Pink and Positive – does it work?

Pinktober is coming, the countdown in hours and minutes has begun, and there is no avoiding it. A whole month of propaganda about how being Pink and Positive can help you survive breast cancer. Personally being a bit blue with mood swings thrown in works better for me.

What twit ever came up with the idea that you could be relentlessly Positive about breast cancer? What twit could even begin to think that being relentlessly Positive can help you deal with a diagnosis of incurable breast cancer? I hope they are experts in explosives, because if we tried to hold it all in and be Positive we would explode. It would be hideous … ‘there’s pink everywhere’ said one witness to the latest Pinkicide.

Don’t get me wrong, Positive and Pink have their place in dealing with breast cancer because we all hit those moments when we just forget for a few minutes and regain the simplistic belief in the future that so many have; but it doesn’t last long enough. If you are lucky, maybe an hour but certainly not a day. I was reading an article in Psychology Today by Gayle Sulik which focuses on a Pink Carrie Bradshaw wannabe ‘Cancer Vixen’ character which started as a cartoon and it evidently being made into a film starring Cate Blanchett. Now utterly Pinktober is this character? If we appear ‘Positive’ to others it is because we are desperately trying to hold ourselves together and were really just trying not to think about ‘IT’ today, but you’ve gone and reminded me so I will be Positive because that is what you are wanting me to reflect back to you. After all, if you tell yourself enough times that Breast Cancer is easy then you might convince yourself and I don’t want to burst your bubble because I can’t handle that right now. I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need your fears and judgements about what I am facing as well. NOT right now. Right now is not about wasting energy making others feel more secure about their chances of becoming me; there is nothing I can do about these fears.

Right now is all about me. It is about having the energy to get out of bed and have a shower in the morning. It is about having a job which bears just a bit more than a passing resemblance to hitting your head against a brick wall every day, but it earns me some money to get by on. It is about living with dread all the time. It is about allowing myself all those negative emotions and thoughts just so I can summon up the mental energy to push them away and focus on this very moment when I am OK. It is about anger. It is about bouncing Teddy Bears off walls, and half drowning them with tear and then squeezing them so tightly they have trouble breathing. It is about slowly finding your own way of getting enough hope and determination together that you can form your own tumour of humour and a way to laugh again and think that life IS good. It is about ignoring the physical and emotional pain and keep putting one step in front of the other so you can deal with the idiots who tell you to be Pink and Positive. It is about acceptance.



  1. And now something to help form that Tumour of Humour. I am not a cat persons, but the first 10 minutes of this are brilliant!

  2. Thank you for commenting on the Psychology Today posting. I’ve interviewed so many women who have told me how much energy they exert trying to help other people feel comfortable about their disease. You speak to this too: “Right now is not about wasting energy making others feel more secure about their chances of becoming me; there is nothing I can do about these fears.” Getting to acceptance is a daily practice. But it might be a little easier if others practiced it too. — Gayle Sulik

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