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Is it written in the stars?

by Jenn O'neil 9 months ago in humanity

a very atypical Leo

Is it written in the stars?
Photo by Luke Tanis on Unsplash

I was born on a Sunday, the last day of July, the middle of summer. According to the pages in the back of my mom’s magazines, that meant I was a Leo. Brave, outspoken, but stubborn.

I never really identified with being a Leo when I was younger. “Natural born leader”? I spent most of the time hiding from conversation, the shy girl that never spoke. Always an observer. “Popular and self-confidant”? Ha-ha, no. More like insecure and only comfortable within the small group of friends I’d grown up with.

Leos wear bright colors and like to stand out from the crowd! Tell that to my goth teen self, who spent hours alone in her room, listening to Nine Inch Nails and drawing. So much black ink, so little happiness. No crowds.

But creative, humorous, warm hearted? Yes, yes and yes, I grew up in the 80’s with 3 tv channels, one of which being PBS. Me and Bob Ross, we painted trees and mountains like crazy. The guy that is now an ironic face on magnets talking about “happy little trees” taught me that there were no mistakes in art. You just make that error into something else. Have you even really looked at a tree? Branches bent and twisted, leaning sideways. There’s literally no wrong way to paint one. You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t put yourself down. It meant a lot to hear that, even from a guy on a tv screen. I used to tell people I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I was grateful that even when we had no money, somehow there were always art supplies. Even if it was a roll of newsprint that someone was about to throw out.

My sense of humor was incubated at home, making my parents laugh, developing this dark sarcasm that is still a huge part of my delightful personality. It’s such a powerful feeling, to make adults laugh out loud, there was the inner clicking, like “ohhhh…this is good. I’ve really done something here…”

And still I believed in the idea that a sun sign could tell your future. I thought I just fell very short of expectations. I was a bogus Leo, the oddball that wasn’t up to standards.

I used to buy paper horoscopes in these little rolled up tubes, at the drug store. My best friend Sue and I would walk down the street to buy them, would eagerly unroll them and devour the knowledge about what would happen next in our extremely unexciting 15 year old love lives. Literally none of those predictions ever came true. We kept buying them anyway.

Lions, though, they were the best. I am a cat person. If I could trade places with any animal, I would take napping in a sunny spot every time. Cats are independent, curious and playful. They show up on their own time and leave when they’re done. I respect that. I love the way they stretch and make a tiny mew when you wake them up. I live for those videos of the lions recognizing their trainers/keepers/rescuers years after their last contact. Let me be hugged by a gigantic lion, even if that’s my last hug. If that’s how I go out, so be it.

I spent a long stretch of years floating around from job to job, from being married to newly separated, trying to figure out who I am. What am I doing here? What makes me happy, anyway? I wish that I could have relied on a star sign that would tell me the way, but that just isn’t how it worked.

It’s not until the past few years that I have evolved into the quintessential Leo. The sunshine keeps me going. Every morning when I walk to my car and prepare for the day ahead, I raise my face to the sun and close my eyes. Basking like a lizard under a heat lamp. “Hello, sunshine”, the first words out of my mouth, and a phrase I’ve painted on a canvas that hangs in my kitchen. I buy myself sunflowers because they make me happy.

Am I theatrical, like a Leo is supposed to be? If you mean performing King George’s first song “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton in my car for an audience of, um, that guy in the next lane? Then yes. Me and Jonathan Groff, we’ve got this song down.

I can speak to people much easier now. All of those old fears became burned away by lots and lots of work on myself. I really am a leader, the actual boss with actual staff. Is it sometimes awkward and do I have doubts about myself? Of course. But I believe in myself. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but I am happy with how it all turned out.

Oddly enough, now that I have become more like the sign, I believe in it less. I love the universe, the stars, the planets. I devour videos and books about how it all works, am intrigued by the idea of how String Theory works, and the idea of “cosmic music” and ten dimensions.

But do I think that how the stars were aligned when I was born determines what my life will be like? That would a hard no. There was no way to predict how all of this would turn out. All the lessons I needed to learn, the obstacles overcome. I did that, myself. Do I still glance at the horoscope when I’m scrolling the newspaper online? Yes, totally. Is it ever accurate? Not really. So I will hold fast to the images of lions, of strength, and leave the rest.


Jenn O'neil

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