Acceptance is the new Pink
Or it should be. Right now, for me and in relation to breast cancer, Pink is about breast cancer survivorship and a community that I don’t feel a part of.
Pink also happens to be my favourite colour, and the pretty pastel shades that to me are warm, comforting and embracing. This room has pink walls, pink carpet, pink in the curtains. I have a pink netbook computer in a pink carrying case; my mobile lives in a pink sock, my android in a pink case – but put pink into a ribbon and make it about breast cancer and I feel alienated by the whole concept. What I accept and embrace in my life I reject for my disease. I have dis-ease about the very thing that, more than any other, represents my disease.
I was watching Andrew Solomon’s Ted talk again (http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_love_no_matter_what.html) this morning and it got me thinking again about acceptance. When talking about the love of a parent he quotes his mother as saying until you have children you cannot understand the love a parent has for their child. I don’t have children so I will never understand that love. But in an ideal world this is a love that is unconditional and is just there, unspoken but constant. I want unconditional acceptance from the Pink Ribbon community and not be seen as being ‘other’ from the mainstream of a community that should accept me because I am one of them. When they are ignoring our existence they are saying that we do not exist, that they don’t want us to exist because we have the stage of the disease that they may develop and that they don’t want to be reminded that it exists. They are telling us that we can’t be loved, we can’t be helped, we can’t be belong because we can no longer be classified as surviving after treatment. We are, however, surviving with treatment.
But this also makes me think that maybe I am not accepting them fully. I don’t want to be endlessly Positive, I can’t be. I don’t want to hear the triumphalism of having beaten cancer and life after treatment, because it makes me feel like the unwanted guest at the party, but this is their culture. How can I accept something that is so alien to me? By just accepting that it IS. By just accepting that it is their way of dealing with the challenge that they are facing, and that it is slightly different to mine, but it is the differences that make us the same because we are all INDIVIDUAL and unique. So if I promise to accept them, will they accept me?