Bastards Are Beautiful

Last year I found out I was a bastard. Let me back up. One day I made my sister take a DNA test through 23andme and I think her exact words when I asked her to do it were "I hate you" but she spit into the tube anyway. And so did I.

Here's how it works. You order the kit and it arrives 2-4 weeks later. I did mine during the holiday time so it was busier. Apparently the holidays aren't just for sipping nog. They're also for testing your DNA. Then you get the kit and if you're like me, you skip the directions (because you didn't see them) and you use the pictures for guidance (rarely a good idea). You spit in the tube, send it off and hope you did a good job. Of spitting that is. And then you wait. My results came back first. I was surprised to find out that I was now part Native American. A fact I like to exploit any chance I get. But my results were nothing without my sisters so I waited some more.

DNA kits seem to be flying off the shelf these days. For many, they are looking for health clues and for others, it's the family tree piece. None of us want bad news and all of us are probably hoping for clues to a rich, famous and intelligent past. Here's my best advice; if you're going to ask the question, you better be ready for the answer. Sometimes it's what you thought. Sometimes it's not and sometimes it will break your heart into more pieces than you thought possible.

There are many ways to look at DNA testing; it's a scam to get your genetic information for a take over of the world, it's a way to tap into potentially harmful/devastating health reports, it's a path to find that long lost parent or sibling or for some, it's just good old fashioned fun. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of how you feel about it, it's a tool. And for those of us looking for clues into family members it can be very helpful. The night before my sister's results came back I figured this would be something we'd all look back on and laugh at later on. Just another wild and crazy idea. But I was wrong. And that was denial talking because it turned out that my sister and I are half sisters. Which corroborated an often repeated family joke; that a short cowboy came to town one day and that's how I came to be.

So, just like that I was a bastard. I'd never been called one before. I'd been called many things, but never a bastard. I embraced my bastardness. I wanted to have t-shirts made and it was like a one trick pony; I brought it out every chance I got. I know it sounds callous but let me tell you, we all process big news differently. And I chose to embrace and share and tweet and tell everyone I knew that I was now a bastard. A Native American bastard, but still, a bastard. See, that's how I roll. Find out my dad's not my dad? Tell everyone. Go out and try to find the real dad? You bet. Tell everyone I know, everyone I meet and everyone I see in the street.

So out I set out to find him. I had one hint, two dead parents and not much else to go on. I had romantic and childlike thoughts that he'd be like me; short, funny, mildly attractive but not so much to draw attention and I really hoped he liked bikes. I tried to hire a private investigator but he said it was a needle in a haystack. Well, never one to back down or shy from a good challenge, I went looking to see what I could find. I went looking for a needle.