When I think of this woman, I think of iridescence. I understand the peculiarity of that description, but listen up. I have known her for nearly five years and within that time, she has journeyed through different states. From a high-school dropout, to a business owner, to a university physics student, to an environmentalist, to someone in the midst of love… She has worn many masks and whenever I look at her face, I see them all existing at the same time, painted in varying colours and light.

“Who are you?” I asked.

I guess I’m still trying to figure that out. Some days I feel as though I know exactly who I am; I’m Ash. I want to save the world and make people happy and explore space. Other days I’m a mess and I have no idea what I’m doing. I never want to stop learning and sharing though, so I think my ‘mess’ comes from a place of goodness.

I think the difference between her and most other multi-faceted people, is awareness. She is aware that she is a compilation of many things, and she uses it to her advantage.

I just want to do as much as I can in the little time I have. I wanted to be an astronaut but I’m too small. Aside from that, there are so few limitations in this day and age, so why not get as much done as possible?

Yesterday I was teaching a bunch of high schoolers about budgeting, today I’ve been making plans for the future and I’m about to go teach kindy kids how to do cartwheels.

In my two decades of existence, I have never met somebody bewitched with such passion. All that she does is in pursuit of making her life mean something, of making humanity’s time on this planet worth something. That’s why she’s a badass vegan environmentalist, who has no time for those unnecessary straws they put in your drinks.

Single use trash and animal agriculture are such big issues and I wish there was more that I could do. I already know that I can’t turn everyone vegan and zero waste, it just won’t happen. All I can do is my part and set a quality example.

She’s set quite the example too. In this jar is one year’s worth of trash (minus when she travelled Europe, because apparently being a tourist isn’t particularly zero-waste). Nevertheless, this environmental achievement surpasses anything I’ve ever done.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the state of this world and write in a condescending tone, but what I am going to do, is encourage you to research. In only five minutes I was sobered by these facts; More than 80% of the Earth’s natural forests have already been destroyed, 62% of New Zealand’s waterways are unsafe to swim in due to pollution, many animals and plants are high-key becoming extinct, and stop ordering drinks with straws because you don’t fucking need them.

All that self-inflicted devastation aside, we also spoke about the concept of ‘family’, of blood relatives versus non-blood relatives.

Honestly, blood means fuck all. Blood means you have somewhat similar DNA, but it doesn’t mean you need to stick around to be treated like rubbish by people. I’m lucky enough to consider my close friend group to be my family. They’ve always gone above and beyond for me and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

I don’t know about you, but she’s preaching to the damn choir. ‘Family’ is a construct like much else in this world, and the thing about constructs is that you can create them however you please. If you don’t want to involve people in your family that bring undying agony, then don’t. However, if you want to involve people like Ashlee, who is quite possibly the walking manifestation of ecstasy, then go for it.

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  • Marcella Nielsen
    September 25, 2017 at 1:49 AM

    Hi Thorne,

    Wow! Your project is extremely unique and very inquisitive. Your writing is captivating and I’m impressed with the progress you have made over these weeks. I think I remember that your original project was solely photography and I’m glad to see you’re still incorporating it with your current idea now.
    The concept of ‘Human’ is interesting and definitely one of self-reflection and self-discovery. Like you said, even though you are interviewing other people, it in turn reflects back on you. Growing up my Mum would always tell me “look at your friends and you’re looking at you” and that was to both make sure I remained true to myself and realize that we are who we surround ourselves with.
    Again, your idea is highly creative and reflective, which works perfectly with our paper! I hope your struggles with the photography side of things works itself out!
    Lastly, I wasn’t too sure where the comment box was for your First Reflection post? If there was one.

    All the best.