May 4, 2007


When I was a young girl, I used to believe that band-aids were magical. Not only did it seem to take away whatever hurt I felt, it also covered up the scratches and cuts on my skin. Maybe it was not seeing the cut flesh or the angry red line of blood that comforted me, but whatever it was by simply putting on a band-aid, everything became better. Like magic, all the pain, fear or hurt I was feeling would go away as soon as my mommy would stick on a band-aid. She always used to say “let the wound breathe”. She’d tell me to not to keep it covered up all the time. While I may have obeyed many times, I never used to get what it meant. I still insisted on putting on that band-aid so I did not need to see the imperfection the wound brought along with it.

When checkered band-aids came out, it was exhilarating because not only did that mark of imperfection on my skin disappear, I could even match it to my outfits. Even when I got too old for the cartoon character band-aids, I had fun getting them, albeit I never did like the reason behind needing one.

As I got older, wounds progressed from scrapped knees, to paper cuts, and eventually, they moved on to fears and insecurities, bitter disappointments, and even broken hearts. By then, the band-aids I used started taking on different forms, depending on the wound I needed to cover-up. Sometimes, my band-aid could come in the form of a tall, no whip, mocha frapuccino. Sometimes it was a shot or two (or more) of tequila. At times a bit of make-up and a whole lot of attitude worked wonders. For bigger wounds, a new dress or a new pair of stilettos were the perfect answers. When those wouldn’t work, it would be a splurge: a new “toy”, whether it be an ipod, a pocket PC or laptop, even a new car. Some called for impromptu weekends in Boracay, or instant road trips to Tagaytay. But for the really big ones, those wounds that cut so deep and way down to the core, the best band-aids came in the form of chocolates, ice cream and cake…these were the magic band-aids covering my wounds. Those magic strips, in whatever size, shape or form, soon became something I held on to tightly and grabbed at the slightest twinge of pain.

One day, during one of my Grey’s Anatomy marathons, it hit me what “letting it breathe” meant. It meant letting the pain and fear take over, for the time being. I suppose to some extent it also meant allowing myself to cry and be hurt, even for a while.

The thing with band-aids, it seems, is that it stifles the wound. By covering it up all the time, it does not have the chance to really breathe. While it does offer protection against further infections, it does not allow the wound to dry out and really heal.

While I will admit I am blessed to have so many band-aids at my disposal because not everybody is able to afford such necessities and I have an abundance, all they really do is cover up the wound. It puts on the pretext that it doesn’t hurt and that everything is fine and dandy. Healing, however, apparently takes more than just slapping on a band-aid. It should be allowed to bleed and be given patient attention and cleaned with antiseptic. While it may sting and hurt, it allows for healing to begin. However, what it needs more than anything, I learned, is admitting that it hurts.

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