Have you ever wondered who you are?
Maybe you've found yourself asking things like, "Where did I come from? Why do I look like this? Am I doomed with this DNA I have been given? Can I overcome those innate traits?"
Aesthetically, as a child I always wondered who I was. I have very curly, dark brown hair, olive skin, brown eyes, and full features. This was a striking contrast to my fair skinned, hazed eyes, svelte figured, German heritage mother.
I was asked by others if I was half black, or rudely asked, “What are you?” School kids taunted me, pulled my curls, and called me awful names. In a predominately white, suburban community, I stuck out.
My mother’s family loved me and shared our German heritage. The strong, stout, and determined heritage of hardworking men and women that brought my great-grandfather and his family out of Eastern Europe to Canada in the early 1930s and then to America in the late 1940s.
My mother explained that my curls came from my father’s side and her side, and that my olive skin was because my father’s family was Spanish. I was Spanish. I didn’t feel Spanish. That part of my heritage was missing, and for years, I felt something was missing in me.
By my thirties, my biological father was in my life and I tried to gleam some of his heritage. I was also interested in my medical history, my DNA that determines if diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or mental illness was part of my future. I knew I was dyslexic and that this learning disability follows the father’s line. I was filled in with loads of possible illnesses from not only my father’s side, but my mother’s too. Mental illness and disorders ran amuck, as did many physical tendencies.
I was doomed. Or at least I felt doomed, until I began to research how to ward off each illness. Diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking, drugs, environment, stress, lifestyle, and a slew of other things would - and could - affect my tendency toward and control of possible illnesses.
On the website Scitable, which has an editorial team of close to twenty university Ph.D. professors, there was an article titled, "Some Sections of DNA DO NOT Determine Traits, but Affect the Process of Transcription: Gene Regulation." Yeah, a fun read. But what I learned in just the first paragraph was that my DNA doesn’t automatically determine who I am. Rather, there are parts of my DNA that merely direct the process. They use the example of an orchestra conductor. While each part of the orchestra has a distinct purpose and use, the conductor controls when each instrument is expressed.
This led me to an "ah-ha moment" for me. While my DNA has a set of instruments, there are so many factors that conduct what is expressed, when it is expressed, and how it is expressed. I was NOT doomed.
Our lives are not determined by our DNA.