Deoxyribonucleic Acid…..that’s a mouthful. I remember being in primary school when I first learned the word. “Deoxyribonucleic Acid,” was the second longest word I learned how to spell the first being, “encyclopedia.” However, the first word I actually learned to read was “shit.” I’ll never forget seeing it spray painted in bright red letters on the side of a big blue dumpster. I was with my cousin, Blu. I remember giggling about it- I wonder if he remembers that? Funny how brains work, isn’t it? How we remember some things and others we forget. Such an intricate organ that no one will ever fully understand. I have a theory on that. I personally believe that our souls are housed in our brain. We can live without everything else in our body… the parts that break down can be remade, reattached, regrown, or harvested by cadavers—- not the brain tho. No sir. That thing breaks down or quits firing and that’s it. I don’t know about you, “But for me and my house, we serve the Lord,” (Josh. 24:15), and I believe the brain was designed by God Almighty, therefore, it will never be fully understood. I’m ok with that– but I hope He knows that when I get up there imma have so many questions HAHA He’s gonna be like, “Can someone come get her before I change my mind?!”
I’m not perfect, no one is. I curse, I drink socially and I’ve been known to nibble the devil’s lettuce. God loves me still; after all, I have some of His DNA pulsing in my veins. We all do whether you chose to believe it or not. That being said, I wonder why that’s not good enough for some of us? I wonder why we pay money for ancestry kits to tell us where we are from? Why can we not accept that we all came from the dust and that God breathed life into? (Gen. 2:7) I am guilty that it’s not enough for me. I have a fire burning inside of me that I feel cannot be extinguished until I know the unknown.
Let’s do a short review (for those of you who followed my now lost forever blog) in Willow history 101: Ready?
My mama was very young when she married. Her husband was a young man himself. He was a soldier in the US Army which meant he was going to be away often. I do not know the true details of this or that.. I’ve been lied to so many times that I don’t know what to believe anymore but her version of the story goes like this. He left for Germany, met a woman and said he wanted a divorce. She moved to Florida with an aunt for a while, then home to Kentucky after a drug overdose. She met a man named, Glenn, and became pregnant. He wanted her to abort me, she fused, he left. That’s it in a nutshell.
From the age of 4-5 I have been told this story and I developed a love for this man who didn’t want me. From the age of 16 I played all kinds of games trying to track him down and eventually I did by calling his sister-in-law, pretending to be a woman on the yearbook committee from his old high school. I lied saying that we were having a reunion and his contact information was no longer valid. It worked like a charm. She gave me his contact info and I began piecing myself together. Glenn was very upset with me, my mother – all of it. He wanted nothing to do with it. I was broken-hearted. What kind of monster doesn’t want to know his child? I left it alone for a long while then one day it hit me out of nowhere…like a sock.. full of soap bars. (that shit hurts in case you don’t know) I called him again a few years later from my work phone, asking for a name that wasn’t his. I just wanted to hear his voice. He was nice to me, a stranger looking for “Benjamin.” Again my heart broke but I was happy too. It’s a complicated puzzle of emotions to work.
This was about the same time that I learned what Ancesty.com was. I had just begun running a collection agency and used several websites for skip-tracing. At this time there was no AncestryDNA, just the site and it was full of records. I spent hours upon hours searching; gathering everything I could on this man and his history: My history. I was ok with it as it was until my son called me to tell me while doing his DNA (23andMe) his wife came across Glenn’s gravestone. I immediately got on the internet to see for myself- it was true, Glenn had passed.
At this point, I knew the hopes of him wanting to love me were over. He died and took everything I didn’t know about myself with him. I visited his grave and I mourned his death as if he had been in my life always. I went home and tracked his widow down and sent her a message with my phone number, begging her to please tell me about him. I wanted to know what he smelled like, what kind of music he liked, about my sister. To my surprise, she called me. She told me everything I wanted to know and everything I didn’t. I decided that he was an asshole but he was my asshole and id love him anyway. I’d go and sit on his grave, plant flowers and just accept it for what it was.
AncestryDNA. I bought a kit because why not? I knew who I was now but where did I come from? Where did my roots begin? Was I French? German? Irish?? Irish makes sense: Fair skinned, light eyes, freckles, red highlights in my hair. Yes I must be Irish! How exciting it was to finally see my results pop up after a month of waiting.
85% England, Wales, and NW Europe, 12% Scot-Irish, 2% Norway
I began building a tree, putting my pieces in order. I had a tree. It had roots.
Had. Yes, you read that correctly; HAD. As exciting and giving as AncestryDNA is, its also a truth teller and my “first cousins” and my “sister” were not a match. One of them contacted me about a misspelling of her mothers’ name in my tree but she asked no questions. We began sharing stories, she was very helpful but she said we weren’t a DNA match. That’s crap! At first, I wanted to believe that these people were just hateful and didn’t want to share their DNA findings with me because of making their family look bad. She agreed to meet with me and over lunch we talked. She was actually very nice and she was telling the truth– we don’t match. You have to match your first cousins… I was devasted. Even now as I write this, my heart is broken, my tears flow. Not because of the truth but because of the truth that it was all a lie. The only one who told me the truth the whole time was Glenn the asshole. He told me from the age of 16 he was not my biological father and to leave it alone. I didn’t listen. Why didn’t I listen?
I was told how much I looked like him, how I had his eyes— I look NOTHING like him and by the way, his eyes were black as coal, mine are blue. His skin tone olive…. IM THE COLOR OF MILK!!!!!! I’m so angry. I’m soooo angry.
Next step- testing my mother. There are just too many DNA connections to sort through. Ancestry will separate maternal DNA from paternal DNA for me. One less thing to put on my plate. I activated her test on 9/7, it was received on the 12th, processing began on the 18th, DNA started being extracted on the 20th, it’s being analyzed currently—– any day now I’ll get the text that it’s ready. Every day I open the app with a held breath, scared of the unknown, but wanting to know it at the same time. And what am I supposed to do with the information? What if’s….. omg so many what if’s.
This is by far the hardest, most stressful thing I have ever had to deal with. I feel like my whole life has been an ocean of lies. I’m swimming like hell for the surface but I’m exhausted. I am so exhausted.