If you haven’t read our About page yet, then go read that first, you little rebel. (Or else you might feel a tad bit lost).

Feeling lost is really just another adventure though.
And if you embrace it, it can be beautiful: Such is the world of Jillian Michelle–

The Girl with Rusty Dreams

Jillian Michelle exploring Silver Lake Sand Dunes near her parents' home in Michigan
Jillian Michelle exploring Silver Lake Sand Dunes near her parents’ home in Michigan

I’ve always been searching for something. I first knew I wanted to travel the world when I was three years old. I climbed my first mountain then. Except the mountain was a hospital bed, and I had no idea I’d be scaling it for over 15 years. When you’re stuck on a ledge for that long, holding on with bloody fingers, it’s easy to become angry or bitter. But I choose instead to be inspired. It’s that inspiration that is responsible for this picture. Not far from where my parents live on the west coast of Michigan lies a public park comprised of over 10 miles of endless sand dunes. Even though it’s steps from home, it feels like another planet. So I walk the sands pretending I am somewhere far away–somewhere where the world is more fair, people don’t get sick, and wishes can come true just from wishing hard enough. My skin’s become stained with dreams that have long since rusted, but I still hold them in my hands, careful to dust them off whenever the sand and grit starts working its way into their tiny crevices. I like to wander deep into the dunes where the land remains untouched by travelers and you can still see ripples snaking through the sand like tiny monsters. On my journey, I’ve learned that monsters are real. They exist inside us all. Some people are just better at slaying theirs than others. And I think there’s something absolutely beautiful about fighting to get to where you want to be in life. So where to next, you ask? There’s no place that I do not wish to go.
I’m a warrior who doesn’t have a large intestine. I’m a dreamer who still believes kindness can change the world. I think each and every one of you are beautiful. I believe in you, and I hope you never stop fighting.

-Jillian Michelle

The Girl

1) My father’s nickname for me is “Billy Boy.” He’s called me that for as long as I can remember. If you are ever around me and my dad, you’ll hear him address me as “Billy Boy” before you’ll ever hear him call me by my real name.

2) I sometimes drink A1 Steak Sauce straight from the bottle.

3) I think monsters are real. They exist inside us all. Some people are just better at slaying theirs than others.

4) I’m stronger than you’ll ever know.

5) So are you.

6) I don’t buy cards from the store. I always make them from scratch. I think they mean more that way. If you are a close friend of mine, I have probably made you a pop-up card, written you a cheesy poem, or sent you on a treasure hunt to find your presents at some point during our friendship.

7) One of my most prized possessions is a poem my dad wrote for me on my 13th birthday. It’s 40 lines long, and I can recite every word of it by memory.

8) I love doing things that scare me. I love to face my fears.

9) I get bored when I’m not constantly being challenged. In school. In relationships. In life. I climb mountains until they are conquered and then look for other mountains to climb.

10) I’m a hopeless romantic, but I hate attachments. I hate being vulnerable. I hate giving another person power over my own emotions. And I hate how love can make a person feel weak. Or turn their soul ugly. When I love someone, it consumes me. I get so wrapped up in it that I sometimes lose a piece of myself. No, I definitely don’t like falling, and I fight it every time.

11) I’ve only fallen twice.

12) I don’t have a dream wedding planned out like most girls do. I don’t care about the size of the ring. A toy prize ring from the bottom of a cereal box will be just fine. I just want to be happy.

13) I’ve spent most of this year feeling pretty lost. I still feel lost. But I brought my survival gear with me, so I’m confident I’ll find my way back to wherever I’m supposed to be.

14) I’m always the first to say, “I’m sorry.”

15) I want to inspire people.

16) When I hear about shootings or mass murders on TV, I never feel sad for the people who died. But I always feel sad for the killer. I wonder how much pain they endured in their life before they got to that point. I wonder what decisions they made that led them down the path they took. I wonder if anyone could have saved them.

17) I try to fix broken people. While simultaneously understanding that those people have to be the ones to fix themselves. It doesn’t stop me from trying though.

18) Lately I’ve been really selfish. And I haven’t been as good of a friend as I should have to the people I care most about. To the friends I’ve neglected, to the friends I’ve smothered, to the ones with whom I didn’t spend enough time, and the ones from whom I demanded too much time– I’m sorry.

19) I will always care more about the underdog than the hero. I’ll care more about the guy who lost everything than the guy who won it all. I like to see people get knocked down, their faces rubbed into the mud until they’re gasping for air and they doubt they’ll ever get back up again. And then I like to see them get back up again.

20) I like when people point out my character flaws. I’ll pretend that I don’t. I’ll whine, complain, argue, make excuses, and maybe even get mad at you, but in the end, I’ll realize you’re right, and I’ll try to better myself.

21) I will never stop trying to better myself.

22) Writing feeds my soul.

23) So do brownies, pickles, and strawberry slushies from Sonic.

24) I am missing someone right now.

25) I believe in you. And I hope you never stop fighting.

I’m shy, awkward, uncool, and clumsy.

I run into walls and trip over curbs. But I will entertain you by giving you the pleasure of watching me fall.

I do not have a large intestine.

I was the Valedictorian of my high school, and I enjoy being a nerd.

Above everything else, I’m goofy, dorky, and silly. And I like being around people who will act just as goofy, dorky, and silly with me.

Being sick for half my life has taught me that life is too short to take yourself too seriously. You gotta learn to let go and have fun, and when all else fails, give the world the finger and go about your way.


Acting goofy
Random road trips
Challenging myself and learning new things
Doing things that scare me
Conquering fears
Using my hand as a notepad for daily reminders
Video Games
Cultural Studies
Playing in the rain
Starry nights
Wishing on stars
Snuggles Fabric Softener
Freshly washed sheets
Going exploring
Getting lost
Getting my hands dirty
The wind blowing my hair
Skiing and Tubing
Believing in Fairy tales
Believing in the best of people in the worst of situations
Making people smile when they feel there’s not much left to smile for
Earning someone’s trust
The smell of gasoline
The smell of campfires
Nerdy things and Intellectual Pursuits
The smell of libraries and bookstores
Being creative
Composing music and song lyrics
Staring at the ocean
Martial Arts
Pianos, Guitars, and Violins
Fairies, Unicorns, Dragons
Greek Mythology
Studying Japanese and Korean
Asian dramas and music
Ancient Rome and Egypt
White tigers
Whales and Seals
Girls who kick ass
Wearing elegant dresses
Being a tomboy
Disney World
Getting bruises
Being on stage
Science–biology, genetics, astronomy, anatomy
Guys in hoodies
Guys who wear their hair long enough for it to fall in front of their eyes
Inspiring others
Being humbled by others
Volunteer work


Being so shy
I hate my nose
Feelings of Inadequacy
Being misunderstood
Being judged
Learning to say goodbye
Lack of Ambition
When people write “your” when they mean “you’re”
Unavoidably becoming the cause of someone else’s pain
Loss of youth
Loss of innocence


Disappointing myself
Learning to trust
Getting old
The hopes and dreams I have that may never come true

The Disease

Jillian Michelle:

  • doesn’t have a large intestine,
  • has had mouse DNA put inside her body,
  • and even survived a full year without a single bite of food.

How’s that even possible?

Oh, look– We made you a pretty graphic.

Jillian Michelle’s Illness Explained

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes, and is a wake up to myself and a lot of people who complain about such trivial things in our lives. You are amazing and give a lot of strength to others, lots of love and hope to you! <3

    1. Thank you so much! Not many people click on the “About” link of this site or make it all the way to this page, so it means so much to me that you read it! It really has made my day!! I saw the “coffee” contribution from you as well and was so excited that I called my dad right away to let him know that someone had read my story and left me a donation! You are actually the very first person to “buy me a coffee,” so I will always remember your kindness. It meant the world to me. Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! And I hope you always keep chasing your dreams as well! <3 <3 <3