2021: A Year In Review For Me

Every year for quite a while, I do new year resolutions but I also end a year with a WOP-WUP (web-of-passions wrap-up-plan) Which is kinda like, stuff related to new year resolutions but with end of year deadlines, usually things related to my creative, community and career projects (many of them are so interconnected purposefully to help me with my larger, less talked about projects and plans, like a web)

This year was a life-turning point for me, my cPTSD roared into life and has consumed most of my year of me being in crisis mode and many hospitalisations across that time too. It does mean it was a quiet year for me with lots of self-development but I still achieved a few things!

  • I ended a 10-year hiatus and published my next book: Journey of a Lost Boy.
  • Still got to go camping late in the summer before the crisis hit.
  • After many years searching, I got gifted a greenstone pendant I never take off.
  • I got a puppy! Kiwi is a male Australian Cattle Dog and being trained as a PTSD Service animal.
  • I sold my first artwork in my first art competition I have been in since Primary School.
  • The birds had babies during one of my hospital stays. Now it’s a family of six!
  • Achieved my gender transition goals for the year: I have reached a maintenance dose for all my hormone therapy medications.
  • Been able to hang up my favourite artwork i’ve made around the house.
  • Got a traditional maori orators walking stick to help with my mobility around the house.

Some other sad things that happened this year:

  • Plenty of covid lockdowns still :/
  • cPTSD Crisis began in March – continued past the following new year.
  • 8 hospitalisations this year.
  • New EMDR therapist and psychiatrist (gotta keep looking after yourself).
  • Became nonverbal (unable to talk) in mid November – continued past the following new year.

Definitely not a long list like the year before but still some noteworthy things.

3rd Wheeliversary

Late January around this time is what I call my Wheeliversary, which i put it to the last date i ever took a jog. It was a very painful and sad day for me. I love physical activity, and i was spending the day as a coordinator and photographer for the local pride march pup float (so no pictures of me of that day) finishing the event in agonising pain as one of my classic ptsd coping mechanisms of “focusing purely on helping others to the detriment of myself.”

Three years later my life has flipped over several times, from being alienated and made to feel unsafe in the local scene, which meant the ~20% of my income I was donating to the community could go back into my own self development and other larger community projects.

While I kept my new year resolution last year of reducing my social media interactions for 2020, this is a new year and I’ve never been afraid to answer genuine questions 🙂

Last year had many positive changes and upheavals and my diagnosis changed to MS. But this turned into a good thing, I have more understanding of what my body is doing, better supports and coping mechanisms in place now and what little walking I do do around the house has me in less pain with the right physical supports.

Since coming out of the trans closet and beginning hrt last year too, I’ve been able to flourish into more of the real me even with a pandemic lockdown. No more smirk and rejections of compliments to me. Doing more of my hobbies and continuing to do my community work because I will always love inspiring people to pursue their own dreams, their own path in life and can overcome their demons. No matter what toxic people say about me, if I can rise above them and my demons so can anyone else with theirs.


2020: A Year In Review For Me

Every year for quite a while, I do new year resolutions but I also end a year with a WOP-WUP (web-of-passions wrap-up-plan) Which is kinda like, stuff related to new year resolutions but with end of year deadlines, usually things related to my creative, community and career projects (many of them are so interconnected purposefully to help me with my larger, less talked about projects and plans, like a web)

This year with covid lockdowns, I had to be more creative on what I can get done without leaving the house much, hopefully next year I find some friends to help me get back into the outdoors more 🙂 While I don’t usually share new year resolutions, what I did do however is usually a good life-building list of achievements and hardships of the year to share:

  • 700+ Pages researched, interviewed and written for the pup play book project.
  • 300+ Pages built, translated and written in the ancient Chinese atlas project which will be published early in the next year.
  • Photography portfolio designed and ready to be published in the new year.
  • Started working with University of Sunderland (UK) to start the process of donating the pup play research project to have continual academic involvement.
  • First peer-reviewed academic paper submitted for publishing in a journal. Based on demographic information on the pup play community research project. With more coming.
  • Grew tulips successfully for the first time ever.
  • Returned back to Activites I used to do a LOT, like camping, kite flying, mineral collecting, birdkeeping, fern growing, astrophotography, micro-origami, wood carving, digital mural artwork.
  • Got to visit 4 new national parks when lockdowns co-operated.
  • Broke up with sabre and moved out.
  • Got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Lost 24kg due to a few illnesses.
  • Lost the pet frogs I had for 4 years while I was in hospital.
  • Planted 12 new native trees in public parkland spaces.
  • After 20 years, I have finally came out of the transgender closet and begun HRT.
  • Started the process of police getting involved to intervene in the harassment and abuse I have begun receiving from the Mormon church again.
  • Rebooted my projects portfolio website at www.adaptiveexplorer.com
  • Rebooted my blog writing website at www.ashleykahurangi.com
  • Launched my next big community project, the accessibility grading scheme and pitching to state governments in Australia at www.adaptivecamping.com
  • Taken up playing Tibetan singing bowls as my musical instrument hobby again after a 9 year hiatus. (They’re originally from northern India/nepal and not from actual Tibet)
  • Rebooted my big life’s work project and childhood dream in Terrasailing after a 8 year hiatus on it.
  • Grieve through the passing of my Husky, Kiro.
  • Witness the astronomical “great conjunction” event which last happened in the 1600’s
  • Start working on my next qualification field to attempt to become a park ranger and/or upskill more for my future big projects (land/wildlife management).
  • Oh, there was a pandemic on this year too?

I’m not perfect in any means, my “failed/postponed projects” list for this year is still longer than the list above. Not much of what I been up to this year has made it onto social media and there’s still so much about me that’s not known to even some of my friends. But no matter the hurdles, external or internal I still run to this faster drumbeat in life. I don’t like external problems defining me and my path in life and I hope I can keep inspiring people that they can overcome their own challenges too through actions and by example.

Restarting my Blog

I’ve been writing and content creating on the internet since 1999. It was originally on a creative writing forum from 99-03 on it I wrote over 80 pages of storytelling and was well received (it was mostly a continual story about a refugee orc and a human lumberjack trying to flee across offensive based continent). My final year of high school I was in the creative writing club and someone moved in to the area that was a huge fan of my work and they told me how it helps them out of their own depression. This was the first time ever that I met someone that I had a positive impact on with my writing, up to this point he was merely of a way to express the stress I was getting thru with my biological family.

Shortly into my adult life I decided to get into web design and I created my own blog because at the time many services took ownership of content created on their platform. This was before Myspace or other latter platforms. Over time, I have always kept writing content and when the cost of cameras dropped overtime, I was able to get into photography like my grandfather help me learn to enjoy when I was younger.

The last personal blog I ran was from ’09 up to when I was homeless in ’13. And while I still write a journal for myself, I enjoy taking excerpts to help share my perspective on life in the hopes that it helps others, If they, whoever they are, friend or foe; feel alone or confused in the world, I hope I can share that it’s perfectly ok to just be your weird self even if people think it’s to seek attention. Because it’s more important to go to bed at night knowing that you did your best and that includes being yourself on whichever journey in life you’re pursuing.

So this marks the beginning of this new blog. I am going to go through my old public blog archives and going to post backdated data from my travels. Hopefully the files from my old old life is not too corrupted.

Update: I have been able to retrieve 2006-2014 posts but many are missing photos and videos, sadly they will have to stay as-is but will be kept for posterity.

The Silent Kind of Ableism

Today was the first time during lockdown exercise I decided to wear my chest, only the fourth time out beyond the house, so of course I was nervous as hell. S and myself went to the park to fly his small kite he got gifted recently. Something we could do with our allowed one hour of exercise.

Kiting was the first sport I picked up after my parents took me out of the family. I used to fly them on the beaches in Auckland and got quite good at it. Half a lifetime later, i’m trying to get my housemates to get into it so they have more to do than sulk around lockdown.   

Of course, they don’t realise why their kites are not flying and spinning in circles. I dont have my own still, and I don’t want to outshow them and have them bored of it, so I went into “dotting help mode” so I can help and be part of the activity. I would come up to their kites they’re dragging along and untangle strings and streamers so its balanced properly as would flying buddies would back in the day when I was doing it. But of course my ex being his usual “supportive but not considerate” mode would just blurt out and snap at me with.

     “stop trying to help, you keep getting in the way”

Suddenly stunned into silence, taking a few moments to process how i’m not being allowed to do more than just a spectator and feeling already super nervous being out wearing my chest, went home pretty quick and cried on my bed for a good few hours.

Sometimes it’s considerate to do something to let the person in the wheelchair be involved in something social people, you wouldn’t believe how much the everyday consideration a wheelchair user has towards able bodied people around them isn’t reciprocated and just plainly left out of things…. 

My First Gender Clinic Appointment

Not sure why i’m still surprised of being surprised of what to expect. Thought i’d be a total bundle of anxiety, not get a wink of sleep. but got 4.5 hours which is a good amount at the moment. got an uber, on time, no drama, got in, seen to quickly. and what i expected was a 15 minute appointment to set times for me to see specialists, became a 2 hour information dump in the best of ways. I left much more informed of what to do next. May have to save 25k for first surgery so that’ll take a few miracles and years of hard work but for a chance to stop tearing my soul daily with my dysphoria, definitely.

Still Terrified,

No Regrets.

Coming Out Of The Closet Again

 With a story about time travel.

When I was 14, I told a story to people, a “hypothetical thought experiment” to help answer a question, how do you seperate the mentally insane from time travelers if all they have is human-scale information (don’t expect a 40 year old to jump back in time 150 years and tell you when it’ll rain outside to the minute. In any century…). As typical thinking out of the box me, I thought of a solution to this problem while sharing secretly something about me.

If someone was to go back in time, and present-day me had to trust them wholeheartedly  and instantly, they would need some unique key, just like a database, or a entering a password. So, I would tell people that if i ever needed someone to do just that, to go back in time, all they would need to do is tell present-day me a secret, one I knew from the age of 14 and thought I would take to the grave till it all boiled out on this day. (this account written a few weeks later)

 I knew I was transgender at the age of 14, not in that way explicitly though; my parents ultra-conservative nature stopped me having a vocabulary to explain it well. But i knew my mind and in a way, my soul was not the gender my body was not, and had a desire to want to change that. Of course in the social bubble that a mormon family have, I went to my mother about how I felt. She aggressively defended that it was just wrong, and impossible. This led to my therapist shortly after changing tactics and asking strange enough questions for me to go out of my way to use pre-google internet to learn more and find out its about sexual deviancy and risk assessments towards sexually hurting siblings etc. There was other things too at that time that I do not talk about but suffice to say, i was so scared of being thrown in jail or worse that it literally threw me in the transgender closet for literally 20 years. 

I know i broke my promise to myself, but younger me would understand why.

By the time i was 19, and now sad to say, I was quite transphobic without even realising it back then, even though I was out as a very effeminate gay male. It took a special friend who was there from day 1 when my parents took me out of the family. Who I am still friends with to this day to crack that shell that gender and sex were separate, didn’t take much really than explaining intersex and the spectrum.

I tried experimenting over the years. I used to wear a lot of satchel/handbags in my late teens, grew my hair down to shoulder length when I lived in Beijing (locals were so enthralled by just the sight of a foreigner, they didn’t care if you presented masculine or feminine). I found some people that helped me explore a more external matching appearance in my late 20’s, just before I was homeless; never in a sissification or sexual way, just a chill in front of a fireplace once a fortnight and chat about the weeks events. This stopped suddenly of course when health and relationship issues led me to becoming homeless.

This was a turning point for my journey though. I knew at this point that I didn’t have to cave into pressure. I could stand my ground of whats true and not leave myself exposed. I never did come out to him, few months into being homeless, he cut all contact and got told by his father never to speak to any of them again. Yet the ripples of that moment set the rest of my life in motion, getting tired of putting others needs before my own wellbeing, I learnt a lot to have balance in my life, to not just devote every waking moment to helping someone or something, but its okay to do things for myself.

I changed my name legally to Taylor after being homeless, intentionally to be gender neutral and respectful to my biological family. I knew I had still a few more years I wanted to give it a fair go to repair things between them and me, but after 17 years after they took me out of the family at age 17, they were still freaking out over a name change and the morality chasm between them and me reached too much. I ended up breaking all ties with them at this point. I cant keep hurting myself by allowing them to hurt others like that.

In the fetish community work, i focused wholeheartedly to some peoples confusion on all-inclusive safe space and creation of events. Toxic members in the community even resorted to lying about me in front of me, claiming i had stolen and used his testosterone steroids. But i kept my ground, and didn’t let him choose when its time for me to come out. But sadly people took that silence as guilt and kept losing a lot of friends, they couldn’t understand how i was focusing solely on them and they tried to convince themselves I had an ulterior motive. And it is true, I said it on live radio in 2017 as well and its the same thing I said just above. I just left out how i was creating these safe all-inclusive spaces so i can also feel safe to come out of the trans closet one day and be the real me on the inside and out.