The Results Are In!

Peace fam. To say that I am overwhelmingly excited would be an understatement this morning. A few months ago, I submitted my DNA to be tested for my ancestral lineage. I have always wanted to know what countries my bloodlines led to but had never taken the time or resources to do so. As you may or may not know, I am legally changing my name from my birth name. I love my family, no doubt, but my attachment to a name that is not reflective of my lineage, heritage, or lifestyle (among other things) led me to want to choose a name more in line with the life I am building and the legacy I am leaving behind. Thus, you have Ashaki, a West Afrikan name that means beautiful.

Well, let me get to it. Drumroll please lol! I received my results last night. My DNA is a combination of Cameroon/Congo, Nigeria, Benin/Toga, and Senegal. I only have 8% European (and a message from Ancestry saying that it is a “low confidence region). Anyway, I am highly honored to be one of the few Afrikans living in Amerikka that actually knows their origins. I am also very happy to have found some family that share DNA with me. I also reviewed the birth records of my paternal grandfather online which showed where he was born in Jamaica, as well as the birth date of my maternal great-great grandfather, who was born in 1886. How amazing this journey of self discovery is!! I was moved to tears looking at the military records of my great grandfather, the census of my maternal great grandfather, as well as other documents.

I am piecing together history for my descendants. They will know where they come from. We are resilient, we are strong, we are Afrikan!! I have been under reconstruction now for months, learning who I am as a woman, finding my weaknesses, my strengths, my shortcomings, my quirks. I have been taking care of self. Now, I am finding out parts of myself that I did not know existed. Thousands of years ago, my ancestors in Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal were living, loving, working, and dreaming. I am my ancestors wildest dreams. I am my ancestors. I am back.

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

Celebrating Junior

Peace & blessings fam! Seems like it has been eons since I have written but I write everyday, I just do not always blog it, post it, or even put pen to paper. Anyway, my life has changed so much over the last few months—from losing a brother, deciding to bring some things to a close, turning age (36!!), and beginning a new business. I am learning more and more about myself and it is not always easy to look at yourself and love yourself inside and out. Anyway, tomorrow is a very special day. It is the day my baby brother would have turned 33 years old.

It is hard to believe that my brother transitioned from this life 23 years ago, exactly 6 days before his 11th bEarthday. I sometimes can see glimpses of him in my two youngest sons- from the smirk on my baby’s face that he has worn from almost birth to the need to be outdoors as much as humanly possible that my 7-year-old exhibits. My brother is ever present. Memories of him have not faded and some are more distinct than others.

One of my favorite memories of my brother was from a few weeks before his transition. My mother used to work the late shift so he and I would be home alone a lot even during his sickness. Anyway, he and I would watch movies until bedtime. He began to tell me how he knew he was dying and that he knew we were trying to hide the truth from him. I felt tears well up in my eyes and I thought he couldn’t feel my pain because I was dying inside myself. I had just had to bury my father after he was killed in a work related accident and my brother was nearing his time. There was no joy to be felt during that time. I felt very hopeless. And then, my brother helped ease my heart. He told me that I should not be sad because he was not afraid and he was ready to die. He said that each time he closed his eyes angels were there telling him that he was going to be just fine. He told me that he knew that this was just another beginning and that he would not know pain in his new life. I did not understand then, but I fully understand now and my understanding took years.

So, on March 23rd, 1995, my youngest brother, Donald Lovette Johnson Jr. , left his cancer striken 10 year old body and transcended into his new life. He left all the illness, pain, and heartache here on Earth. His spirit lives on no doubt. My brother loved “18 wheelers” (as he called them), riding his red Huffy bicycle, playing outside, and playing NBA Jams. My brother survived having a stroke at 2, brain surgeries, and multiple seizures to live to the ripe age of 10. My brother once kicked my ass for not letting him watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. My brother, who would try to follow me on his bike as I rode mine to my friends’ house and get mad and yell “I’m telling Mama!!” when I wouldn’t let him come. My brother, who knows my secrets, knows life behind the doors of our home, and who I kept safe from knowing more than I felt he could handle. My brother, who we called Junior, left an indelible mark upon my life. I am braver, stronger, more loving, more forgiving, and more grateful for life because of him. So, happy happy bEarthday Junior. Your sister loves you eternally……. March 29th will forever be your day so get ready for cake, a nice plate of food, and other offerings….most of all my love.

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

“Andre’a”