Really, 23andMe?

June 11, 2018

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To say my plate is a little full is a huge understatement. Things are about to get even more hectic, in the Fisher household, with packing and a move to a yet undiscovered location. Not too long ago, I got a request to do a DNA test from a KAD who strongly believes we are related. A Father's Day sale came up, and the kits were 50% off. So, I figured, what the hell, I might as well do it and make someone else happy. I buy the kits, and life allows me to forget about this purchase until a couple of days ago, when the kit arrived in the mail. So, now I get to do what I've seen so many people post about and there is almost a sense of dread to it. My life has been turned upside down this year. Last year I was happy as Larry with my identity. I knew the circumstances of my past in Korea, I had put it behind me, and I was concentrating on trying to be the best person I could be. Life has a funny way of throwing some curveballs your way just when you seem to be getting too comfortable. What additional surprises would this test throw my way?

 

DNA kits serve a variety of purposes. For many, it's a chance to comprehensively identify their ethnic origins. I think most people are secretly hoping for more than a 12.5% Native American background. One, it is the trendy ethnicity to be, and two, those casino checks are a terrific lifestyle enhancer! If I could be a descendant of any Native American tribe, I would want to be part of the Cahuilla nation, it's current population is 11. It's hard to open a casino with numbers like that, but hey, I'd be willing to give it a crack, the proceeds split in 12 is a lot better than what you would get being an Apache. Alas, the probability of being part Native American is as likely as Trump deciding the wall is a bad idea. Slim to none, and Slim is out of town.

 

Other people take the kit to identify genetic traits and health characteristics. I had the option to select the health option, but I didn't choose to buy that. Why not? Because I don't want to know all the ways that I'm going to deteriorate as I get older. Cheating death might be a popular pastime for many people, but I figure it's best to be surprised. Heart attack? Stroke? All I know is that I'm not going to die of gout. Is stomach cancer in the cards for me? Eating three-day old fish is probably going to do me in a lot quicker than any tumors. Alzheimer's won't get to me before the thirteen concussions get their fair chance of destroying what few brain cells I have left. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I had a thought about what I would do knowing what I know now if I would still have gone to Korea in February. And I hate to say it, but I think I would have chosen to stay home. There are just some things that are better off not known. How you are going to die is right up there with what your wife really thinks when you're bumping uglies.

 

For adoptees, a DNA test is perhaps one of the most nerve wracking tests you can take. Why? Because there is a slight possibility that 23andMe might be able to play Maury Povich and identify biological family members out there. For me, I just don't understand the pull to know where you come from and who is your family. I've said it before, and I continue to believe it, I would happily give my experience to someone who desperately longs for a connection to their biological family. I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with me because I don't feel the need to discover my roots. The KAD who wants me to take the test needs to find someone that is related to her. I told her no matter what the test results state, I'll happily be her family no matter what. I don't need blood to tell me who to love. And, I don't need blood to bring me closer to provide the answers.

 

I knew that I have always been different in so many ways. During this whole process of being reunited with people who share a blood lineage with me, I thought I found a group of people I could finally belong to. As I have gotten to know this group better, I find myself in the familiar role of outsider, yet again. I don't share the need to be gloomy all the time. I want to cheer people up and celebrate how lucky we are. That is definitely not encouraged. The second most popular term in the group is "whitewashing". Apparently, I'm a traitor to my own kind because I don't feel the need to slam Whitey for all the horrible things that have happened to us. I'm not sure what the point of it is, currently white people have their hands full with every other minority group out there being royally pissed at them. And for damn good reason, I might add. I'm not a staunch defender of white people. I just don't have the mental energy to be angry anymore. Being indignant at injustice is a young person's activity. I've been exposed to too much perspective to really get angry about things that have a paltry effect on our society.

 

I know it's been a while since I've made all of you laugh heartily about a post. If I were to be completely honest, I don't feel very funny at the moment. I have a ton on my mind about my role and identity. I had some hope that at last I found a group that could relate to me. Yet, I feel more of a foreigner in the KAD group than I do here in East Texas. I want to get back to being light hearted and amusing. And, I'm confident I'll get back into that mentality soon enough. I just need some time to figure out why I feel so let down and disappointed. I knew I would never be white no matter how hard I tried. I knew Koreans wouldn't truly accept me because I'm nowhere close to Korean. I'm discovering I'm not a very good KAD, either. I will just have to be the best damn individual I can be, and to hell with belonging. But, I just know 23andMe is going to fuck me over royally here, give me a slew of relatives I didn't know existed, and then I'll have to eat my damn words all over again. Fucking DNA.

 

 

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