I have been resistant to reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming for quite a while. I have respect for everything that she has accomplished, and the position that she has been in, but felt as though we were much too different to really want to read her story. I was wondering if we would have anything in common, and for several months walked right past her Best Seller.
I had the audio book on CD which came from the library about a week ago. I love listening to books, but usually they are on the library app on my phone. Requiring that a CD player always be close made it more challenging to find the right time to get started. And, so a few days before vacation, I realized that I had a two-hour car trip to a conference, where I could begin listening to her story.
Nothing could have prepared me for how much I would this book. I am about 3/4 of the way through the CD’s and just received my friend’s copy of the book to borrow so that I can quickly crank through the rest of it. Listening to Michelle talk about her drive, desire for more, duty to support her husband, and motherhood gave me a new respect for this former First Lady. I never really thought about what it would be like to enter politics with my family. As she describes things that are not at all like I experience on a regular basis, something continues to stand out in her language. She and I have a lot in common. The way she talked about going to college, finding her husband, surviving a miscarriage, and then being a supportive wife, finding a way to workout before her kids got up, and finding a way to balance her dreams as well as her husband’s resonated so strongly with me. When Michelle talked about the stress of her husband being gone, and finding a way to create the experiences for herself and her daughters reminded me that women are so much alike.
Sometimes we are surprised by the people we connect with. Even when we don’t think we have very much in common with someone (based on our preconceived ideas about what he or she has experienced), it is amazing to find out that we can lean into the support from fellow women. Whether it is the story of a First Lady, an actor on TV, a princess in a fantasy novel, or a woman across the world, tonight I was reminded that when we take politics out of things, we are just people. We are so much alike, and putting differences aside makes for the richest conversations and experiences. The coolest thing is that I think Michelle’s intended audience for this book is women. Women of all ages, demographics, and political parities. She just wanted women to read it and connect with other women. And that is exactly what I have been able to do.