Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pink Ribbon Culture: It's decorative breast cancer season, motherfuckers!!!

File:Pink Ribbon chocolates.jpg
Pink Ribbon Culture:
It's decorative breast cancer season, motherfuckers!!!

It's October, guys!!!  What does that mean?  Let's wear some tiny pink t-shirt, get us some pink ribbon pedicures and get out there and raise awareness!

I can't speak for everyone out there who has breast cancer, but "breast cancer awareness month" is starting to feel a little like "Capitalism in Pink" month.  Much like rabid eight-year old girls grabbing the last Elsa nightgown, women are crrrrazy for breast cancer merchandise.  Cutesy tees, pink ribbon mugs, cupcakes in pink ribbon theme.  Now, a good friend or relative wearing a pink ribbon or related gear to support a loved one who has or has survived cancer is great.  It has the specific purpose of making that individual feel as supported as possible while they are going through something not so fun.

For example: I feel very supported when my friend makes me a red velvet boob cake.  I do not when I see a barely legal topless girl coquettishly covering her breasts with pink ribbons.  Is this really support?  Or is it to sell magazines, clothes, and tickets?  As awesome as it is to see a bunch of football players in pink, I would love to see where this money goes, because it seems to all go into raising "awareness," a good idea in theory but has turned into a useless buzzword that robs you of a dollar in change at the grocery store.

Awareness.  

Okay, I get the idea.  But, unless the idea is to raise awareness in developing nations, um...I think we've got it.  Lumps bad.  Cancer bad.  Get screened.  I don't know any people that are thinking "Hmmmmm, I wish I knew more about what breast cancer means."  I DO know a lot of people asking how close we are to a cure.

As a breast cancer survivor, I am both flattered and annoyed when I am inundated with breast cancer awareness imagery.  It's sort of the same kind of flattered as when people tell you you are in a "battle" with cancer and you wonder if they get that it's not like you have a choice.  As much as I'd like to imagine myself as Arwen from Lord of the Rings magically casting a river of water horses on the Ringwraiths that is cancer, it's mostly a couch and hospital bed type battle.  Similarly, with awareness, I thought at first that it was remarkable how many companies and sports teams were getting on the breast cancer cure train.

But, wait.  It's not for a cure.  It's for awareness.  And awareness won't take away the weakness during chemo, the lost jobs due to missed work, or the constant fear of recurrence.  And the companies and teams aren't really supporting us.  They are supporting PINK.  Unfortunately, pink isn't a person, a cure, or a doctor.  It's just stuff.

Now that it's October, I find myself in the intolerable dilemma that is whether or not to donate money when they ask me everywhere I go.  Part of me wants to--what if it goes to research, which will help me and the nice people I know who have been saddled with this insufferable d-bag of a disease?  Part of me wants to tell the cashier: "Actually I am donating to support breast cancer survival--by keeping this dollar just in case I get it again."  Too mean?  I end up donating whenever I hear the word CURE and not the work AWARENESS.  Because, I'm aware.  Trust me.

A big problem with all of this smothering awareness is how keenly certain I am that only a minuscule amount of the profits are going into research.  My cancer, for example, is hormone receptor positive.  This means an excess of something like estrogen can fuel tumors in any of my reproductive organs.  When I ask doctors, they often say they are still pretty much in the dark about how hormones affect the body.  In my personal case, I suffered from anxiety for 15+ years.  When I was diagnosed with cancer and put on a drug that blocked my estrogen, my anxiety and depression all but disappeared within months.  I'm no expert, but it seems like people should be really looking into this.  But the research isn't sexy, right?  The research isn't a topless nineteen year-old.

So, speaking as a breast cancer survivor, three years counting, please cut this shit out.  If you are giving your time and money to find a cure, great.  If you don a sassy shirt or a pink ribbon to show your support FOR A PERSON WITH CANCER, even more great.  If you HAVE cancer, totally get that shirt that says: "Yes they're fake; my real ones tried to kill me."  Go nuts.  But don't flirt with guys in a revealing pink Niners jersey at Levi Stadium and think you're doing something for cancer.  

And, to the companies out there that claim to be selflessly raising awareness about my condition: enjoy rolling in your piles of pink money.  I bet it's TOTALLY raising awareness.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Everybody Sucks" Picture Book Sneak Peek #4

                           
Copyright Hanna-Barbara & Craig McCracken 1998
   Xavier Xenophobe wants to keep out all the tired and huddled
                          His jingoism is evident, but his message is quite muddled 
                      He complains that “all them foreigners” are stealing U.S. jobs
                          You’d rather deport Xavier, though, that lazy, racist slob.

ALL TEXT: COPYRIGHT KATE ALESSANDRI 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shit List #3: Celebrities Who Look Like Hobos

You see, I know what it's like.  You forgot to get granola bars (or, if you're a celebrity...like, wheat grass or lemon for your cleanse).  You think: Ralph's is just down the street; I could just throw on some sweats and no one would notice.  I can see that.  So, when I see a lone photo of Cameron Diaz in gauchos and Uggs in the Fashion Police segment, I feel bad because she probably just wanted some gluten-free carb-lite pasta.
The celebrities who CHOOSE to go out and pose looking like hobos, however, are a totally different situation.  
One of the biggest offenders is Brad Pitt.  He goes out in his dread-locked beard, baggy clothes and beanies and what are we supposed to think?  That you're SO famous that somehow you don't even have to try and look good?  You're just rubbing it in everyone's face!  
Another fashion perp is Mary Kate Olson, who is indistinguishable from a bag lady whenever she is out and about.  I've seen her wearing like twelve scarves and three belts at a time--something I used to see a lot--IN PSYCHIATRIC 72-HOUR LOCK-UP.  If I have to brush my hair every day to go out in public, so do you Mary Kate!
Finally, Rob Pattison needs to shave.  I realize that maybe he's publicity-shy and probably swarmed by teen girls (and 50 year-old women) everywhere he goes but the jig is up, R-Patz!  They know what you look like now.  So take a long hot shower, shave your patchy beard, and remove the bird's nest from your head.  If you want a disguise, here's some advice that always works for me: Mustache-Glasses.  Works every time.
Maybe I need to stop reading so much Us Weekly.  Especially considering that the "Fashion Police" segment is also on my shit list.  Seriously, how do those people have writing jobs?  Anyhoo, hobo celebrities.  On my shit list.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shit List #2

Next on my list: People who honk in tunnels.  Now this, I admit, was brought more clearly to my attention by living in Monterey.  However, it applies to anyone who honks in a tunnel for fun, ESPECIALLY if that tunnel is within a mile of any residential area.
I have been living in Monterey for over 3 years now and I have to take a tunnel almost every day.  Let me tell you something: I can count on ONE hand the number of times I have gone through that tunnel without one person honking.  I joke with my husband that we should have a worker injury-like sign above the tunnel that says "Lighthouse Tunnel: Asshole-Free Since___."  And then we would just have to write in NEVER because there's always someone honking.  It doesn't matter what time of day it is either.  It could be 11 at night and these jerk-offs would be laying on their horn.
So, here's my message to people who honk in tunnels-- GROW THE F&^%K UP.  It's fine to have superstitions like holding your breath while driving past graveyards or knocking on your dashboard when you see a police car.  You know why?  Because those things don't annoy EVERYONE around you and depreciate property value for poor deafened families who will go through their lives with some kind of special tinnitus from honking assholes!  Think about someone other than yourself for once and find a way to have fun that DOESN'T hurt and irritate everyone around you.
This is your warning, honkers.  You are on my shit list.

You've Just Made the LIST


Alright--seeing as how I've got an unusual amount of rage roiling inside of me, and I'm supposed to be all "at peace" to keep the cancer away, I need to let off some steam.  So until the world changes, OR until I care less that the world will never change, I am temporarily dedicating my blog to this--my shit list.
The first violators, while not technically human, are just as maddening.  I guess I should clarify, too, that my beef is with ROGUE ants.  I mean, I saw A Bug's Life and Pixar can sure make any creature seem adorable, but those ants were marching in their little ant trail trying to bring back crumbs for their families.  I GET that.  These ants (the ones in my apartment) are just assholes.  
I open up a box of cereal and pour it into the bowl?  ANTS.  In the frikkin' box.  NOT bringing food back to any colony but just crawling around enjoying their destruction of my food.  Maybe they are in a hedonistic ant colony!  Maybe they praise some Ant Bacchus or Hedonism Bot--anything is possible!
Okay I'm going to tell you something now.  It's a horrible story but, like many trauma victims, I am hoping talking about it helps.  Alright.  So I go into the kitchen to get some of my (ex) favorite snack, Trader Joe's dark chocolate mints.  The bag is open but folded shut.  I reach in and grab a handful, putting them in my mouth.  Now, you would think that the movement would be the first thing I noticed but it wasn't.  It was the taste.  Instead of mints, it tasted like I was sucking on graveyard dirt.  Then I looked down.  Writhing in my bag of mints were DOZENS of ants.  Without missing a beat, I spit out all the mints....but there were STILL SOME ANTS IN MY MOUTH.
Long story short, after gargling for nearly an hour with scalding hot water and screaming at the ants that I would kill them and their families, the ants were gone.  The memory, however, is destined to remain forever.  
So, ants, you are now on my shit list.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Donate THIS (grabs crotch region): An open letter to the ACLU

from life123.com
                           
Dear ACLU,
I say this as a valued donor: LEAVE ME THE F&*%$ ALONE.  I donated money to you for many reasons.  One of the reasons was that I actually DID have a minute after wandering out of Trader Joe's one day.  The other is that I care a lot about civil liberties.  Yet another is that any organization the hard-right GOP attacks as "communist" usually has my vote.  You had all those things going for you, ACLU!  I would have gladly donated money when I had some to spare off and on forever had you NOT STARTED STALKING ME!
For the last month, one to THREE times a day I have been receiving calls from the ACLU.  They call me during work, during dinner, on weekends and when I am enjoying a good US Weekly if you know what I mean.  I told them I did not have enough to donate.  I called today and asked to be taken off the list.  You know what they did?  They CALLED 45 MINUTES LATER.  AGAIN.
So, listen up ACLU and please hear me: I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU.  I am NEVER donating to you again.  I'm not going to even use my awesome Twinkies break-up line on you because you don't deserve it.  It's not me.  It's YOU.
You see, the correct response when someone donates money to charity is to say "thanks."  OR to say nothing; I don't care!  I don't donate money to keep your phone operators happy.  I donate money because kids in Alabama still aren't allowed to go to their prom if they're gay.  I'm not a prom person--I was never into the prom.  But kids should be allowed to go to their frikkin' prom if they want to.  If gay kids aren't allowed to go to the prom, then Charlie Sheen shouldn't be allowed to exist.  Put that specious reasoning in your pipe and smoke it, ACLU because I totally agreed with you!  I want to change the world in any little way I can.  
But I am a recently credentialed educator who is afraid to take a teaching job because the stress might bring her cancer back.  That's right.  This is who you are harassing.  An underemployed teacher with cancer.  STILL WANT TO TAKE MY MONEY?!  WELL, I DON'T HAVE IT BECAUSE I'M SPENDING IT ON NETFLIX AND STAYING ALIVE...AND TRUST ME NETFLIX IS A BIG PART OF THAT!
So, to reiterate: never call me again as you have lost your donor.  I am officially with the HRC, as they gave me a sticker, said thank you and only sent me a letter once a year asking for more money like a frikkin' NORMAL charity.
Peace OUT.
--Kate

Into the Sunset

Okay, so it's been a while since I have written a blog.  There are a few reasons for that.  One is that I spent a good portion of the past month on my honeymoon, moving and starting work.  The real reason, however, is that I'm not sure how much I want my focus to be on a disease (even on kicking its butt) that I'm trying to move past.  
I can't call myself cancer-free for at least a five years and even then it's something I will always have to live with.  I can, however, try and focus on my life as opposed to just cancer.  I have been trying to come up with a way to make this blog evolve into something beyond just fighting cancer.  The only way I can think to do that besides quitting altogether or speeding up time is to open up my focus.  Hence the change in name.