Monday, May 2, 2016

A Note

A note to the world:

Please stop. I know you think you’re being funny, but stop the cancer jokes. Cancer is not a joke, nor is rape, hunger, or death.

Cancer is not a joke.

It’s not funny, although you and your friends all laugh. It’s not amusing in the slightest, not to me, and not to the survivors. Not to the fallen.

Cancer is not a joke.

You say that I have no right to tell you what you can joke about. But in fact, I do. Cancer runs as close as it can in my blood without me being the patient myself. No right? My mom had the disease, stage 1B breast cancer. My grandma did too- stage 2B. I watched them lose hair, strength, and dignity. Reconstructing the broken pieces of feminism the disease left behind for them.

Cancer is not a joke.

No right? At 12, my family sat around the dinner table, crying, preparing for the inevitable. That same year, I had to go to middle school and pretend that I wasn’t scared, that I wasn’t sitting there waiting for the bell to ring so I could see how my mother’s most recent surgery went. Had to pretend that I hadn’t spent my night visiting my mother in the hospital, had to pretend that I cared about homework and worthless numbers.

At 13, I watched my strong and independent mother cry because she could no longer run or throw a Frisbee. Because the surgeries to save her life had left her broken.

And now I let the aftermath run over me. Daily. The risk of re-occurrence hanging heavy over our heads. It could come back. But when, but when? No one knows. Best not to worry, live each day to the fullest. Cause you might not be here tomorrow.

Cancer is not a joke.

My aunt died of it, and the harsh laughs you send out over a stupid joke pound like nails into my mind, over and over. She didn’t die a death lacking dignity. Her son, my age, should never have to hear these kids and their jeers. So if I have no right, does he?

Cancer is not a joke.

It burns. Each time, it stings. It gets easier to manage, yet the ache never goes away.

6th grade, running out of the classroom to cry in the bathroom over a presentation two boys gave, making breast cancer a joke.

7th grade, breaking down after a teacher brought the subject up and dismissed the survivors as weak and attention hungry.

8th grade, wishing the boys in the corner would stop talking, so the urge to scream would go away.

9th grade, wincing as it’s joked about in the hallways, in the classrooms.
It gets easier, but it never gets better.

Cancer is not a joke.

So world, please stop making jokes like this. Leave rape, insecurities, sexual preferences, starvation, poverty, and cancer out of the joking topics. Period. No excuses. Because it hurts, and it’s never funny.

It silently tears people like me down every damn day.

Next time you joke, don’t say “you’re gay” or “I’m being raped” or “I’m gonna get skin cancer it’s so hot out here.” No, I’m not gay and he isn’t either. You’re not being raped- and that isn’t funny. And just because it’s hot does not mean your family and life is about to be flipped upside down.

Cancer is not a joke.

Thank you,
Cancer survivors, caretakers, and supporters

Music_paige

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