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Never the Same
Without My Mother
Becoming Me
Cheryl Nicholas

Hello Dolly "Mommy, look." My three-year-old plopped down on my bedroom floor. Her big brown eyes shined with pride. "I fixed my boo-boos."

I barely stifled my laughter as I gazed down at my little red head. She had methodically covered every freckle, mole and scratch on her entire body with Band-Aids, using a full assortment of shapes and sizes.

"Why do you need so many Band-Aids?" I asked.

"I need to hide all of my boo-boos. They make me ugly!"

I grew into adulthood by the age of thirteen, all shreds of innocence left behind. I developed more cunning methods of covering my inner boo-boos that had always made me feel ugly. Shame, guilt and responsibility took the place of nurturing and unconditional love. I acquired wounds to my soul. With no medication to help me heal, my wounds festered and began to throb. I learned to anesthetize the pain and hide my ugliness with compulsive "Band-Aids."

As children, we select many shapes and sizes to cover our boo-boos. As baby adults, we have a myriad of plastic protectors from which to choose in order to conceal our hurts. My first Band-Aid was anger. Motivated by rage, I could accomplish anything and not feel my hurts. Then, I discovered that chemicals gave me relief from the throbbing pain. I remained in a chemically-induced fog for twenty years. I functioned independently. I needed no one. I was just fine.

To the chemicals and anger, I added a hearty dose of frenzied activity. I defined my worth in terms of material gain. I worked fourteen hours a day while raising my daughter. I hid my self-perceived ugliness behind glazed eyes and a growing bank account.

The malignancy in my soul outgrew my Band-Aids. Money didn't resolve the ache in my heart. Outbursts of rage gained me only temporary relief from the pressure. I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol.

The plastic protectors are boundless. Many of us maintain artificial worth through dogged commitment to man-made rules of religion, the rules themselves blocking us from the healing light. A large number of us strive to soothe our injured souls through attachment to another whose Band-Aid has become abusive. We attempt to fix their boo-boos with our covering of plastic.

The list of external means as a salve for our internal pain encompasses anything that lends temporary relief and prevents us from seeing, thinking about, or feeling what we are within. They are gifts of survival from God.

Rage, addiction and the drive to accumulate "things" filled a purpose for me. They provided safety until I became ready to risk exposure to my feelings. When my Band-Aids became worn and tattered, a bit of light crept in, slightly soothing my sores. In my desire for more, I gained a willingness to surrender these barriers, making a personal decision to let in the light.

God, who had patiently waited for me, began to gently pull away my Band-Aids, one by one, exposing my injuries, releasing the poison, healing my wounds. The torturous smoldering of my spirit was replaced with peaceful warmth.

The process of healing nurtured my soul, and my trust grew. I came to believe that I no longer needed those plastic protectors and I was free to flourish, enveloped in the loving arms of my Creator. As I moved closer to the Healing Light, I became aware that all I ever really needed was to be cared for and loved.

I swooped that red-headed child up off of the floor and wrapped her in my arms. "You are not ugly. You have a few boo-boos, but you are a beautiful baby, and I love you very much."

Allowing our wounded hearts to become bathed in the warmth of God's love, we finally come to know that we are cherished. We are loved, no matter what.

Good or bad.

Happy or sad.

All of us.


Artwork "Hello Dolly" by Claire Posthumus
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