I am sick and tired of being aware.


I am sick of the pink ribbons. I’m sick of the pink cupcakes, pink golfballs, pink potato chips, pink employee t-shirts at Panera Bread.

I am sick of being told to “feel myself up” for my own health by cocky college boys, while every day more and more men are surprised to learn that breast cancer isn’t something exclusive to those with two x-chromosomes.

I’m sick of a disease that kills more black women (at a rate that hasn’t seen a decrease in nearly a decade) than any other racial group constantly only being represented by sweet, nonthreatening white women with beautiful familes and miraculous stories.

I’m sick of being urged to “save the boobies,” “save the ta-tas,” save some juvenile term for the things that the women who own them might have to get removed if they simply want a chance of survival.

I am sick of Susan G. Komen, I am sick of donations toward an elusive miracle cure doing fuck all in the past 25 years, I am sick of people getting pushed into pretending they’re saving the world everywhere from the grocery store to frontpage of

I am sick of this single month full of “awareness” campaigns for this thing that kills over 40,000 women every year. I am sick of it being molded into something marketable and palatable, a sexist, consumerist joke that I’m expected to take 100% seriously.

Cancer is not sexy. Cancer is not sweet. Cancer is nor profound, poetic, or invigorating. Cancer is not an exciting challenge life throws your way for you to overcome in six weeks and get a gold star for. Cancer is mean, ugly, unrelenting, unpredictable, and a reality that many people and those close to them have to wake up to and work around and against every single day.

Cancer does not care about your awareness campaign. Cancer does not care about your pink ribbons. Cancer does not care about your pink cupcakes, pink golfballs, pink potato chips, or your pink October outfits, and frankly, neither do I.

In the past five years, I’ve lost a mother and a friend to kidney and liver cancers respectively and the father of my best friend from high school is now fighting the same damn kidney cancer that took my mom…

Aside from the glaring fact that there will never be a single cure for all “cancer” because cancer is a bitch and just doesn’t work that way, where are their months of hyperactive marketing campaigns? 

As many of you may know or recall, my mother passed away a little over a week ago and her memorial service was held last Thursday. One of her favorite things was to hear me play my saxophone and I decided that I would play something at her service. 

I found an arrangement of Amazing Grace and after a quick transposition, had a version I could play with piano accompaniment.

We recorded a version and burned it to a CD in case I was not in any shape to play but am proud to say that I was able to give one last live performance for my mother.

This is the backup version that was not needed. 

*IF, one is curious, this is my horn setup on this track: Selmer Paris Super Action Serie II Eb Alto Saxophone with a Vandoren 3 traditional reed on a Selmer C* S80 mouthpiece held with a Rovner ligature

When the last of your parents dies, as Christopher Buckley wrote in his memoir, “Losing Mum and Pup,” you are an orphan. But you also lose the true keeper of your memories, your triumphs, your losses. Your mother is a scrapbook for all your enthusiasms. She is the one who validates and the one who shames, and when she’s gone, you are alone in a terrible way.