By Michelle Goolief  (Nelson, B.C.)

I would like to tell the story of how I met my partner, Shawn. It was 25 years ago, back in 1993. We were both taking the same class at the local college. I liked him when I first saw him. He was kind of nice and a bit of a hunk and he liked me too. I would get nervous around him and drop my books and pencils; I even dropped a coffee cup once too.  One time I pulled his chair out from underneath him as he was about to sit down and he fell on his tailbone. I was just trying to get his attention.  We later became close friends and he eventually he asked me out.

The first time we went out, Shawn drove us around in his car and we were quite passionate almost immediately. My parents were not as crazy about him as I was. They were frightened that I was making a mistake because I was young and he was older, and my disability makes people doubt my choices. Being a self-advocate means that I should be free to make my own choices and my own mistakes. Being able to make mistakes is a part of life because we need to learn from them. I told my parents that it was my choice. They eventually agreed.

Eventually, Shawn and I moved in together and we spent many good years together. Although it was up and down at times, we still loved each other. Sometimes we need time apart and that is okay. Now we live apart because my health became a concern and I needed extra help but we love each other all the same.

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