I was born on February 25. My mother tells me I was smiling. If that’s the case, it was probably only because I was too young and naïve to realize the odoriferous truth: I was a Pisces.
For those who evaded the misfortune of being born under this subpar cosmic arrangement, I’ll break it down. We’re dead last on the zodiac cycle, probably because nobody cares about us. Our symbol resembles a gigantic “H,” which shows that the twin fish clearly can’t spell, so there goes any career opportunity I might have had in the arts.
The most confusing factor of being a Pisces is this. You know how everyone allegedly hates Geminis for being two-faced? We’re like that too, but at least Geminis have pretty faces; we’re stuck with ugly fish faces.
I like to believe that I’m not really as aromatically repulsive as real fish, but this dual existence is probably the one way in which I feel a genuine rapport with my sign. See, I’m a person of contradictions. Now, I embrace that; growing up, doing so wasn’t quite as natural a process.
I grew up in a vaguely conservative, but still fairly progressive, Afghan household with a loving family and well-defined Eastern values. The environment elsewhere was most definitely not that. I felt consistently out of touch with the people with whom I shared classrooms. I didn’t recognize their artists or find their jokes funny; I didn’t know how to deal with them and remain true to myself.
But the older I got, the more I realized my knowledge of even my mother culture was lacking. Nuances of etiquette escaped me at every family function; switching languages caused words to jumble together into a tapestry of miscommunication.
There was no place where I felt anything besides inadequacy. Progress in one area seemed to lead to regression in another; the happier I was outside my home, the less happy I was within, and vice versa. Knowing that I was far from the only person to experience such a situation, I couldn’t understand what rendered me so incapable of resolving it.
There wasn’t any earth-shattering event which reinvented my perspective; the pressure rose and a dam just broke. Nobody controls what they’re born with — not birthdays, not bodies, not blood. But we can make it all work for us, because it’s usually a sweeter deal than we think.
I saw my identity as the site of some fairytale struggle between the different aspects of my heritage, my personality, my likes and dislikes. But perhaps this wasn’t a war in which one side had to be victorious. Thesis and antithesis could synthesize; two fish could synchronized-swim their way to happiness.
Don’t worry so much about how people perceive your hurricanes of emotion. Learn about your roots instead of expecting the information to magically appear. I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and family, and I finally feel like I’m on the road to being part of both the Canadian community I was born in and the Afghan heritage I’m linked to.
I might complain about literally every aspect of my life, but ultimately, I’ve accepted the different facets of myself. Including the part with a bizarre vendetta against tuna and marine life.