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Good Narrative Principles

23 & Me

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IMG_6445I love my parents. Those guys are so awesome. For my Sweet Sixteen they bought me a “thing” — dunno what to call it, a screening (?) a service (?) for 23andMe. I learned about it in Bio this year. My teacher, Ms. Jimenez, told us that now you can take a bit of saliva and use it to decode your genetic makeup and that just “blew her mind”.

You know, how some things can become catch phrases? Well, “blow your mind” had a good run for a few weeks. Like, “ooh, this soggy burger blew my mind” or “the soda machine ate my dollar, which just about blew my mind.” (Maybe I’m confusing “blow my mind” with “bummed me out”?) But at night, at home, I started digging around on the Internet and though I didn’t say anything about it to my crew, like how genuinely awesome it would be to have a report on my genetic self, I was intrigued.

(Note to self: “intrigued” is a good word to use in my college essay).

I bugged my parents and eventually they caved. It’s not cheap, this service, this “thing”. But then again, neither is a reading with a good astrologer. My parents don’t think it’s a fair comparison. But, consider this: both astrology and genetics tap into your curiosity about the future. And both offer you a script, which may or may not come true. Just like genetics isn’t destiny, neither is the arrangement of stars in our galaxy. Sure they both tug at you and influence/limit who you might become, but I like to think that there’s a higher self running the show.

What I really want to know is who am I? My Mom grew up in a crazy cultured house where it was the norm to learn Swahili when her Dad (my Grandpa, the love bug) was stationed in Kenya. Will that flair for language show up in my 23andMe report? Or would it be better suited to my astrological forecast? Maybe I didn’t inherit that “whatever” (gift), (flair), (wiring). My Dad makes awesome pancakes for us every Saturday or Sunday (depending on whether or not one of us has a soccer game or swim meet). Again, that’s probably not a trait that’ll appear in either the genetic report or star chart but maybe is the key to my character.

School’s out (finally!). The last few nights, me and my crew have been lighting bonfires at the beach. There’s a wildness that comes over me when we’re sitting around the fire with the ‘smores and peach schnapps. I look at the stars. I’m not thinking about astrology or genetics, instead, I’m just feeling that strong pull, that tug towards freedom. I go skinny-dipping. I kiss the boys, the girls. I’m not drunk (honest). I’m not high (okay, maybe a little).

I wish that moment could last forever. I keep thinking that if I stare at one star long enough (I can always find it using my Star Chart app) maybe I can project this wildness into energy that I can then tap into it when needed, like in the winter when the world goes glum.

And say I’m successful at pushing this essence of me towards a star (let’s just say). Is that essence the real me? More real than my genetic makeup or that I was born under the influence of Uranus (that’s a joke).

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