It’s October, which means it’s breast cancer awareness month! YAY and BOO, simultaneously.
I have incredibly mixed feelings about this strange little tradition and its deluge of awareness and action programs – one of which I’m actually actively working on at my job, and which will go live shortly! I think you’ll all really like it. I’ve never been one to be overly serious about cancer, so this isn’t serious, either. Natch. I think it’s much cooler than a pink ribbon on a salsa jar. So check back soon to hear all about it.
I kind of forgot that breast cancer awareness month was a thing until I was back home in Los Angeles the other weekend for a film shoot for my job. Since I don’t drive in NYC, I never listen to the radio (thanks for the Spotify Premium subscription, Brandcenter friends! It’s all I listen to!) – but sitting in traffic in LA, fiddling through the stations, I was bombarded with commercials touting every company’s breast cancer initiative in honor of October. And then I was sitting there on the 110, staring at some palm trees, and wait…am I crying? WTF?
A representative from Phillips Healthcare contacted me recently and asked if they could sponsor a post of mine in honor of their breast cancer awareness programs. I keep it super-real on this blog, so let me be real for a minute: Honestly, I was skeptical at first. I once saw a truck drive by advertising a WATER brand that was dedicated entirely to breast cancer research, which makes zero sense. I don’t need to be reminded of cancer every god damn time I buy yogurt and hair products, okay? I’m not trying to get ambushed by emotions every time I’m in the grocery store. Do you want me to cry in the dairy aisle, D’Agostino? IS THAT GOOD FOR BUSINESS? I mean, I just flew back from Los Angeles and had to stare at all of the flight attendants’ pink buttons and ties for six hours, and while half of me was like, “Yay, solidarity and support!”, the other half of me was like, “STOP REMINDING ME,” and those two sides of me duked it out all the way to LaGuardia at 30,000 feet up in the sky.
The Phillips rep was kind enough to send me some materials about what their company accomplishes each October, and I was impressed. They’re not paying me to talk about this, and let me be clear that I wouldn’t do it if I thought what Phillips was doing was BS. But along with a lot of other products you probably use every day, Phillips makes mammogram machines that use MicroDose Technology, and they sponsor a Mammography Truck – and mammograms are probably the most important tool we have in the fight against breast cancer right now. Because here’s the thing: When you catch breast cancer early, you can cure it. Yes, I said cure. As in forever and ever cure it, and go on living your life. And that is amazing.
I’m fully and completely supportive of any and all initiatives that work to make sure women have access to early detection. There is simply nothing more important. And while mammograms won’t help girls like me because we’re weird medical anomalies, the message is the same: Be diligent about your health. Whether that means getting your boobs squeezed between some plates, checking yourself in the shower or going to the gynecologist regularly. And if something doesn’t seem right, for God’s sake, follow up on it. It’s funny to think about how many times in my life I knew something was off, but put off doing something about it – not just healthwise, but in my relationships and my decisions and so on. When I really reflect on it, my gut feeling has been right probably upwards of 90% of the time. I’m not saying I always did what my gut told me to do. I probably almost never do what my gut tells me to do, because it’s usually the harder thing. But dammit, that stupid gut knows what’s up.
So yeah, breast cancer awareness month is a time of great internal conflict and strife for me. On the one hand, when you’ve got a disease that 1 out of 8 women is going to be diagnosed with in her lifetime, is there any such thing as too much activism? With numbers like that, virtually every one of us will know someone who will be affected by this disease. It’s awesome that companies like Phillips are so dedicated to improving the technology we use to keep women healthy, and working to provide resources for women whose lives are impacted by breast cancer. The community of support around breast cancer is truly humbling, even if I sometimes feel like a bit of an outsider in it because I’m 25, unmarried and a drunk degenerate and not 50, married and a mom.
Also, let me take a moment to say that I know that hatin’ on pink ribbons is a pretty popular activity these days. I’m not trying to do that. Because I know that women deal with this in all kinds of ways – and while I laugh-cry at pinktivism and 5Ks and inspirational Pinterest quotes, a lot of women find it truly empowering, and I am completely in favor of that. And I am all about people doing whatever they can to help other people. There’s no one way of dealing with a deadly disease that’s any better or more valid than any other. Rock on. I’ll just be over here writing random stuff all up in this blog.
On the other hand, I had no idea that hearing the words “breast cancer” and seeing pink ribbons all over the place would be this emotional for me. And I kind of resent a lot of companies for putting me through that when they have no logical reason to. Are you listening, D’Agostino? Please let me grocery shop with relative emotional stability. Please.
One other, totally unrelated thing: It’s almost my birthday! Which means I’m going to be 26. Do you think I need to change the title of this blog? What’s a gal to do? Time marches on.