Overexposed

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Chapter 13

When I was eighteen, I was gifted a DNA kit. You know, the one you spit in the tube then send it off for the company to tell you your family history and health stuff that you should maybe be worried about.

My grandparents were older, my mother had been an unexpected surprise, they didn’t want children initially, but their minds soon changed after knowing she was coming. They loved her so much. She was their daughter.

They knew that they didn’t have as much time with me as they wanted, they had their health issues, and they both just wanted to make sure I knew everything I needed to know about my health and my background. I had no contact with my fathers side of the family, we didn’t really know much about him. That was due to them being a very toxic family, drugs and alcohol also ruled over their lives. Addiction definitely runs in the family. I’ve done my part in never taking anything hard. Alcohol was the only thing that I allowed myself to do.

By eighteen I had blocked out a lot of memories of both my mother and father. I genuinely was forgetting how they looked unless I was having a nightmare, their faces were always crystal clear when I was having one. It was always a reminder that my subconscious would never forget that.

I was quite shocked to find out that I was a good chunk German descent. I knew it had to come from my fathers side. That was pretty much all I knew about him, even my grandparents didn’t know much about him.

Health came back all clear. I wasn’t susceptible to anything that I couldn’t prevent with diet and exercise. That’s all I wanted to know. That’s what was important to me at the time, it’s why I took the test. It helped put my grandparents at ease knowing that I was going to be fine for the most part.

I took this test over ten years ago. I’ll occasionally get an email every now and then whenever a family member uploads their DNA and links them to me, and it’s always family I know about, but don’t talk to, so I hardly pay attention to it.

Except today it’s different.

I’m at work finishing up emails before going home, and I see a new email saying I have a new relative. I usually just delete them, but I decide to open it up and see who it is that it’s linked me with.

I’m skimming the email when the wording stops me dead in my tracks. I have to reread it multiple times to make sure I’m reading it correctly.

An immediate family member has been matched!

What does this mean?

It means we’ve matched you to your sibling.

I close the email before I could read the name. That couldn’t have been correct, could it? There is just no way. It must be a mistake on part of the company. There’s just no way I have a sibling I don’t know about.

I’m just very confused.

You have to be eighteen in order to be able to take the DNA test. Which means that this individual has to at least be eighteen.

I know I don’t have an older sibling. My mother was really young when she had me, she was a teenager. I think my grandparents would’ve known had she had another kid before me.

I google what it means when DNA companies match you to an immediate family member. I wanted to know what that meant exactly. They had groups that they put your family in, if this was a half sibling I feel like they would’ve worded it differently.

Sure enough, an immediate family member means either one of my grandparents or a full blooded sibling. Half siblings don’t show up in this category, which meant that I had a full blooded brother or sister out there.

What the hell?

I’m completely stunned by the news. What did this mean for me? For my brother or sister?

Was my mother pregnant while she was getting drunk and high? Did she know she was carrying another life inside of her?

Did she have custody of my sibling? Did they endure the same pain I did growing up? Or did they grow up in the foster care system? Were they adopted out to a beautiful caring family?

I opened up my email, but I couldn’t click that specific one. If I know about them, they must now know about me. Did they know about me before this?

I had a million questions running through my mind. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted answers though.

This could open up a whole can of worms that I thought I had buried a very long time ago. In the last almost nineteen years, I could have reached out to my parents. I’ve been an adult for over ten years, but I didn’t want to know them. They were either dead or in jail in my mind, and that’s where they would stay.

“I’m sorry.” I say out loud to myself. I just can’t go through that pain again. I almost had a baby, I was almost a mother, and I know that what they did to me, their child, could never be justified. There was no coming back from that.

I pressed delete.

I wouldn’t be the one reaching out to my sibling. For my sanity and mental health, I just can’t. I have the right to put myself first, it took me a very long time to learn that. I am first.

I close my laptop, put it in my bag, and get up to go. My legs are shaking. I have to take several deep breaths to calm myself.

“Your last name is Wilson, not Schuyler.” I say to myself in hopes of calming myself down.

I just need to go home.

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