November 2020 – a little over a year ago, I ordered a DNA test. The results are above.
Who knew that I… me…. Jamie…. could be reduced down to a number? A percentage. A breakdown. A molecule.
That’s how insignificant I was. But I didn’t realize that until this very moment of writing this letter. The epiphany of the last 14 months just suddenly became clear. I reduced MYSELF to fit within those percentages on that DNA chart. That damn DNA chart!
So I went on this search to find that 91.3% African me and I moved to Ghana. Packed everything I owned and needed to survive, and moved my hind part (alone with no family or support) to West Africa… a place I have never visited before, nor did I personally know anyone there. Crazy, huh? Oh.. keep reading because it gets so much better!
I remember the day I told my family that I was moving to Ghana… it was during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it was on a virtual meeting platform called Zoom. The day I told my mother, the look on her face was pure sadness and pain. Her daughter was leaving the country, suddenly. I didn’t tell her this part, but when I saw the hurt I caused her, it broke me inside, but I knew I had to go. I was doing this for her… maybe one day, she’ll understand.
As I explained why I was leaving America to find our true family story, my exact words were:
“I’m not saying God is telling me to go, but I am saying that He is with me everywhere I go!”
That was my confession. I wanted to give them some kind of peace in the fact that I am leaving the entire continent without them. None of us knew what to expect, so it was kind of scary.
And so I set out on a mission to find me. That 91.3% me. The “me” I knew, the one I identified with, was the damaged 8.7% me. And that part of “me”, I was desperately willing to discard!
I left America. And I did not look back. I was looking for hope. Something better than what I had been feeling, lacking, missing, yearning for. I left America.
Arriving in Ghana, with an eye for a new start. A fresh start. Where no one knows my name. No one can judge my past. No one knows my gifts or who I am. And no one can use me. I was finally starting over and I can be whoever I want to be. I can reinvent myself.
I embraced my African roots wholeheartedly! I put down my American roots, and picked up my African name…. Ama! That is the West African Akan female name born on Saturday (find your West African name here).
What I did NOT expect was the rejection, disrespect, abuse and complete misguidance between our people – Black Americans in the Diaspora and Africans born in Africa. I was told that Ghana would be the one country that welcomed the Diaspora back home. Perhaps they forgot to tell the citizens and their systems, too! That’s another story for another blog…
I was torn. The African side wanted me to renounce the American side. And the American side wanted me to deny the African side. War. Which part of me do I become? Will I really have to deny one part in order to accept the other?
I realized that my identity was more in my blood, rather than what I was called. I am African. And I am American. I am Afrikana, a Black African American girl rich with stories from the old ancients and new ancestors.
I separated my identity from Jai Publishing House (my company and my ministry), and what I found was so remarkable, so beautiful, so painful, yet so sweet. I found ME. Again. I released the things about myself that I did not like and did not suit me in my new body (2 Corinthians 5:17). I embraced the things that did. Simple as that.
I came to Ghana to lose me and find me at the same time.
I am covered in grace, and my pen tells the untold stories of unsung heroes…. The underdogs… the child crying in the dark that no one hears… I am that voice in the wilderness. I’ve always been her. I have so many stories inside of me that I’ve gathered over the years in the many places I’ve traveled and settled. I am a nomad in my blood, and now it is time that she speaks.
Afrikana will tell those stories.
Follow me @afrikanalegendstories