DALLAS — It almost feels like human nature to hide the things about us that make us different. But Kashmiere Culberson is using what makes her different to show everyone she's just like them.
Twenty-two years ago, doctors told Tomika and Phillip Bomar that their baby girl was born without arms and had a condition called Bilateral Phocomelia.
"The way we believe in our faith is God doesn't make any mistakes," said Phillip.
They turned their grief into support for a little girl who started figuring things out faster than they’d ever dreamed.
"Everything was just with her feet, like holding her bottle, her pacifier, she would flick in and out with her toe," Tomika said. "We were just watching like, "Wow, OK!"
Fast forward to today, and Kashmiere’s making videos for social media and her own YouTube channel showing how she cooks, does her hair and other everyday activities with her feet to delight her over 100,000 followers.
"I want people to see me in person and see me on YouTube and know that there’s no difference…I just want to be myself!" Kashmiere said.
In each clip, we see a woman who’s figured out her place in a world not built for her, and who doesn’t shy away from sharing it.
"I really came a long way from me not having self-esteem and confidence to me being where I am now," she said. "And what I’m doing now."
That is a strength born out of vulnerability you don’t often see.
"This life is not easy, like adapting, because I just had to learn how to adapt. And so everything…it wasn’t easy," Kashmiere said through tears.
And still, she keeps adapting. The challenges keep getting bigger, like getting her driver's license and living on her own. But that means the wins get bigger too.
Next year, Kashmiere will graduate from Texas Woman's University with a degree in psychology and a perspective that no textbook can teach.
"Just how I used to be and now, it’s a big difference," she said.
She hopes to become a motivational speaker, and possibly a reality star. Those hopes are all in an effort to continue the work of showing that all of our differences make us more alike than we think.
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