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Yesterday I was wearing high-heeled shoes when I was working my husband’s booth and speaking at a conference for librarians. I’m definitely a tennis shoes gal so it wasn’t long before my toes were screaming. For some reason, my right foot was the only one that gave me fits. Never fear, I had 3 bandages in my purse that I used to prevent three of my toes from sustaining serious damage. I managed to survive until I arrived home and could slip into some comfier footwear.

This morning I was craving a walk so threw on an especially comfortable pair of tennis shoes in preparation. Only they weren’t comfortable at all. In fact, the toes on my right foot continued to holler for relief. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with my wonderful shoes. Then I remembered the bandages still left on my toes. After removing the unnecessary protection, my tennis shoes felt great once again.

I realized that this wasn’t the first time I had left band-aids on too long. When I was growing up, I was harassed and abused by my school mates. Most evenings I cried about the teasing, the rejection, and even the beatings I endured at school. I insisted my parents say nothing as I feared the mistreatment would escalate. I protected myself by stoically refusing to cry in front of my tormenters.

That bandage worked when I was in school and had to survive, but continuing to wear it gave me unnecessary pain. I put up with mistreatment from others as an adult woman, failing to realize that I no longer had to. I continued to keep the hurt to myself, only letting the tears come in private. Only in the last few years have I realized I don’t have to wear these shoes. I’ve learned that it’s time to take the bandages off and say “ouch” when someone steps on my toes.

How about you? Have you taken your band-aids off?


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