Several Things My DNA Results Revealed Besides My Ethnic Background

When approaching the observance of Black History Month in recent years, I’ve opted to focus more on the obscure and the provocative. Most people who attended public school in the United States at one point in their lives or another knows that Harriet Tubman helped slaves escape to New England and Canada, but I highly doubt that many know that she is also an honored (though questionably compensated) war hero.

Another way that I’ve been celebrating the quieter moments in black history is by looking into my only family history. I may not be the great-grandniece of an NAACP founder or kin to NBA royalty, but every bloodline is unique as the next and it makes us all who we are. Stories like that of Henrietta Lacks are the truest testament to this. Embracing and cherishing your eccentricity and singularity is truly an act of self-love.

And what better way to embrace your own uniqueness than to mail your spit off to a DNA testing company? It should be no secret now that with the help of modern science and technology, anyone can learn about where they come from. T’Challa has the right idea.

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I opted for a DNA test that looked at everything from ethnicity to disease variants. I had always been interested in learning more about my ethnic background, particularly my African and Native American ancestry, and medical history. My results were very surprising and I ended up learning more about myself than I expected.

Music is in my blood

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According to my DNA results, I have a 50/50 chance of being able to “match musical pitch”. 50/50 might seem like too neutral of a stat, but lucky for me, I’ve got historical proof to back it up. 

Guess whose maternal grandfather is the lead singer.

My family is no more Motown royalty than they are NBA royalty, but I still, he’s my grandpa, not yours.

“Big-boned” and sickle cell free

The good news is, based on my genetics, I’m not at risk of having it. The bad news is that people of African descent are most likely to suffer from the disease.

“Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder characterized by anemia, episodes of pain, and frequent infections. A person must have two HbS variants in the HBB gene in order to have this condition.” – 23andme

Although I’m not at risk of sickle cell, I am prone to naturally weigh nearly 10% more than clinically suggested for someone my height.

Shocking.

This undoubtedly means that I have to work harder than the “average” (whatever that means) person to stay in shape. But, it also means that “in shape” might look different for me than what it looks like for you. And that is ok because science says so. I am okay because I am me.

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And furthermore, the way I see it, women who look like me had to look good, women my grands and great-grands didn’t have trouble finding husbands.

The brilliant moral of this story is that I’m attractive, I’m black, I’m not tone deaf and there is absolutely no one else quite like me.

Happy Black History Month.

 

 *Featured image of Henrietta Lacks is from Medical Daily via Wikimedia.


 

downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.

Not Having Kids? Not Buying a Car?: My side of the Story

I recently learned that I might very well be contributing to the decline of the natural born U.S. citizens. As a college-educated urban millennial woman, I find myself on the edge of my seat these days, itching to learn what new institutional-crushing superpower market researchers and journalists have uncovered about me.

I’m 26 years old and, in addition to not having or planning on having kids, I don’t own a house or even a car. I use to feel ashamed of my lack of control over my life and how I was potentially letting down my family by not actually manufacturing a life for myself to mirror that of my mother and grandmother (women who firmly believe that children are what make life complete).

I  have no idea what my life will look like in 3 years, let alone 6 months, and I’ve recently accepted that I really don’t have time right now to think about it. Long story short, here are 5 reasons why I’m told need to have kids and why I absolutely will not.

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You need to pass on your legacy.

Seeing as you likely skipped the intro, I’ll reiterate the fact that I don’t own any property of value such as a house or vehicle and have no desire to. So, if I died today, what exactly would I be leaving to pass down? My refurbished laptop? An Instagram account of barely 50 followers?

You would make such cute babies. 

My S.O. (significant other) is cute and she thinks I’m cute. But I am literally a meat sack of recessive genes and, well the logistics of us reproducing aren’t readily plausible logistically.

You will have more people to share the fruit of your success with.

My over-21 friends have loads of fun attending brunch and paying for alcoholic beverages with our hard-earned money.

Babies smell good.

That is a very very strong argument. Babies do in fact smell heavenly. Sometimes, when I’m feeling down, I will randomly request to hold a baby. Babies are wonderful. They love you unconditionally and they can’t walk into the kitchen steal your leftover Thai food when you’re not looking. However, a 6-year-old can, a 15-year-old can, and so can the 23-year-old college grad who will inevitably be living in your basement rent-free for another 5 years. I’m good.  

Children are a reflection of the love you and your spouse share.

Please see #3. The love of my life, too, enjoys the brunch. We drink mimosas and talk about our feelings.

Health Blog with an Obese Editor

Despite being interested in health and wellness for a long time, I must reveal to that I am a 5’7 26-year-old cis woman boasting a Body Mass Index of 36.8. I’m clinically obese and probably the last person who should be online offering her two cents with regards to being healthy.

Yes. I’ve been ordering pizza multiple times a week. Yes. I constantly hit the snooze button whenever my 5 a.m. workout alarm sounded off. And did I mention that my early my 20s have died and gone along with my metabolism? This kind of behavior is without a doubt counterintuitive of the founder of a health blog.

The problem is that during the trauma-drill that was 2018 and a nice chunk of 2017, I simply wasn’t writing.

I stopped believing in my writing and became more and more afraid of sharing my writing with others. I opted to share an extra large pizza instead. Eating helped me cope with rejection, since much of the time I normally spent being active, was spent pointlessly job hunting, networking, and trying to gain ‘real skills’ that I could use to make a decent living, and thus be productive to the world rather than being true to myself. Stepping on the scale did nothing to boost morale, but my Uber Eats account was always there to pick up the slack.

Is there something in your life that you’re either really good at or really enjoy? Imagine feeling like adulthood told you that there’s no longer any time in your day to do it, or that it isn’t important. I won’t speak for you, but I that feeling does not inspire me to take care of myself, let alone go for a jog.

That said, I don’t write for ‘Health Experts United’ or the ‘Perfect Patty Paper’. I created realness of health to tell real stories about real things in my very real life. Instead of abandoning my creations and allowing my humble following to wither away, I will be dedicating 2019 to rebuilding and strengthening my relationship with sleep food writing.

I don’t have any official list of New Year’s resolutions because in today’s scary, polluted, competitive society, being my best and healthiest self will be no more or less of a day by day, inch-by-inch challenge in 2019 than it was in 2018.

As I reacquaint myself with my first love, I encourage you to do the same. Do your work. Do some good. But take some time to do something to affirm who you are.

Happy New Year,

Jiell

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downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.

So Here I Am, Spitting In A Tube For 5 Minutes..

For as long as I could remember, I’ve been interested in culture, heritage and the things that make us all unique. As an African-American, it’s disappointing to face the reality that knowledge of my African family history will never reach farther back than my great grandparents (for most of us, knowledge barely surpasses our grandparents). My resourcefulness and love of history led me to discover my Native American (Haliwa-Saponi) roots, but I was always curious to learn more.

I finally gave in and purchased a DNA test kit which promises to give me answers to all my questions about my identity. Not only will my ethnic makeup be broken down, but I will also learn about my physical traits and diseases I’m more or less likely to carry. I’m excited and anxious at the same time. Imagine having a laundry list of all the diseases you have an 80% chance of dying from..

In a little over a month I should have my results. In the meantime, I’m enjoying this process as a nice conversation starter.

 

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downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.

Why realness of health?

At one point, I could often be found clicking away on Pinterest, pinning countless recipes I ended up never trying and inspirational quotes/graphics that were clearly just ads for Nike. I liked to think myself a psuedo-gym rat mainly because I would only have seasons when gym was life followed by two months of straggle and regression.

One reason for my inconsistency was my losing sight of why I chose this lifestyle to begin with. You’re likely thinking, “DUH,” you go to Zumba and eat kale like pudding because you want to look good in skinny jeans!” And to that I say there’s few flaws the right blouse and camera angle can’t fix. At 205lbs I didn’t have trouble getting approached at least once at the bar. Therefore I needed more substantial motivation.

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Ok. But, DiGiorino, Netflix and feelings. Yea.

My other reason for falling off the wagon so much was the fact that after a while I would just get bored. Just as Crossfit is great for some and Pilates works for others, generic Barbie trainers marching in place and Marine bros constantly asking
me if I even lift just wasn’t cutting it for me. I needed a happy medium. Something to make me feel empowered and, more importantly, keep me awake!

I intend to provide the same to others with realness of health. I want to empower, inform and entertain people. I also wish to bring more attention to other important aspects of one’s well-being beyond protein shakes and gym selfies (but I won’t rule those guilty pleasures out completely).

There’s a vision in my head of what realness of health can become and hope that you will join me in watching it all unfold. Will you?

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Jiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.