I wrote recently that I think in the world of breast cancer the pendulum swung too far the other way from the days when breast cancer was not mentioned publicly to now in which it has become almost a rite of passage and we can not only speak openly about it, it is damn near an unavoidable topic at certain times of the year. That would imply that breast cancer is a normal thing, like menopause, when in truth it is not.

And I dislike the effort to normalize it.

It is not that I actively look for the dark side of every issue, I swear. Some up and coming actor that I used to think was promising–but I am quickly losing admiration for–said something about being an optimist. Nothing wrong with that, it was the follow up sentence that troubled me. He said there is much darkness and pain in the world and that we could choose to see it or see the joy. The quote ends with the “advice” that time is better spent responding positively to the world.

I believe it is possible to respond positively to the darkness in the world. But you gotta see it first, for Pete’s sake. Frankly, we all need to see both. To only see the darkness leads a soul to despair. To only see the joy is to deny the existence of the darkness and how the hell does that help?

I believe the way to fight the darkness is to shine a light on it. If there is a problem, speak up about it and suggest solutions, or see if others have solutions.
I am sure it seems that my blogs tend to be lots of complaints…full of the darkness. Yes, I spend much energy (in cancerland, not always in other aspects of my life, mind you) pointing out the things I think are wrong. The reason for this is simple: I want them fixed, I want to help fix it.

I know there is dark and light in the world, in life–the yin and the yang, the sun and the moon, and all that crap (I know it, maybe someone should enlighten the actor I refer to above). But the point is, there should be balance in world. In cancerland, especially in breast cancer, the pendulum has just swung too far to a point of a forced positivism, that fails to acknowledge the dark…at all.

Yeah, maybe I am like Kurt Cobain–a “Negative Creep” here in breast cancer world. I am only trying to center the pendulum.

Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

4 thoughts on “Pendulum”

  1. It makes a great deal of sense when you say that positive outlooks are good, but we also need to recognize that the darkness exists – we need to see it first. (Though sometimes, I quite enjoy avoiding reality as much as possible, with cups of tea, cookies and escapist novels!) I think what you’re suggesting is a very honest approach. It’s not all good times, but by facing the dark times we find a far deeper compassion and understanding, even if it’s coupled with frustration and sadness. ~Catherine


    1. Yes, exactly, to everything you said. Yes to tea. YES YES to cookies (yeah I like sweets, why do you ask, hardee har har). Yes to the occasional escape. Because I gripe so much, it is possible folks think I am currently in a bad place. Not true. I’m in a good place now, but I know the darkness and refuse to turn my back on others who may still be in it. That is why I insist on bringing it up all the time. It is just my gruff brand of compassion, indeed.


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