Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What Do I Want?

As a lover of history, it is quite normal for me to want to know what functions my ancestors played in historical events.  There is always that hope that I might be related to a hero, or a famous figure. Beyond that, it feels good to know that no matter what the challenges were, or the issues my ancestors faced, that they continued to thrive at least as long as it took to make me.  It is a battle to be out here as a live human being and trying to live in a society that has civil unrest, and economic challenges, and day to day history making events.  It is a morale booster to know that I come from the kind of people who had real moxie.  I love it most when I see an ancestor that did something way out of the box, or braver than I was expecting.  I love bravery.

As a lover of science, I love that I could use scientific method to deduct and deduce my origins based on comparing data.  I love even more that this is a collaborative effort and in order for anyone to get anything from a DNA research site, they had to at least give their DNA data for others to compare to.  (I believe that is my Swedish showing.)  I loosely follow epigenetic research.  I am a fan of cognitive behavior research.  In general, I am fascinated by my own species as a whole, and all the ways we have been built to evolve and change according to our environment.  My own DNA is no exception. I put my DNA data on DNAland purely to contribute to research.   I want to know what they figure out.

When I set out to submit my DNA, I had one primary reason in mind.  Half my family tree was missing.  I wanted to fill it out.  I wanted to know who to put into the empty spaces.  My biological father was one in hundreds of people I wanted to know about.  He just happened to be the most likely to be alive.  There is something a little frightening about knowing nothing about half of yourself.  Is there any history of heart attack in my family?  I still can't answer that question.  What is your genetic make up?  Ahh.. now that I can tell you!

So in terms of getting what I want out of this, I can honestly say I have achieved and am still achieving one of my primary goals.  I know what I am made of.  I know how I got here.  I can find names and locations and make a nice little book about the history of our family for my children and grandchildren.  My grandchildren will be able to tell what their ancestor did in history class.  Those people mattered.  They were important.  I want them to be remembered, at least by name, even if I can't find another thing about them.  We will make songs about them.  They are our personal family hero's.  We won the battle.  We will write our history.

My second reason is more personal principle in nature. I have never known if my biological father did not contact me because he chose not to speak to me, or if he was never given an option. Nothing went as the people in charge had planned. When my mother chose not to tell anyone who the father of her child was, she had no idea she would die when I was three.  When my grandmother decided to raise me, she did not know she would die just before I turned nine.  Both of them were trying to do the right thing, but they left me with very little in the way of resources.  Would my mother have told me? Would my grandmother? I will never know those answers.  What I do know is that I was given this brain and this set of tools and I used them.  I like to believe they would be impressed with my determination even if they didn't like my decision.  I am in charge of the DNA they gave me.  I am simply doing what I think is right, just like they did.

I feel like I carry the weight of a family debt that is owed. It is my inheritance.  If he was never told about me, now he gets to know.  If he was never given access to speak to me, now he has my number.  If he chooses not to have contact, my conscience is clear and I am free from any guilt I might have carried for the decisions of my foremothers.  My life is open, honest and up front.  For the very first time, I get to decide my future in this matter.  Me.  The woman actually living this life.  I have waited 49 years to do that.  If he decides he doesn't want to talk to me, then I have lost nothing and still maintained my high sense of integrity.  I have very little hope that anything but information will come out of this, if I get that.

But those sisters.  I can't stop looking at them.  Those I want because I am greedy.  I want to show them that I am funny.  I want to learn something from them, anything.  I have no idea how to be a real sister, but I would like to take a crack at this.  I catch myself getting my hopes up that they will want to know me and let me know them.  I want something crazy, like a non verbal tick or a silly thing to say to be in common.  I want our gene pool to give us a sign.  I want to geek out with child2 and play with designs with child1.  I want to enjoy them.

I missed out on playing with them.  I didn't even know I missed that.  I didn't know I could miss that. I am not mad or resentful, but if I get to pick the one thing that I get to mourn the loss of, I choose this.  I could have been loving them my whole life, and they have no idea what that means.  I am really good at loving people.  I have references!  Just in case L and D get worried that I might be a problem, I am really good at avoiding places I am not wanted.  I have references for that too.

Will somebody please log in to that account?  Please.