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.