Well today is the first day of Pinktober, or breast cancer awareness month. And it can have many breast cancer survivors feeling a little mixed up. On the one hand, we all agree that awareness is important and if all the pink helps remind or encourage just one woman to get a mammogram that finds an early stage breast cancer and saves her life, then that is awesome! And I think that it probably does that. We appreciate the increased awareness and the plug for more research and improvement in outcomes for this too-common disease, which despite vast improvements still causes a lot of suffering and too many lost lives. On the other hand, it can feel a little over-commercialized (what doesn’t these days, really?), and like a bit of a marketing scheme to sell pink-colored everything. I do kindof love it when all the NFL guys are in their pink-accented uniforms though, I have to admit, ;). I know many women, too, suspect that much of the money that is supposed to go toward breast cancer research or to help real actual breast cancer patients might not make it to its intended recipients. (If you really want to dig into where the money goes, you can look up many of these non-profits on a website called Guidestar. It is pretty interesting). And for some of us, every pink food label and pink tv commercial just forces us to think about a really traumatic time in our lives that we’d rather not think about all day and night. I totally understand all of the different sides of this complicated quagmire.
I guess my main thought on the subject is that it is ok, whatever it is that you feel in response to this coming sea of pink. If you love it, and you feel seen and supported, that is great. Pink it up! If you dislike it and it kindof makes you sick, that is totally ok too. We all respond to the ups and downs of this crazy cancer journey differently, and no one response is right or wrong. I invite you just to be aware of how you feel (every month, but especially this one), and be loving and kind with yourself and others. Most people have good intentions, even if they are ill-informed or aren’t in line with our own feelings on the subject. Just being aware of it when we are feeling a little triggered or overwhelmed by the pink-washing is the beginning of learning not to let it get to us. We have enough to worry about, right? Why let this add to the list? Consider it another opportunity to practice our mindfulness and our equanimity. An opportunity to practice stopping, noticing whatever reaction we are having, taking a few deep breaths, and letting it go or letting it be, as you wish.
Big big love to you all, this month and every month!