Ever since I made my first macaroni necklace in kindergarten, I’ve loved arts and crafts. Whether that meant gluing plastic beads to a piece of construction paper for a project in second grade (I like to think of myself as an abstract artist), or painting portraits for national art competitions in the past couple of the years, I’ve always been a visual person.
Up until recently, it had never occured to me that I could decorate my brace, and much to my chagrin, I finally realized how creative you can get AFTER I stopped wearing my brace. However, if you find yourself bored, or watching a dozen episodes of Friends a day (I know I’m guilty), you can easily sit down with a few supplies and glam up your brace. Here are my favorite ways to decorate your brace:
Drawing In first grade, I used to draw paw prints all over my homework, to the point where my teacher was so concerned that she met with my parents to discuss my “issues”. Even today, I find myself doodling in Calculus or Chemistry, hence why I’m always confused on the homework. Costco is a quick drive away from my house, so I stopped by and picked up one of those mega-sized packs of sharpies - it has every color in the rainbow...something I could only dream of.
Patterned Plastic The last time that I met with my doctor, he mentioned that the manufacturer for the plastic for braces has started offering patterns for the plastic. Is this new? I don’t know, but I do know that there are quite a few options, and there seems to be different designs for any and everyone.
Stickers Here comes the fun part. I swear I’m a five year old in a sixteen year old’s body. I. LOVE. STICKERS. This isn’t permanent, so you can re-decorate however your heart desires. I like shopping Michael’s and Amazon for my favorite stickers. I generally like to have a common theme so every couple of weeks that I change the stickers, I change the theme. Sometimes it’s food, or animals, or just cute stickers I have lying around...the possibilities are ENDLESS.
Signing Whenever someone asks me what my brace is, I basically just tell them it’s like a cast with velcro. Hence, I’ve always wondered why people sign casts, but not braces. But fear not, you can get people to sign your brace. As weird as it is, a lot of my closest friends that know about my brace have signed my brace and left a note or an inside joke. Again sharpie is great for this.
Bent not Broken For any of my fellow simplistic friends, this is a great option for you. Not only is it motivating (and a great name for a blog *wink wink*), but this is super quick and easy. I just used a black sharpie to write the words on my brace, and the words have lasted for the few months that they have been there.
Hopefully you can find your inner artist...whatever that means to you. Whether you haven’t picked up a marker for years, or you’re the next Picasso, there are plenty of different options for decorating your brace. If you are loving and fully accepting your brace life right now (go girl!), or you could not stand to look at the thing, let alone spend time decorating it, know that having a brace gets easier with time and, no matter what, we’re bent, not broken! :)
Even at the rippling age of 16, I am still in love with stuffed animals. There’s something about snuggling up in bed with my ratty (or, well-loved) Curious George under one arm and Pauly, my WWF Build-a-Bear Polar Bear under the other.
You would not believe what these animals have helped me through...as cliche as it sounds, having someone, or in my case, something, to listen to you can make all the difference. My animals have listened to me complain about everything from my brace to the ending of The Fault in Our Stars (which, I mostly just cried about...anyone who didn’t is inhuman).
Then, I recently discovered Higgy Bears, and I wish that I’d known about them sooner. Higgy Bears is a company, founded by Lauren, a scoliosis patient, that makes stuffed animals with a brace or a cast. Who would’ve thought? The company as a whole is inspiring in the awareness that they are raising about scoliosis and the impact they are having on kids who wear a brace or have had to have surgery.
The company provides a wide variety of different animals, and even makes different types of braces! Not to mention that they can customize a brace for an animal/doll that you already have. And, an extra bonus...there’s free shipping! That’s always a plus ;). I’m in love with the bear and the giraffe...so cute!
The mission of Higgy Bears and the impact that they have had on the lives of patients has made the scoliosis community as a whole so much stronger. Especially when a patient is young and doesn’t know anyone else with scoliosis, it’s nice for them to have something else in their life that has a brace...Higgy Bears says it perfectly...their bears “make scoliosis BEAR-able”. I’m a sucker for a good pun. A special thanks to Lauren for pursuing her idea and creating Higgy Bears!!!
To check out the bears, visit www.higgybears.com
It’s companies like Higgy Bears that help us to remember we’re bent, not broken! :)