I believe in Band-Aids. Particular type never mattered, they could be big or small, rectangular or rounded, beige or neon pink, antibiotic infused or just your plain, old, standard Band-Aids.
I believe in Band-Aids because when I was five they helped me to feel stronger. Band-Aids covered scraped knees, sliced fingers, and bloody elbows. Band-Aids told the world you had fallen over, slipped, and it had hurt, sometimes unimaginably bad, but you had gotten back up and survived it. Band-Aids meant a second chance, a clean, smooth, beige slate that meant you were back up on your feet and onto the playground again without a scraped knee to hold you back. Lunchbox in hand, backpack on back, I would proudly display an entire box of Band-Aids, no injuries necessary, because if what I had endured needed so many Band-Aids, then there was no doubt that I was strong.
I can still remember that day. I dragged the thin sliver of metal across the underside of my arm, the blood beading at the ends of the horizontal line. I felt the pulse of adrenaline in my throat until each bead burst and scarlet red canals wound and wove their way towards my hands. One drip, two drips onto the floor. School, drip. Parents, drip. Friends, drip. Confusion, drip, as if each thing stabbing and pressing uncomfortably inside of me was finally being released. When I was ready, I ran my arm under the tap, washing away any traces of these problems left on my skin. A dab of Neosporin, then a Band-Aid to cover the pink line across my arm and I was ready to feel strong again.
I was fourteen when I discovered I didn’t have to physically fall over anymore to need a Band-Aid. That I could transform the slip ups, scrapes, and hurt I felt inside, onto the outside. I was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen when I understood that a single line would not be enough. That three lines, five lines, eight lines, ten were needed to let everything out and like a five year old, I needed seven Band-Aids to feel strong again.
Soon even Band-Aids weren’t sufficient, and no matter how many I wore, that feeling of strength and togetherness wouldn’t come. It didn’t matter that I had physically run out of room and I now needed Band-Aids on my upper arm, my hips, my thighs, my ankles. I added gauze, medical tape, butterfly stitches, wore long sleeves and jeans in the heat of summer, but still calamity and strength would not come.
I believe in Band-Aids because I’ve learned how to be strong without them. Because all of this continual falling and slipping became tiring, and I began to see that each time I fell down, it became a longer climb back to the top. I believe in Band-Aids because twelve turned to nine, and nine to seven, seven to four, and four to one. I believe in Band-Aids because the last time I needed one was two months ago, and it was for a scraped knee.
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