I'm not sure if you all know what 23andMe is...

Well, assuming that you don't 23andMe is a company that does DNA testing, genetics, and analysis. Basically, you order a kit and the company sends a tube over to your house. You spit in it, send it back and you wait a few weeks to get your results; my results were not what I expected.

I did 23andMe a year ago, I had bought the test kit as a present to myself when I graduated from community college. I was so excited and did a ton of research before I decided to have my DNA stashed with a bunch on randos in a lab. Thankfully, there are security questions and giving DNA does require consent. Whether or not you want them to continuous use your data for further research is entirely up to you.

I'm Thai by the way, I talk about my identity quite a lot. I'm immensely proud of being Thai. When I moved to America the first place I visited was the Thai temple in Berkeley. I wanted to find a place that reminded me of home. Eventually, I joined the Thai Cultural Center and I continuously talk about my heritage to all my friends and to people I know. It's who I am.

When my results came in, I was in shock. 23andMe had traced my mother's family all the way back to when the first humans migrated out of Africa (I'm Haplogroup M! If any of you are out there I could be related to you LOL). I'd get into the nitty-gritty details of why DNA is only traced from your mother's side but that's not why I'm here (but also mitochondria).

I understand that not everyone is just from one place but according to my results, I wasn't from the country I called home.

I consist of all parts of Asia but mostly Chinese and Vietnamese with ZERO Thai. I definitely thought I was adopted for a quick second but rather than ask my parents what was going on, I spiraled into an identity crisis. In the summer of 2017, I chopped 12 inches of my hair and dyed my hair in a total of 4 times; this was also the year I got into UCLA so I was having a blast figuring out who I really was. I was having a hard time and I didn't want to admit it.

Eventually, I spoke to my parents and we couldn't even trace our family back that far. Tracing our lineage was never really important to us. The family we have now are the important ones.

As an anthropology student, I am taught that culture is learned.

Which is very true for my case. Even though my DNA tells me otherwise, I will always be Thai in the eyes of my friends, family and myself. I was raised in the traditions and by the people who are associated with that culture. Plus I love Thai food way too much to not be Thai.

So if you're planning to do 23andMe, definitely try it out. I was curious about my heritage and honestly looking at my results now, I'm just fascinated at how advanced technology has become. Don't let the results dictate your identity, you are who you are based on your family and how you were raised.