In kindergarten as all my teacher and parental friends know as a benchmark the students are to learn to count to 100, say their ABC’s, learn to cough and sneeze into the crook of their arm, use “walking feet” and learn the months of the year, upon many other life altering things. I am going to challenge you to think back to your own elementary years or possibly you are in, or close to, a lower elementary classroom. If so, then please go take a gander at that teacher’s calendar. On it you will hopefully still see the numbers marking what day it is, the holidays having their own special color or illustration on the marked day, along with counting sticks and the weather. The countdown to Thanksgiving = Thanksgiving, December = Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Break, and the list goes on.
My thought process lately has been pondering when did a month begin to represent an awareness and a color? Who is responsible for coming up with these ideas? Please do not get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the fact that different diseases/diagnosis/events have their own representation to assist in spreading the word, but……why should the awareness of these items be limited to just 1 month of recognition?
As a former survivor of breast cancer, I initially loved the fact that during the month of October the professional athletes wore pink on their cleats/shoes/jerseys and that the promotional advertisements ran rampant. I excitedly gathered my “Find the Cure” and “Pink-tober” gear and wore it proudly, excited for all to see that I was representing my fellow breast cancer peeps loud and proud. Which at that time of my life I thought that I was greatly assisting in spreading awareness. In retrospect I would not change a single thing, because I truly loved the fact that my personal and initial diagnosis received so much public recognition from so many different facets.
As I reflect back to the past, which social media so perfectly assists in reminding of us of our time hops, what we looked like, the poor choice in wardrobe we had, the moments that looked perfect as a picture, but behind the scenes we were yelling at our children to look at the damn camera and smile, etc.. I also am taking a stronger look around at my now present and am looking at it with fresh eyes. There are pink flags, pink ribbons, pink swag that can even be found at high end stores trickling down to the dollar stores. Clever sayings can be found on shirts, hats, bumper stickers, etc. I mean who wouldn’t want to wear a classy phrase such as “Save the Tatas” or “Save Second Base” or “Fight Like a Girl,” or “Yes They are Fake! My Real Ones Tried to Kill Me”….and yes if you are wondering I DO have the last one on a t-shirt. These truly are every Surviving individuals dream to not only have their boobies on display for the world, but possibly making people ponder….Are they real? Are they both fake? Does she/he have those funky nipple tattoos? And again, the list truly goes on.
All jokes and hot topics aside, I cannot speak for all the Surviving individuals out there, but for me the month of October truly puts the pressure on to advocate in such a different way and format then I did previously. Spreading awareness of all diseases/diagnoses/disorders/illness is SUCH an important platform and SHOULD be introduced, serving as an educational and research piece. BUT….my overall “request” is please do NOT just limit your personal awareness to only one month and done.
I challenge you to look beyond the pretty ribbons, colors and organizations that pop up only during specific months/times of the year. Use the monthly awareness topics to jump start your personal learning and educate yourself about a specific disease/disorder. Try and look through a Surviving individual’s eyes at what they see or feel. And all in all, please think back to those elementary years when October was just a month on the calendar. Yes, as time progresses, and we get older more items get brought to our attention. Each month is significant in revealing a nuance that we did not know of previously.
I implore you, please look beyond those representational months and those pretty ribbons and help us to not merely limit our awareness to just one month, but assist in continuing to spread more knowledge, awareness, research and donation allocation throughout the year.
As always, THANK YOU to each and every one of you that has the courage and time to read this blog.
Parenting Coordinator - Project Life