Gina who is not Italian

by Gina Lombardi
(Quincy MA)

My cousin found this link and I stayed up late last night reading it. It really helped my soul to not feel so alone, even though I knew statistically I am not. We all derive our identity of self in various ways. I derived mine from being Italian. I felt that while I was half Italian and half German I was all Italian inside, and just looked German. Well surprise, I look Irish. My daughter gave me Ancestry DNA this past Christmas and there is not a drop of Italian in me. 50% Irish. My first call to my mother ended with her hanging up. She called me a week later, with a story of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she always thought her husband was my father. Oh, she was 5 months pregnant when they got married. I found that out from Ancestry as well as I did my tree. The women who liked to say how she never lied had fabricated an entire story of meeting and getting married. I listened to it growing up.

I am devastated to not be Italian. Perfectly delighted that her husband was not my biological father and my brother is now only my half-brother. There are perks to this after all. I always felt like odd man out but never thought I really was. Just did not think I was very well liked and just different.

In her call she told me she did not know the name of my biological father, did not know who he was. Definitely trying to allude to being raped while not saying it.

So now what do I do? Right now going through all the stages of grief. I am grieving the loss of not being the Italian woman I thought I was. Trying to trace my father's family via Ancestry. I am 74 so I do not hold out hope that he is alive. Certainly, her story of the sex with him not being consensual is not helping my soul. But I tell myself that I am not nasty like the persons I thought were my brother and father are. I am looking at ways that thanks to nature, not nurture I became the woman I am today.

It has not been easy, and certainly, they did everything to stifle my soul, and I married a man just like the man I thought was my father. One of many mistakes I have made in my life.

So the story of me is evolving. I am not sure how I will find my inner me that is me without being Italian. What I do know, or am learning is the things that I thought came from being Italian are still there, but I do not know where they come from. So I do not know how to tell the story of who I am and how I came to be me. I know it is nature not nurture that makes me feel about things the way I do.

In the meantime through all this I still like me and who I am. Or rather who I have grown into being. But I still wish I was Italian.

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