DEAR ABBY: I'm hoping you can give me some guidance, as I am a huge fan and read your column regularly. I am a 32-year-old woman whose mother and grandmother told me about our proud Native American heritage all my life. Several years ago, I got a large tattoo in our tribe's language as a way to honor my family.
Recently, Mom did a DNA test and discovered that we are not, in fact, of Native American descent. We feel devastated and betrayed by our parents and grandparents for lying to us for generations. I haven't shared this news with my husband, extended family and friends because I feel so ashamed and humiliated.
I told Mom that I would like to have my tattoo covered up or removed. It upset her and made her feel incredibly guilty. I'm not doing this to hurt her, but because I feel like a fraud and don't want to lie about the tattoo's meaning in the future. Abby, your thoughts on how best to handle this situation? -- TATTED AND CONFUSED
DEAR T and C: Considering the circumstances, I see no reason for continuing to wear a tattoo that would be a constant reminder you were lied to. If your mother deliberately misled you, she has good reason to feel guilty. If she, too, was misled, then she's as much a victim as you are.
My thought is that you are the only person who has to live in your own skin, and you should do with it whatever will make you happy.
DEAR ABBY: For 18 years I was in a loveless marriage. The one good thing that came out of that marriage was my beautiful 14-year-old daughter. My ex-wife and I have been divorced for a year now and I'm feeling emotionally available.
I have met -- or shall I say re-met -- a woman I have known since second grade. She was my sister's best friend and was always around our house growing up. She was kind of like a sister, but I always had a crush on her. Now, so many years later, we have connected. We see each other every few weeks and text each other.
This has been going on for almost a year. My crush has come back, but it is different this time. I feel like I'm falling in love with her. I'm not sure how she feels about me, but we do have an incredible connection. She calls us kindred spirits. And that's where my question lies. How do I take a 45-plus-year friendship out of the friendship zone? Should I tell her how I feel or not? I have tried, but the words just wouldn't come out of my mouth. -- LOST IN FRIENDSHIP
DEAR LOST IN FRIENDSHIP: The words you are looking for are, "I think I'm falling in love with you, and I need to know if you feel the same way." Say that, and the worst that can happen is your friendship of 45-plus years will remain a "kindred spirit" friendship. The best that can happen will be you will hit the jackpot. Speak up!
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)