23andMe, Exploring My Cultural Ancestry

For as along as I can remember I wanted to know more about who I am. I grew up without a father, and my family is not exactly "close" or large.I can honestly say there was a void I wanted to explore deeper.

The last couple of years that have pushed me to explore this more. As a teenager, I never had vernaculars like “brown girl” or “Latinx” or even “gender queer” to back me up with pride. Growing up in Miami didn’t exactly help my cultural dilemma. I grew up in mixed schools of Hispanic and African descent, and my childhood best friend was Sharome Moss of Bahamian background. I ate boiled conch, mondongo, congri, and hot sausages and my favorite curse word is coño, so my cultural mix went above and beyond my Colombian heritage.

What tipped my curiosity was my friendship with Satin Fye, a dear friend, and a very culturally proud and informed Black woman. She knew so much about her family and their history. She had made it a point to educate herself and her two young boys about who they are and where their roots originated. One day we were talking, and I confessed to her that I was completely clueless as to who I am, and what my cultural identity is. She encouraged me to explore, and a friend had completed the 23andME test and posted about it on Facebook that week, I followed suit and purchased my own.($99)

A spit vile and six weeks later what I found out shocked me.

Here are my results:

It turns out I am mostly European and East Asian/Native American.

I’m from the Iberian Peninsula also known as Iberia, located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Portugal and Spain, comprising most of their territory.

Here’s why I was surprised:

You know when you have a particular affinity toward certain people and cultures? Well, that is how I’ve always felt toward Africa. There has always been an underlying familiarity to me, and I’ve always felt comfortable occupying this space. I have a deep appreciation for the music, the food, the traditional clothing and the people. I’ve always said I need to go to Africa before my death. It's not something I can explain because it's more based on feeling, like I've been there before, almost like dejavu.

I also learned this below which helped me make more sense of my results:

Iberia stands out among other southern European populations as having the highest levels of ancestry originating both in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa which is mainly ascribed to the long Islamic presence in the Iberian peninsula and possibly African slavery.

My test then also revealed I was East Asian and Native American.

People have always called me “India” or "tira-flecha" literally translating to "person who throws arrows" in Spanish meaning of course that I am of indigenous descent but often in my language that can be a way to degrade people who look like me or share similar features. Back in the day, this used to bother me but a couple of body and indigenous positive Instagram accounts and deep dives into Google the history put me at ease and helped me find my pride pushing me to immerse myself in the history.

Here are other reports made available to me with my test, aside from the Ancestry Composition report which you've seen above in the images.

I won’t say the Ancestry Composition report itself gave me some profound deeper understanding of who I am in this world, but I got what I wanted from it. I at least have a foundation of what makes me up historically and genetically. The site also allows users to plug in more information and see from its pool of users how many persons on the site may be related to you based on results. It’s comforting to have some orientation as to where my ancestors originated and a starting point to more self-discovery.

For more information on the test visit https://www.23andme.com/ Follow @RoamFreeWrites on Instagram