I recently started a new job that required a group training session for one week. On our first day, we were given an icebreaker question that everyone had to answer — you know, the personal question that management forces everyone to awkwardly answer in front of a group of strangers. Our question for the day was, "What is your zodiac sign?" One by one, my new co-workers excitedly explained what their sign is and how it perfectly matches their personalities. When it was my turn, I squeaked out in my high-pitch Minnie Mouse-like voice, "I'm an Aries."
The truth is, I feel awkward as an Aries. No offense to my fellow Aries, of course. Most of the traits associated with our sign are everything I strive to be. Courageous. Confident. Enthusiastic. Passionate. None of which describe me at all. I still feel nervous calling my doctor's office to make an appointment. I cringe when I think back to my freshman year of high school when I asked a friend to invite my date to the Sadie Hawkins dance on my behalf. I have always been self-conscious and shy. I am an emotional girl with a big imagination who is way too sympathetic at times.
In reality, my personality traits actually match those of my destined zodiac sign, Cancer. When my mum was six months pregnant with me, she unexpectedly went into labour. What should have been a mid-July birth turned into a mid-April birth, instead. I guess fetus me decided that a nice, lukewarm Spring birth was better than a hot, humid Summer birth. See, Mum, I'm always looking out for you. Fortunately, my mum and I turned out fine (or I'd like to think I did, at least). The only problem I have with my April birth date is my horoscope. Every time someone asks what my sign is, I want to scream out, "I'm an Aries, but technically I should be a Cancer!" That is too embarrassing to explain, though.
It was during the icebreaker session in my new office that I had an epiphany. Why do I care so much about my zodiac sign? Why have I always felt so self-conscious and defensive about being labelled as an Aries? Eventually, I realized the truth behind my internal struggle. By defining my personality based on my astrological symbol, I'm putting a label on myself. Labels are hard to break, and we often define our self-worth based on them. Throughout my life, I have taken labels way too seriously. Being marked as an Aries forced me into a box that I never felt I fit in. Sure, I would love to have more self-confidence, courage, and passion within myself. But isn't that what I am doing now by putting my pen to this paper?
My struggle as an Aries made me realise that I can define myself however I like, no matter my zodiac sign. This may seem like a very obvious realisation, but in a world of online quizzes and serious conversations about who we are compatible with based on our signs, the lines often become blurred. From now on, I will reply to anyone who asks that my personality is a little mix of everything. Isn't that all of us, in the end? I will still occasionally read the horoscope section on the back of magazines and even do some research on my dog's zodiac sign. The important parts of myself, though, I will not be leaving to the stars.