I normally abhor listicles for the cheap clickbaits that they are, but let’s just say this ain’t your regular fare from BuzzFeed or Thought Catalog.

1. I no longer have to wear or place a freakin’ BIB on my neck brace to prevent it from getting soiled.

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I always had to keep tabs on the paper towel supply…

The very first thing I ate after I got my Aspen collar off:

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A delicious, messy burrito. Sauce dripped everywhere and I didn’t care!

Though to this day, almost every time I eat, I still search for a paper towel as if I still had my neck brace to keep clean… it’s really weird!

2. I don’t have to don a similar aforementioned BIB to wash my face or brush my teeth! It’s so freeing, I tell you. You don’t know how many little cloth towels I used to go through in a week.

3. I can tilt my head back to gargle!

4. I no longer have to judge whether my tops/dresses are neck brace suitable!

In my four months in the halo brace and Minerva jacket, I had to wear all my clothes from the bottom. My aunt had to buy me lots of L/XL tops/dresses. It was an incredibly glorious moment when I discovered I could (carefully) wear tops over my head with my Aspen collar. Now I don’t have to judge whether my clothes’s collars are wide enough to fit through my neck brace!

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Dress/top: size L
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This was my favourite oversized shirt which I wore 40% of the time

Conversation between me and my husband:

Me: “What am I going to do with all these XL clothes?” (I am a small or medium)

My husband: “I don’t know, for pregnancy?”

LOL.

5. I can FULLY SHOWER WITH ABANDON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No more three-step process to clean myself, nor standing in front of a hair dryer to dry my neck brace and still feel disgustingly damp! No more waiting until my hair got inevitably oily and gross before dragging myself to get the Full Shower Procedure (FSP) done and over with!

6. I can let my hair grow as long as I want!

One of the things that upset me was that I had to cut my hair to make the showering and drying process faster. It would take twice as long if I still had my long hair.

How I miss my beautiful, thick, long hair.

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Two days before the accident at the Death Valley National Park entrance

I haven’t had my hair this short since I was 17…

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7. I can get real hugs! No more awkward modifications to account for my broken neck.

8. I can walk outside BY MYSELF! #biggirlnow

Everyone didn’t “allow” me to walk outside alone in case of a “situation” (falling, getting mugged, looking both ways to cross the street, or anything requiring quick head turning action).

One of the first times I went out for a walk by myself, my mom was like, “O, sinong kasama mo? (Who’s going with you?)”

“Mommy, I can walk by myself now!!!”

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On my first unsupervised walk outdoors…

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BUT I still have to be extra vigilant of my surroundings, as I have limited neck movement for now.

The same goes with climbing stairs, being in crowded areas, and just generally walking around. NO FALLING ALLOWED.

9. I can take public transit and make lakwatsa by myself!

BUT I still have to rely on others if I need a drive somewhere. Shout out to my husband and younger brother 😀 And Uber!

AND I can’t run after the bus… yet!

10. I can zip up my sweaters and jackets without struggling to see them!

11. I can drink from a water fountain and not buy bottled water when I’m desperately thirsty!

12. I don’t have to feel so lazy because I always had to take the elevators!

13. I can rest my head on my husband’s shoulder now!

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14. I can expand my world of exercise from just walking!

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15. I can go out and attend events LOOKING LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, without random questions or weird stares about this thing on my neck.

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What I miss about having a neck brace

1. I used to make a little tent with my blanket placed on top of my halo pins and bars. Incredibly useful when trying to sleep when the sun is shining brightly through your window in the morning!

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Can’t you just imagine me being all cozy inside my little tent?

2. Using the disabled washroom. There’s a lot of space in there!

3. Having great posture in my halo and Minerva jacket.

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HA, THAT WAS IT. I DON’T MISS IT AT ALL!

Oh and I can now take selfies with my neck in VARIOUS ANGLES.

And that’s pretty much the only reason why I wanted to get my neck brace off. Hehe, just kidding.


I’ve been brainstorming what to write for this post for quite some time (as in months), but under the title, “15 struggles only people with neck braces will understand” or some shoddy title like that. I’m glad that I instead put a positive, focusing-on-the-present-not-on-the-past spin on it though!

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