Ask A Libra: How Are You So Fair?

It’s almost the end of Libra season, dear readers, but I can’t send you off into the dark mystifying void that is Scorpio territory before we spend just a little more time reveling in the crisp cool air that Libra offers us. For this month’s round
zodiac-inspired interviews, I asked two of my most Libra pals some questions about what it’s like to be the fairest sign of them all.


I met Zach Blackwood, a writer and artistic producer in Philadelphia, at a Frank O’Hara tribute reading called Franks O’Hara (yes, it involved hot dogs), which he co-organized with Alina Pleskova (a Libra moon!). When asked about his approach to beauty (what Libras are known for), Zach responded, “I have to work harder to see how other people see the world. I don’t know if that makes sense.” It makes sense, and it’s not so different from Jennifer Patterson’s response to the same question: “I like beauty that’s a little off-putting or, like, not-quite beautiful but beautiful cause it’s not quite, you know?” My first encounter with Jennifer Patterson was at a launch event for her anthology, Queering Sexual Violence, a collection that disrupts and expands notions of who is impacted by sexual violence and how we can heal from it. In reading their responses to my questions, I was struck by their ability to self-reflect, to claim their own emotional flexibility as a kind of power, and to create beautiful experiences for their communities. And, an intense desire to go to a cabin with some tripped-out Libras and “do a compliments circle before we make a Normani music video together.”

Zach Blackwood

Libras are known for their aesthetic sense, what I like to call a reverence for beauty, beauty in the most complicated and wild sense of the word. In what ways do you find yourself in service to beauty? In what ways does beauty have power over you?
For me, and I think everyone else also, it truly makes me feel full and actualized to find something beautiful. As a full Libra caricature, I work as a
performance curator and poet, and am often asked to be in conversation with “taste” as a conceit. Taste assumes a kind of universal legibility that directly erodes the subjectivity that makes beauty pleasurable. I revere beauty especially in work or actions I don’t see myself in or can’t empathize with. In that way, I have to work harder to see how other people see the world. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Mediation, diplomacy, and the ability to see both sides are skills commonly attributed to Libra people. Is it true what they say about Libras and their ability to play fair? Or, is it one of those common cases of doling it out but never being able to take one’s own medicine?
I definitely think Libras have some preternatural sensitivity to what other people want. I feel that we’re able to zoom out on most situations and see the whole board rather than just the pieces. But, I don’t think every Libra does the fair or equitable thing with that information every time.

What do you suspect is your most Libra trait/pre-occupation/activity? (Perhaps something most non-Libras wouldn’t easily recognize as a peak Libra behavior?)
I have photos of outfits I like in a special folder on my phone. I’m famously indecisive about outfits and love to turn a look, so my practical solution is creating my own lo-fi Cher Horowitz moment. I love to steam-clean, dye, and organize my clothes and rotate my closet seasonally. I don’t think that surprises anyone, but I also love to resell and donate outfits. It feels very romantic to imagine strangers wearing your well-loved clothes. I have a used
Hejira LP I love because someone else scribbled a desperate love letter in the jacket.

If you could share a birthday party with two other Libras, who would they be and what would you do to celebrate?
Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, and Zac Efron all share my birthday, but in the end, it has to be Serena Williams and Jeff Goldblum. I would love to, like, cook for them in my home and listen to their stories and do a compliments circle before we make a Normani music video together.

What projects are you directing your powerful Libra energy toward these days?
I’m currently drafting a full-length book of poetry about my emotional affairs and paternity. It’s about the romance and trauma of relationships that never germinate and just rot in turf. In lighter news, I’m also working on booking the second year of the
Blue Heaven Comedy Festival this February in Philly. Beyond that, I just try and see as many beautiful dance shows as possible in Philly and New York. (Order Zach’s latest published work, Sexy Unique Hollow Point here.)

Jennifer “Bones” Patterson

Libras are known for their aesthetic sense. In what ways do you find yourself in service to beauty? In what ways does beauty have power over you?
People are always assuming that Libras are vain and are concerned with “good style” which, I don’t know about all that and what is “good” anyway? In a very Libra-indecision way, I’ve already read this question (and all the others) six times and agonized. Like: “Am I in service to beauty?” “What is beauty?” “How am I even supposed to write what I’m thinking?” While I can usually make big decisions pretty easily, cause I just check in with myself internally, making pretty inconsequential ones… like figuring out what to say in this piece… is hard!

Beauty is such a personal thing! I definitely like things to be just so. Like, if I’m at the beach, I want the weather to be just the right temp, the water warm and not too many waves, the sun just right and some moments of shade, non-stressful or not particularly loud company. Then I will be like, “Oh, what a beautiful day.”

I like beauty that’s a little off-putting or, like, not-quite beautiful but beautiful cause it’s not quite, you know? Like, not too crisp or obvious. I’ve been fairly committed to my own sense of beauty and style for my whole life, but I don’t think my ideas are very universal. I do like to look a certain way and I like my apartment to look a certain way. My dear friend
Liz Bishop has said that my apartment styling looks like the inside of my heart which I think means that anything I love, anything that has meaning to me, I like to be surrounded by it—I just stick it right up on the walls and call it home.

Mediation, diplomacy, and the ability to see both sides are skills commonly attributed to Libra people. Is it true what they say about Libras and their ability to play fair? Or, is it one of those common cases of doling it out but never being able to take one’s own medicine?
Oh goddess, I mean not only can I see both sides all the time, I manage to see like 12 other sides too, no matter the situation. Wanting to be diplomatic and fair makes for a very confusing time sometimes, especially when someone is being harmful towards me because I really do still want to extend them that. I’m like, “Oh well I can see why and, you know, XYZ happened to them, and it was really hard for them, so it makes sense that things would go this way. I’m sad that they might feel sad that we’re in a fight right now. Do you think I should text them and see if they are okay or if they have support?” But, I sometimes struggle to offer fairness or compassion back to myself. Usually, it goes in the other direction first. It feels like another way of trying to find balance for me, the seeing all sides. I do think that I try to play fair as much I can, and I do struggle when things don’t feel fair or there’s no solution or way to move forward. But, of course, my sense of fairness can certainly be different than another’s!

It might take me a minute (or a day or two), but in conflict, if I fuck up, I’m usually able to turn back around and be like, “Hey. I’m sorry about this thing I did. I imagine it didn’t feel great.” My mom tells me that even when I was a kid, I would get super upset, slam the door to my bedroom but then like 10 minutes later come back out and say, “I’m sorry I slammed the door and got upset.” But, if someone was really fucking with me (and doing no personal inventory or reflection as far as I’m privy to), historically, I would have dished it right back or shut down entirely. I’ve grown out of some of that since I began healing relational and attachment wounds. These days, I’m like, “I clearly need a stronger boundary with this person.”

What do you suspect is your most Libra trait/pre-occupation/activity? (Perhaps something most non-Libras wouldn’t easily recognize as a peak Libra behavior?)
I was just talking about this with my friend Petra Rowan Rhines, a Scorpio, who is very turned off by most of my aesthetic choices, mind you. I have five planets in Libra and a stellium in the 4th house, and not only do I have all kinds of wounds in my family of origin shaping how I build relationships, but I’m very concerned with all relations and the quality of them. I like intimacy and closeness in relationships. But, I feel like the narrative I hear about Libras is that they are “flirty” and not discriminating, which isn’t how I experience myself. I do think sometimes people misread my way of interacting with people. Like, I want to be warm and present and sometimes people make assumptions and think it means more. I do look for quality and depth of relationships. If it’s a “meh, we don’t need to hang out,” I usually know and can read people quickly when I meet them. If we’re gonna be friends, we’re gonna dive right in! Mostly, I just feel excited when I find a kindred and I have no issue having close relationships and friendships that are non-sexual.

Also, another trait of mine (indecision) is that I really love to agonize over inconsequential choices… like which faded black ripped tee shirt or which Docs to wear.

If you could share a birthday party with two other Libras, who would they be and what would you do to celebrate?
If we’re talking about famous Libras, I have no idea. I really can’t retain info, including names of celebrities, in my mind. I also don’t find celebrity all that interesting. But, if we’re talking about regular ol’ people, then my friends
Britta Love and Anthony Perry and Rhice Manelli Brewer (see, I couldn’t even choose two). I would try to get them all to go to a trapeze class or skydiving first and then we would go to a cabin, each have our own room, and would do a ritual and ceremony with a psychedelic or entheogen (only if they wanted, of course. #consentculture). We could come together and laugh (or cry or process) but then retreat to the quiet privacy of our rooms. Then, of course, there would be a really delicious meal afterward that ideally none of us had to make, it would just appear. And the cabin would be perfectly situated in the woods, lots of monarda and datura blooming, remote, fireplace, etc. Okay, I guess this is where the particular aesthetic desires come back in.

What projects are you directing your powerful Libra energy toward these days?
Well because my Gemini Moon (and, you know, childhood trauma and nervous system activation) never lets me rest, I have a million things happening basically all of the time. For the last almost eight years, I’ve been building up my healing arts practice and herbal remedy line in NYC called
Corpus Ritual. I offer group and private sliding scale breathwork, herbalism, and somatic writing sessions (join us!). I also just finished writing a book called The Power of Breathwork: Simple Practices to Promote Wellbeing, and it comes out in January. And I’m finalizing a draft of a creative nonfiction book called Assaults & Rituals that I started back in 2013. And, planning a (pretty long) trip to the desert with my girlfriend Rose Blakelock, which can’t come soon enough. Getting out of the city and being with the plants is such a relief.





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