Beats me. I've never seen the attraction of staring at my belly, and as I've gotten older (and it's gotten larger) the idea holds even less appeal. Besides, my belly button is utterly clueless. If I were to do some gazing, the only thing I'm likely to find is a little bit of lint. Maybe yours is smarter.
But suppose he sent a sample of his DNA in for testing, and the results said his ancestors were actually from... Germany?
Would that change who he is?
|[image courtesy of morguefile]|
That's what the people on those annoying DNA-testing commercials say... one guy on there spent his entire life dancing in costume as a member of one ethnic group, but now that his DNA test results claim he's from an entirely different ethnic background, he's prepared to trade in his long-held identity for a new one.
I say... why???
As a gift, his wife recently gave him one of those DNA-testing kits, and guess what? According to the results, he doesn't have a single drop of Indian blood. He's English.
So should he trade in his deerskins for a bowler hat?
Again, I say... why???
I'm surprised DNA-testing has become so popular, but I personally think it's foolish to alter one's sense of identity based on the results. It might be a tad interesting to discover one's roots, even if they were planted hundreds of years ago in a country you've never seen, but how much does that past narrative relate to who you are today? Is your identity defined by someone else's life?
Heck no. I think not. My identity is defined by MY life and MY experiences. How about you? I suspect you agree with me, but after seeing so many stupid commercials about people who are embracing a new concept of self based on those arguably imperfect tests, I wanted to vent a little. (Whew! I feel much better now. Thanks!)
Here's a poem I wrote for the book Old Broads Waxing Poetic. It tells you...
Who I Am
I am from yesterday; from people, places, and times gone by; from sad memories that sear my soul, and joyous ones that make me sing.
I am from ocean, bay, river and creek; from Old Bay seafood seasoning, blue crabs, and homemade bread pudding made with stale white bread and rum-soaked raisins.
I am from a row house on a postage stamp lot in a noisy kid-filled neighborhood; from a tiny room with paper-thin walls that kept no secrets and hid no cries; from a window fan that sucked in stifling air that smelled like dog mess and flower gardens.
I am from hula hoops and bob-a-loops, hopscotch, and hot pink handlebar streamers; from roller skating in the street, jumping rope in the alley, and shooting beer bottles in the woods with a borrowed BB gun.
I am from dandelions and daisies, Black-eyed Susans, and sweet blankets of deep pink wild roses; from soil as dark as coffee grounds, fat earthworms wriggling on a fishhook, and fireflies twinkling in a jelly jar covered with a nail-punched lid.
I am from parents without sense of direction, pseudo-stern grandparents, and silly aunts; from cousins who were friends, and friends who were lifesavers.
I am from singing: with Mitch Miller, in cars, in bars, and around campfires with guitars and bongo drums; from books and more books, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles; from Pinochle, pitching pennies, and penny ante poker; from frantic footraces to the mailbox at the end of the street.
I am from today; from husband, children, and the best grandchildren in the world; from embracing new adventures and making new memories that make my heart sing.
I am wife, mother, and oh-so-silly grandmother, with cousins who are still friends, and friends who are still lifesavers; from red clay, dogwood trees and azaleas; from a modest home on a good-sized lot in a quiet neighborhood; from Old Bay seafood seasoning, blue crabs, and bread pudding made with cinnamon swirl raisin bread, and smothered in caramel rum sauce.
I am from books and more books, writing and more writing, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, and Suduko; from shooting bull’s-eyes out of targets at the gun club, and walking leisurely to the mailbox at the end of the driveway.
I am from yesterday; I am from today, just an updated still-singing version of the old-fashioned me… and exactly where I’m supposed to be.
And NO DNA test would ever... could ever... change me into someone I'm not. It might provide some surprises... but I'd still reserve the right to be myself. After all, it took me a long time to get here. (Unless, of course, I'm from another planet. Come to think of it, that would explain a lot...)
How about you? Can you think of anything in particular that helps define your identity?
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.