October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’m guessing you’ve noticed. Each October it seems the gorgeous colors of fall get a huge dose of pepto-bismol from on high and everywhere I go from the grocery store to the movie theatre to the library–pink is everywhere.
I’m of two minds about this.
The first mind is annoyed. Everywhere I turn I am reminded of a disease that is actively trying to take my life. It ticks me off. Since my default defense mechanism is denial, this pink pink everywhere makes it pretty hard to keep the blinders up. And pink. The most innocuous color for a disease that is hell-bent on death. Perhaps it makes the reality of it more palatable, but it hides the gloom beneath a pretty shell. Perhaps to add insult to injury, there are the “save the ta-ta’s”-type slogans that cheapen the fight for life we are after, not just saving the breasts we can actually live without.
The second mind is far kinder. I wonder if, before all of this awareness began, I would have to whisper about my cancer journey–the word “breast” being somehow too salacious to say. Would we talk so openly about the mothers, sisters, daughters, wives who struggle against this disease? Would we race to cure it? Probably not. There is a sense, when I get past my gut reaction, that this pink signifies a unity in fighting the disease that has somehow inserted itself into all of our lives. A visible sign that we are in this together. And we are.
My second mind usually wins this pink debate. Especially a few weeks ago when Zoe was riding in the back of the van with her friend, Lucy. They were eating yogurt. Lucy licked the pink top of her yogurt perfectly clean, handed it to Zoe and said, “Here, Zoe, you can have this, maybe it will help your Mommy.”
Yep, we’re all in this together. All the time.