Photographer & Mental Health Advocate


Who am I? (Part one)-Ancestry DNA kit

My mum was never one who talked about my past lightly, and most of my family were the same way. "You are Spanish but live in America, that is all that matters," was the go to sentence that my mum would tell me to end the conversation before anything got deeper, or because she just didn't give much care into actually wanting me to know where I'm from. Now that I am 23, the perks about living on your own and having your own money is that you are able to play Sherlock Holmes without her having any control over you to just "drop it." Don't get me wrong, she has told me my matrilineal lineage with all the information she knew herself. She is 100% Puerto Rican, both of my grandparents lived there and then my grandmother gave birth to her here in America. And recently she even told me that her grandfather, my great grandfather, is of Taino decent. For those of you unfamiliar with the Taino tribes, which I'm sure we all are because history erased them, they were the indigenous people of the Caribbean Islands, specifically Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (which was called Boriken). When the evil Christopher Columbus and I say evil because he was no explorer just an evil man thinking of his own ambitions, landed in the Island he called San Salvador he thought he was in "the Indies" or the new world. He took advantage of the kindness of the Taino people and saw them as easily conquered people. He destroyed the Tainos by forcing them into slavery and if a Taino did not find enough gold, they would be killed. Some of the Tainos would kill their children with herbs to never wake up and then hang themselves in the forest so that they would not have to suffer. After Columbus and his brother were charged with what they did to the Taino people, it was already too late, only about 50 survived. A thriving culture murdered in a short period of time. They said if he landed on a different island he would have dealt with the Caribs, another tribe of people who were the opposite of the Taino people. They were fierce, cannibalistic people who probably would have eaten him and his people. 

From what I've researched there is proof that 66% of the people in Puerto Rico have Taino decent in them and that is what I am hoping to find out in six to eight weeks. People who do consider themselves Taino will never call themselves Spanish, Hispanic or Latin because Spanish is derived from Spain, Hispanic was a term coined in Roman Hispania, and Latin is a dead language from Latium,Italy. Those terms do not identify the true background of who Puerto Ricans are. The Taino people spoke Arawakan, lived in the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles. We have been a culture shrouded in confusion, and I want to know where my descendants are truly from. 

My father side is another battle that I must face alone because no one will tell me anything. How am I suppose to know who I am if I have no starting ground?  What will I tell my children of their heritage if I only know part of it? We all are searching for the reasons of who we are and why we are and I have the right to know. Whether or not people stand by me or walk away afraid of the truth, I will find out. I know who I am, Ashley Carmenatty, 23 years old college graduate, with a passion for all things in the arts. I know that I have an amazing mother who raised me by myself and taught me true strength and sacrifice. And though my family is little, it is still beautiful in its own way. But now its time for me to find out the other half of who I am, my Italian decent. The side that is covered in unknown mystery like the dark side of the Moon.  I hope you all come on this journey with me as I am excited and curious to learn more of who I am. 

My fiance Brian, surprised me with my kit a few days ago and told me it was time.  Unlucky for me, the time was around 9:00am in the morning and I was just waking up, dry mouthed, messy haired and puffy eyed. This is me foreshadowing that my photos are horrible and I look like a monster so no judging okay!

Half asleep me with messy hair trying to read instructions. We did it in the morning right after I woke up because you can not eat,drink, chew anything for 30minutes and lets face it I'm always eating something.  I had to place my (special) code in the computer so they can keep track of my saliva/DNA.

Yes I am giving you the full access of what I had to do. I had to spit in this little tuby thingy until all my nasty spit reached a line. As you can tell by my sleepy face, I wanted to make sure there was no "special" way one had to spit.

Tada! Here is me and my spit and all of our glory haha, try not to get grossed out and think, "THIS IS FOR SCIENCE!" 

Then I had to tightly cap off my DNA and shake it for 5 seconds so that my DNA can mix with the blue chemical in the cap that would keep it safe and useable. 

This is how it looks after the saliva/DNA and blue chemical combined together. Like a light bluish hue. Finally it was time to pack it up and seal it so that it can make its way to Utah. 

I can't wait to find out the information so that I can start feeling like I know the other part of who I am and to prove those racists skeptics wrong that we are a proud people of mixed heritages, cultures and religions and racism should NOT exists!

Whatever I learn from this I know that I will grow more with knowledge, kindness and love in my heart.  Love who you are <3, until then,



Xoxo, Jacklyn