It is a feeling of hopelessness that brings us to this place. Desperate to save those who suffer. Determined to prevent those we hope never will. We are clawing and grasping to find any morsel of earth to hold onto when we feel like we're spiraling out of control.
It is hopelessness. I know that now.
I used to think it was ignorance. Or lack of caring. I used to get angry. Every October when the grocery aisles started to display a sea of pink. "Pinkwashing" we call it now. Pink ribbons. Pink products. Pink everywhere. A tradition so old it has a name. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it used to make me so angry to watch the way we commercialize it.
Then my father has a brush with the C word. The word we don't even want to spell because it feels too forewarning and toxic. The only word it is acceptable to scream FUCK before in any setting. The word that will claim over 550,000 American lives this year. Cancer.
I'm not angry about pink ribbons anymore.
It is true there is still lots that I could be angry about.
The complete lack of accountability on Susan G. Komen's part for who they accept money from. Pink fracking drills anyone?
Or the fact that the pink ribbon is widely used for a variety of purposes, often times not even indicating any money is going toward breast cancer research.
Or that only 2% of money raised for breast cancer awareness goes toward researching the ONLY type of breast cancer that women die from.
Or that the NFL will get some "oohs" and "aahs" from wearing pink jerseys every year and hope that means nobody will notice the real issues within the league.
I'm not angry anymore because I realize how tempting it is to fall for this type of hype. I realize that when you have a loved one going through this, or god forbid you lost someone to it, there is nothing you wouldn't do to find a cure.
To the survivors out there during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I hope you know that I would wear any color of the rainbow, top to bottom, if it helped find a cure. I would eat all the yogurt, save all the lids, and mail them to Antarctica if it made a difference. I would wear pink Reebok shoes while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken baskets every single night and wash it down with rose colored M&M's if it helped one single bit. But it won't.
I understand the hopelessness that brings people to this point but it doesn't change the reality of it. We can't consume a cure, especially when the consumption is leading to the disease.
I care too much to participate in the pink.
It is out of hope for actually making a difference, actually finding a cure, and actually saving lives that I urge you to check out Think Before You Pink this October.
Don't let the hopelessness get to you. Don't believe that all you can do is pink. There is real work to be done.
Give yourself something to grasp onto. A piece of hope that can last longer than October and throughout the entire year. Solid ground for us all to stand on and start again. Working together toward a real cure.