What I'm about to blog about may sound a bit callous, but I'm starting to get a little fed up. I'm kind of tired of all the National (fill in the blank) Months. I'm sick of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Diabetes Month. I'm tired of National COPD Month and National Dental Hygiene Month. It's getting old. Oh, and those four awarenesses fall in just two months and there are plenty more to accompany them. So, why am I fed up? Let me list the reasons.
1) They tend to instill fear in the general public. Yes, it's healthy to know the basics of breast cancer or the warning signs of diabetes. However, do you really have to push the fact that millions of people have the disease and don't even know it? Can't we just give the warning signs, describe the tests, and send people on their way? I read a blog today that stated that 18 million people have diabetes but don't know it. Of course, I have to wonder how they got that figure, but I also start wondering if I'm one of those people. I mean, I'm tired and thirsty and have cold hands and feet. Of course, I also stay up late, suck on hot dogs all day (for the dog training) and spend most of my days outside in the chilly weather. But, hey, those are diabetes signs so I must have it and not know it. Basically, the point I'm getting at is that they don't really encourage people to think rationally. They encourage them to live in fear.
2) These months are almost always used for marketing ploys. Take Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can't enter a store in October without being accosted by pink. That's fine if you like pink, but I'm not so much a fan. Besides a lot of these pink items don't even benefit breast cancer. Companies just want consumers to think they do. So, I'm tired of being accosted by pushy "salesmen."
3) One event always overshadows others. November is the awareness month for approximately 30 different illnesses and events. October (aside from being my birthday month) also celebrates Halloween, National Liver Awareness, Better Speech and Hearing, and National German Heritage. Let me put it this way, my father-in-law is 100% German, my father was born in Germany, my husband is your quintessential blond-haired, blue-eyed German boy, and I didn't even KNOW it was German Heritage Month. Of course there's Oktoberfest, but that's pretty much just become an excuse to drink. Besides, do you know how confusing it is to go into Target and be hit with pink and then all-of-a-sudden be thrown into black and orange and purple? Are we celebrating Easter or Halloween? I'm confused.
4) The people who fight for these causes and issues of awareness fight every day, not just for one month. People who have had breast cancer or who know someone with breast cancer don't stop fighting breast cancer on November 1. They don't say, "Ok. People are aware. We can go home and give up the fight." No, the keep making people aware. And that's great. We should be educating people every day, not just one month out of the year. I'll never forget when my aunt first taught me how to find a lump. She had one of those rubbery things you can get from the doctor for educational purposes. She didn't wait until October to talk to me. I think we actually had that discussion in August (or maybe over Christmas). The point is, education was a daily thing. Awareness was a daily thing, not just something that lasted a month.
I guess what I'm saying is that I don't mind the awareness part. I don't mind the walks, or the fundraising (to a certain extent), or the personal stories. I just don't like being forced to celebrate or support something I wouldn't normally support. For instance, while Breast Cancer is a big deal, I'm more personally connected to Animal Safety and Protection. And, while I wish I had the money to support both, if it came down to it I'd go for the animals. Again, please don't hate me. I just haven't had the personal experience with Breast Cancer (thank God) that I have with animals.
Alright, I know this post is long enough, and I'm sure I've upset enough people. I just wanted to lay it on the line. You can agree or disagree. That's the joy of it. It's your choice!