BJ Miller on Growing Through Accidental Electrocution

Grow Through It: Accidents

As a sophomore at Princeton University, BJ Miller experienced a life-threatening accidental electrocution atop a parked train on campus. Due to the resulting traumatic burns, he lost his left arm below the elbow and both legs below the knee. He faced a torturous recovery and grew through it with the support of family, friends and his medical team. His mother had polio as a child and post-polio syndrome as an adult, so he had a running start on the world of disability. He sees the essence of his experience as a variation on a theme that every human goes through: “You bump up against things you wish were otherwise and you wish you could change, but you just can’t.” He believes that our pain comes from our resistance to change and encourages us to ride the changes, instead of fighting them. And he wants us to embrace vulnerability, as it is natural, essential, important and what links us to each other.