Michelle Elizabeth

And it saved us from the brink of divorce.

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Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

A gap year is typically used to describe the year high school students take to find themselves. During that time, they work or travel in an effort not only to discover themselves but to figure out what they want to do with their lives. But when we inadvertently applied that same logic to our marriage, it brought us back from almost getting divorced.

We didn’t start with the idea of taking a gap year. Our marriage wasn’t working. And if I’m honest about it, we hadn’t been us for years. …


A story about a woman living a double life. Warning: Explicit language and violence.

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Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

I remembered the tape this time. A month ago, I had to improvise. It was not pretty or elegant. But I was in a hurry. That all too familiar itch rose to the surface, and if I didn’t get it out, if I didn’t satiate the desire, the fire would consume me.

I surveyed my backpack for the most important items.

Rope, check.

Tape, check.

Sleeping pills, check.

Mallet, check.

I grabbed the black Jansport backpack and added a few new things that recently appealed to me, I didn’t know if I would use them, but the idea that they…


Before you tar and feather me, take a moment and read.

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Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Every February, the school librarians take out the same autobiographies. They start with George Washington Carver and his bag of peanuts. Then they move on to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. After that, they finish with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement like that’s all that black people are.

Black people are more than a twenty-eight-day blip that starts with slavery and ends with the Civil Rights Movement. …


Understand first, love second.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

All I need is understanding
A desire
To know the real me
The person I don’t have to hide
In fear of not being understood

I wish people could see just me
I’m a good friend to the few I have
I’m loyal to those who don’t deserve my loyalty
I’ll love you until you break my heart
And then I’ll cry over the broken pieces
That never fully get mended.

I’m silly I play with words and ideas The way little kids build with Legos I leave pieces of me, everywhere I’m smart I can finish an anecdote about…


When I think about growing up in South Philadelphia, this is what I remember.

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Photo by Master Wen on Unsplash

Concrete jungle. That’s what most people think of when they imagine an overpopulated city filled with the working poor. My mother was a master of the lost art form of making a dollar out of fifteen cents. She robbed Peter to pay Paul. Living paycheck to paycheck was the way of life you could set your watch by. Every first of the month, the lines would travel out the door at the local corner store as people handed over their food stamps for cash. …


The universe works in mysterious ways.

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Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

I’m in a stalemate with myself. I don’t know where I’m going or what I want to be when I grow up. At forty-one, you’d have figured that I would have decided that by now. But like most people, I did what I had to do. I got a job to pay the bills, and I never stopped to think about it. I did what I had to do.

The dreams of childhood make miserable adults.

When I heard that saying for the first time, I felt it deep within my soul. All of my unfulfilled dreams had made me…


It’s easy to look at all of the bad things that happened this past year, but in doing so, we don’t acknowledge the good.

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Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

The year 2020 has been described most eloquently as a dumpster fire, but I would argue that this year has pushed every single one of us out of our comfort zones, and that is a good thing. If I were to pick three words to describe 2020, they would be resilience, introspection, and gratitude.

For me, 2020 started like any other year. We took down the holiday decorations and got back to work. I began planning our upcoming yearly vacation and travel to see loved ones. But I started the year feeling burnt out. I didn’t rest enough over winter…


This isn’t your typical end of year prose.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The year 2020 will be cataloged in the annals of history as many things. The Great Pause, the year when life stood still. A pause that lasted long enough for us to shine a light on all that ails humanity. We saw the worst in us. We watched the best in us broadcast over a million miles of fiber optic cable only to be swiped away.

It was the year Beyonce declared Black is King, and yet I have no aspirations to be royalty. I want to live with the freedom to be mediocre. And in that mediocrity, I get…


Everything you think about while waiting for a diagnosis.

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I’ve been waiting twenty years for this, the point where it becomes my turn. You don’t have ninety-five percent of your family succumb to cancer without counting the moments until their fate becomes yours. Yet, here I sit, watching the wind blow through freshly cut grass. Marveling at the various hues of green as the late afternoon sun travels across the blades. And I wonder, why haven’t I ever stopped long enough to notice it before?

But don’t worry, this isn’t my magnum opus or some Last Lecture. It’s just me at a turning point in my life waiting to…

Michelle Elizabeth

MFA|Essayist| Author| IG: michelle_elizabeth_writer| Email: writer.michelle.elizabeth@gmail.com

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