It’s the middle of October. I realize this is not Earth shattering news, but it’s what got me started thinking about this blog.
When I was a kid I used to love the month of October. Yes, it was partially due to my birthday being in October, but I also loved so many other things that only are done in October. I loved visiting orchards and pumpkin patches (which as a kid seemed like two different locations but as an adult I’m thinking it was really just one) and my elementary school had a fall festival. I would plan very elaborate Halloween costumes which was a) silly because I lived in the country and could only trick or treat at about five houses and b) unrealistic as many of my ideas would have required a Tony award-winning costumer. When I was five my mom made (as in sewed with a sewing machine) me a pumpkin costume and bought me green tights, when I was six she made (again sewed) a witch costume and made a pointy hat and when I was seven she made a Bugs Bunny costume complete with a faux fur head.
October was the best month ever and it ended with my two favorite holidays – my birthday and Halloween. As a Queen of course, my birthday is a holiday.
Now October is over run with Pumpkin Spice and Pink ribbons. The first is just a strategic combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice but the way it’s advertised you would think it’s some miraculous super food that everyone must consume in the Fall. And I won’t lie, I like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or two when they come out however I refuse to buy Pumpkin Spice cookies and candy and cereal and…. the list goes on.
The second is complicated for me.
Pink is one of my favorite colors (duh, my blog is PINKbookdiary). And breast cancer has taken more from me than you can possibly imagine. So, you might imagine I have a lot of pink ribbon adorned stuff but here’s where it gets complicated. I’m not a big fan of all the pink ribbon adorned stuff you can buy in October and I haven’t been for a while – like ten years to be specific. It’s like the Pumpkin Spice stuff, it started out as a great coffee drink from Starbucks and then everyone had to jump on the bandwagon. The pink ribbon started out to promote breast cancer awareness when it was an underfunded type of cancer (PS it was originally Peach). Now you can buy shoes, socks, shirts, pants, lunch boxes, gloves, hats, appliances, pens, stickers, safety pins… do I really need to keep going? Go to Amazon and search pink ribbon merchandise, there is 20 pages of stuff.
I saw a Facebook post the other day from a young woman captioned “Breast Cancer is not Pink Ribbons” and she shared a picture of herself topless revealing two horrific mastectomy scars, she was in the middle of chemo so her IV port was accessed and her bald head was covered by a scarf. She had a point. Breast Cancer is ugly and the farthest thing away from a pink ribbon as you can get.
But…… the pink ribbon worked. Breast cancer is the #1 funded and researched cancer (both by government and not for profit organizations) in the United States, twice as much funding as Prostate Cancer which is the 2nd highest. And yes, Childhood Cancer – which is like 25 cancers rolled into one title – is still at the bottom of the list receiving 4% of the National Cancer Institute Funding. That’s when my dislike of pink ribbons began.
So, like many things in my life I have a love/hate relationship with pink ribbons. And Pumpkin Spice. And I miss my mom and the October’s of my childhood which were filled with pumpkin patches and orchards and festivals and Halloween costumes that were more than just themed lingerie. I really wanted to insert a line from Mean Girls here, but it’s probably not appropriate given the next sentimental and super emotional part of my blog.
Since it is Breast Cancer awareness month I want to share a poem that I found from 2004 that my mom happened to clip out and give to me but I don’t remember why she gave it to me. Now it’s her:
I find an old photograph
and see your smile.
As I feel your presence anew,
I am filled with warmth
and my heart remembers love.
I read an old card
sent many years ago
during a time of turmoil and confusion.
The soothing words written then
still caress my spirit
and bring me peace.
I remember who you used to be
the laughter we shared
and wonder what you have become.
Where are you now,
Where did you go,
When the body is left behind
and the spirit is released to fly?
Perhaps you are the morning bird
singing joyfully at sunrise,
or the butterfly that dances
so carelessly on the breeze
or the rainbow of colors
that brightens a stormy sky
or the fingers or afternoon mist
delicately reaching over the mountains
or the final few rays of the setting sun
lighting up the skies
edging the clouds with a magical glow.
I miss your being
but I feel your presence,
in whatever form you choose to take,
however you choose to be.
Your spirit has become for me
a guardian angel on high
guiding, advising and watching over me.
I remember you
You are with me
and I am not afraid.
~Kristi A Dyer
OK so now you’re in tears, well I’m in tears, so Mean Girls it is: