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I know many of you are hurting. I know many of you are watching some lawmakers in this nation introduce hateful and harmful bills meant to make your existing in public space, your existing at all, impossible.

I imagine you might feel diminished, perhaps wondering if everything you’ve ever heard about yourself might be true. Maybe you deserve all those questions and wide-eyed stares? What if you are who should be excluded, rightfully expected to self-isolate and accept separation as acceptance? What if your understanding of yourself isn’t real? Is it possible you don’t know who you are? …


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You don’t know me, but as the parent of a trans kid I adore, I can’t help but feel like I (kind of) know you.

And, I’m sorry. I am achingly, angrily sorry.

I’m sorry this nation has failed you so spectacularly. I’m sorry for every day you wake up to hear people debate your right to exist, your right to access gender-affirming health care, your right to basic decency and the recognition of your humanity.

I’m sorry you have to listen to people who intentionally misinterpret science, publish misleading articles and books, knowingly frame your very human experience as…


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Have you ever described yourself as “not racist?”

I’ve said this very phrase I don’t know how many times throughout my life, and I was never insincere, but would be lying if I didn’t assume the statement was probably most often made in response to something — a word, an action — that hinted at or blushed with racism. It’s honest to say I don’t remember every context. Likewise, it’s also honest to say I don’t know how many times these two words got sandwiched between “I’m” and “,but …”

I do know that for most of my young life, the nuance and complexity of race and racism…


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Schools have been closed in Illinois since the mid- to the latter part of March, and students will finish the rest of the academic year remotely. A few days ago, too, our governor suggested schools may not reopen in the fall.

There are so many good articles floating around about how education might change when schools reopen. Smaller class sizes, perhaps, or part-time in the classroom and part-time remote. The ideas vary, but most begin from the premise that education will not be the same after COVID-19.

In a webinar last week about education after COVID-19, a few of the…


For weeks after Kurt died my routine was the same. Get up and smoke a cigarette and then perform the very basics of living. In and out; in and out; in and out — breathing was compulsory. The only thing keeping me tethered to Earth, really, was my body functioning as it was born to function. If I’d had the option to flip a switch and be gone … I’d be gone.

Of course, that’s the immediate story — the story that was my inner life in it’s truest and most unedited form. …


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To anyone who knows me, the idea that I almost obssesively think about pureness might not come as a suprise. Not in the way you might think of “purity” today, muddled and greasy with moral judgement and traditional standards. No, my idea of purity is more definitively tethered to freedom.

In an interview with Pete Holmes, the host of It’s Been a Minute mentioned how beautiful he found Holmes’ description of being with his newborn baby. “Unecumbered awareness” were his words.

Holmes briefly explains the idea as being that point where you’re so new you haven’t yet inherited a story.

Michelle Vallet

Writer, mother, optimist.

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