Short bio: the doctor told my parents that my arm simply “stopped growing” while I was forming in the womb. No other explanation, though now I think what’s called the “Amelia birth defect” might have been the cause, but I’m not positive. As a kid I was tenacious and tried things without fear. Now I’m 29 years old and recently started making videos to show the world that this life can be filled with hope and fun no matter what your circumstance may be!


My Videos

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Comments: 2059 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

h_carter1979 karma

A good family friend of mine recently lost most of his right hand in an accident. He's 11 years old. Are there any tips you might have for him? Or, for me/my family/his family on how best to help him going forward?

abshow2280 karma

Yes yes definitely! Will you pass on my channel link? It's all about how I do things with only 5 fingers: and where they can message me -- I'd love to hear from them and answer any questions! Also is an organization that connects people all over the world with limb differences!

Rdubdanger1674 karma

I managed a retail store for a long time. Around 1996, I hired a teenage girl, and as it turned out she did not have a left hand. I didnt realize it for the longest time. She just came in did her work like anybody else and that was that. She was a great employee. One of my best.

One day she said, " i really appreciate that you treat me just like everybody else, and dont go easy because of my hand." I was like "what the heck are you talking about?" She was shocked, and I think a little surprised.
I felt sorta dumb, but she kinda teared up ( i think in a good way), so before I could tear up I was like, " get back to work"

I occasionally think back to that kid. 20 years later, and she had a profound effect on me.

abshow615 karma

Thats a hilarious and sweet story! I think sometimes people with physical challenges work extra hard to prove they can do it! One of my best friends had no idea i had one hand the first few times we met... and then he thought I was a twin because he saw my wearing my prosthetic arm after seeing me with out it at first -- haha!

Zetterbeard40821 karma

What are you sick and tired of hearing the most from people who realize that you only have one hand?

abshow1244 karma

Not much really bothers me, but I don't love it when people express sympathy. Not that sympathy is bad, but they usually do that only because they haven't asked me any questions and don't realize that I'm not sad about having one hand!

silverwolfer188 karma

If I saw you out and about and your arm was full. Should I open the door for you?

abshow255 karma

Sure! I'm always happy to have the door opened for me! Ladies are you with me?

extracanadian346 karma

How about if I hold the door for you but you are just slightly too far away and have to increase your speed to an awkward jog/walk just so you don't appear rude to my annoying yet well meaning gesture?

abshow41 karma

Haha I think that's just awkward for everybody :P

dlauri65520 karma

So obviously you write and eat with your left hand, but do you have any idea whether you're "naturally" left handed? Like you probably know which foot is dominant--which do you use to kick a soccer ball? How's your handwriting?

abshow589 karma

Good questions. I think I would be naturally right handed. My whole family is right handed and I kick with my right..right dominant in sports, drumming, and guitar. My handwriting isn't too bad actually! I'd say average.

Highball2814414 karma

So, a little background and then my question. My son was born with only his right hand. We adopted him when he was 3 and he is 10 now. He has a 'nub' of palm tissue. You can see a pic here

It sounds like your parents and my wife and I have similar philosophies. I like your answer elsewhere in this thread about letting kids know God is good and made us each with a purpose. We let him try what he wants to try and help as best we can. He has learned to shoot a bow, he plays flag football (he says if Odell can catch one-handed he can and promises to fly us to his NFL games), you get the idea. He is our inspiration.

Now, my question. If you could go back to when you were 10 and know what you know now, what advice would you have given your mom and dad about parenting you with your limb difference? What should we know as parents as we head into the tween years? edit: What's been your best response to children your own age who aren't verbally rude, but you catch them staring at your arm?

abshow285 karma

Wow, what a great story and question. Your son sounds awesome! The Odell thing is brilliant! My parents did such a great job (as it sounds you and your wife are doing) with sort of stepping back and letting me just be a kid. They also pointed me toward Christ to be my anchor and source of identity, which relieved pressure that might exist if I felt my success was all about my own efforts. If I could go back and give them advice I think I would ask them to help me realize that it's a good thing to accept help when people offer (I politely but often declined any sort of help) and that I didn't ALWAYS have to try to be at the front of pack, attempting to prove my abilities. Heading into the tween years, new friendships and having a crush can be an issue.. not just for limb different people as we all know -- haha! But those years are full of new insecurities, and limb different teens have one that other kids can't relate to. I think just encouraging your son to keep being himself, that kids (and girls) will see him differently at first, but it never takes very long for that newness to wear off when you're just your natural self and other looking! Soon they'll be saying, "Oh yeah, I never even remember you have one hand! To me, you're just you!"

Lastly, I've had literally countless kids stare at my arm throughout the years, and if they stare long enough or I sense they want to ask, I always tell them, "You know something cool? I was born without my hand, and you were born with two. That's how God wanted you to be made and this is how he wanted me to be made!" Something along those lines, depending on the moment. Helps them feel comfortable all around.

Paperjackwriter253 karma

You're very inspiring! Was there a thing that you had a very difficult doing that you almost just gave up trying?

abshow474 karma

Great question. My grandpa used to tell the story of taking me to the park and me trying, but ultimately having to give up on, the monkey bars. Just couldn’t make it happen — haha! I allllmost gave up on putting up my own hair in any sort of bun or ponytail, but I kept at it and after several years of on and off frustrating practice, I got it down! (I actually made a video about how I do it 👆🏼) :)

Dartser29 karma

Have you since tried to do the monkey bars again with a prosthetic of some sort

abshow60 karma

I haven't... I think I'd really have to spend time developing something that was flexible enough while being able to support body weight!

DonLaFontainesGhost92 karma

You can actually do monkey bars one-handed. But it takes a lot more upper body strength.

[edit] BTW, I posted this because from what I can see you've mastered life and need a new challenge. [grin]

abshow30 karma

Ohh I need to build my upper body! Thank you! :)

ADirtyCasual223 karma

I was going to go with a deep meaningful question but got tired typing it out so.... Favorite food?

abshow278 karma

Haha! Asian food. Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese.. I️ love it all.

amooseme215 karma

What's your worst experience with ignorant adults? If miraculously you could take a pill and wake up with your right hand, fully functioning, would you take it?

Youre awesome!

abshow462 karma

I get a lot of questions from curious people, but not really much negative questions or attention -- thankfully! The funniest question I've ever gotten from a poor soul was "So do you write with your right or left hand?" Haha! And, although that would be an incredible thing to wake up with a new hand, I don't think I would do it. I have faith that God made me this way for a reason, and he has proved that in my life so far in many ways. Reaching young kids who are missing fingers/limbs and encouraging them through my YouTube channel is one (an awesome one) of those ways!

fusseman53 karma

Actually, to be a bit more specific: do you believe God made you that way or allowed you to be born that way? Does that make any difference / sense at all? I can discuss more / clarify this if you want? I guess it's a theological question that I ponder and not so much a life defining / key issue.

abshow364 karma

Yes, I do believe God made me this way for a reason. I know that's not popular these days, but the bottom line for me is that my life is not about whether or not I have one hand. I believe that the life/example of Jesus gave us the best framework for life.. and if I follow his example then my life will be more about being helpful and loving toward other people, pointing them toward eternal life and joy through him, rather than being totally focused on accomplishing things for myself. And if what he said in the Bible is true, then I'm relieved of the pressure to be good and do good to earn happiness and success. I can be free to serve other people and enjoy every day, trusting the one who's infinitely greater and more loving than me! Like a little kid who is completely free to be his or herself because of the security of the parent's presence. :) Not wanting to get theological, just sharing my heart.

hdety215 karma

Ever done a cool Halloween costume with your arm? Imperator Furiosa?

abshow185 karma

Yes! I've done some pretty gross makeup on my arm and had so much fun with it! I actually made a video about my top 3 favorite "armless" Halloween costumes here

SamRIa_102 karma

The one-handed Rubik’s cube world record is 6.88 seconds....

Does that make you as incredulous as it makes me?

abshow58 karma

Haha! That is next level!!

Sgtonearm0192 karma

As a fellow person with 1 arm, I always get, you can do that with one arm? And i always respond, why does it take you two.

What's the dumbest thing someone thought you couldn't do bc you have I've atm? Mine was Button a shirt.

abshow96 karma

Haha! Thats great. I once had a little kid absolutely insist that I couldn't ride a bike. I was like, no I really can... let me borrow your bike, I'll show you. Haha!

icantredd1t91 karma

What do you do with all the right handed gloves?

abshow84 karma

You know, thats a fantastic question...

ImOverThereNow76 karma

As a fellow left hander - How do you cope when writing on a notepad bound with those metal rings?

abshow93 karma

Oh my I feel your pain! I write checks for my job a lot and those metal rings are the WORST. I usually just reposition the thing and come at it from an awkward angle. Haha

Zaku008370 karma

You can answer the age old Zen question without effort, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

abshow102 karma

too quiet in a crowd! haha!

lousyalien65 karma

Sorry if this has already been asked but, quite simply, why? What inspired you to do all these things that most people can't do, even when the odds were stacked against you?

abshow100 karma

Hasn't been asked actually! I think my most honest answer is that I just didn't want to miss out on life. I've never been one to give up before even trying. I love trying new things, even at risk of failure. It's worth it! My hope and joy in life comes from the essence of Psalm 34!

HurtzTheRobot64 karma

Hey, my buddy at work is a paralympian who's missing his left hand, it sounds like a match made in heaven. Y'all should meet up, sound good?

abshow52 karma

Haha! Left and right... sounds like destiny!

Reaction_On_My_Nub40 karma

I am missing my left hand. CAN WE BE GLOVE BUDDIES!?!?

Not kidding. I don't buy gloves much because I hate paying for something I'm only using half of. So many useless left hand gloves and mittens. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD ACTUALLY USE A WHOLE PAIR OF GLOVES.

abshow10 karma

Yessss I'm in!

bumpyfelon38 karma

One of my biggest fears as a guitar player (and I said this before on reddit) is losing my right hand. I play fingerpicking electric guitar like Mark Knopfler and it's my main form of expression. What kind of guitar do you play? Lots of left hand tapping? How do yo go about learning how to play the way you do? I so admire your dedication to living life to the fullest and that's what makes playing great.

abshow41 karma

Thank you for the kind comment! I play really basic guitar atm. Pretty much just strumming a limited amount of flat picking. I actually learned how to play on Justin Sandercoe's youtube channel. Here's a video of a guitar cover I did so you can see! And I'll be making a "how I play guitar" video soon on my abshow channel!

GH05TWR1T3R37 karma

Pineapple on pizza. Yay or nay?

abshow90 karma


SovereignoftheGCI29 karma

Have you considered a biopic prosthesis?

abshow55 karma

I actually grew up wearing a more basic one (3 of the fingers moved in one direction) but it never actually helped me. I always explain it by comparing to having to hold a baseball bat in one of your hands at all time. Cumbersome and heavy!

streamweasel28 karma

Have you ever tried one of the 3D printed prothetics? I've made a few of the flexihands for people who way prefer them to the "medical devices" that cost more than the $25 or so to make. I've also made them for people who think they're great and all, but in the end it is a piece of plastic strapped to their arm.

abshow20 karma

I haven't tried the 3D printed hands yet but I'd love to check it out some day. I used to wear a mio electric prosthetic for years but it was heavy and not very helpful.

digitalkragen27 karma

What artifact in public is poorly designed for you?

abshow41 karma

Ha! Great question! Those soap pump things that are always on the right side of the sink in public bathrooms. Trying to pump the soap into my hand with the same hand is awkwarrrrrd!

dkl41524 karma

Thanks for the AMA!

  1. What would you like people with two hands to know?
  2. What's the funniest situation you've been in because of having one hand?
  3. What would you like to tell young people with visible disabilities?

abshow103 karma

Great questions!

  1. One of the most common things I hear from two handed people is "What is it like having only one hand?" I always tell them that I have no idea because I've never known anything different, just like they can't really describe to me what having two hands is like... it's just... normal!

  2. I have a TON of funny one handed situations/stories (I tell some of them on my channel linked above). One of my favorites was when I was 12, fishing on a pier. I told a kid who was relentlessly staring at my arm that a local shark bit my hand off, and the longer he stared the shark would know and come after him. Haha -- terrible!

  3. I want young people with differences and disabilities to know that God is good and made us a certain way on purpose... meaning WE have a purpose. And as that purpose shakes out over time, we should have the courage to try the things that might be scary to try, have fun in the process, and stay hopeful for the future!

kylkim21 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA

Do you have or have you ever had a sensation of a phantom limb where your right hand would have been? How do/did you adjust to it?

I'm asking, because I've heard that the brain has a certain image of the body from birth, which might not reflect the reality of the body. I would like to hear your first hand experience on the matter. EDIT: PUN NOT INTENDED!

Edit: Have you tried mirror box therapy? Any thoughts or fears about it?

abshow29 karma

Haha! Great unintended pun! I have heard of those phantom sensations but I've read that those usually come when the person previously had a limb but lost it somehow. I've never felt even the slightest twinge of anything beyond the end of my right arm. ha!

moviemakerjay20 karma

As someone with a newborn girl that has a limb difference, thank you for what you do. I constantly worry that she will be bullied. That she won't be able to do a lot of things that most people can do. This gives me hope.

I find that a lot of kids in our extended family always ask what is wrong with her hand? Growing up did a lot of other kids ask you about it? Were you ever called names? If so, how did you handle it?

abshow29 karma

Thank you! I’m so happy to be an encouragement! Here’s a screenshot of an earlier conversation with A parent of a boy who was born missing a hand. Might help. Also yes i’ve always had a lot of people ask me just out of curiosity throughout the years. That’s definitely going to happen a lot, but I found that if I just give them a polite and honest answer, it immediately helps them and me feel more comfortable, then it’s all good! Kids can be mean but I navigated my childhood pretty well because I wasn’t scared to try things and just be who I was. I also used humor a lot to disarm people... no pun intended 😂 Check out which is an awesome organization that connects limb different people all over the world!


abshow19 karma

Hmm interesting question. The only thing that bothers me about that is the fact that because my weight isn’t on even on both sides it’s caused a little bit of back problems, so I have to be extra aware of stretching and building up my musculature on the right side.

Marteau20615 karma

What’s the best one handed trick you can do? I have a friend who always prided himself on being able to get a cigarette, light it and return the pack and lighter to his pocket with one hand, but I have to imagine there’s more impressive one handed flourishes out there, especially when necessity dictates it.

Also, what’s your typing speed?

abshow21 karma

Haha! Well... maybe picking stuff up with my right foot? I’ve gotten pretty good at that over the years…

And i’ve actually never measured my typing speed but I can type pretty fast. I use my right arm to help!

boneandskin13 karma

Can you drive?

abshow32 karma

For sure! Manual and automatic!

meeeehhhh214 karma

Woah will you be doing a manual transmission driving vid? I can't imagine how it's done with left hand only. I can only use my right hand for driving.

abshow11 karma

Thats a video I'm thinking of making in the near future!

ilovethissheet11 karma

Your amazing and hilarious which = a great inspiration people in this world really need. What is something that you still want to learn as a future goal?

abshow12 karma

Thank you! :) I would LOVE to learn how to play more advanced piano. I've tinkered off and on and can play a liiiittle bit, but I'd love to play for real some day.

sonofabutch10 karma

Does it bother you when people say you’re brave or inspiring or are amazed that you’re able to function?

abshow7 karma

Plenty of people have said things about being "brave" to me, but it doesn't bother me much because after talking for a few minutes they usually don't feel that way anymore! I like when people are inspired if it ends up helping them do something they were struggling with!

MaesterMagoo6 karma

How do you clap?

abshow5 karma

Haha I actually made a parody video about not being able to clap where I play both characters

frickfrackcute6 karma

What is the one thing besides Reddit that made you smile today?

abshow15 karma

I was at church earlier today and the pastor said something that made me laugh.

TallHonky4 karma

Do you joke about your disability? Like try to high five people with your missing hand?

abshow11 karma

Yes, most definitely.. joking around is my bread and butter!

ScreechingAutist4 karma

Do you make jokes about not having the hand?

abshow13 karma

Ohhh yes, that's my bread and butter. I laugh and joke about it all the time. One of my best and funniest stories is when I threw my arm into a landing pool at a water park

thegimboid4 karma

Do you get sick of the jokes like "can you lend me a hand?" or "have you been to the second-hand store?", or do you still find them funny?

abshow14 karma

Welllll shamefully I'm usually the one who makes those joke haha

Snuffleysnoot3 karma

Dogs, cats or lizards?

abshow9 karma


DoktorSleepless2 karma

Do you have video of you playing guitar?

abshow5 karma

Yes, here's a cover I did a few years ago! I'll be posting a "how I play guitar" video soon on my abshow channel.

aleister942 karma

Do you have one of those new robot hands?

abshow6 karma

I wish! Those things are pretty experimental and hard to come by still. Maybe one day.. although I haven't worn the prosthetic arm I grew up using for years because it never helped me much!

BloodDragooner2 karma

What is something people thought you couldn't do, but you end up surprising them because of how well you could do it?

abshow4 karma

Flag football in high school is the first thing that comes to mind. Also drumming. I play drums for my church and newcomers are usually surprised I can play like anyone else!

DMNRGHT2 karma

Are typing your responses or using voice to text?

Regardless, you’re an inspiration, extremely thoughtful in your responses, and generous with sharing advice. Continued success in with your journey. Thank you

abshow3 karma

Thank you!! I've been typing ;)

PE_Norris1 karma

What advice do you have for the parent of a 4yo that has the use of only one arm (hemiparesis)?

abshow1 karma

Here’s an earlier conversation I had with a Parent of a 10-year-old son missing hand. Might be helpful. Also definitely check out which is an organization that connects limb different people all over the world! Very special group. And my YouTube channel is all about how I do every day things with only five fingers! conversation

your_mind_aches1 karma

Whoa, I've been doing things (like opening my gate, preparing food) with my non dominant hand by itself lately and this channel is kind of exactly what I didn't know I needed to help demonstrate this stuff!

My questions are:

Who are some of your favourite bands/artists?

Did only having one hand open you up to any experiences that you can definitely say having two would have never opened you up to?

abshow2 karma

Oh that's awesome.. glad I could help!

My top 3 favorite right now are Rogue Valley, Audrey Assad, and Novo Amor

Starting my YouTube channel that focuses on how I do things with only 5 fingers has been the most eye opening experience in recent history for me. I have now gotten connected with kids all over the world who are just learning how to get along with their limb difference. It's been so humbling to see that I've added some encouragement and inspiration to their lives. Really awesome.

Scaawt1 karma

  1. do you ever get into your feels, and just feel down and defenseless sometimes? (you said you make humor out of the situation, but i️ was still curious)

  2. how do you deal with those people who straight up ask asshole questions?

abshow1 karma

This might sound dishonest but I don’t really get down on myself because my arm. I get down myself for other things occasionally just like other people, but not usually because of my arm.

And I️ don’t get asshole questions usually. Every once in a while I️ get somebody who asks me how I lost my arm in kind of a blunt or rude way, but that’s about it.

SaulMcGil1 karma

I'm really interested in the guitar thing. But I can't find a video in your YouTube page. Any chance for a link?

abshow2 karma

Here's the link to a cover I did. I'll be posting a video on my abshow channel showing HOW I play in the near future!

trashit111 karma

You are gorgeous? Lol sorry had to make it a question. I was in the military and I have seen a few people with missing appendages, most of them have a sunny disposition about it.

abshow2 karma

Thank you! :)

najing_ftw1 karma

What is something that you haven’t been able to do very well yet, that typically utilizes both hands?

abshow5 karma

Great question. There are several things, but the one that comes to mind is tying boot laces. The bigger the shoe, the harder it is to tie. Mostly because I have to hold the laces tight while looping the laces over and under.. very hard! But I have mastered regular shoe tying:

I_poop_in_10_seconds1 karma

Hi! As far as doing daily tasks go, was it harder when you were younger or it got harder as you grew up?

abshow2 karma

I think it was harder when I was younger, because I was still developing my little methods for everything.

jackmonter51 karma

Is there any news about hand transplants? Will you consider one?

abshow5 karma

My reply to a similar question earlier: "...I don't think I would do it. I have faith that God made me this way for a reason, and he has proved that in my life so far in many ways. Reaching young kids who are missing fingers/limbs and encouraging them through my YouTube channel is one (an awesome one) of those ways!"

valueape1 karma

Great videos. Who's your favorite band/musician?

abshow4 karma

It's always so hard to pick just one, so I'll say my top 3 right now: Novo Amor, Audrey Assad, Rogue Valley