We’re up to, hmmm … let me think … about the 6th or 7th year of this ‘campaign’ to put a heart, and only a heart, as a Facebook status update as a wait to ‘raise awareness’ of breast cancer.
There have been other iterations; something about the colour bra you’re wearing, or some statement based on your day and month of birth that tells your friends and followers you’re going to Mexico for seventeen months. These both, of course, are clear ways of raising awareness of the thing that people need to be more aware of.
So much so that I can’t even recall – I am not aware – what the thing is that I’m supposed to be aware of …
It’s not so much that I am frequently annoyed by people who have slightly less than zero interaction with me during the course of a year suddenly popping up with a copy-pasted message inviting me to participate in a being very silent about a thing in order to draw attention to it …
For those unaware of this ‘campaign’, only women are allowed to participate in it, and the idea is that you update your status with a heart, no comments, no explanation, no other commentary, and then message all the other women in your friends’ list and ask them to do the same.
If anyone asks what the heart is for, you have one of two options, depending on the gender of the asker:
- If it is a woman, clearly you overlooked her in the first round of forwarding the messages, or she deleted your original, and you must message her again
- If it is a man, I don’t know what you do because, honestly, I got bored years ago and scrolled past … um, I think you say something about it being “women only” business, and being all mysterious – by which I mean, obnoxiously annoying
It has been an interesting observation over the years. Personally, I have some message threads from some individuals that are some 5 messages long, dated roughly annually, with no response at all from myself, and which are all basically the same.
No one has yet clicked that I am no, ever, going to partake in such frivolous activity.
See, I have this crazy idea – simply insane! – that if you want to raise awareness of something, anything, then you talk about it! You know, say the things that educate and inform others and allow them to increase their knowledge, and allow broader discussion of such thing.
I know right? Crazy talk!
I’m not the only one who thinks this, and I have, over the years seen an increase in the more public resistance of these types of crusade.
The latest round of this one has really irked me. It is, only some 9 days after the last wave of messages I received, triggered by the death of Connie Johnson who, along with her brother, founded Love Your Sister (LYS). She is, according to her site, a “breast cancer advocate”.
It is just me or is anyone see the irony in “remembering” and “honouring” someone who was such a loud, proud, and very vocal advocate for raising awareness of a disease like breast cancer by posting a single, teensy image, something that isn’t even representative of breasts or cancer, and not saying anything at all?!
To be honest, I personally find this more than a little disrespectful.
So, no, I won’t be posting a heart on my wall.
I’d rather talk about the thing, whatever the thing is that is important to me, and to my family, friends, and loved ones, loudly and honestly. I’d rather actually draw attention and awareness to it, and if someone asks, you can be damned sure I’ll bail them up in a corner and answer their question and more.
Whilst I’m here, I won’t be praying for Connie, or other breast cancer sufferers, or anyone with cancer or other illness. I won’t be praying for an end to world hunger, or for peace to descend upon the world and for everyone to live happily ever after.
It’s not that I don’t want for these things.
It’s that I don’t believe that sitting around, thinking about it, regardless of the position you’re standing/sitting/kneeling in and whatever wishful words you say in your head, or even out loud, is the way to go about getting stuff done.
Again, personally, I think if you want something you have to do the things that are going to get you the things that you want.
If you want ice cream, you don’t pray for ice cream. You get off your arse and go and get the ice cream. Or you don’t. And if you don’t, then you may or may not continue to want ice cream, but you never actually get ice cream.
It may appear if you ask someone, out loud, to bring you ice cream. But if you keep it all in your head, no one is going to know you want ice cream and … well, no ice cream for you.
Unless by some miracle someone pops around and says “Hey, I brought ice cream. Want some?” In which case, you still have to speak up.
I suspect I may be rambling somewhat.
My point is, that if you want something, you need to go and get something. Miracles may occur, no doubt. Some see them as coincidences, others as pure luck, and others still as chance – as in, the chances of someone popping around with ice cream may be high if you have a lot of friends and they like ice cream and know you do, too.
If you have few friends, and they are non-ice cream loving, and/or are unaware you like ice cream, then the chances of this happening are low.
If you live in a country where those in power like blowing stuff up as a way to further their powerful assertions and it makes them feel good, then the chances that stuff being blown up will occur.
No amount of praying, or political correctness, is going to alter that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very open to the idea of collective thoughts altering energies and potentially swathing a sizeable army of despots in good vibes and forcing them to see the error of their ways and toe the line. I’m not closed to the idea.
I’m merely suggesting that not doing things is going to take longer than doing something to get things to change. Maybe. If, by some miracle, they change at all.
So please, next time someone close to you – actually close to you, or you heard about them in the media and feel a bit sad – dies of cancer, suicide, heart disease, trauma of one description or other, please don’t ask me to be involved in your doing nothing to raise awareness.
It’s not me.
Next time a major city is bombed, you know, one of those cities like Paris or Berlin or Kuta Beach, where we white middle class go for holidays, please don’t ask me to pray.
If I may ask one thing in return – and let’s be fair, it would be my asking one thing to some 37 asks of me this month alone – if you are genuinely interested in raising awareness or wanting change, do something … anything …
If you really want people to know about a thing, talk about the thing.
Or ask questions if you don’t know much about the thing. This way, you can be a conduit for knowledge and information and the raising of awareness.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Do the things that will bring positive results to everyone.