Another October is upon us. And for many of us in the breast cancer world, this glorious month means one thing: pinkwashing.
I do not believe October should be designated as the month of all things breast cancer. I realize that the heightened publicity about breast cancer provides an opportunity to inform others about the reality of this disease. I realize that globally there are simply not enough awareness, information, and treatment options.
But designating months, days, and weeks for specific causes doesn’t sit well with me.
For example, why should October be the only month that breast cancer is discussed so feverishly?
Why is October 13 – just one day – dedicated to metastatic breast cancer awareness? People with mets are aware of the disease 365 days a year.
Working toward a cure and conversations about this and other diseases should be a year-round obsession.
But, instead, like too many others, I feel assaulted each October by pink ribbon products. A week ago, I accidentally bought two loaves of bread, each having a picture of pink ribbons. When I unpacked the bread and saw the ribbons – with the well-known promise that the proceeds would go toward finding a cure – I got upset.
And that’s when I realized I needed a break from all this.
So, I’ve decided to take back October and for the rest of this month focus on activities not breast cancer-related. I’m not burying my head in the sand, in denial, nor ignoring this horrific disease. However, for me, paying less attention to the pinkwashing takes away a meaning designated for a month that should never have had that meaning in the first place.
Instead, October deserves to be appreciated for its own merits. It should be appreciated for the bursts of beautiful fall color – at least in certain areas of the country. I love taking walks in October and taking in the sights and smells of such brilliant foliage.
My October calendar contains all kinds of meetups. Ari and I are attending a good friend’s wedding, I’m getting together with friends, Ari has ballet lessons, and a hayride and apple picking are in our future.
The start of October found me at my local art store, happily choosing canvases, brushes, and oil paintings. For now, I’m taking a break from painting breast cancer-related nudes and have enthusiastically taken up landscaping painting again.
I want to enjoy October again. And, for me, that time is now.
How do you feel about October?
Please feel free to share how you celebrate life.
Tags: breast cancer awareness month, metastatic breast cancer, October, pinkwashing