Who Am I?

When I was in elementary school I got called trail mix by a classmate.  I took this comment home to my mom and she became enraged with anger because apparently that was a tad bit racist and not the best thing to be called.  Having little understanding of what that meant,  I rolled with it until now.

I was raised by my amazing, predominately Caucasian family and was friends with predominately Caucasian boys and girls from middle school to high school.  I somewhat felt as if I had to pick which side I identified with and therefore I went with the white side since that’s the environment I was raised in.

No one swayed me to be team white girl, but my surroundings living in Indiana led me to believe that’s what I was.  I always felt a sense of unbalance because I knew I was genetically made of more than one ethnic sauce.

It wasn’t until I became a flight attendant where I realized more and more I was being asked the question, “What are you?”

*In my head I am thinking*

” Uhh I am anxiety, imperfect, somewhat confident, a mixed girl, bold and sarcastic. But, I knew what they meant.”

When I look in the mirror I see a pale mixed girl with curly natural hair and a tinted tan.  I mean, my winter coat can make people fall off their chair when I tell them I have some African-American blood in me.  But man can I get crispy in the summer.  Except I’m more focused on skin care for cancer now so shout out to the Germans for providing me with my favorite sunscreen. 😆

Flight attendants travel all over the world and are one of the most diverse work groups.  They observe other cultures facial features and take notice of the environment they are surrounded by.  So, because they were curious,  I became curious too because I wanted to know what they see in me compared to where they have been around the world.  They have become familiar with a mix of races and ethnicities.

And to my advantage,  It seemed as if everywhere I traveled I blended in somehow with many cultures; Which made me not look like such a targeted tourist.  Sometimes keeping my mouth shut worked to my advantage because my pure, slang, tad-country, and aggressive English blew my cover.  

I soon realized these flight attendants were more curious about what kettle I’ve been churned in and how I come out looking like me.  They were asking more about my ethnic background versus just my race.

At first I found this question flattering.  Keeping people on their toes.  Sometimes I fired back with, “Well what do you think I am?” instead of answering their question.  And I got random responses as they stared at me up and down…

French?

British?

Caribbean?

Dutch?

Italian?

Asian?

Cuban?

Jamaican?

Hispanic?

Brazillian?

Greek?

I actually giggled at some of these acquisitions because some of them are so far fetched, but hey I’ll take them to be more exotic-y.

The truth is, when people ask me what I am,  I think, “Well I’m Rachael.”  I’m a blend between two beautiful people, plus generations that made me.  My mom had blonde hair and bright blue eyes and my father is a light skinned African-American.

After the repetitive question pertaining to my ethnicity I decided to do the whole ancestry.com.  They send you a DNA kit where you spit into a tube and send off your results.  Then, you wait 4-6 weeks for results. The process is super simple and easy.

One December morning I woke up to, “Your AncenstryDNA results are in”.  I immediately became excited because it’s not everyday you get to learn a deeper layer to who or what you are.  I opened up the results to find I am a concoction of:

24% Irish/Scottish/Wales

13% Cameroon/Congo

12% Great Britain

12% Europe West

12% Ivory Coast/Ghana

7% Benin/Togo

100% mutt, basically;  Plus a percentage of Native American and more regions of Europe.  Should I move to Europe now and become all suave and foreign-ish?  Just kidding.

Now, the Irish decent is what shocked me.  I think they are lying, but whatever.  I know the percentage was small, but it was first on my results.  Is this why I’m so pale?  Is this why I’m literally obsessed with potatoes?  And is this why I loved Ireland so much when I visited Dublin?  Having been raised on a farm, Ireland somewhat felt like home.

The rest of this is certainly a mix between what I figured I already was and learning more about who I am.  You can even read about the migrations in the estimated results.

Well,  there you have it you curious little bugs wondering if my nose is Brazillian because it looks fake;  And if I’m Asian because my eyes separate when I pull my hair back in a ponytail;  And why my hair can magically turn from curly to straight and it only takes me 40 minutes to blow dry and straighten because I do not have black coarse hair; And why my eyes are light with hints of green, blues, and yellow;  And why my skin is light in color all year round.

I never took offense to the question, “What are you?”.  I always found it more of a unique question with an urge of curiosity that someone wants to know more about me.  It was a layer I had little knowledge of before and now I know a little bit more of my roots.  This gave me the opportunity to figure out what I am, as far as my ethnicity goes.

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How cool is it to be able to understand a little more about yourself through DNA testing?  I encourage you to do the AncestryDNA testing so you can learn more about you!

17 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. Hi Rach! The DNA tests are wonderful at this time since the data base has grown considerably! Your blog was a nice read! Thank you for sharing this! From your Mom’s side it is highly likely the Irish blood…..over 1/3 British Isles!! I find this science fascinating!! 💚

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    1. I forget you did our family tree Caroline! Now I am curious and want to know more. It was a little confusing because it also list Native American, but I have a hard time understanding if that’s 30% or 30 regions when you look at the 150+ regions? Do you know?

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      1. I’m not real familiar with how Ancestry presents their findings but with 150+ Regions I bet it’s regions they talk about. I used 23andme and was not surprised and pleased with how they report. There is a maternal haplogroup that Ancestry should have found for you. Use this to find others that are in your group to correspond with….in your spare time. Ha! Genealogy can take up lots of time but is such a worthwhile search and read. That is cool that you have some Native American as I have none even though one family story says there is. Family stories should always be taken with a grain of salt. Oh, I would love to work on this with you!!! It would be so interesting!! Love you, young one!! 💚 You can msg any time!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Need to have a direct link to Ancestry here so you can get paid cause this post is going to inspire people to learn more about their heritage.

    The photo at the beginning is so poignant. I literally had to stop and feel it’s meaning. Such a powerful portrait of yourself to use.

    “This gave me the opportunity to figure out what I am, as far as my ethnicity goes.” ❤️ that!!

    Bravo, kudos, props, and thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I would love to work on more about ancestry with you! I have heard good things about 23 and me as well. I am just unsure how the two are different. I think I heard someone say it takes your Y chromosome or something? Not sure.

      I hate how some people have taken this whole post sensitively. I am only embracing the ancestry and who I am because I think it’s cool!

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  3. You are my beautiful cousin Rachael.
    What a writer you are girl! Gifted in so many way!
    I did Ancestry also about 7 years ago, I’ll have to find my results again!
    It came up mostly German, Irish, English, Italian.
    Funny, growing up (& still sometimes now)
    I got asked all the time “what are you!?!” Lol
    Like you, I wanted to answer in many different ways, but usually just said German & Native American.
    I love seeing all your pics sweetie ❤️
    Take care,
    Lisa

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa! I find it easier to write than to speak sometimes. It’s easier to express in words. And I got a lot of ish churning up there in my brain half the time! LOL. Thanks for all the love ❤

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    1. Oh I’m sure you have a genetic makeup of more than you can imagine. Especially with your light eyes. People also do the 23 and me one and seem to get good results too. Do the test girl!

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  4. My beautiful, Rachael. You are a very strong person to inquire about your DNA. Of course, I will always think of you as my little granddaughter; and, therefore, it is difficult for me to face the fact that you are all grown up. You are a wonderful writer. You never shared with me the conflicts you faced over the years. I suppose my head was in the sand just wanting always the best for you, and not realizing you had questions. When I read about your feelings, I am amazed, and ashamed, that I didn’t realize how you questioned, and were asked, who you were? You have the ability to hide things within yourself. I am so proud of you and always want the best for you. I want you to be happy and safe. That’s the reason I always say “be careful and don’t talk to strangers.” And, I know those are words you don’t want to hear but you know I will say it all the time. Papa and I love you so much. Keep writing and enjoying life!! Love always, Nanny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you have made me very happy 😀 No need to feel ashamed. It was everything I was going to figure out on my own! Y’all have given me the best of everything and I’m so happy to have you and Papa! Love you!!❤️

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