Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why this election was important to me

[Note: I'm about to get really personal. There's stuff in this post I've only told to maybe half a dozen people. Ever. I'll probably alienate a bunch of readers and make family dinners even more akwkard, but I was raised to say what I think, and this post has been a long time coming. It has everything to do with me, and nothing to do with autism.]

My first two years of college, I was in an emotionally-abusive relationship. I was young and troubled and didn't think I deserved any better. He slept with my best friend for months, then convinced me to stay with him because really, they had just been trying to take the pressure off me because I hadn't felt ready to sleep with him myself. I thought I loved him. We talked about getting married someday. My former best friend accused him of having raped her. I stayed with him. He tried to convince me to move away with him and not tell my parents where I had gone.

Then, the second summer of our relationship, a condom broke.

And I had a choice to make.

I could choose to entwine my life with this jerk forever, or I could choose to stand up for myself and become stronger.

It was the best choice I've ever made.

If the government had reached into my home and forced me to carry that baby to term, I wouldn't have finished college.

Which means I wouldn't have had that internship where I met Stu's college roommate.

And I wouldn't have met Stu.

I wouldn't have gone to grad school.

I wouldn't have fulfilled my dream of starting a (short-lived) theater company.

And I wouldn't have had Ryan.


My life so far has been a fantastic journey toward self-acceptance and self-love, toward trust and empathy, toward walking the talk. And for me, the ability to make my own choices has been the whole game. Choosing is power, no matter what decision you make. Letting someone else decide your fate leaves you as an observer, not a participant in your own life.

For the past 18 years I have chosen to keep my most profound, life-changing experience largely to myself - I have dear friends I'm not sure if I've ever told about this. But I'm choosing to share this essential part of myself now because I'm finally at a place where I feel strong enough that I do not fear judgment from other people.

I don't want to start a debate about when life begins; I don't think any human is capable of answering that question with any authority. I feel as confident in my own belief on the subject as any mortal can, and I respect the various beliefs of other people. But I don't want our government to impose one man's belief on the subject on all 300,000,000 of us.

So I chose to vote to protect my right, and the right of all American women, to choose whether or not to bring an unwanted child into the world.

And I'm relieved millions of others chose to vote for Democratic Senators, Congressmen, and the President as well.

6 comments:

  1. Meredith - beautifully written, raw with honesty. You are a gift. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. It is incredible that you shared that story, your personal journey that has made you the wife, mother, and person you are today.
    Many, many of us have stories and are forced to make tough decisions that change us for the rest of our lives, including myself...but we keep to ourselves out of fear of judgement. I applaud your honesty.

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  3. Let me just say this. If this story alienates any readers, then who needs 'em? Whether they agree with you or not, we are blessed to live in a country where we can have our own opinions and make our own decisions. Only you can decide what is best for your life. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

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  4. Thank you for sharing something so personal and difficult. Thank you for reminding us that we all encounter horrible forks in the road for which there are no perfect solutions nor universally acceptable choices to make. I am grateful we are able to elect leaders who understand that no legislation can ever be written or enforced that can make these types of decisions for a civilized society as a whole. I am grateful for woman who must make the bravest of choices, must do so often in secrecy or with their head held in shame, but are still able to consider every point of view and are smart enough to understand that there are only compromises to be made. Meredith for President.

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  5. My view of you after reading this: You are one of the strongest, bravest people I know.

    Pretty much exactly the same as my view of you before reading it.

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  6. Thank you so much for your courage and candor. I have been a victim of rape and feel strongly about the right to choose. It angers me that men in suits can make decisions for us, having NO CLUE about the situations we may find ourselves in and the consequences that may arise.

    I also have a best friend who got pregnant in high school by a jerk eerily similar to the one you mentioned. She had an abortion and is now a very successful business women and mother of one terrific little boy conceived out of love. Point is, we sometimes have to make difficult decisions, but they are OUR decisions.

    Again, thank you for sharing. You are not only a role model to mothers of autistic children, you are a role model for ALL women.

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Keep it civil, people.