Being American

Roe v. Wade-America, what the??

As a society, I can’t believe how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, and how one ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has destroyed that.

The Constitution of the United States is there to protect the liberty of choice, and Norma Leah Nelson McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, must be livid in her grave.

People all over the world are protesting because women’s freedom of choice has been violated yet again…

Photo credit to Anna Brasier

As a way of helping people to understand why access to abortion is a fundamental right, I would like to publicly share my own story and my own involvement with this topic. Part of me is afraid that this may cause me to lose friends, disappoint or alienate people, but this is my contribution to this worldwide protest. It’s a story like millions that are out there, and it’s important to me that it is shared…

It was 1986 when ‘more’ was not enough…

The fashion was crazy bright colors, and you needed to be well accessorized. But most of all, your hair had to be big.

Rachel’s mom dropped us off at a fourteen and older dance club called the Ritz in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two excited 14-year-old girls and our first time at a club. We paid our $5 and entered the dimly lit dance floor, squinting at the moving lights. The fog machine made us cough and conversations ceased because the blaring music. We danced to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dead or Alive and Cindy Lauper. Halfway through “Bizarre Love Triangle,” two guys approached us and asked us to dance. I had danced with boys at church dances before, but I was nervous because this guy looked cool dressed in white pants and a white jacket. He glowed under the black lights. He was cute, and he could dance. We yelled our names at each and lied about our ages. His name was Antonio; smiling nervously at each other, we danced most of the night together. When the club closed at midnight, we exchanged phone numbers.

Antonio went to Cypress High School, the opposite side of town from where I went to school, and we were too young to drive so we spent ten months talking on the phone and writing letters. The calls would last for hours in cramped positions, with the curl stretched out of the telephone cords looking for some privacy. I always wanted to know when we would see each other again. We tried to make plans, maybe his mom would drive him over on Saturday. But I would wait for hours only to be disappointed because he never showed, this happened more times than I’d like to admit. He always seemed to come up with a different excuse. These would be the first of many lies said to me by men.

One day, probably after I tried to break up with him after too many disappointments, he rode his bike to my house during the school holidays. My siblings were not home, and my mom was at work. After his big ride, he was tired and sweaty, and I got him a drink of water. I couldn’t stop smiling because it was hard to believe he was actually in my house. I gave him a tour, but he was mainly interested in my bedroom.

A teenage bedroom always tells a story.

I expressed myself through different shaped Avon perfume bottles lined up tallest to shortest on my dresser, walls plastered with magazine cut-outs and Prince posters. My favorite childhood toys sat front and center on my neatly made bed. All my secrets were on display and ready to be revealed if the right questions were asked. 

Me in my bedroom at 15 years old

My bedroom was my safe place, my haven, the only place I made the rules, and the rest of the family had to respect them.

I showed Antonio my favorite things, including a school award, pictures of my best friends and the first doll I still had. He pointed to my teddy bear on my bed, asking about it. I flopped down on my bed and cuddled Einstein while telling him the story about when I was two and spent a few weeks in the hospital.

He sat next to me, leaned in, and kissed me.

The kissing got heavier and heavier. Before I knew it, he was on top of me, his hands going up my shirt. I was trying to sit up, saying, “hang on—stop, I need to get—, Let me up! He had unzipped and pulled my shorts and undies down enough to get his foot on them and push them down to my ankles in one sudden maneuver. I was lying there embarrassed, half-naked and in trouble.

His pants were already off, and I can’t remember him taking them off. He laid on top of me, trying to kiss me again. Trying to pull myself up and out from under him, I found my head in the corner of the wall with nowhere else to go. His hands were wrapped tightly around my wrists and he kept repeating, “I promise you’ll like it once I stick it in.”

As much as I tried to fight him off, he was too strong. He had hipped his way between my legs. For all the struggling and yelling “No!”, I couldn’t stop him.

We should not have been alone at my house, in my room, or on my bed. I just never thought this would happen. I didn’t know we were old enough to do anything like that. After that, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know or understand about boys.


Once he was done, I lay there numb, holding back the tears. He rolled off me and put his pants on. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do or what was coming next. As soon as he got up, I covered myself with the sheet and rolled into a ball away from him.

He turned and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I said, “Tell you what? I was telling you NO!”

He said, “No, that you were a virgin.”

I didn’t even know my sheets were covered with blood.

He got up to use the bathroom but turned and said, “This is your fault. You know, you’re just too sexy, and I can’t control myself around you.”

After he shut the bathroom door, I quickly got dressed. When he came out of the bathroom he said, “I’d better go.”

I think he was at my house for maybe an hour but I wanted him to leave. I needed him to go because I didn’t fully understand what had happened.

He left and I stripped my bed and threw my sheets in the wash; I jumped into the shower and cried, feeling very sore below.

Nobody told me this could happen. Not my mom, not my older sister, no one. I wanted to be liked by boys, but not like this.

Antonio rang me the next day, and we continued our phone calls as if nothing had happened. I didn’t know how to be mad at him because I liked having a boyfriend.

Weeks later, I started to feel unwell. The sickness didn’t go away and seemed to be getting worse. My friend’s older sister asked if she could take me to get a pregnancy test, and that’s when I realized how you get pregnant, even if you didn’t like having sex.

A few days later, I called the clinic from my mom’s bedroom. I shut the door and dialed the number while I hid nervously on the floor next to her bed.

“Not good news, I’m afraid,” they said.

I rang Antonio. He told me to get an abortion, his cousin had one. I didn’t even know what that was.

I called my mom at work and told her why I had been feeling sick. The silence was so thick and I heard her heart break over the phone.  

My mom came home from work, and we talked. She was upset, of course, but had my feelings at heart. I felt only love and support from her. I told her what Antonio thought I should do. My mom came back to me a few days later and decided that abortion was the best option for me. She said I was too young to be a mother—my older sister had a baby when she was just eighteen. I trusted my mom. I had no idea what to do, so I followed her reasoning. After all, I was a child. Her child.

On a not-so-special Saturday, my mom drove me out to pick up Antonio in our wood panel station wagon. I slid over in the middle to let him in the front with us. It was a silent ride to the clinic on the other side of town. I went in. My mom & Antonito sat in the waiting room. This was something I had to do alone. I was in good hands. All the staff, nurses and doctors were friendly. They explained everything to me to ease my anxiousness, so I didn’t have any surprises about what was about to happen. The machine was loud, and the nurse wiped each tear. What had I done? How would God ever forgive me or love me again? I was a horrible person.

While in recovery, I asked to see Antonio. They told me he was gone. He had left minutes after I went in. I was embarrassed, cold, and damned; I wasn’t ready to face my mom yet.

A little bit of me died that day. I became a bit numb as the world became a colder place. I was no longer a child in a big curious world.

The U.S Supreme court ruling has brought this trauma back to the surface for me

It took me years to understand that what happened to me that day was rape.

My life would be very different today had my courageous mother not stepped up and made some hard decisions on my behalf.

I know that everyone should have the right to decide what is best for them and their bodies, and no one should be forced to do something they don’t want to do. As a virgin, I was forced to have sex when I didn’t want to, and without Roe, I would have been forced to carry a baby when I didn’t want to.

It’s crazy to think I had more freedom in 1986 than we now do today in 2022.

Being American, Fluffy life stuff

Let’s chat about the ‘FATTY BOOMBA’ stage…you know what I’m talking about!

I eat one naughty treat because I ‘deserve it’, then that leads to another and before I know it I’m like a hoover inhaling every sweet thing I see. Then my clothes feel a bit tight and soon I can’t button my pants. It’s like it sneaks up on me. Like my body didn’t see me sneaking all those sweets and it’s not my fault that I can’t hide my muffin top anymore. Do you know what I’m saying?

My fatty boomba stage ALWAYS seems to happen after the holidays and the start of the cool season.

Christmas is bad but we do Febfast every year and it helps us to get back on track. Febfast is giving up either sugar, coffee, alcohol and/or technology for the whole month of February. My husband and I always give up sugar. I tell everyone I’m giving up sugar, coffee and alcohol. The people who know me well laugh and call me a cheater because they know I don’t drink alcohol or coffee anyway. But giving up sugar is a challenge. I don’t know how you give up technology for a month? Maybe you just give up social media or something.

Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash

So Easter is the worst for me. We have so much chocolate in the house and the only way to get rid of it is to eat it, right? And so we do, I do. I overindulge. I sneak it when the kids are not looking. It calls my name from the pantry. It’s also the end of the warm weather here in Melbourne, so I feel like my body has this animal instinct to put on an extra layer.  Anyway, it’s hard to fight it with all that chocolate in the house. This is when my ‘Fat pants’ get a run.

Fat Pants

After I had my son it was really had to lose the weight I gained during the pregnancy. I didn’t want to buy myself anything new because I was determined to lose the weight and reward myself with a new outfit. Well, when my son turned three, I decided I needed to buy some fat pants. You know what I mean, jeans that look good but when you bend over to tie your shoes it doesn’t cut off your air supply.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

When I was home for Thanksgiving one year, my sister-in-law and I went shopping for Black Friday. We walked past Lucky Jeans and they had a big sale sign in the window. We went in. I asked the lady who greeted us if she had any fatty boomba pants. She laughed and asked me to repeat myself. After explaining my situation, she had me try on a few different pairs of jeans. Stretchy jeans but still looked cool. I spent more money on my fatty boomba jeans than I spend on normal jeans. I figured that maybe I could cut them off into shorts and wear them with a belt or something when I lost the weight. Those fatty boomba pants have been my saving grace over the last 6 years. I hate that I can’t stay slim but I like my food. Food makes me happy especially sugar!

This Morning

So I’m at the gym. My last visit was six months ago. My doctor advised me to put my gym membership on hold after a hernia operation. A 36-year-old hernia, removed. Seriously. I remember going to the doctor when I was 10-years-old for it. They gave me a pamphlet titled ‘Your Hernia and You’. The ‘R’ in Hernia was pushing out like a hernia. That is the only reason I remember it.

As hubby and I were getting ready for bed last night, he asks if I’m going to the gym in the morning. I set my alarm but still hadn’t decided. The alarm goes off and I surprise myself when I get out of bed and throw my gym clothes on. It’s freezing but I get there in time for the 6.15am spin class.

Some of the usual suspects are there and recognize me. I smile. I’ve never had a conversation with them but I know them by the imaginary life I’ve made up for them. There’s the empty-nester who’s unnoticed by her husband and has nothing better to do but exercise. The divorced dad, who’s trying his best to jump back into the dating scene. Two mums that pretend to like each other but secretly compete and the bazaar trio, I can’t figure out which one is married to the guy they come with. This keeps my mind occupied rather than listening to my brain who’s telling me ok, you can stop now.

I was shocked I remembered how to adjust the bike let alone remember the settings that fit me. I get on, strap my feet in and yep, it’s like riding a bike. I start to peddle, check out the new faces and make up stories for them; Pretty girl, that’s crushing on the instructor judging from her full face of makeup, did I mention its a 6.15am class? Sisters who come with mum, the older one desperately trying to fit into that formal dress and the guy that seriously needs a haircut. He’s going to put his neck out by jerking his head left trying to get it out of his face. All is going well except I forgot about the mental checklist I use to go through. It came flooding back to me ten minutes after class started–too late to do anything about it now…

√ Don’t choose a bike next to waterfall man. (sweats so much it waterfalls down his bike–I know and he’s next to me).

√ Check the bike for any clunks before you strap in (I’m feeling a clunk each time my left foot hits the bottom–distracting and annoying).

√ Choose a bike near the fans (It’s freezing at the start but soon I’m dying of heat and ‘visor girl’ who always turns the fans on and then points them to herself, just turned the fans on and pointed them to herself–I don’t know why she always wears a visor, I can assure her the sun will not be getting in her eyes).

√ Don’t choose a bike right in front of the speaker (I’m being blasted out by the instructor who feels he must talk-shout the lyrics from the song to fill in the space-Urgh!).

Don’t overextend your left knee (I forgot about that old war injury. I don’t know why I have it or where it came from but it hurts whenever I overextend it and takes a few days to come good again).

√ GOAL: 18K (I try my best not to look at the other person’s screen but I have a competitive edge that comes out. I. Must. Ride. Further.)

At 6:40am (only 5 mins to go) my brain wins. Remember not to overdo it on your first day back, Kaylynn, you’ve done enough and my feet listen, the peddling slows to a stop. I get off the bike with a sore bum. I stretch then limp over to get a paper towel and spray it with cleaning product trying not to make eye contact with the instructor, if he talks to me it will blare out of the speakers, I then limp back and start cleaning the bike except I notice my water bottle is missing. What did I do with it? Nothing. I’m cleaning the wrong bike. What stories they must make up about me.

I get home to find hubby still laying in bed looking at his phone.

“How come you’re home so early?”

“I’m not.”

It was then I realized I left class 15 mins early. Oh well. I’ll try again after my bum and knee are not so sore anymore.

Photo by William Felker on Unsplash


To anyone who’s in the fatty boomba stage:

Take back your power! Before you put anything in your mouth ask yourself…

  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I bored?
  • Why am I eating this?
  • Will this help me fit back into my skinny jeans?

Have a big drink of water and look at the time. Have you missed a meal? Or how close you are to your next meal? Think healthy! Buy fresh salads, fruit and nuts.

Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

Let’s make better choices for our immediate health, our future and the example we are setting to those that look up to us. Let’s make sure we are burning more calories then we are putting in…

Let us all avoid becoming this…



Feature photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Australia, Being American

Lest we forget–but first we must understand for those of us too young to remember.

Tomorrow, April 25, Australia and New Zealand will celebrate ANZAC Day–Australia New Zealand Army Corps (for the American’s, it’s our equivalent to Veterans Day). It’s not just a holiday but an occasion where Australians and New Zealanders all over the southern hemisphere (and the world) will wake extremely early to attend one of the several thousand Dawn Service’s held tomorrow morning starting at 5:30am sharp.

This holiday means a lot to me. I am humbled and hold so much respect for the men and women who fought for their country on this ANZAC Day eve.
Shape of Australia in flag colors

I remember having my first ANZAC Day and it didn’t have the same meaning to me as it did to Australians. I didn’t understand the importance of Gallipoli, in fact, I had no idea what Gallipoli even was.

The ANZAC’s attempted to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, a strategic position. The invasion did not succeed. Turkish troops waged battle with the ANZAC forces for eight months, during which over 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders died.

The soldiers’ sacrifices and dedication to the cause roused admiration back home. “Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives,” explains Australia’s government, “the actions of Australian and New Zealand forces during the campaign left a powerful legacy.”

People therefore held patriotic events in Australia and New Zealand, and as far away as Egypt and England, on the one-year anniversary of the landing, marking the first Anzac Day as a half-day holiday in 1916.

By 1941, the traditions were well-established when TIME wrote of the day:

In the big continent down under, the scattered cities and distant towns celebrate yearly with prayers, parades and boutonnieres of wattle Australia’s most important holiday, Anzac Day. Australians like to recall that it was on April 25, 1915, when Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli, that the youthful nation ‘first got into trouble.’

In later years, for example during World War II, the memory of Gallipoli—as observed on Anzac Day—was used as a rallying cry to keep fighting even in the bleakest of circumstances.

Now, the dawn vigils are standard, marking the time the soldiers first landed in Gallipoli. People also hold marches, memorial services and play plenty of games of two-up (an Australian game of chance). This year, remembrances are scheduled at memorials in New Zealand and Australia, as well as across the world — including the Gallipoli peninsula itself, where buses will take early-rising groups for a 5:30 a.m. vigil.

Growing up American, I only really knew about American history…

Teachers and parents taught us how privileged we were to live in a free country and how our forefathers fought for all of us to have that right.

In our thirteen years of school, we got to our feet every Monday morning.  Right hand over our heart, facing the flag and quietly listening to the “The Star-Spangled Banner”–our national anthem. After the song finished, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” 

Watch an American Olympian receive their gold medal. It’s moving and powerful the amount of respect all Americans have for our flag. The National Anthem kicks off all our big sporting events. The silence is deafening as thousands stand there, right hands over our hearts, facing the flag and listening.

I think ANZAC Day felt different to me because the rituals were foreign to me. For example, I’d never heard the ANZAC Requiem, nor had I ever sang, “Advance Australia Fair” or “God Save the Queen”. We don’t have the Last Post, Reveille, lying of wreaths and poppies were just flowers to me. There is a piper (bagpipes) and a bugler. The Lord’s prayer among other prayers are quoted, hymns are sung and reverence is present. I’d never heard of “Lest we forget” until I came here, but on ANZAC day it’s repeated over and over.

In America

We have Veterans Day to commemorate all veterans in the US military. It occurs on November 11th to memorialize the Armistice which ended the World War I on that date in 1918. This is the same as Australia’s Remembrance Day. We also have Memorial Day on the last Monday in May that commemorates men and women who have died serving the United States. It was first instituted to remember soldiers who died in the Civil War. And we have Flag Day on 14 June which commemorates the official adoption of the US flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. It celebrates the history and symbolic meaning of the American flag and is also an opportunity to remember those who fight to protect it and the nation for which it stands.

We have 3 separate holidays which honor our men and women in the military and their contribution to a free country. But all of them combined is not as big as ANZAC day. Many hours are spent in organizing, preparing and executing the ANZAC Day events throughout the country. That is appreciated by all Australians.

Washington DC

A few years ago my husband and I got the opportunity to go to Washington DC. I had never been there before. There is something so special about seeing the places you grew up learning about come alive.

The White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Mt Vernon, and where Martin Luther King stood and gave his famous “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Capitol. All the museums, The Smithsonian’s–I lost count but I think there are about sixteen of them.

There are so many Monuments and Memorials that it’s hard not to be affected.  Standing in front of the Vietnam memorial, I was transported to that moment long ago. It has bigger than life-size bronze soldiers walking in the rain and mud. Some are holding each other up while marching and others are laying in the mud, fallen with fatigue. You can see their faces, feel their pain. I was so overwhelmed it’s like these statues actually had beating hearts that drew me in, taking me to that time.

I have so much gratitude for all soldiers who have ever had the courage to fight in a war.

Arlington National Cemetary

The night before we left, we visited Arlington National Cemetary. My heart broke as I saw acres and acres of gravestones.

It was almost too much to digest.

Just a few facts about Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia:

  • Arlington National Cemetery contains the remains of more than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries, buried there since the 1860s.
  • Nearly 5,000 unknown soldiers are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day.
  • The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, are buried at the cemetery.

It had been a wonderful tearful adventure. I literally cried the whole week because I was so touched and humbled.

I was emotionally exhausted by the time we got to the airport to fly out. As we were waiting to board, I noticed a few men and women in military dress gather in the next gate over. A Freedom Honor Flight had just landed–A Freedom Honor Flight a non-profit organization that flies veterans (our heroes), who have never been to Washington DC before, to visit the memorials that stand in their honor.

Each military division was represented by current men and women who hold those military positions now. Then they started clapping as veterans were escorted and wheeled off the airplane as they entered the gate. Soon all of us at the surrounding gates joined in the clapping. I noticed all the people helping were wearing the same t-shirt that read “If you can read this, thank a teacher, but if you can read this in English, thank a Veteran.” I was so touched by all of this concentrated patriotism that the tears just streamed down my cheeks. I stood there, with a crowd of other travelers, crying and clapping,  watching over a hundred veterans being slowly wheeled, escorted under the arm and some of them walking themselves, come off that flight. It was truly an honor and a blessing to be there in that moment.



I’ve been living in Australia for 18 years now. I became an Australian 10 years ago in 2009. Since then, ANZAC Day has taken on a new meaning for me. We always go to the dawn service as a family and we always catch up with all of our extended family celebrating and honoring the glorious dead in a march at Dandenong RSL. We all get together to watch our own soldiers march with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In our extended family, we have 2 British, 2 Americans, 3 half American/Australians, 1 Canadian, 2 Canadian/Australians and 2 Australians. We are a melting pot.

I love that Australia spends the whole day honoring our men and women who serve and served their country –no matter where in the world they are. Respect is shown, and stories are shared. We especially honor the heroes who never returned. It’s a day for families to remember. Soldiers to remember. The world to remember.

Thank you to all of those who put their lives on the line or on hold and fought for their country, you are truly brave and we are truly thankful. You gave us the freedom to do what we want.

Let’s be thankful. Let’s not waste that freedom away, do something big with it. Be big and brave in your own lives. Move your own mountains! Lest we forget.