I woke up this morning and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I don’t believe I’ve ever been so nervous about an election. I scrolled through Instagram to see my friends’ happy faces.
But I also saw a few signs of a less happy note. The kind of disgusting, unfounded rhetoric that needs to go away. Comments about how our economy is going to crumble. One disgusting “joke” about how Obama supporters can stay up late partying because they don’t have jobs to go to in the morning.
Not only do I find these types of comments horribly offensive, but they completely miss the mark.
I don’t care what pundits and reporters and politicians wanted us to believe. This election wasn’t about the economy. It was about basic human decency – about defending our rights to live a life of our own choosing – to have control over what we can do to our own bodies, to have a choice in who we can marry, and to have access to health care.
When I look back over the last four years of my life, this couldn’t be more obvious.
I went into business for myself in 2007, so I was just a fledgling when Obama took office. (Might I remind everyone, in the middle of a recession.) 2009 was a tough year for my business, but it was also an important learning year. I made up my mind not to blame the economy (it would have been so easy to do so) and to analyze and move forward from the mistakes I made. I went from a loss in 2009 to a profit in 2010, doubling that profit in 2011. In 2011 and 2012 I had six figures in sales. I hired an employee. My business supports me, and I use what I’ve learned to help others grow their businesses as well.
But over the last four years, I also witnessed the most important woman in my life get diagnosed with and die from a reproductive system cancer. Ovarian cancer can be swiftly moving and difficult to detect early. And as I watched my mother fight and fight and fight until she didn’t have anything left, I also struggled with my own future health. Genetic testing. Conversations with my doctor about “options.” The possibility of freezing my eggs or removing my own ovaries.
Ovarian cancer is a scary cancer, and I’m fortunate to have a doctor that is proactive when it comes to testing and detection. I haven’t made any decisions yet, but having someone I trust to help me consider every option makes a world of difference.
But the thought of women being denied the testing and preventative care that could save their lives because of fear and misunderstanding caused me to ache with fear. The possibility that my ability to choose any or all options when it came to being proactive about the health of my own body could be taken away was something I could not stand the thought of. When it came down to it, that was the only issue that mattered to me.
Four years ago, on a Wednesday morning in November, I posted how proud I was to be an American. This morning, seeing some of the comments online, I’m not sure I can say that. But as I watched the President’s speech on my phone, as I watched him walk onto the stage with three strong, confident women, as I saw the love and respect he has for those women, for ALL women, and for all people, I am proud of the choice we made.
And I am happy and grateful for four more years of that.
(And while I have your attention, I want to remind every woman out there to see your doctor for an annual exam. If it were up to me, we would have that preventative exam every four to six months. But please, don’t go more than a year between visits. I’ve seen first hand what can happen when things aren’t caught early, and no woman, no family should have to go through what we went through.)