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[personal profile] spinelstar
Cut because this got looooong.

Ever since I found out that I had a Scorpio ascendant, I've been thinking a lot about the ways in which I interact with other people. It actually clarified a lot of things for me that I hadn't considered, as I happen to feel it describes me really well.

I'll never forget an unexpectedly candid conversation I had with a guy friend in high school. He'd been describing to me and one or two other girls some of the interesting details of a few of his almost-sexual exploits (ultra-conservative Chirstian school, okay?*), and I found myself getting frustrated. I'd never even been asked out on a date, or been told by a guy that he liked me! Being the sort of self-centered creature that I am, I eventually voiced my mild envy, even though, ironically, he'd been trying to point out through his anectdotes that sometimes it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Not for the first time, I posed the question, "Is there something about me that inherently drives guys away? I'd like to think I'm not that unattractive…" To which he gave the inevitable and always-unsatisfying-whether-it-was-true-or-not response that I was indeed pretty.

It was what he said next that really stuck with me, though: "I think a lot of guys are really intimidated by you."

I was utterly bewildered by this response. I honestly thought he was joking. Or something. Here I was, sixteen or seventeen years old, a slightly-overweight girl in a school with a bunch of rich kids, wrought with insecurities, who sat with her older sister's "geek" friends at lunch and didn't quite feel like she was particularly good at anything (except taking tests). I was one of those girls whose classmates could only describe her as "nice" and "smart." I wasn't outgoing but I was never unfriendly, and I was absolutely certain everyone could tell by how shy I was how insecure and lonely I must have been.

Now, granted, "insecure" is not a good recipe for attracting potential boyfriends, either. For all I know, he was just saying that so he could twist it into a compliment and spare my feelings. But the fact that the word "intimidating" came to mind at all really struck me, and he had good reasoning—I seemed like I had my life absolutely all together. I was at the top of my class in almost every subject, and though I wasn't particularly proud of that (it never felt like it was through any real effort of my own), I did secretly enjoy raising my hand and seeing teachers smile and say, "Someone besides Karin?" I wasn't the best singer in my school, but I was in Chorale, the honors choir that had somehow become akin to royalty at our school. I made Regional Choir my senior year. I was involved in local theater. I was nominated for Homecoming Queen (a fact which actually brought out more of my insecurities, but that's another story). I was never late to anything (unless my mom was driving), and I absolutely never got in trouble.

And yet, it had never occurred to me before that moment that anyone would be intimidated by me. Sure, everyone knew I was smart, but so what? That didn't mean I wasn't a total pushover, because I was. I would have done absolutely anything for a guy as long as he would let me call him my boyfriend—which is why, of course, I came to thank God during my college years that I never had a boyfriend in high school. I could have very easily been taken advantage of.

But I realized that at the time, too—I thought it was obvious, I thought I projected that vibe. I did it on purpose. I thought that if I did so, it might make up for any physical unattractiveness I possessed and surely some guy would snatch me up soon. No one ever did. So I remained frustrated and boyfriend-less throughout the rest of high school. I shoved my friend's observation to the back of my mind somewhere, still incredibly confused and skeptical of it.

Eventually, of course, I realized how stupid I was being, how I should have been more careful what I was wishing for, and, like I said, I started being grateful that I hadn't gotten it. My interest in boys dwindled a bit. I didn't have a single "crush" on any guy all through college. I joined an Argentine Tango class and realized that a lot of guys are just plain annoying. My fantasies of finding the perfect man for me survived, but I was (and am) in less of a hurry, believing that if he's worth the trouble I'd rather he pursue me than the other way around. I thought that was reasonable.

It wasn't until recently that I started to question my current method as well.

My sister has been studying the personalities of different Sun Signs for her novel, and while she was doing that she worked out our charts just for fun. When she told me I had a Scorpio Ascendant, I was sort of excited. I loved being a Pisces, but I always thought that if I could choose my Sign, I would have chosen Scorpio. It seemed like such an intense Sign—everything I'd ever read about it made it sound mysterious and sexy. So I was pleasantly surprised that it was in my chart.

My sister thought my chart explained a lot about me.** She told me that your Ascendant determines how you come off to people—we joked that this was why I have a slightly-darker fashion sense, why my favorite color has always been black. But then I found my friend's comment about being intimidating coming back to me, as I pored over descriptions of a Scorpio Ascendant.

Cautious and private. You play your cards close to your chest. Me? No. I've always worn my heart on my sleeve. Haven't I? Maybe I wait for people to ask why I look a little blue, but I'm always honest once they do… aren't I?

I quickly realized that I'm not. I tell little white lies to people all the time. The other JET in my town and I went out to dinner a few months ago, and he asked how my food was. It was too spicy and I said it was great—he completely called me out on it. I'm overly polite. Sometimes I smile and nod and agree to everything, when inside I'm frustrated and tired and rolling my eyes at everything.

And then I realized that "cautious" isn't even a strong enough word to describe me. I'm creepily quiet. I have trouble looking people in the eye, and in fact I hardly do so at all. I always have something like a cell phone at hand that I can play with when I'm talking to someone, something I can pretend to check when I can't think of anything to say. For that matter, I often look around the room, pretending to be interested in something else. It's a defense mechanism. On the inside, I couldn't be more ecstatic that someone's bothering to talk to me. But I'm convinced that I'm boring, and in the process of trying to look confident, of trying to make it look like I'll be okay if they decide they don't want to talk to me anymore, I end up looking like I'm bored with them.

And to think I never even realized I was doing that! I was sure I came off as shy and vulnerable. Emotional and eager to please everyone. That's not to say that people never figure that out, but it takes situations that are more than purely social, and that doesn't make it any easier to actually talk with me.

Deep down, I've always sort of known that. No wonder I've always had trouble making friends. And the more I try to change and follow the advice of others—Go to parties! Be confident! Act like you own the room!—the worse it seems to get. Social situations just don't seem to work for me. Forced confidence ends up translating as even more stand-off-ish-ness. I feel like I'm finally starting to genuinely like myself, but I want other people to like me too, and I feel like very few get the chance to really know me at all.

So, I guess my question is, where does one draw the line? What should we try to change about ourselves, and what do we dismiss as "just the way I am"? I feel like astrological readings are often presented as "things to be aware of" or "things to watch out for," but what does that really mean? Doesn't that still involve trying to change a few habits, at least small ones?

Am I the only one who feels like she has to wear a mask all the time, to try to conform to what the world deems "attractive" (both in the sense of a friend and a mate)? Should I hold out for people who aren't put off by the way I naturally interact with others, even though it contradicts my deepest desire—to belong to somebody?

Maybe there aren't any answers. But it's what I've been thinking about.

*As a side note, I never failed to be surprised when I heard about any such behavior from one of my classmates. Not that I thought they were all angels, but as a taking-all-the-honors-courses, involved-in-choir-and-band-and-theater, admittedly-always-a-homebody and soon-to-be-valedictorian, I never understood how they found the time. Or for that matter, how they got their parents to allow them to be in situations where that sort of thing would be possible. Surely my parents weren't that abnormally protective? Or was I just that abnormally terrified of getting in trouble?

**So, I'm a Pisces Sun (moody? a little needy?), a Libra Moon (non-confrontational? passive-aggressive, even?), and a Scorpio Ascendant ("intimidating!" XD).

Kisses and hugs! ♥ Hopefully I'll get some TILT done today, but we'll see. :3

(Oh, btw, I'm not in a bad mood or anything. Just pondering things. I've actually had a very good week so far. ^_^)
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January 2012

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