I Am What I Am- Happy Birthday Leo


(Symbalon Cards)
(Symbalon Cards)

Yesterday driving to work I was forced to stop outside the local High School for road works. For the first time I paid attention to the motto posted on the school notice board: Dare to Be You. Wow.

I have long held a belief that one of the things our schools don’t teach our children is self expression.  We don’t teach them that it is OK to be themselves, that honest individuality can be creatively exciting. Conformity is easy, but, lets face it, it is really scary to learn how to be You.

Fear is something that Leo struggles with. Like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, the Lion can be all roar and no substance. Despite Leo’s well publicised penchant for entrances and centre stage, behind the make-up is often hidden a fear of being found out.

Last week I published a piece on Leo in the workplace- All The World’s a Stage. In that I proposed that Leo is from the “Fake It Until You Become It” school. This is absolutely the case. If you dress and act as you wish to be, others will believe that confidence. Soon you believe it too. The resultant accolades and applause reinforce it. You become who you want to be. The really scary bit happens when that whole belief system is questioned. Do you fall apart or find the courage bluff it through and, as a very famous Leo (Madonna) said, express yourself?

Leo spends much of his life learning how to express that vitality and creativity in a way which is authentic to him, yet somehow also afraid that one day the applause will stop. Leo spends much of his life daring to be himself.

Consider the Sun, the planet which rules Leo. The Sun radiates the energy and heat which keeps us all alive. It is this warmth which has the ability to transform us. We can’t survive without it. You can’t miss him, up there in the sky, generously sending down rays with dramatic intensity. The ultimate creative force, his magnetism is such that all the other planets are pulled within his orbit.

So too Leo. You can’t miss him. Even when he isn’t making an entrance, he is noticed for his absence. And when he is in the room, everyone else is pulled seemingly by gravitational force into his orbit. Charisma, dramatic generosity, creativity- Leo has it in spades.

My younger sister is a 1st house Leo Sun. With a 12th house Cancer Moon and a lot of 2nd house Virgo planets, she has never been the type that is truly comfortable in the limelight. As kids she would shyly wait in her room until she felt she could slip in to whatever family event we had been forced into attending. Her absence was always keenly noticed, and like it or not, when she did appear, it would be with the unconscious, yet very casual grace of a Queen bestowing a very special favour.

She can, however, look and dress the part with Oscar winning aptitude- whatever part she is playing. For work she is consummately professional, for home, casually elegant. Always immaculately presented, she radiates a confidence and pride that hides her uncertainty sometimes too well. She once said to me that there is never a reason to let your standards slip. She certainly never does and would not be seen dead at the shops in trackpants and ugg boots (not that I would ever do that either….).

When I was gathering pieces of feminine wisdom for my daughter to live by, her contribution was “nothing bad ever happens at Tiffanys”. It put my “always take you makeup off before you go to bed no matter how late, drunk or tired you are” completely in the shade!

She is now a Mum herself and I can see her in true Lioness fashion standing over her son, providing him with a view of the outside world, yet snarling protection at any predators. Having her son has given my sister a real and very authentic confidence to be herself. No play acting. Happy Birthday Lenny the Lion.

 I am what I am

I am my own special creation

So come take a look

Give me the hook

Or the ovation

It’s my life- that I want to have a little pride in

My life- and it’s not a place I have to hide in

Life’s not worth a damn till you can say

I am what I am

(Lyrics from “I Am What I Am”, by Gloria Gaynor)