Finding My Identity Through My DNA
by Kayla Jennings-Rivera
I have recently placed an order for a DNA test through Ancestry.com. It is something that I have thought about doing for a while but finally made the decision upon my 20th birthday.
I have been struggling with my identity for a few years now. I’ve always been confused about my nationality and have always wished I had a stronger cultural background. I feel like my nationality has been a puzzle where I don’t have enough pieces to complete it. My overall goal is to be able to learn more about the cultures from the places that my ancestors were born.
There are only a few things I know about my nationality. The one absolute fact I know is that I am mostly Puerto-Rican. I also know that I am also Irish and German, but the rest is unclear. I believe I could be Czech, Polish, and English as well, but the possibilities are endless without definite evidence. I want to know the exact percentages of my nationalities that make me, me, and that have made those before me.
On paper, I identify as Hispanic as it is the only fact about my nationality that I am clear of. However, I don’t feel Hispanic. Over time, I’ve been trying to understand what it means to be something, but not feel it. I learned Spanish in school not in my household, I don’t know how to cook any traditional meals, and I am constantly questioned about being Hispanic based off on my appearance. I understand that no matter what I do, how I look, or how I act won’t make me Hispanic. However, it is in my DNA and I wish I could identify with the culture through my personal experiences, and not just solely because it is scientifically what I’m comprised of.
I unfortunately didn’t grow up with the cultural influences in my life the way I would've wanted them – but I don’t want that to limit me, or anybody. I am optimistic that the results of my DNA test will help me find my the and give me the confidence to engage with the cultures of my ancestors.
I want to be confident with myself and be able to tell others about who I am. Finding out my nationality is also important because I want to be able to pass along a culture to my children and be able to cultivate in them some sort of tradition that they could hold onto forever.
I encourage you to join me and order a DNA test with Ancestry.