What I am:
Fierce, intuitive, loyal, loving, artistic, intuitive, discerning, thoughtful, frugal, helpful, bold, protective, crazy, strong, down-to-earth, truthful, colorful, married, confident, maternal, and…
What I am not:
Preachy, fru-fru, girly, delicate, emotional, confused, two-faced, fancy, sneaky, a thief, dishonest, single, shy, and…
This list is not complete. Because I’m not complete. I’m always evolving.
This wandering soul uses her artistic wiring and unique worldview to encourage and challenge the friends and strangers who cross her path. A roving creative, she captures the pain and beauty of life as an intuitive life coach, author, editor, foodie, mixed media artist, and photographer. Her story has rough edges, but she has been sharpened on the stones of her past. True to her Bohemian roots, Michelle’s life has been anything but conventional.
Always the daydreamer, Michelle was the free-spirited little girl who brought home report cards that said, “Michelle has so much potential, but she’s always daydreaming or talking,” (as if that’s a bad thing?) She always had fresh Crayola crayons, scissors, glue, and her imagination. She’d ride her bike to the dime store to buy the newest paint-by-number and reserved time to watch Bob Ross. Outside in her backyard, she pretended to be a witch, making a “chocolate” cake out of mud, sticks, leaves, and rocks which she “baked” and fed it to her baby brother. She picked lilacs from her grandma’s bushes, sat in her dad’s garden eating veggies off the vine like a rabbit, and when visiting her other grandma, she’d sit in Johnson’s strawberry field and eat the fruit until she couldn’t eat any more. She played Army down by the river with the neighborhood boys, was the first-string quarterback of all of the impromptu games, and told her forth grade teacher she wanted to be a truck driver when she grew up, much to the chagrin of said educator, who pushed her to choose being the first woman president instead of a lowly truck driver. But being in charge wasn’t what that soul wanted. It wanted to travel, to see the United States, to experience the beauty, to be free to roam. Michelle often walked to her Great Aunt Mary Skiba’s house down the street, who came to America on the boat, who taught her about pierogis, kolachky, czech eggs, and being Bohemian. She also spent time down the road a little farther, at the funeral home watching Diane Frum teaching oil painting lessons in the garage. Michelle would lean against the hearse and eat the penny candy Mrs. Frum also sold.
Her favorite childhood books: Where the Red Fern Grows and Black Beauty.
Teenage Years (Enter Sandman)
Something dark and sinister blanketed these years. It started sometime in the childhood years but really took root a little later. Michelle’s intuition began to blossom. She devoured books about ESP, astral projecting, and all sorts of woo-woo stuff. She had premonitions and dreams that came true. A crow flew into a house to caw at her at a party one night–and that’s how she connected first to her spirit animal. But as quick as these gifts manifested, people in her life were flinging mud to dull her shine. She was sexually abused. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually abused. There was no safe place. No safe person. She doubted herself, hated her life, and wanted to die. Everyone told her she was too smart to be an artist–so only honors classes–which sucked dry what little life was left in her soul. She abused her body, abused alcohol, and somehow still made National Honor Society. Her dad had a nervous breakdown and blamed her for all of it while holding a loaded crossbow to her screaming, “I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out of it!” She walked towards him and said, “If you’ve got the balls, then do it.”
Michelle graduated in the top of her class while waving a big middle finger fuck you to anyone who dared to doubt her. She joined the Army National Guard and attended drills during her senior year of high school and also attended a local college for half of her course work. The Army told her she was too fat and she lost all hope of going to college on their dime, but also meant she stayed stateside while her her unit deploy to Saudi for the first Gulf War. She tried to take a full course load and work a full time job for a semester, but it was too expensive and she felt like she was on a hamster wheel. So she drank herself into oblivion.
Favorite books teenage years: Carrie and Thirteen is too Young to Die
Act II (The Adult Years)
Michelle quit college when she met her soulmate in a traffic jam. Her cowboy swept her away, took her to see the sunrise over the Rockies, the beaches of Monterrey, and every interstate in the contiguous United States. She moved to Missouri with him a short time after they met and they’ve spent the last twenty-two years growing, healing, and loving. It’s a beautifully messy story of two people who fell in love yet had to overcome years of dysfunction and abuse–but they did it together.
Michelle was the first woman to work in the shop of an outdoor advertising agency, she was a midnight truck stop waitress, a high-end steak house server, a truck driver, quality control for a nationally recognized brand, a bank teller, a Walmart cashier, a direct sales leader, a Fed-ex driver, a women’s ministry leader, an author, editor, artist, and photographer. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, foodie, and lover of the earth. A forever learner with a heart for adventure.
In the past decade, the sting of death has struck too many times. She lost her big-brother-like uncle to suicide and her best friend to cancer. Then Phil’s Grandma Barnes, Grandpa Jack, Grandma Schalk. Michelle sang to her grandma as she took her last breath and then two years later repeated that very scene with her mother. Then Phil’s step-dad and a year later, his mom. His biological dad passed when Phil was a year old. And most recently her dad. There is much to learn in the passing of the most important people in life, those who shaped your existence. Forgiveness has been essential in the healing.
The past decade has also been host to a medical condition which led to complete adrenal failure and then breast cancer which came with bilateral mastectomy and DIEP Flap reconstruction. The journey to health taught Michelle the most important lessons in healing mind, body, and spirit as a whole unit.
The healing she thought was unattainable has come in massive waves of grace and love. Now, Michelle holds space for those who desire a life of love and peace amidst the chaos and pain. She helps souls heal and become confident. Imagine Michelle with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge helping you clean from your soul all of the dirt and grime from your life-long journey. That’s what she does best.
Favorite books adult years: The Time Traveler’s Wife and Braiding Sweetgrass