I’m Irish, in the same way that my dad claims his 1/16 Yucca Indian roots. My disconnect is probably the reason I have the worst luck. It’s like St. Patty’s karma for not caring enough in my youth to learn about my ancestors. “This is what you get for thinking you were Dutch all of this time!”

In fact, I didn’t even discover I was Irish until I had to do a little family history searching as homework for a play I was working on in college. I had always thought we had Guiness pumping through our veins (I mean, you’ve seen how clearly Irish I look, right?) but my mom always said we were Dutch and German so I just left it at that. It wasn’t until I talked to my aunt who has an extensive family tree file, that I learned the truth and felt instantly connected. I then went on to marry a man with Irish roots, and we had beautiful barely Irish, but still sort of Irish, babies.

I guess the funny thing about heritage is that you either connect with it or you don’t. Some people denounce the fact that their families ever immigrated here (My family has been here since the dawn of the Dinosaurs!) while others connect so strongly that they take on their forefathers suffering as their own and demand justice. (See: You stole our land, so you should probably pay forever royalties for it). — which P.S. I’m not saying is unwarranted. What I AM saying, is that America is made up of all different cultures and immigrants. It’s part of what makes our country so wonderful. Land of the free. A chance to give your family a better life. It’s the reason all of our ancestors came here, and it’s the reason people still do. We’re all “mudbloods”— doing the best we can to live our own version of the American Dream.

So don’t let anybody get you down today for being commercialized, or not being Irish, or wearing too much green. Eat your Lucky Charm rice crispy treats. Dye your beer and your cool whip and your hair green. You do you. And have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day— whatever that means for you!