Lessons from the Tiny Zodiac
Updated: Apr 2
I recently attended an event planning conference in Toronto, where attendees were encouraged to have their photo taken with Dear World. I picked "Why Not Me" as a nod to Mindy Kaling, and the internal voice that pushes me forward during times of shadowed doubt. It also inspired the words below.
I laid uncomfortably in bed, bringing up my phone’s brightness. My fingertips scrolled through the Horoscope section of Refinery29, eyes struggling to adjust to the screen. Cancer had a new moon, meaning it was a time to be creative, and lay out a personal development plan to cover the next six months. My Leo horoscope read something similar, saying that my confidence would return, that my fire would intimidate and ‘wow’ those around me. Next, I went to Libra (my rising sign) and saw more encouragement to make a plan guiding any artistic endeavors and stick with it. That the timing was right to focus on my career development, and get into a serious creative space.
Perhaps it is because I stopped going to church many years ago, and I am looking for an answer outside of my own head. Maybe it is because I have always believed in magic, in other worlds, and a cosmic energy. But when I feel lost, or like I need to be in on a secret hanging by threads of hope, I read horoscopes. They don’t even have to always be mine.
I am a Leo by about twenty minutes. I was born just after midnight on July 23rd, the first day of the Leo sign. If I had been born in another timezone, or half an hour earlier, I would have been a Cancer. Therefore, I naturally feel that I have a lot of Cancer qualities. Especially the introspective, emotional ones. Leos are a fire sign - commanding, loud, passionate, and craving attention. As a child, I was more of a Leo than I am now.
I raised my hand for every question in class (especially if there was something to be read aloud). I auditioned for plays, participated in multiple sports, went for extra Girl Scout badges, and submitted written, visual, and musical art pieces to our yearly creative Reflections competition at school. If I did not emerge from any challenge with first place, I felt the inner workings of my body crumbling, desperate for a chance to prove myself again. I still have a competitive edge, have ridiculously high expectations, and feel that I need to succeed at multiple things at once to actually amount to anything. There remains a fire within me, but it doesn’t burn as bright as it did when I was nine.
The biggest reasons? Nine year old me did not know shame. She did not know failure, she did not know fear, and she did not know anxiety. I am now cloaked in negative emotions that I think will protect me from the world, when instead, they are holding me back, whispering in my ear that if I just wait until the timing is right, or hide away, then nothing bad will happen. My shame is confusing being stagnant with being safe.
What if I had the same confidence in adulthood as I did as a child who had yet to know failure, or loss? I barely recognize that girl anymore, but she is still here. I have preserved her, cocooned in my chest, breathing steadily, in a deep sleep.
Today the sun is shining, and I am sitting alone on my sofa, working on my writing for the first time in months. I could blame how busy work has made me, and acknowledge that I have been struggling with depression during a couple of large transitions in my life. And both are valid - you are allowed to take a break from creating. But I also know it is because I have been ignoring the tiny Leo inside of me. The one that has propelled me to succeed every step of the way. I have her to thank for each day I push myself when I'd rather be laying under piles of covers in bed.
I’ll continue looking to horoscopes, to the sun and the moon. But I also need to remember to pull back my clavicles and look inside myself. For I have been waiting, this whole time.
And I think I'm ready. Are you?