Australian Filmmaker’s New Short Film Aims to Destigmatize Abortion

"That Thing I Had That One Time."
Short Film: “That Thing I Had That One Time.” Image courtesy of Jordan Fassina.

Jordan Fassina’s film “That Thing I Had That One Time” offers a candid look at abortion and emphasizes the importance of taking the stigma out of the equation. We asked Jordan to write about her story.

Fall is a nostalgic time of year for most people—something about the shift from hot to cold, and long to short days inspires a tingly mix of wistfulness and nostalgia. This year, it’s inspired me to reflect on a strange, melancholic, and completely life-changing memory.

I remember my first visit to the clinic vividly. It was early April and it was freezing out and snowing, which was peculiar since spring was so rapidly on our tail. Already late, already agitated, and bundled up like a walking sleeping bag, I was having difficulty finding the right address. Every damn door in New York looks the same. To add insult to injury, I began to cry. A very ugly cry. The excess hormones pulsating throughout my body had tears streaming down my face at the drop of a hat. A security guard popped his head out and guided me to the right door. It was still snowing when my appointment concluded. And I cried again. And I cried in the Uber home. And I got into bed and cried. I cried for me, for what I was doing, and for the deep, penetrating sense of loneliness that burdened me so excruciatingly.

 
There’s something incredibly beautiful but bittersweet, about being able to take your worst memories and use them as the foundation for art.
 
Short Film on abortion by Jordan Fassina
Image courtesy of Jordan Fassina.
Destigmatize Abortion, Short Film
Image courtesy of Jordan Fassina.

My name is Jordan. I’m a 22-year-old actress, filmmaker and creative hailing from Tasmania, Australia. I’m a Pisces, a vegetarian of 19 years and I can read Tarot cards. In April 2018, I fell unexpectedly pregnant with someone I was seeing, and, subsequently, decided to have an abortion.

The decision to have an abortion was one of the most exhausting and utterly painful experiences I’ve ever had to go through. Plagued by the stigma attached to abortion, I felt obligated to weave my secret into the tapestry of my daily life, booking appointments where permitted between the long, laborious hours of my server job and the hustle and grind of being an artist in New York City. Combine that with being thousands of miles away from home, having an absent partner (and uncaring would-be father), the legal struggle I was undertaking to stay in the U.S., the already present unresolved issues and traumas, and a lack of available professional help, and it amounted to one thing: I was deteriorating, and was in what I now identify as one of the darkest periods of my life.

I am still rebuilding from that experience. But I am much healthier, happier and more in tune with myself than before.

In the summer, things slowly took a turn for the better. I decided to seek professional help, digest what happened and take time to work on myself. I also began and completed the script for my first short film, “That Thing I Had That One Time.” The film is about a young Australian woman plagued with a difficult decision after becoming pregnant in the U.S. It goes without saying that it’s an autobiographical piece.

 
I want to break the stigma of abortion. This is my motivation.
 

There are many factors that inspired me to write “That Thing.” First and foremost, I used it as an outlet. There’s something incredibly beautiful but bittersweet, about being able to take your worst memories and use them as the foundation for art. I’m hoping that through using my experience, I can connect with women worldwide who have also gone through an abortion and assure them that they are not alone and that their experience and any resulting emotions, thoughts, and issues are entirely valid.

I’m also aiming to create awareness of the emotional, spiritual, and mental hardships surrounding abortion. I will never, ever regret my decision. I am 22 and in no way financially, mentally or in any other way ready to give birth to and raise a child. I have ambitions, aspirations and a life planned for me that does not factor in motherhood (yet). But I am aghast and appalled by the lack of awareness, support, help, and understanding surrounding abortion worldwide. Globally, there appears to be a disinterest, even an unwillingness, to understand the depths of what an abortion entails. It’s an incredibly taxing experience to have to go through as a woman, and although I am 100% sure of my decision, I still deserve to be respected, understood, and to have support on hand free from demonization. I want to break the stigma of abortion. This is my motivation.

While the experience is still painful, I am incredibly grateful that it has led to this creative journey, and that I have been blessed with wonderful, creative friends and colleagues who are empathetic, loving, and entirely in support of “That Thing.” I also feel an obligation to tell my story, for women everywhere. If I can make even one woman feel at peace, and less alone in her decision, then I can confidently say I have fulfilled my purpose.