The DNA Edit: Finding Myself

It's no joke when I say that I've been called every race under the sun. Latina, Asian, and "Ohh a little spicy" are words that have followed me throughout my whole life - and weirdly it never bothered me.

I always knew I wasn't strictly white. I'm a sallow-skinned, dark-hair, eyes as dark as the devil kind of girl, while all my friends were light skinned and fair, eyes you could actually see their pupils type thing.

My mum, being slightly lighter than me, green-eyed, dark hair and rosy complexion, slightly middle eastern looking woman, but nowhere near as dark as I am. So I never got much pigmentation from her. My dad is a dark Spanish looking man, but still not as dark as me, so again not much there. But put the two together and boom you get one foreign looking kid.

Having said that, my grandmother on my mother's side always baffled me. A very beautiful looking woman who was always radiant in her complexion, but again, not looking as white as her relatives did. I used to joke with her that I got her pigmentation, and she joked that we had an Indian grandmother, which I always laughed and brushed off.

My gran always had sallow skin, dark pigmentation, prominent blue/purple tinges in places where there should be colour, eg her lips. I had this too, being so sallow-skinned my lips shone blue due to my pigmentation, again she always joked it was from our Indian family.

She had hair that was darker than mine, so dark and black like a raven's wing it shone blue. She was unbelievably beautiful from her younger days right through to her final years, but she never looked white.

My great-grandmother Mary (who was affectionately called Molly, and who I'm named after) was also the same. Sallow-skinned and dark, she also had the same beauty around her. I sadly never got the chance to meet her, but I was always told of her beauty.

So this brings me to my family, full of dark-haired children, but only a select few with the same complexion as our grandmother. I joke that we are the chosen ones but we really just got hammered in school, or at least I did.

So it begged the question of my father's side. Now I am easily the darkest out of them, with my pigmentation being the strongest, and notably, I do look like my father as my father would be the next darkest to me, but what about his father? Well, he was just as dark as us. And the four of us (including my half-brother) are all very tall, very dark and very sallow-skinned.

So okay, I'm clearly not the full Colgate white here. We've established that. But where did it come from? Where did we get this colour from? I thought we were all Scottish. But are we?

Truth is, we aren't.

I've been on a journey for years to find out where I am from. I've been told we were Indian, a little Asian and Spanish, but not very much else due to wars, documentation going missing and the traditional stiff upper lip getting in the way of truth and family anomalies.

An example of this was at my birth when a blue, pigmented spot appeared at the base of my spine. With a frantic mother and a lot of panics (as with any new mum) I was rushed to the doctor's where they were presented with the question;

"Do you have Mongolian ancestry?"

Now for two (albeit every so slightly foreign-looking) white parents you could imagine them looking at each other baffled and shaking their heads like two cartoon animated characters.

They were informed that what I had was Mongolian Blue Spot, which is exactly as it is, a blue spot from those with Mongolian ancestry. So with obviously no knowledge of this prior to falling pregnant, my mum had a whole lot of questions.

As it turns out, one of my great-great-great-great-grandfathers (however many times great) brought home a Mongolian wife on his travels. Which I can just imagine my mother sitting baffled and jaw locked at this news.

And that was how we found out I was the great-grandchild of Genghis Khan. Kidding. Kind of.

Jokes aside that's how I found out I was a bit Mongolian. So what next?

Well, Armenian, Mexican and more Iberian and Middle Eastern to name a few.

We started out finding out about the Middle Eastern part of my DNA. With my grandmother always saying we were part Indian, I was so confused to find out that we actually had no percentage in India, but actually in Armenia, Pakistan, Iran and, Iraq. The biggest of they percentages being in Armenia and Pakistan.

So what? You're a Kardashian now?

Well, pretty much. I do have the booty.

The other side was obviously Spanish and Portuguese, being Iberian. We have connections in El Salvador, Mexico, Belize and, Guatemala, which most Hispanic people do, but I never knew how broad my DNA went. To go from a small town in Scotland, knowing only small parts of my history, to finding out that I'm equal parts Middle Eastern and Hispanic as I am Scottish. It blew my mind.

The girl who always wondered why there was no Disney princess to represent me, now has a mix of them all running through my veins.

But don't we all?

As much as we all have strong heritages and cultures that define our lives, we all are a blend of individuals from all different backgrounds.

And frequently through my life, I've had comments, jibes and full out racist bullshit directed my way.

For no reason other than the lack of education. I say a lack of education because we still live in a world where we categorize and discriminate against people based on their skin colour and cultural differences. And that's purely down to the lack of education. Decades of racism bred into some people without thinking about its effects or how it could be stopped.

Just as recently as last week, I was stopped in my tracks as yet again I was tormented for who I was. And with simple education, we could stop that from happening again.

The matter of fact is that we all come from different backgrounds, and that's perfectly okay. We can be all shapes, sizes, colours and cultures and that is also perfectly fine. We are all a blend of different people, be it a first generation or further back. So there is no need to point the finger and call someone out because of their background, because unless you know every single generation of your family from day dot, then you don't have a technicoloured leg to stand on.

For me, it's simple. I was brought up with strong women, and the colour of their skin didn't inhibit them from inspiring me and bringing me up. Behind every woman was another woman, and behind them stood another. They all worked with sheer grit and determination to make the world better for the generation that followed. They all worked immensely hard so that the women who came after them had a voice. And could be heard.

I’m a proud woman. Proud of my heritage however colourful it may be. Proud of the women who came before me to give me the voice I have. Proud to call myself a feminist. A woman. A fighter.
I speak without permission because I do not have to ask. I live my life free because I do not have to be shackled. I love who I love because I live in a world where love is love. And it is because of our women. Of all nations. All colours. All races. All women.
The women who came before me and you fought discrimination and hardship to give us the platform we have to shout for our voices to be heard.

The colour of their skin? No issue here.

And it shouldn't be.

Today I stand as a perfectly blended individual. With the colours of all the cultures running through my veins. And that excites me. It makes me alive. It inspires me to carry on the work of these women from the cultures that apply to me. It makes me feel educated, knowing that I've researched the hardships and events that the countries I share my DNA with have been through.

But most of all it makes me feel me. Because without that savvy and empowered woman from the Middle East, without that strong and bold Hispanic lady and without that fierce and brave Scottish woman that all did what they had to do for their families, I wouldn't be standing here today being the person I am, doing what I do to change the world I live in.

And for that, I thank all the women, of every culture across the world, for making this possible.