Re: Free at last!

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After four and a half years of wearing braces, it has been an incredible feeling to let my tongue glide on my freshly polished straight teeth!

Truth be told, I didn’t like my smile growing up because I always fixated on my crooked teeth. They were all I saw whenever I looked at my grade school picture day photos or any photo for that matter. So, I decided to get braces after getting my wisdom teeth out. Our family dentist referred me to Dr. James Noble from Orthodontics at Don Mills.

Before getting a consultation, my dentist forwarded a copy of my recent X-rays so that Dr. Noble had a starting point to assess my case. We sat down for an initial consultation about my teeth, my goals and why I wanted to get braces. Dr. Noble was very honest with me about the commitment and investment that I needed to make, which I really appreciated. He is a passionate orthodontist whom truly loves what he does, and it shows in his work. Dr. Noble works with a diverse age range of patients from young children to adults, so he has extensive experience with different case severities.

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Though, I couldn’t help but feel that I got more than a beautiful new smile. Reflecting on the last 4 ½ years of wearing braces, I learned 5 important life lessons.

Patience

At first glance, four years is a long time to wait for something you’ve always wanted to have. There were times when I grew a bit restless, failing to recognize that there is a much greater reward down the road.

Think of the bigger picture

I went to 64 (more or less) individual appointments for my orthodontist and regular cleaning over the course of my entire treatment. They had to remove 4 teeth before installing the wires and brackets and I can’t even tell you how many elastics I’ve used! If you look at each of these factors individually, getting those pearly white straight teeth seems awfully daunting. But if we just take a step back to look at the bigger picture, all of these sacrifices contribute to an overall goal.

When you’re in pain, speak up!

I happen to have a high pain tolerance so luckily the regular tightening wasn’t a big deal. Actually, I remember happily eating a bacon cheeseburger  right after getting my braces installed! Though there were times when a piece of wire would irritate my inner cheek and a ball of wax wouldn’t be able to ease the irritation. Instead of taking the pain in, a phone call needed to be made. A quick snip and voila! The pain is gone.

It’s easy to sweep our pain under the rug, or even worse, bury it. Speaking up when you’re in pain doesn’t make you a burden. It means something needs to change.

Smile with confidence

Yeah, yeah there’s something on my teeth. A piece of spinach or rice perhaps? It happens. As odd as it may sound, wearing my braces helped me embrace my crooked teeth for what they are-a work in progress. Our imperfections make us who we are. Let’s wear them with pride!

Invest in yourself

My treatment cost a little over $8000. I admit, I spent a pretty penny on something that might seem vain and I am damn proud of it! I made this investment for me because I know the health benefits and confidence boost sufficiently justified the cost. Besides, do you know how amazing it is to wake up and look in the mirror and love who you see staring back at you? I get to feel that, so I’d say it’s worth it.

Smile as wide as you can. You deserve to. We all do.

Big THANK YOU to Dr. Noble and his lovely hygienists at Orthodontics at Don Mills! Your patience, positive attitudes and dedication are greatly appreciated! 🙂

Always,

K

Dear Lexi

IMG_5387.jpgThis is my open letter to you on your first birthday.

I’m not sorry to tell you that I will not be the auntie that spoils silly. I will, however, teach you how to earn what you have and what it means to be happy even when you don’t have everything you want right now.

I won’t be the auntie who coddles you when you first fall off your bike either. I will, however, teach you how to get back up on that bike and ride it even if you’ve fallen many many times before.

I won’t let you get away when you get in trouble. I will, however, tell you that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules and live in the moment because we may not have another moment like this again.

I won’t tell you that you’re enough. I will, however, show you that you are more than enough and no one in the world can take that away from you.

I won’t be the one who tells you to dwell within your comfort zone. I will instead encourage you to see what the world has to offer and experience a rich and meaningful life.

I won’t turn you away when you get your heartbroken for the very first time. I will instead teach you that all the love you’ve given to someone else does not compare to the love you can infinitely make and give. 

I won’t be watching you from the sidelines because I will always be there with you somehow, physically or otherwise.

I could add more to the list but let’s just take it one day at a time, shall we? 🙂

Someone once told me that you were going to change my life. And girl, you have! It has been an adventure watching you crawl all around the house; dancing with you as soon as the Tinga Tinga Tales theme song comes on and hiding items around the house because you just want to put everything in your mouth. You gave me a glimpse of the kind of parent I want to be…the kind of mother I hope to be.

Thank you for the cuddles and letting me kiss your chubby chubby cheeks (before waving me away anyway haha!) You probably won’t remember your first birthday, but that’s okay. We will have more birthdays to share. I hope you have an amazing day filled with laughter and love.

Happy birthday squishy face Lexi! I can’t wait to watch you grow every passing year.

Always,

K

P.S. It’s okay, we won’t tell your other auntie that I’m your favourite 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Because I want to

 

Capping off this tiresome week with a lingering thought. Yoga, kickboxing and Forro. These are the three activities that I have been doing (and will continue to do) the past week. Varying in intensities, I deliberately chose to practice and participate in these activities. Here’s why: because I want to.

I wish I can give you a better reason but really I don’t have one. I’ve always wanted to take kickboxing and have prolonged it over the years. The restorative aspect of practicing yoga is something that I absolutely need right now. Learning Forro helped me realize my forgotten love affair with dance and how much of a liberating experience it is. These are the parts of me that I have been missing lately.

Now, to do each of these activities I really need to put myself in different mindsets. For kickboxing, it’s essential for me to hone in controlled physical strength and endurance. Repeatedly practicing my jabs, push kicks and mid kicks isn’t a walk in the park. I can definitely tell you that my thighs were on fire two days after my lesson. For yoga, it’s essential for me to focus on my body and how it’s interacting with my inner self. Yes, it definitely pushes your physical strength and you do need to have a good stamina, but for me yoga was about getting in touch with my inner thoughts and letting my body slow down. Sometimes we get so caught up with what’s happening all around us that we forget to take a step back and listen to what’s happening within us. For Forro, surprisingly the more difficult out of the three, it’s essential for me to let myself lose control and embrace my femininity. Quite the challenge for someone like me!

Nonetheless, I think I found a really good thing here. Of course, I have a day job and work in between but I genuinely feel like doing all of these together is helping me become a much more well-rounded person. I will always have time for writing and blogging. It would be cruel for me to take away a medium that continuously saves my sanity!

My thoughts are incomplete, perhaps because I’m still navigating my way around it. But I do hope that you all explore your interests purely because you want to. Even if other people have opinions about it or you’re scared to take the plunge. I’ll be here, cheering you on every step of the way. 🙂

Always,

K

P.S. I swear I’ll be doing my usual lifestyle blog posts soon! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re: To struggle or to fight? The choice is yours.

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This is not some great epiphany that I’ve had or something that is entirely nouveau. Frankly, I’m not even sure if it’s something that I want to be part of my philosophy in life, but here it is-our life is made up of choices. We choose what we would like to eat; we make choices about the clothes we wear; we choose the people we become friends with; we choose whom we date and, (you can totally rebuttal) we choose to be happy. We make decisions every single day consciously and subconsciously. Thing is, the choices we make aren’t always cut clean. They’re not always easy to make. So, how do I make them?

I wrote a reflection a few months ago based on an article asking, “what are you willing to struggle for?” In it, I talked briefly about persisting despite feeling pain or encountering difficult obstacles and how we can use pain to fuel our drive to create. Now, perhaps because I have been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, I have a completely different question to ask. Though it might sound similar, I want you to think about how this question is vastly different-what are you willing to fight for?

To, struggle or to fight-that is the question. Ever since I can remember, I somehow would make choices that could make my life just a little bit harder. I know, this sounds odd but wait a second. By that I mean, you can use a calculator to solve a long division equation or you can actually do the long division on a piece of paper and solve it yourself. To some degree, I may have taken Robert Frost’s poem to heart too literally, but then again I wouldn’t be here if I chose differently. I’m telling you this because even though there have been many times, and probably more when I will be required to struggle, I will always choose to fight.

I’m telling you this because even though there have been many times, and probably more when I will be required to struggle, I will always choose to fight.

Yes, there have been times when I would refuse to fight back because I don’t necessarily think that fighting every battle would be entirely beneficial. I prefer to pick my battles and fight to win the war. This is where I see the difference between ‘struggling’ versus ‘fighting’ for something. To struggle for something almost makes it seem like you are constrained by something else; something is preventing you from breaking free. Whereas, for me, fighting for something is a conscious choice made. You know that when you fight for something, there will be obstacles and great uncertainties. You might even feel miserable for some of it. Yes, all of that is true. They just don’t matter as much.

You know that when you fight for something, there will be obstacles and great uncertainties. You might even feel miserable for some of it. Yes, all of that is true. They just don’t matter as much.

So, what are you willing to fight for?

Always,

K