I know what you’re thinking—it’s only August!
BUT—I was in a store a few days ago getting summer-decorated ice cube trays (don’t ask) and seeing the usual Back-to-School promos and as I checked out, there was an impulse-buy display of single-wrapped candies, in Halloween wrappers. If Halloween candy can be sold already, I can talk about October.
Side note—you’d think with all the new fall merchandise, my sad little summer items would’ve had a lower price, but no.
I’m used to this rushing to the next big selling opportunity, er, holiday; I used to work retail, in clothing, for many years. Try getting a pair of shorts or a tee in my beach resort area in late August; can’t be done. But you can get a wool sweater! Which is dumb; I live at the beach in the mid-Atlantic where it is rarely cold enough for thick, cozy, wooly clothing. Working 8 hours surrounded by thick sweaters and down parkas, and then leaving for the day in wicked heat…ugh! I do not miss it.
All that said, I admit I bought the fun candy, and yeah, I ate it. Halloween is over 10 weeks away—and I don’t care.
The truth is, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the dress up, the haunted houses, the watching of old timey (not so) scary movies, the candy—that last one alone is my favorite; if a holiday in which kids knock on doors and ask for hand-outs of sweets did not exist, it would have to be invented. My birthday is just a couple of days before it. Fall has always been MY TIME. October has always been MY TIME. I just celebrate all of it for a whole week on a sugar high. So I don’t really have a problem buying (and eating) Halloween candy in the beginning of August. Are all the merchants “pushing it” too early? Yep. Good—prolong the season, I say. I’m restraining myself from putting “Night of the Living Dead” in the DVD player and searching online for decorations and Halloween themed recipes as I write this.
If you read my About page, you can guess that all my love for fall evaporated in 2010, as I was diagnosed a few days before my birthday. One of the many oh-so-awful things about cancer is that treatment takes sooooo long, so the hurdles, like day of surgery, first day of radiation, or first day of a type of chemo round, are bound to coincide with some otherwise pleasant milestone day, be it birthday, anniversary, etc. I guess in some ways it is good that my absolute worst day in cancer, the day of my surgery, happened in late April. I’m not a fan of springtime; I’m allergic to all kinds of pollen and usually Benadryl-ed out of my mind. So, the memory of surgery is not tied up with an otherwise pleasant memory. I like the other seasons much more. Fall is my favorite, October is my favorite, and it just sucks I had to go through the testing and diagnosis in October. Just no other way to describe it other than that: SUCKS!
And of course on top of it all—say it altogether now—National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When I first started haunting the internet on this issue last October, looking for the like-minded in my dislike of the pink ribbon circus, I remember distinctly reading one article, or blog, in which a woman talked about how much she used to love October and fall, and how that was ruined for her by the oversaturation of pink awareness. I wish I could remember where I saw that piece—it was the first one that made me start to feel better, because I knew then I really was not alone; not only was someone else sick of the pink ribbon, someone else didn’t like the way the intensified pink madness appropriated such a wonderful time of year, pouring perky pink over my beloved golds, yellows, oranges, and browns.
I am naïve, probably, in thinking I can “take back” October, as I claim here to be my intention. The onslaught of PINK will be too much, and something is bound to make me nuts, make me open my big mouth. I consider stocking up a number of dry goods so I don’t have to buy products emblazoned with that effen ribbon that are going to pop up on shelves any day now. Good thing I have a big Hurricane Preparedness/Evacuation Kit ready, stocked with the types of items that will soon be pink-er-ized. I can just use those if I start to run out (and there is no Sandy-type of threat). I gird my loins for the barrage of Pink events, for the endless, insultingly named ta-ta/second base/boobies-saving (not life) fundraisers.
Yeah, I know, it’s too early to borrow trouble. But, I repeat, the Halloween candy has arrived in the stores. Prepare.
I will do my best to ignore what sends me over the moon, to calmly correct untruths or half-truths I see/hear (1 in 8, early detection = prevention, need I go on?), and most of all, enjoy MY month, MY holiday, MY way. I will carve pumpkins. I will decorate anywhere I can. I will buy and eat and give away candy. I will make Halloween themed beverages. I will jump into piles of leaves like Linus, but avoid his error with the lollipop. I will cheer the Ravens when the games are on. I will enjoy the cozy sweaters some days and run in the ocean in my cut-offs on others (if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes…), probably chasing some water dog.
I cannot forget I had cancer, I can control so very little in my life, but I can do this.