Welcome to For Your Consideration, a series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.
As I write this, it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s the first Valentine’s Day that I’ve been single in three years. It’s the first Valentine’s Day since the love of my life had an affair that destroyed me. You get it! I’m sad. And I’m feeling incredibly petty. This is a holiday that makes many people feel sad and petty. I was going to try to lighten the mood in the week following it by writing about chocolate — specifically “suitcase chocolate,” a concept my mother invented that is literally just chocolate kept in your suitcase/purse/bag for emergencies. It’s a lovely little life hack. It doesn’t at all encompass or even soothe the tumult I currently feel in my heart during this cold and brutal month.
If you are seeking wise, wholesome advice about heartbreak, this is admittedly not the right place to find it today. Instead, I’m leaning all the way into my Gemini-ness and giving you permission to be petty and even a little unhinged but not, like, in a totally unhealthy way, so it’s fine! We’re all doing great. (Did I mention I’m listening to “Morning Passages” from the soundtrack to The Hours on repeat one today?)
We’ve all heard of stalking your enemies and exes on social media. You’ve probably been told it doesn’t help, only makes you feel worse, is a psychological form of self-harm. Those things are all true, and I’ve said them to others, as well as been told them many times. Do I still occasionally slip up and peek at the Instagram of the former friend who slept with my girlfriend even though she doesn’t even really post on it? Absolutely. But I’ve more or less stopped and moved on to a new form of nemesis tracking: reading her horoscope.
You should absolutely read your crush’s horoscope. That’s common sense, right? But should you read your enemy’s horoscope? In my highly scientific Twitter poll, a resounding 71 out of 96 people said…no.
do you regularly read your enemy's horoscope?
In the first few months following my discovery of the affair, I was… a mess, to put it lightly. I was doing and saying things that didn’t feel like me to the point where I sometimes didn’t recognize myself. I was filled with a type of anger I don’t think I’ve ever experienced toward actual humans in my life, and it terrified me. It still does. I obsessed over finding answers that were mostly undiscoverable. I also needed to know the full birth chart for the other woman, which with the help of the internet, persistence, and debilitating insomnia was actually very discoverable. I am not proud of the time and energy I poured into this mission. But at the time it felt life-and-death, because everything did.
I have considerably fewer enemies than I used to. Maybe I’ve mellowed out a bit as the years pass (jk, this column’s existence is a pretty strong counterpoint to that theory). Maybe being in the same relationship for my mid-20s helped me eschew drama. In high school, I had some formidable nemeses, including one named Kevin who was so committed to destroying me that he purchased URL domains with my name in them in order to thwart future attempts at building a website around my hypothetical presidential campaign (yes, I wanted to be president). This is some next-level high school villainy, and honestly? I applaud it. Kevin was also a Gemini, and we were well matched opponents in a never-ending competition of our own devising. Sometimes I long for a new enemy as creative as Kevin was. He kept me on my toes!
Instead, now I’m plagued with the type of enemy who literally sends me into full panic attacks if I see her in passing or even think that I see her in passing. It’s not the sexy kind of rivalry like I had with my varsity tennis doubles partner in high school, a Sagittarius named Shelby who was blonde and relentless in her attempts to unseat me as the number one player. No, this new rivalry, also with a Sagittarius, is unnerving and constant. It’s one-sided, too. I like knowing what the stars have in store for her.
I’ve tried so hard to get her out of my head. But the more I try, the more she’s there? Like Lady Macbeth trying to scrub out a spot of blood made permanent by her brain. Yes, this rivalry feels Shakespearean in my head. In practice, it just looks like me spiraling alone over someone who maybe doesn’t even think about me at all. Once, I asked her if she hated me and she said of course not, like she couldn’t believe I’d even ask. Somehow, that made me more upset. I checked a horoscope for some clarity and all it said was that Sagittarians need to stop investing so much in fun and impulses and reorganize their priorities. You could say that again, I thought.
Again, this is not a healthy habit! I never said that all For Your Consideration recommendations would be! Most of my recommendations are what might be called “guilty pleasures,” if I believed in such a phrase. And on the lengthy list of things I could be doing to myself in the wake of extreme heartbreak and betrayal (things I have done to myself) it feels very mild. There’s a curiosity that I can’t quite itch with social media surveillance. It’s a need to know as much as possible about someone who I’ll never really know, someone I thought I knew but clearly didn’t.
I know that the stars won’t explain why the affair happened — I really do. Most of the answers I seek remain undiscoverable, unknowable. But astrology has opened up a whole new world for me in the past couple years, a way of organizing and understanding things that used to seem unknowable.