Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Aware as Ever

Pathological (human) charitable causes and their representations go through shifts in public taste. Which diseases are most fashionable. Glamourous. The most horrendous, or the most widespread. How many children children children.

I wear grey ribbons on the lapels of (most of) my jackets and coats, and only a couple of people in the last five years have actually bothered to ask what they are for. They've become passé, invisible, there are too many causes and too many colours and people don't even really wear them anymore. Even those revolting, tacky rubber wristbands are, thankfully, on their way out. The only vaguely ribbon-like awareness accessories are now in the form of one of two types of very recognizable gigantic bumper stickers: pink for breast cancer, or yellow for troop support. Notably the latter is not a biological disease, but everybody knows all about it. 

UK Brain Tumour Awareness Month is now. I think there's some kind of bandana project that happened on the 1st of March. Why only one day? And why was I not prepared with my own (obviously superior) bandanas or scarves or trinkets, or perhaps even some decent greeting cards (because eeeeeewwwwww look at these, obviously not even made by brain tumour patients) to give away, or maybe sell and give proceeds directly to researchers or neuro units at hospitals, or something along those lines. I guess I've been a bit preoccupied, to say the least. I forgot. There's my own degree of awareness.

If you followed the link above, you may have noticed that Brain Tumour UK has also just merged (again - the second time in approximately a year and a half?) with a few other charities, which is good and bad. It's now The Brain Tumour Charity. I don't want to say much, especially considering that I never have much to say that isn't a lot of insipid whinging. But. It's just one more corporate merger, the kind of thing that reminds me that the organization, like all charities, is very much a business, even though I try to keep that knowledge buried away. I pretend to be full of hope, because without big expensive branding (and re-branding and re-branding and re-branding), and the extremely wealthy people running the whole show and eating up a lot of the not-for-profit profits, I wouldn't have, let's say, a recognizable "face" to raise money for research and patient support. Because my own face and my own situation don't matter so much when there are countless other people affected by murderous cotton in their heads. In fact, my or our own situations don't matter much to the general public, nor do the situations of those who might have other medical issues matter, e.g. depression or cervical cancer or bladder cancer or brain hemmorages or rhumatoid arthritis. There's concern, but not too much. You end up in a closed circle, in disease-specific support groups that are saturated with hundreds, thousands of moving personal stories. It's wonderful and invaluable to have those circles, but the only public bodies that recognize your particular circle are exclusive corporations run (often, not always) by posh twats who just might sneer at your appearance when you turn up to their official events in support and solidarity (yes, I'm still sore about that one.)

As for the good part about the merger: more resources will ostensibly be available for research. That's the most important. Support groups and rehabilitation programmes are next in line, because they're for people who are still living through the mess.

Clearly today is one of my more bitter, selfish, misanthropic days. In part it's because I am also guilty of being one of those people who is concerned, but not too much, about other causes that haven't directly affected me. Such as heart disease. Someone came by the house the other evening, canvassing for heart disease something something something. And I confess that while I didn't have any money other than a little change needed for bus fare, I was also blank and numb, my only thought being that I Have A Brain Tumour (or, it's out but it'll be back), while you (the canvasser) or someone you love, has or had heart disease, we are in different circles, and how sad, how alienating, and one day I'll help if I can but right now I'm grey as a ribbon and fuck it all. 

Me me me, and it's boring, boring, boring. I am not my brain tumour, and yet it shapes my world/view. Today it's all nasty, horrible, grim shapes.

Like armfuls of those rubber wristbands. Gaudy greeting cards. Suggestions for hosting fucking cupcake parties. Cupcake parties? You want me to sell cupcakes to my friends and send the whole £10 to your charity? Listen. Despite my love of baked goods and sweets, I really, really (even when I was a little girl) dislike cupcakes and all that they stand for. Even when I occasionally forget myself, or simply think, hmmm, maybe my tastes have changed, I'm going to put that clump of icing-drenched sugarsponge in my face, my teeth invariably scream. There's too much sugar. Too much. And as for cupcake culture......all I have to say is this title of a Lawrence Giffin chapbook: GET THE FUCK BACK INTO THAT BURNING PLANE. And take your miserable cutesy diddlydoo cherry-on-top (with matching frilly cherry-patterned apron) with you.

All this whining about Charities Ltd. makes me think about how to improve on them, to come up with more innovative ways to raise funds. And, actually, for whom (No, not for me personally!). Little groups run by volunteers rather than a board of trustees and a CEO, maybe.

I just wish I wasn't so lazy.

No comments:

Post a Comment