I spent the last five years of my life thinking that I was a Leo Rising. For those of you who are unaware, your rising sign describes your “social personality”. It is the way you present to people who you don’t know very well, especially in settings where you are meeting someone new. It also happens to be the sign that changes at the most frequent interval, based on the sign in the Eastern horizon at the exact time you were born. Misunderstanding your birth date by a mere 30 minutes could mean that you are misidentifying your rising sign and with it, who you are in body and physical form.

As a Leo Rising, I was one of the “more fortunate signs of the zodiac”, according to Cosmopolitan and, by proxy, according to myself. I was a big ball of energy lighting up both myself and anyone who came into my orbit. I never go into retrograde, and so I am always there in my most positive outward spirit. Leo Risings are dramatic, tempered only by their extreme levels of confidence and self assurance.

Of course, I was a Leo Rising with social anxiety, which meant that while I would be a bubbling ball of confident light at one party, I was equally likely to spend the next gathering throwing up in the bathroom from one too-awkward conversation. I enjoyed the way Leo contrasted with my anxiety; my true self was confident and extroverted, and my anxiety wasn’t really a part of who I was. In a weird way, it gave me more confidence in myself, because I liked who I was better.

If you’re an astrology geek, I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what my other astrology signs are. I am a Libra Sun and Libra Moon, so the drama in my life most certainly comes from those aspects of my astrological personality. I’m indecisive, value my personal moral code, and want to keep the peace in my relationships with others as much as possible. That’s a very surface level definition of what those two astrology signs mean to me, but for all intents and purposes, that is the basic energy which they give off. I’m dramatic in some ways, but never in a way that causes fights with others.

Having a Double Libra Leo Rising was fun. It made me feel like a complete person. I liked who I was as that person. Then, a few months ago, I found out I had my rising sign all wrong. I had misremembered my exact date of birth and I was, in fact, a VIRGO RISING. Virgos and Leos are probably two of the most different astrological signs, which means that this difference fundamentally changed what astrology said about my personhood. Where I once was an outgoing Leo, I was now a perfectionist Virgo.

I hated admitting that my uptight, hyper-organized personality was not in fact explained by anxiety, but instead by a fundamental tenant of my personality. It meant that when I was awkwardly aloof at parties, that was who I was meant to be. A Virgo Rising in fact described me better than my Leo Rising ever did, but as a result of that I felt more pigeonholed into a person that I didn’t want to be. I’ve spent most of my life trying to escape my own un-fun exterior, bogged down by anxiety thoughts that prevent me from being as loud and outgoing as I want to be, and it felt like knowing my astrological sign just confirmed that I would never be successful in recreating myself.

Of course, learning what your astrological sign is does not actually change anything about yourself. Even when I thought I was a Leo, I still was a Virgo. I was still behaving in the same ways that I will behave now that I know. Knowing shouldn’t really change anything about who I am or how I feel about myself. But, somehow, for some reason, it has. I’ve felt less confident in my ability to be loud and outgoing, but I’ve also started to accept the way I come across rather than trying to run from it. It’s a dual impact, but one that is meaningful for me.

Not everyone believes in astrology, and perhaps if I didn’t, knowing my signs would have no impact at all. Still, I recommend that everyone looks into what each of their signs means, and find ways to let that empower who you are. Sometimes knowing who you are, even if it’s not necessarily who you want to be, can be helpful in growing into the most confident version of yourself.