Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Emotional Side

One day last week when I was bored, I decided to look up the characteristics of my zodiac sign, which is Scorpio. As I was surfing the Internet, I came upon the Web site, astrology-online.com. What I found on this site quickly piqued my interest and boggled my mind because I realized that I possess nearly all of the traditional Scorpio characteristics. Not only that, but most of the traits that define a Scorpio were related to emotions and perceptions: determined, passionate, obsessive, obstinate secretive and emotional. Let’s start with determined. I am an extremely determined individual, especially when it comes to my schoolwork and my future. I set goals for myself that I know will not be impossible to attain. I keep those goals clear in my mind and do everything I can to achieve them. If for some reason I cannot achieve a specific goal, I would not let this one setback throw me off track; I would remain determined. For example, last year I applied for a competitive, prestigious internship program through the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund. I really had my heart set on it, but I was not selected. However, I did not let this setback get the best of me. I remained determined and applied at numerous other news organizations. My steadfastness paid off because I was selected for another internship. Granted, it was not as prestigious as the Dow Jones program, but that didn’t matter anymore. After being selected for the other internship, I had two new goals: to be the best intern I could be and to learn as much as I could. I feel that I left that internship having achieved those goals. Why? Because I was determined.

The next word that describes a Scorpio is passionate. Although I might not be the most energetic or enthusiastic person all of the time, I would describe myself as passionate. For example, when I was in high school, I was on the tennis team. I started taking lessons when I was in eighth grade, and I fell in love with the game. I had such an intense desire for the sport that my dad, who was my usual tennis partner, had to drag me off the court, figuratively speaking of course. My passion for tennis is also evident because when I am playing the game, especially if it is with someone who I feel comfortable around, I become very animated. However, I knew how to manage this passion during tennis matches. I never yelled when I thought my opponent made the wrong call, had an outburst when I hit the ball out on a critical point or jumped for joy when I won a game or a set. Yet, like I said, when I am just practicing, I am very animated, and this animation paid off one day. A mother and her eight-year-old daughter came to the courts where I was practicing and started to casually hit the ball. Then, out of nowhere, the mother comes up to me and asks if I would like to give her daughter tennis lessons. I was surprised by this proposition and thought that she must have seen how much fun I was having and thought I could relay some of my passion for the sport to her daughter. I accepted the job and tried my best to accommodate the girl’s passion that I saw brewing inside her.

The next two characteristics, obsessive and obstinate, go hand-in-hand for me. First of all, I like things to be in order, both physically and in the abstract sense. For example, the things in my room need to be neat, organized and the way I arrange them. If someone comes into my room and moves a pillow out of place, I will feel the need to put it back where it belongs. However, I would not become angry or yell at this person, and I would also wait until he or she left to put the pillow back. I know this might sound like a trivial matter, but when the physical things around me are organized, I feel like my life is organized. Yet, I have run into problems when my stubbornness blends with my obsessive nature. For example, whenever I return to Rider and need to pack and unpack my things, my mom always wants to help me. However, I never let her help because I do things a certain way. She continually tries to help, and sadly to say there have been a few times when I yelled at her or grabbed something from her hand, saying, “I’ll do it. You don’t know where this goes.” As I was reading the article in our Mercury reader book, “Welcome to St. Paul’s,” especially the part where the daughter snaps at her mother for trying to unpack her clothes and show her where everything should go, I immediately thought of myself and my mom. I then realized that the mother in the story was trying to hold on to her daughter as long as possible; it was her way of coping with letting her child go. The daughter, on the other hand, yelled at her mother not only because she wanted to be independent but also because the time to part from her parents was coming closer. I then thought about my own situation and recognized that my mom and I were experiencing those same emotions. My mom felt the need to help and I became defensive because that was our way of dealing with the mutual feeling of not wanting to part from each other.

Yet, another word to describe a Scorpio is secretive. I believe that I relate to this attribute the most because I am a very secretive individual. I tend to suppress a lot of my feelings: anxiety, anger, sadness, etc. I may look OK on the outside, but on the inside, I might be ready to explode. When I was reading about the characteristics of my zodiac sign, the following sentences captivated me. “Scorpios are the most intense, profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior. They are like the volcano not far under the surface of a calm sea; it may burst into eruption at any moment.” There have been times when my suppressed emotions were too much for me to handle and I did erupt. For example, I am often very stressed during the school year, worrying about how I am going to accomplish everything that I need to do. I usually go home on the weekends, and by the time I get home, I have all of my anxiety and stress built up inside me. After suppressing such strong emotions for so many days, the slightest thing could push me over the edge. For example, this past weekend while I was trying to study, my dad would not stop rattling coins in his pocket, which sparked an outburst of anger on my part. I felt terrible afterward because my dad did not deserve to have his daughter yell at him for no reason. I would say that I definitely need to work on getting in touch with and expressing my feelings so I can minimize my eruptions. I also think that Ellen DeGeneres needs to work on sharing her feelings before she has an outburst. Last week on her show, she started to cry while she was discussing a personal situation. She explained that she had adopted a dog, Iggy, but could not keep it since it did not get along with her cats. So she gave it to her hairstylist, whose daughters wanted another pet. However, the animal shelter where Ellen got Iggy from took the dog back, saying that she violated her contract (If she could not take care of the dog for any reason, she had to give it back to the shelter). I believe that Ellen was suppressing feelings of guilt, but not about the dog or hurting her hairstylist’s family. In this clip, she breaks down right when she says, “I feel totally responsible for it.” Perhaps she did something else that she felt guilty about and this was just her way of releasing those emotions. According to Micahel Sky, author of The Power of EMotion: Using Your Emotional Energy to Transform Your Life, supressing our emotions causes serious damage to our bodies, minds and spirits. He calls it a "slow suicide of self-strangulation." I agree that supressing emotions for too long could lead to "suicide" because the longer you keep something inside, the longer it will have time to build up and trouble you. Sky notes the importance of sharing our emotions. He says, "We need our emotions. They provide us with the vital force to think creatively and act decisively. The more successfully that we suppress our emotions, the less successfully we will do anything else."

One last word that describes a Scorpio is emotional. Whenever I think of an emotional person, I think of a sensitive person. Therefore, I will use the terms synonymously. I would say that I am a sensitive individual. Although I tend to hide my emotions about personal issues, I cry very easily when I am exposed to outside stimuli, such as when I watch a sad movie or hear of an unfortunate situation. For example, when the priest in my church asked the parishioners to donate money to a family who was on the verge of losing their home, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I also become emotional when I see photos of disastrous events or images where the pain in someone’s face is captured. One photo that really touched my heart was one that I saw for the first time in my high school history class. It shows a disheveled middle-aged woman with her two children during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The solemn look on the woman’s face depicts her heartache and worry of how she will feed her children. Yet, another classical photo that awakens my emotions is the War’s End Kiss. In this image, an American soldier who has just returned home from World War II grabs a woman on the street in New York City and kisses her because he is so happy to be home. The photo evokes feelings of freedom, victory, patriotism and the idea that there is no place like home. Whenever I see this photo, I smile; no tears this time, unless of course they are tears of joy.

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