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