I don’t put a lot of stock in things like the zodiac, but it’s something so mainstream that it’s hard to not know where you fall on the charts. When I was a teenager, I had a passing interest in it. I was curious as to how one simple sign could represent countless people who really only had one thing in common: the time of year they were born. Of course, I learned that there was a lot more to it than that. There’s your sign, your rising sign, how the planets were aligned when you were born, and a dozen other possibilities. Overall, what I learned was that my signs didn’t really describe me. The one that seemed closest was my Chinese zodiac sign, which is the hare. Or, I always thought it was the hare. As it turns out, I’m terribly, terribly wrong.
My whole life, I’d figured my Chinese sign by what was printed on my place mat at Chinese restaurants. That was probably my first mistake. Everyone knows that Chinese restaurants don’t serve real Chinese food, so what made me think they’d tell me my real Chinese sign? The wool was pulled over my eyes, and like a fool, I ate up the lies they served me with my side of crab rangoon! I swallowed the falsehoods whole and then moved on to get my fortune told by a cookie – A cookie actually designed by a Japanese man who lived in California. But no more. Today, I have finally learned the truth.
The truth is, I was born in the Year of the Tiger.
I could have been born in the Year of the Hare, had the doctors not insisted that I had baked long enough. I was born on January 26th, only three days before the Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Hare on the 29th. It was a close call, but as they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I was never very good at horseshoes, anyway.
I don’t know a lot about tigers. Just a few facts, really. Like that there’s six subspecies of tiger still alive, or that all white tigers are actually inbred. I also know that tigers love water, unlike most cats. And that the Tasmanian tiger isn’t actually a tiger at all. But that point is the end of my tiger knowledge, and if I’m going to be a tiger now, I guess I’d better educate myself.
I figured I would start by looking up what Wikipedia had to say about my new-found identity. What are tigers like, according to the Chinese zodiac? Apparently, this is me:
Tiger – 虎 (寅) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, and generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, and moody.
Daring? Impulsive? Powerful? Well, if I read it on the internet, it must be true. I mean, I always thought I was meek and shy and quiet like the rabbit, but who am I to know what I’m like? Of course, I’m sure the elements and my other signs play a part as well. So what does it mean when you’re a Water-Bearer Fire Tiger with a fixed element of Wood and Libra rising? I’ll tell you what it means: it means I’m really confused.
But it can’t all be wrong. My husband will tell you that when I’m arguing something, I’m definitely passionate. I’d like to think I’m sincere, affectionate, and generous. And of course I know I can be restless and impatient, but everyone can be, right?
All in all, I guess it doesn’t really make a difference, but who knows. Maybe there’s a little tiger in me, after all.
What’s your sign?