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Ability is in The Eye of The Beholder

Written by: Miriam Grunhaus, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


24-year-old Ashley was in a public bathroom, changing her daughter's diaper when a woman walks out of the bathroom stall and offers help. Ashley thanks her for her gracious offer but denies the need. The woman insisted, not believing Ashley could actually change her daughter's diaper because Ashley has one arm. But Ashley changes her baby's diaper day in and day out because Ashley was raised to figure things out. And figure out she did!

The baby is squirming, as Ashley is trying to explain to the lady that she is okay. The dirty diaper falls, dirtying the floor and her daughter on the way. The situation becomes more complicated for Ashley, and the lady insists on helping. Ashley wished the woman trusted her abilities, believed in her tenacity and her strength.

A quarter of a century ago, a woman was expecting her bundle of joy when she found out there were two, "A" and "B"; She finds out that there is something wrong with baby A. The months pass with much anxiety until the birth when they discover that the twins are girls, and Baby A is missing her right arm just by the elbow. A clot, they say, claimed the arm and for the next 20 some years and probably for the rest of her life, her mother will care for her differently, worry for her differently, feel for her differently. A sense of responsibility and a sense of desire to see happiness despite…

She commits to raising both daughters the same. Baby A will have to struggle to learn how to manage, and this will be the most significant gift “A” will ever receive. She will figure out how to crawl with one arm, how to horseback ride with one arm, how to dive with sharks with one arm, how to dance with one arm, how to feed herself and dress herself, and how to do laundry and change the linen all with one hand. She will have to find a way to find her soulmate and continue the path, and she will have to figure out her purpose on this earth all by herself… It is hard to watch her struggle, but she sees a strong, determined little girl, and the mother knows, deep down, baby A will be okay.

A and B are deeply connected, intertwined by amniotic fluid and all that it makes them twin sisters, no matter what, protectors, and have a deep bond. No clot can tear apart even when the perception of love is understood to go more one way. Perceptions become a reality, but despite feelings of jealousy at an early age, they find their paths, their purpose, and the meaning of their lives. Maybe A just a little faster. Because A has spent every waking hour searching and looking for answers, why am I made this way, and for what purpose? What is the meaning of all this?

Ashley Young, Photo: Amanda Van Meter Burch
Ashley Young, Photo: Amanda Van Meter Burch

And so baby A grows up and to be this beautiful, funny, resilient ray of sunshine. With strengths and abilities that put the word disability to shame. What does it mean anyway to be disabled? Can all people with two arms scuba dive with sharks, ride horses competitively, and do splits in midair and dance as if there were no ligaments on the body? Who is to say who is able and who is disabled? Frankly, we are all differently-abled, and isn't that what makes us so fascinating and interesting?

Today, she carries her daughter and tends to her with the same love as any mother enamored by the joys of motherhood and the excitement of creating life, tending to her needs with care and devotion and raising this soul to be a strong, resilient woman. Baby A is a grown woman. She mothers her perfect child, and now it is her turn to teach her to be strong and figure things out by herself.

Humans are absolutely incredible. We are resilient, strong, with unlimited potential for growth and for overcoming our differences. It is time for humanity to understand that we are the ones that set limitations to ourselves and others, but not the lack of a limb or an illness or color or ethnicity can stop a Thriver from Thriving or a one-armed mom to change her daughter’s diaper. Maybe the woman was hoping to save Ashley, or perhaps she was hoping to save herself.

Model: Ashley Young @orlandocyborgashley

Photo: Amanda Van Meter Burch @itsmedancing

For more information, follow Miriam on Instagram and visit her website!


Miriam Grunhaus, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Miriam Grunhaus is an Author and Fashion Designer of Mikah Fashion Miriam’s first book, Heal with Gold, is available at Her follow up course, Heal with Gold, will be out before the end of the year. To find out more about her you can reach out to

Miriam’s clothing line is inspired by Kintsugi. Kintsugi in Japanese means golden Joinery. It is also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”). This is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.



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