You being yourself is a magnet for people’s stories

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels

One of the coolest things about being yourself? Your openness may invite others to confide in you their stories.

Transgender feelings followed me around since an early age. As I came out, I read autobiographies like Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness. That didn’t make me a PhD in gender identity struggles! I still had a lot to learn.

But because I was now visibly trans and a listener type, I was in for some casual education. Friends, family, and strangers on the web honored me with their gender-related confessions.

I learned just how diverse our experiences of gender are.

Things stopped…

What this vegan thinks of lions

Photo: Wade Lambert via Unsplash

Many people feel an uneasiness around the death of animals for meat — it’s not just vegans and vegetarians. I recently read this eloquent story by a proud Greek-Italian meat lover, who still had difficulty watching slaughterhouse footage.

Still, in our culture it’s easy to feel absurd for caring about the death of animals. Eating meat is so widespread, and has been for so long, that most people simply view it as inevitable.

A common argument vegetarians and vegans run into is that avoiding meat goes against nature. After all, animals eat other animals. Why shouldn’t we? For some reason…

My favorite shows are problematic. Facing that helped me prep to write my novel.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

My favorite stories aren’t flawless. Neither will mine be. If I can critique my most beloved books, shows, and movies and feel good about it, I’ll be at ease with my own vulnerability as a first-time novelist.

The novel will be a murder mystery, set in Prescott, Arizona. This is the chosen place my dad moved to and raised us. He now has Alzheimer’s, but he had wanted to write a novel. With this fun family project, I hope to bring to life some of the fiction ideas my dad had written down. …

Education | Animal Experience

23 reasons why I’m grateful to be a modern human. 23 reasons to care.

King penguin from South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash.

NBC News reported last year the 2019–2020 Australian fires were among modern history’s worst disasters for wildlife. A WWF study estimated that the areas scorched were home to 3 billion vertebrate animals. This number consisted of mainly reptiles, plus millions of mammals, birds, and frogs. The scientific consensus was climate change played a part, making some of the harm “indirectly anthropogenic.”

I just learned that term from Animal Ethics, a nonhuman research and advocacy org that looks at wild animal suffering. Wild animal suffering is a neglected issue, as concern for domestic dogs and cats is far more funded. Environmental…

Notes on Veganism

Try motivating yourself with the gentleness of a grazing bunny.

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Welcome, reader! “Team Vegan” has a double meaning here. These thoughts are for people who want to do a plant-based lifestyle, for any reason. They are also for people who want to help society at large transition to a vegan way—where we no longer exploit animals for products, and our relationship with our fellow sentients is more nonviolent and respectful than we can currently claim.

I became passionate and I started avoiding supporting animal abuse some 16 years ago. Going on 12 years ago, I went completely vegan with my diet. …

Perspective | Self

I went from innocent bliss, to guilt and sorrow, to now an informed delight.

A child and a porcupine fish. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash.

In My Octopus Teacher, Craig Foster reconnects with his childhood love for the ocean. Free-diving in a frigid kelp forest somewhere off Cape Town, South Africa, he is surprised to discover a deep obsession with an octopus living below. The two develop trust, and the octopus allows the filmmaker to study their clever underwater life up close. Never having been a softie for animals, the experience gives Craig not only fascination, but sensitivity for the life of this individual creature.

While the octopus apparently enjoy their curiosity of this safe human visitor, Craig gains untold value from their encounters. Over…

A slip-up at the trampoline park made this girl ponder #MeToo

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

I used to frequent the indoor trampoline park. One time while playing trampoline dodgeball (best sport ever), there was an incident.

I was walking backwards on my side of the trampoline court. Trying to get farther away from the “enemies” who might throw at me. Leaning forward in an athletic posture, my knees were bent and my hands were to the side and slightly behind me to center my weight as I retreated. Then, one of my hands came in contact with somebody’s crotch. I felt the impression of a penis.

Silly me. Should have glanced behind me before backing…

The joys I gained from watching this sensual & sex-positive show

Sense8 was created for Netflix by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski. Full credits here.

Sense8 was good for my sexuality. I can’t say I’ve stopped struggling, but I can tell you I walked away from those nights of Netflix on the couch feeling more sex-positive than any series had ever made me feel. If I could absorb this show’s worldview into every fiber of my being, I would associate sexuality with pure joy and I’d be an even happier person for it.

For newcomers, Sense8 is one of those stories about people with hidden powers. Each Homo sensorium or “sensate” can communicate telepathically with a “cluster” of 7 others their age. The sensates literally…

These 8 mantras empower me to be honest and say yes or no.

Photo by Camila Cordeiro on Unsplash

I wish I never had to reject. From the moment I first meet someone, part of me wishes I could be their best friend forever. I hate making any guy, gal, or person feel bad about themself, and I fear they’ll remember Phoenix Huber as the jerkface who abandoned them.

I liken my guilt & anxiety to hunter-gatherer times, when rejection could mean death. Why when I say no must I feel like a monster who’s cool to leave innocent people behind in the wilderness? They’ll be fine, right? They can make other friends, and they won’t get eaten by…

Will we finally live up to the cuteness of family-friendly animal stories?

A friendly green owl named Duo serves as the Duolingo mascot. Photo by Andy Chilton on Unsplash.

When Criminal Minds was on yesterday, JJ asked Reid what he would do if he wasn’t an FBI agent. He gave the surprising answer he’d be a cowboy—surrounded by nature with horses and a few cattle.

“And what would you do with cattle?” JJ asks, incredulous.

“Oh, you know, look at ’em. Pet ’em. I hadn’t really though about that but I’ll figure it out.” (Scene link here for Criminal Minds fans.)

Reid describes how the other agents would also be there. JJ would run a flower shop, Rossi a saloon, and Garcia would have a sanctuary for wounded animals.

Phoenix Huber

I hope to co-create a happy humanity that’s kind to animals. Make me smile by donating to my fundraiser or joining 10 Weeks to Vegan!

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