Originally titled, “It looks fun, but I’m not always laughing,” and intended to focus on the period of time when I broke my ankle while pursuing a  career as a corporate flight attendant, this blog is a meandering journey into what it’s like leaving, breaking, and rebuilding life outside of a job that includes ten other identically dressed colleagues.

I feel lost. I don’t know if ankle breaks have a way of doing that, or I’m simply in another transition phase. It’s gonna be ok. I’m hoping. I’m even praying but to the point of not believing in my own whispering wishes. This week, I stood over my crutches— head bowed, tangled blonde hair drowning out tear stained cheeks, body shaking in sobs. My time off— due to a broken ankle— might look fun sometimes, but the truth is, I am not always laughing. I literally CANNOT run from my feelings, failings, and future.

Cafe Smitten Bakersfield California Travel Blogger

It’s been four weeks since I snapped my fibula while kiting off the coast of Long Beach; resulting in endless days of physical aching, heart and soul uncertainty, and life-direction-dream questioning. It’s funny how break-ups, bone breaks, lay-offs, job changes, and all-around-redirections have this way of making one reflect deeply and completely. It’s funny how healing from physical breaks can often facilitate healing or heartbreak on an emotional level.

I miss “being a flight attendant” and feeling like I belong somewhere to a very significant degree. My disappointment was palpable when I had to text the pilot who had scheduled me for a flight on a Falcon, that I couldn’t do it. I was sorry, but he would need to find someone else. “It’s ok. Just get better.” Sometimes, unexpected events shatter our carefully laid plans, and we have to patiently and painfully rebuild who we are and how we see ourselves. I spent five months working at the lowest position— in moments, being treated by certain cabin attendants like shit— while knowing full well the lifestyle that they were living and the one that I gave up. The lifestyle I gave up for something better. The lifestyle that I gave up for a better long-term outcome. The one that I gave up, but that now seems like it won’t have the payout I once believed it would. What happened to the girl who believed she could do anything? What happened to the girl who confidently walks into new situations with excitement and surety? What happened to the girl who knew she wanted nothing else, but to be a corporate flight attendant? Maybe, she just needs time to heal, pick up the pieces, and gain her strength again. 

Kara Mulder corporate flight attendant

Maybe she’s “in a break.” Maybe a break is the best thing that happened to me in 2017, and I just can’t see it yet. To be honest, and this sounds like I’m such a traitor, but I don’t even know if I want to be a flight attendant. I would love to be cabin crew again at Norwegian if they had a LAX base, but I feel indifferent to most other cabin options. Me and the corporate world have had a rocky introduction and I see the volatility and lack of job security as a corporate flight attendant. Being a pilot makes sense and that’s where it looks like I’m heading. I just don’t know if I have the stamina and desire and grit to stick out five years of hustle to make it happen. I know it’s just five years, but the last five months felt like an eternity, and this week on the farm definitely tested my patience. I don’t know if I’m strong enough for any of this.

Broken Ankle Kara Mulder

It could be that my escapes of racing around target in the store’s motorized shopping scooter, apparent glee over an artfully painted leg cast, days playing with my black lab/border collie mix, Maui, or documentation of my first steps without assistance might make it seem that this time I have right now is fun. Well it actually is at times, and it isn’t, and it isn’t in others. Amidst the myriad of day altering moments, inconveniences, and pain of breaking a bone, I can say, there is a multitude of blessings I have been gifted. Currently, I have a handful of very exciting projects and opportunities in the works. It’s just that I don’t have a family of flight attendants to go back to. I don’t have any place I want to go back to. That is lonely and intimidating. I never realized how sad and scary feeling on the outside would seem. There is nothing that can replace the comradery that flight attendants find with their crew. That bond is so instant and irreplaceable— and break or no break— I feel lost without it.

Norwegian Airlines Crew

All I can say, is that what has helped me immensly this week during my uncertainty were these beautiful words, sent by my inspiring, strong, and uplifting friend— Crystal. I hope they touch you like they did me…


This time is your becoming.

Every obstacle is an opportunity.

Every time I’ve experienced abject failure

or had my little heart stepped on

or collapsed in the face of challenge,

I’ve grown.

I’ve come out stronger on the other side.

Don’t be mistaken.

When I say stronger,

I don’t mean tougher or harder

or that I’ve stopped failing or falling…

I mean I can handle it.

I can fail and not feel bad about myself.

My heart can be squashed but it will never break.

And I run towards challenges instead of shying away from them.

Choosing to overcome an obstacle

instead of letting it overcome you is powerful.

You will learn.

You will grow.

Get excited about those opportunities,

even if they scare you.

Trust that those challenges

and failures will make you stronger.

They will.

—Crystal Veness

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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