I believe in the comforting and healing power of Chapstick.

I don’t exactly remember when or why my obsession began. My best guess is that it started sometime in middle school when I wasn’t allowed to wear lipstick, but I could wear a little lip gloss. The Strawberry Kiwi of Bonne Bell’s Lip Smackers Shimmer collection was my favorite weapon of choice. From there a love grew into an obsession. I was thrilled even elated when friends would give me several new tubes for my birthday or at Christmas. At that point flavor didn’t matter, I’d take them all. Sometime around the end of high school I moved towards the more the sophisticated ChapStick moisturizer flavor, you know the blue labeled one. Whether it be going through friend problems or boyfriend breakups it was always Chapstick that I could count on to provide soothing relief and promising comfort. Of course, as I grew up I did wear makeup and lipstick, but to me the numerous sticks of lipstick I consumed couldn’t hold a candle to my beloved ChapStick.

I remember an incident last spring over spring break when I came to realize just how far reaching my obsession for ChapStick had grown. My husband and I had spent our spring break taking a pit stop tour of Europe. After an exhilarating tour through the better parts of Europe, my husband and I were sitting in the terminal area of the Amsterdam airport. While catching up on my reading I hear the attendant over the loud speaker announce that our flight would be boarding in about five minutes. I close my book and begin to secure my things back in my bag. Naturally, I reach for my ChapStick, part of my pre-boarding routine, but it was not in my pocket. Not to worry, I said to myself, I always carry a stick or two in my purse. No chapstick to be found in my purse. Ok, so my blood pressure starts to rise, but I’m not in a full blown panic until I realize that there is not one single stick hiding in my carry-on bag either. Ok, now I’m in panic mode. I frantically search every pocket and every inch I can find between my husband’s things and mine. I begin to wonder if this is a bad practical joke. Where are the cameras recording every moment of my anguished existence? No cameras to be found, this is the real deal. Code Red! Code Red! I convince myself that if I hurry I could make it to the nearest newsstand. Surly they would have some chapstick of some kind, I wasn’t picky I just needed some lip moisturizer before I boarded that plane! As I got up to leave the secured area the attendant that had announced the plane was boarding asked me where I was going. Trying to minimize the intense panic in my voice, I told her the situation. She replied with four words that would be a crushing blow to any kind of -aholic, “You don’t have time.” WHAT! Her four small seemingly insignificant words chiseled at my heart. I was doomed to board a twelve hour flight home with no moisturizing relief. Within minutes my lips were cracking and peeling, any moisture that I had once possessed vaporized. While I am embarrassed to admit this, I must say that tears streamed down my face as I boarded the plane.

Little relief was found that day on the plane. My husband even came to understand the severity of the situation and went so far as to ask the flight attendant if she could provide any assistance. I remember her words clearly, “We have nothing of the sort on board, except for my personal stick.” I wanted to scream, “THEN HAND IT OVER ALREADY!” but I fell silent. The only relief came from the few moments that followed the beverage cart when I rubbed ice on my lips hoping to freeze them off. One might think the story would end once the plane landed, but thanks to security issues we had to wait almost another hour to go through customs. The split second the security personnel cleared us at customs I raced down the escalator to the baggage claim. Frantically I searched for my bag. Once I found it, paying no attention to those around, I ripped open my bag to find the special, sacred, holy Chapstick tube I kept in a secret place. Nothing felt sweeter than that moment the ChapStick caressed my lips. Round and around again I applied and reapplied the ChapStick as tears of joy welled in my eyes. I was glad to be home, glad to be on American soil, but most importantly glad to have my ChapStick. To me, it is more than just lip moisturizer, it is my comfort. Some might say I have OCD, and that is ok, but the comfort that my ChapStick brings is irreplaceable. I believe in the comforting and healing power of Chapstick.