Pink Ribbons and Pumpkin Spice

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.

pink ribbon pumpkin

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:

 

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“On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls

mean girls

The title to this blog is not my favorite quote from the movie Mean Girls…. My favorite is “Boo you whore!” but I wasn’t sure anyone would read this if it was titled “Boo you whore!” 

This blog was written last summer but I held off on posting it (I had to explain that because it references outdoor summer soccer).  I decided tonight just seemed like a good night……

My mom posed an interesting question the other day.  How are these young girls (speaking of 10 and 11 year olds) so mean this early in life?  This question came after Teagan was recounting an incident that happened in school where she was told her hair style (pigtails) made her look like a teapot and that you aren’t supposed to wear your hair like that.  This occurred when she was in 1st grade.  So from that point on she no longer wanted to wear her hair in any type of ponytail.  It took me nearly 3 months before she told me why she didn’t want to wear her hair up anymore – when I found out, I was pretty unhappy.  I couldn’t believe that at age 6 or 7 there was a little girl berating another little girl because she didn’t like her hairstyle.  This was the first of many incidents regarding shoes, shirts, pants, jeans, hairstyles, backpacks, lunch boxes etc…. that we have had to get replaced because of someone making fun of her choices.

So the answer to my mom’s question came to me the other afternoon.  It wasn’t like it was a big revelation as I have come to meet some of the mothers of the girls who like to make fun of other girls and I can assure you that these girls have learned this behavior from the mom.  But the other afternoon I was waiting for Dawson to finish soccer practice and it was a nice breezy afternoon so I parked and rolled my windows down.  Next to me were two ladies also waiting for their kids – also enjoying the breezy afternoon with the windows rolled down.  I tried really hard to focus on my radio station or the butterfly flying by or just about anything but the annoying and loud conversation they were having.

They were discussing their friend “Christie.”  Poor Christie…. She had the worst hairdo the other day.  It looked like someone threw her hair into a salad spinner.  No I’m not paraphrasing they actually said that.  And her outfit was hideous, I mean she really needs to quit trying to squeeze herself into the Junior’s size and buy something that doesn’t show off her rolls of fat.  I was trying so hard not to eavesdrop anymore I turned the radio up but it didn’t work.  It seems the berating of Christie was due to her making and selling similar jewelry on ETSY as the lady parked next to me.  This was a HUGE issue to them – because Christie copied her jewelry design.  I realize I was at the high school but at 41 years old I didn’t think I was still in high school.  And these ladies were every bit in my age range because when the boys came out I recognized her son and he is 2 years older than mine.

I’m not sure if this is the norm or an exception.  The reason I don’t know is because my job obscures my objectivity.  At my job this is the norm.  Yes people call the police for things like copy-cat jewelry designs, neighbors who don’t rake their leaves, or rake their leaves into other people’s yards, ugly cars parked on the street (no not suspicious cars, just because they are old or run down) and kids bouncing basketballs too loudly. No I’m not kidding.  And sadly I could go on and on …….  So I see the really bad side of people – maybe not “bad” as much as annoying.  I guess I just don’t get how someone can let so many trivial things rule their life to the point that they call the police or a lawyer or sit and berate someone loudly in a parking lot to their other friends.

Admittedly I don’t deal well with drama.  I really don’t deal well with “girl” drama.  And I am learning I categorically don’t deal well with 5th grade “girl” drama.  I think back to middle school or high school and sometimes want to time machine myself back to 1986 and smack the holy living hell out of myself.  But that was me then, and I am almost completely opposite of that girl now.  Why did I change?  There are A LOT of reasons, but I’m glad I did.  My daughter, however, may not feel the same about my transformation as I am constantly reminding her to “be the bigger person” or “walk away from that situation.”  Despite my best advice she somehow keeps finding herself smack in the middle of some type of drama though.  And when she finds herself faced with confrontation she usually backs down – until she doesn’t.  And when explodes it’s like a firework! Remember that “mom influence” I was bitching about above?  Yeah I’m guilty of it too.  While I may not influence her to make fun of others or berate people who are different from her I have found that she has a knack for not backing down and saying whatever pops into her head (which sometimes is NOT good!).  While I have grown a filter from my brain to my mouth that usually works or at least waters down what I may be thinking, hers hasn’t quite grown in yet.  We’re working on that. 

Am I really that outspoken? And if people think I’m outspoken with my filter in place – dear GOD what would happen if anyone ever heard my inside voice!

Hopefully she learns to be a little more tactful as she grows up.  Hopefully she remembers me reminding her to “be the bigger person” just like my grandmother reminded me… DAILY… while growing up.  Note to Nana in Heaven: I finally caught on.  Further note to Nana in Heaven: You never said being the bigger person usually sucks and really doesn’t make you feel any better (I mean if we’re being honest).  All lessons my adorable 11-year-old tween drama queen needs to learn – hopefully sooner rather than later as I’m not sure I can handle 7 more years of this.

Ps….. Boo you whore! 🙂