Who am I? DNA testing.

Today, I started the introduction for my thesis, and I began by talking about why I am drawn to Isabel Allende’s novels. She is a Chilean-American writer.

I am Mexican. This is what I have been told and how I identify.

The truth is that when my grandparents came to America, they shed their culture. It was not important that their children spoke Spanish. I do not speak Spanish, even though I took three years of Spanish in high school, and I even studied the language in college. We didn’t just lose the language, none of the Mexican traditions were preserved. As I’ve grown up, my identity as a Mexican has been challenged, because there are so many traditions my family does not practice or are not even aware of.

I also don’t look Mexican. I’m not really sure I look like anything. I remember when I was working as a receptionist, a Chinese man walked into the building. He didn’t even say hello. He just stopped and bluntly asked, “Are you half?”

I responded, “Half of what?”

He thought I was half Chinese. Typically, when people ask me what I am, I say, “My skin is white, my heart is Mexican, and my stomach is Asian.” That pretty much sums me up.

Since, I was raised with an empty title: Mexican. I’ve done my own searching. In college I studied Mesoamerican Art History and Mesoamerican mythology. There is this deep longing for a culture I can pin down and possess.

I recently watched Disney’s Coco. The ending had me in tears. Immediately after the movie was over, I called my older brother to say, “You have to watch this movie.”

He finally watched it this past weekend, and he cried too. Being a dad of four, my brother’s heart has grown to be quite tender, and I think it’s the sweetest thing ever, but I digress.

Our mom questioned our tears (even though she cried too), saying that we shouldn’t be moved, because we couldn’t relate to the Mexican culture within the film, which is silly, but that’s okay.

In one of Isabel Allende’s novels, the protagonist proclaims, “What matters is what you do in this world, not how you come into it.”

For a while now, I have wanted to take a DNA ancestry test. (Em from the Earthly Brain also wrote a post about this today. Check it out! She makes some interesting points.)

Maybe one day I will, but will it change anything?


T. Shaw


21 thoughts on “Who am I? DNA testing.”

  1. I think it’s natural to ask yourself who you are. I’ve wondered the same thing. Sometimes, I can feel the traditions and language that I’ve been taught that isn’t English slipping away from me as the dominant culture of which I live in consumes me. There is this urge to cling on to it, because it’s in my blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that it is natural. It’s an interesting problem, because I can appreciate that I live in a place where several cultures can exchange ideas and intermix. At the same time, I think there are some ways of life worth holding on to. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s interesting how some people are willing to find out the other side of their culture while others don’t. Don’t you want to know more about yourself and where you’re ancestors came from?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have always been attracted to history and curious about my ancestry, so I can’t speak for those who aren’t, but I imagine people don’t always want to be defined by their ancestors’ beliefs/actions. They want to establish those things for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am fascinated! Maybe there is a safer way for you to find out. I am not sure if a doctor or a physician would order DNA tests(?). Either way, I do agree with the quote saying it only matters what you do in this world. Culturally, I have picked and chose, sometimes even invented, my own kind of culture. But the question “who am I?” always burns bright for me as well. Thanks for reading and mentioning my post xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I loved your post. I was really hoping everyone in your comment section would say, “go for it!” 😂 But they didn’t. I know that’s the answer I wanted to hear anyway. 😉
      I think the way you approach your cultural identity is smart. 🙂 If you do get your DNA tested, I hope you’ll share how you responded to your findings. Like you mentioned, it is interesting that people can be disappointed with their results.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally feel you there! There is this one that’s called 23 and Me and it doesn’t just do your heritage it does your medical history and possible medical problems in your future but that seems to be a lot of information to be shared

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would love to visit Mexico one day. I love trying the food, watching Spanish movies. We had a international festival last month. I tried horchata for the first time. It was good. It was almost similar to Indian mango lassi. I want to try it alcohol mixed next time:).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love trying new foods too! Although, I admit I was a lot more adventurous in my teens. Now, if food doesn’t settle right, bad things happen. 😉😂 I had some horchata yesterday. It was very delicious.


  4. Your post amazing. It totally makes sense to why you are doing. It is important to get a better grasp of your culture, it people. You get understand more about your family. I think it’s cool

    Liked by 1 person

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