It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of it, I wanted to highlight writer, mother, and breast cancer survivor Tracy Lynch’s fantastic essay, “Inappropriate.”

When I first read Tracy’s essay, I immediately connected with it. Which is to say, I suddenly became aware of how much I use the word “inappropriate” as a way to wave off my son. That blog I’m snort-laughing over, with the texts that make unfortunate sexual entendres? Inappropriate. That episode of Weeds I’m trying to sneak in? Inappropriate. Those pics of my sister at a bachelorette party? So very deeply inappropriate.

Tracy writes, “’That’s inappropriate’ is an off switch. It’s a way to stop the conversation, the image on the screen, the dog humping your leg … and thereby stop yourself from thinking too much about something that just doesn’t feel right. If we label something as inappropriate, we stop ourselves from walking through the thick, foggy patch, through the unpleasantness and toward understanding.”

I won’t ruin the end for you, but hang onto your socks—they’ll get knocked off.

—Jennifer Niesslein, co-founder of Brain, Child magazine


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