Why saying “nevermore” has been the easiest way to change my life — and it works

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

I’ve struggled my whole life with moderation. I wish it were easy to tell myself when to stop, how much to have, or to what degree I can indulge before no more.

It isn’t. It should be, but somehow I end up justifying “Just one more bowl of vegetables” and “Tomorrow I’ll go to bed early again.” I don’t realize the faults in my logic till it’s literally too late… 4am and I’m comatose from too much cauliflower.

Look, I know some of you probably envy that I overeat on vegetables, but it’s still a problem if you’re me!

Luckily, there’s one strategy that saves me from many such struggles. One solution that works wonders, even as my attempts to moderate continue to crash and burn at my feet. …


5 excuses I now use for being my hermit self — and I’ve never been happier

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Lockdown sucks… except for me.

Look, I don’t want to make light of the deadly virus nor its terrible consequences. Real suffering is no laughing matter.

It also wouldn’t be fair for me to gloat in front of you shit-out-of-luck extroverts. For you, a single day stuck at home feels like what a month of solitary confinement would feel like for me.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

I used to call myself an extreme introvert. Then I realized I may be what Franco Amati calls asocial. …


To make things fun, for one day I only used green-colored ingredients

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash. Yes, I chose a photo of TWO people cooking because that is my eventual goal! :)

On Wednesday, everything I ate was “verdant-hued.” Sorry, for those who don’t speak highfalutin poet, I mean green!

Bring on my morning Especially Green Smoothie:

  • Green grapes
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Romaine lettuce

For dinner, I had Everything Green in a Bowl. Yes, I’m so creative with names!

It was actually only 8 things, not every thing:
1. Green peas. 2. Green beans. 3. Brussels sprouts. 4. Broccoli. 5. Romaine lettuce. 6. Green peppers. 7. Scallions. 8. Mashed avocado.

Most of it I chopped into a pot to boil. Only the peas and green beans came canned, catering to my laze. …

Envision a more loving and attentive version of yourself.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

If I were more altruistic, I’d spend less time checking my phone. And my stats page. And my hair in the mirror. It is usually a background worry about myself that drives me to instant gratification.

In general, I’d feel less need to self-soothe and self-distract. Instead, I’d invest more hours beyond my comfort range — with others’ wellbeing in mind.

Two months ago I started a blog. Love Everyone, I called it, “the altruism diary of a recovering selfish person.” …


I lived in a small, cozy, kindly world and had fun with fall foods

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Have you ever had an Orange Day where everything you ate was orange?

I had the thoughts years ago — how fun it would be to do a whole week rainbow, planning vibrantly colorful meals that span 7 colors.

And I learned last year, through doing a “short-term bucket list,” that because I’m not exactly a beast at following through on my lofty far-off dreams, it helps so much to just find bite-sized baby steps. Make my days a little more meaningful and interesting with minimal effort.

So today, I made it an Orange Day.

It was also a cozy day. I felt the health and the happiness. I allowed my world to be small and kindly. …

Why I don’t like music, TV shows, or even video games anymore

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Puria Berenji on Unsplash

I take it back. I do like music, TV shows, and video games.

They just distracted me from things I like even more. So I quit.

I could concentrate as a kid. Then my mental self-control dwindled as I grew. I got consumed in online games, Desperate Housewives reruns, and, ahem, Miley Cyrus songs. (There was something about her voice that did it for me!)

What about moderation? My moderation attempts fell flat for over 10 years. I tried to ration how much Netflix I’d watch or how many hours I’d spend on Neopets. Instead, intrusive thoughts bothered me throughout the day. …


Today I scrubbed the floor; then I scrubbed my brain with reading

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by George Brits on Unsplash

This weekend gave me a mental health breakthrough. I had been in an avoidance cycle with researching & writing about animal issues (and human issues). It’s funner to just write self-help. Then I don’t get so depressed thinking about suffering!

The breakthrough? I can redirect my worries about others’ misery into relevant thoughts about their wellbeing.

In other words: Spend less time sad over suffering. Spend more time feeling happy for others’ happiness.

And even if someone’s situation seems bad overall, still be grateful for the good part of it. Be grateful for the potential to make things better.

For example, when addressing the topic of factory farming, I can think…


To feel better, I turn inner woes into gratitude for others’ happiness

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Home alone, this weekend was to be a writing marathon. While I did have some success with the pen, the bigger breakthrough was my mental health.

Saturday night, I had a minor disagreement over text that steeped Sunday in angst. I became determined to write a good paper on the topic we’d texted about. Predictably, my head swirled with sadness about others’ suffering.

After 8pm — after an entire Sunday mentally unwell — I realized my friend had replied! Somehow I’d missed the message. He wasn’t even upset or needing space. I hadn’t ruined the friendship.

This tells me what I already know. So many negative thoughts turn out false. I wanted to look closer at the yo-yo emotional states I go through as a writer. …


Then I had a cruel dream where I ALMOST dated Wilmer Valderrama

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash. This was TOTALLY ME after I woke up and realized neither my ASMR ex-boyfriend, nor Wilmer Valderrama, know I exist!

Talk about a cruel dream!

So Wilmer Valderrama was into me. Apparently I just hadn’t read all the signs. I had his number, and yet I wasn’t contacting him. I guess I just figured he’s a celebrity from That ‘70s Show and NCIS; he was probably just being nice and doesn’t have time to talk to some person named Phoenix.

But then I was hearing from aaall these people who supposedly had inside information that Wilmer Valderrama wanted to take Phoenix on a date to Phoenix (the city). Because he thought it would be fitting.

After much cajoling, the insistent Nosy McNosypeople made Wilmypoo’s charm impossible for me to ignore. Alas, I was watching the guy perform on a stage at the college that we went to in the dream, and I just thought, “There’s no way.” …

I can master how I think and feel about people.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Nelson Ribeiro on Pexels

After I moved to San Francisco, three friendships in a row ended in painful awkwardness.

I was socially inept. An overly attached weirdo. Surely that’s what they’d seen in me?

Not fitting in with my new social circle was embarrassing. I knew I should tell myself we just weren’t a match. Yet instead, I replayed what went wrong. I internalized my unattractiveness.

The problem got bigger still. I missed almost all my past connections at times. I wished our bonds could live forever. I’d remember people I used to know through work, ASU, or OkCupid, and I’d think, “Oh, I probably disappointed them. …


Phoenix Huber

An effusive Pollyanna and vegan trans woman. I’m passionate about making life joyful and kind. Get in touch with a private note on an article you liked.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store