Okay, if you’ve read the title to the post, you are probably wondering where in the world is this going.
In truth, I don’t really know, but stick with me for 1000 or so words and I think we will both find a degree of enlightenment.
Band-aids, first of all aren’t really things. It’s a brand. #registeredtrademark.
Really what we should be talking about are bandages. Adhesive bandages.
Johnson and Johnson have done the pinnacle in business marketing, essentially making their brand the item in question, or at least making them nearly indistinguishable.
Because we are on this tangent: other common examples of this brand = item thing include “Kleenex” for tissues and i-Pod for multimedia technological device? (used to just be an mp3 player, goodness where are we now).
For the remainder of this post I will use Band-aids, not because I support Johnson and Johnson, but because it will likely make things WAY easier to explain for you and me.
So why really do we wear Band-aids?
Some obvious and practical answers may be: to protect a wound, to stop bleeding or to promote healing.
But as you likely I have guessed already, I am not going to waste your time writing a blog post about these reasons, I’m instead going to waste your time writing about something a little more abstract and controversial.
Terrible jokes aside, I think there’s something we need to throw out there to break the ice about this whole Band-aid discussion.
Why are Band-aids the same color as most white people’s skin?
There I said. Band-aids could be any color, and yes there are seemingly hundreds of varieties with all sorts of colors and cartoon characters out there, mainly marketed to children, but let’s just be honest with ourselves, Band-aids are tannish white. Period.
I’m not going to spend any time in this post addressing why this choice of Band-aid color may be odd, because yes, the next question could very easily be, “Where are the brown or black Band-aids?”
I’m not going there, but let’s just say it’s a conversation starter.
Back to the original intent in making the point about white Band-aids, perhaps Band-aids are tannish-white because people don’t want others to see their wounds? or Don’t want others to see they are hurt, injured, in pain or suffering?
Now we can all agree, these Band-aids, even being somewhat close in color to white skin, are still fairly obvious and it doesn’t take much to notice one on another human being.
So that begs the question:
Do we wear Band-aids so people DON’T see that we are physically hurt, needing protection and trying to heal?
Do we wear Band-aids so people DO see that we are hurt, needing protection and trying to heal?
Either way Band-aids can speak without us ever saying a word. Only problem: we aren’t able to control what it is people think we are actually trying to say.
I obviously don’t have answers to these questions, but we need to start asking them and recognize the implications of this discussion.
On one hand, If we DON’T want people to see that we are physically hurt, a tannish colored Band-aid for a white person would be a reasonable place to start.
On the other, if We DO want people to see that we are hurting, than a neon pink or “Paw-Patrol” Band-aid would probably be the best bet, but even a regular old Band-aid as we described above would likely still do the trick.
Either way, what I am describing here is either showcasing or hiding PHYSICAL wounds, injuries to the skin, soft tissue, etc.
This leads me to the climatic question for this post: If we have Band-aids for these physical wounds, carrying the capacity to either tell people we are hurt or hide it from their knowledge
What kind of Band-aids do we have for Spiritual wounds? Emotional? Mental? Financial?
How can we show people that we are hurting spirituality, emotionally, mentally and have them take notice?
I’ll take one tiny step out on a limb and say in general as relational human beings, we don’t want to remain hidden, we WANT people to see our JOY and our PAIN and either celebrate with us in joy or help us back from that place of hurt in order to rediscover that place of pure happiness.
We want other people to see we are hurting without having to tell them because we want to know they genuinely care and that we are not overlooked.
I can personally say during even the darkest days of my depression, isolating myself to only my work and the things I could control, I wanted people to see I wasn’t well and simply ask:
“Are you Ok?”
Society with a capital S (a big generalization) has created a lot of stigma around what are acceptable “Band-aids” to wear when we are emotionally or mentally hurt.
That’s not OK
Suicide letters, suicide attempts and violent cries for help seem a lot more rational and reasonable when you realize there are no great “silent” or accepted Band-Aids to say “I’m hurting and need some help,” AND that in general we aren’t great at genuinely seeing the Band-aids people choose to wear to show they are suffering.
What if as a Society, we made an effort to first become more aware of the people around us, being willing to see the Band-aids people are wearing or “not wearing” to say I’m in need of healing.
And what if, as a Society, we made a dedicated effort to be more open, more trusting, more accepting so that we could actually use Band-aids for their intended purpose.
Not to hide or cover up the hurt we don’t want people to see.
Not to confuse people as to what is really going underneath the adhesive strip
Not to inhibit the process of healing and growth that can only occur when we peel back the glue and let the light stream in.
But, to let ourselves and other people know we are not invincible, and we will need much more than a little Band-aid to ever come close to knowing what is means to be healing, healthy and whole.