Gather round, my fellow sisters, for there is something dear to my heart I must share. The month is PINKtober and it spurs a whole fury of emotions in us all. No matter if you are a survivor yourself or a friend, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, daughter or cousin of a survivor, I can guarantee your life has been touched by breast cancer.
And, in our community, I sense a few haters. No doubt there is a place for anger on this journey. But, prolonged anger turns to hatred and sheltering hatred in our hearts makes us victims. I don't want us to be victims. I want us to be victorious.
Some of us are hating businesses like Nike or New Balance because they are selling pink tennis shoes and t-shirts to create awareness of this nasty disease and likely donating some of those proceeds to a pink charitable organization. And, while I understand, that our disease is not a pink t-shirt to be profited by some big company, I have to imagine that people are going to buy tennis shoes and t-shirts from Nike or New Balance anyway. So, perhaps it is okay that a woman somewhere in this world might finally become aware of the fact that she should go get a mammogram as a result of this inevitable purchase?
Some of us are spending our energy hating people because they tell us we just had a boob job when we tell them we had a mastectomy and reconstruction. Well, no; of course, I didn't get a boob job. But, if people think I did, that's their freakin' problem -- NOT MINE. I am too busy living this day that somehow I get to live to worry about the crazies.
Some of us are hating awareness because we feel it draws our focus away from a cure. We absolutely need a cure. It is time. We have waited long enough. And our sisters who are out fighting for one are some of the bravest women I know.
But, don't we need a cure in addition to awareness? They are not mutually exclusive and we can save lives with them both. For I remember a time when my mother battled this disease and it was unthinkable to even speak about it. It was taboo. No more my lovelies. Now, there is a victory.
I want us to have it all. We cannot let the anger we feel as a result of this beast blind us. Anger is an absolute requirement and a necessary pit stop on this journey -- perhaps even one we circle back to from time to time. But, it cannot be our destination.
I've lost a lot from this disease and I know you have too. And while cancer is not a gift, the perspective it grants you can be. Because I know very few sisters who walk this path who don't do so with at least a little extra gratitude for the simple fact that we are still walking it. And these sisters have been able to give over our anger, our fears, and our uncertainties about what our futures hold to something way bigger than ourselves -- whatever you might call it. (I call it God.)
Being able to give over anger and fear to something bigger than ourselves is the very first step to not hating. It is literally giving away our hating so there will be some space for love to creep up inside us again.
By the time this month is through, I will be exhausted from pink (i do not even like the color pink.) but I will still be grateful that attention is being drawn to this disease and lives are being saved. That there is all kinds of awareness going on. And I bet there will even be money made for research and support and the discovery of a cure.
So, please, let us replace grace for judgement and gratitude for resentment in our hearts. Let us be grateful for today's breath and focus on the gifts we can bring others around us. Let us change our voices from hatin' to lovin'. For the love of ourselves. For the love of our sisters. Just for love.
That would be a victory.
P.S. Even if you are lucky enough to not have had your life in some way touched by this disease, I guarantee you are a survivor of something -- even just life itself, so these words are still for you.