each place and read through the cultures’ foods, languages, and activities. I’ll be doing more research, of course.
These next few surprised me: I’m part Asian from my dad’s side, and I assumed half Chinese. But nope, only 25% South Chinese. I now have a location to focus on and investigate more on this region moving forward. Maybe I’ll plan a trip this year and reconnect with the culture!
The shocking part was finding out I am 10% European, from Britain and/or Ireland. I visited Britain in high school but never did I expect to have any in me! Maybe me studying English is starting to make sense now…
23andMe also offers a tab to connect with folks who share similar genetic makeup with you. I’m still looking through it but for now it’s so interesting to see the assortment of faces that share some percentage of blood with me! Maybe one day, I’ll reach out. Who knows?
Lastly and my personal favorite is the section on traits. There’s a 55% chance I’ll have a unibrow (that’s between me and my waxer), 75% chance I don’t have a widow’s peak, 75% chance of having stretch marks, and 70% chance of having detached earlobes. All are true but the one that is so not: 34% chance of having slightly wavy hair. Now, anyone who’s seen me or even read my articles knows I am a curly-curly girl through and through. Only a 2% chance of me having very tight curls (versus a 9% chance of having straight hair). I suppose my DNA can only tell so much of a story, living tells the 100% truth. 23andMe has been an incredible wealth of information to start of 2023 and I only look forward to learning more about myself and my history, to come.