Becoming

book

“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” – Michelle Obama

That’s right. we all have a story of our lives, and this story is something we own. That us something truly unique for each of us and no one can take that away!

This is how Michelle begins her book, by telling us her story.

I absolutely loved the beginning of this book. In a short narrative, Michelle Obama talks about her new experience of moving back into a regular home after having lived in the White House for eight years. She talks about coming down late-night into her kitchen. She has the freedom to do what she wants to since no security protocol is present. What does she do? She makes a sandwich for herself and relishes that moment. Imagine being the wife of the President of the United States, with all that fame and popularity, she enjoys that moment of making a sandwich for herself. If that isn’t humility, then I don’t know what it.

That’s one of the huge take away for me from Michelle Obama’s biography: humility.

The Book

Michelle does an amazing job with her book. Her eloquent words and the ability to express herself is a pure joy to experience. Somehow, the words just flowed so easily and I was able to finish this book in two days. Either her words were so good, or her life was so engrossing I just had to know what happened to her as she made her way to the White House.

There are three major chapters to the book:

Becoming Me (her growing up experience, school and university years)

Becoming Us (How she met Barack Obama, their courtship, marriage and children and the beginning of her journey into the White House),  and

Becoming More (being responsible towards the people around her, and how she sought ways to break down barriers and bring about unity).

There is much to learn from her humble background, coming from an average background but with extremely strong family values- but it is with the men she shared the strongest bond: she had a very close relationship with her father, and her brother has been alongside her throughout her journey and then-President Barack Obama, by whom she stood like a pillar of strength.

The whole idea of her book centers around the idea of becoming. In other words, she saw herself evolving at every stage of her life. Whether it was transitioning from school to college, from college to the real world, from her workplace to the White House, and then eventually back to normal life post White House. At each stage, she talks about the internal changes she has gone through, and how she has evolved.

That is another major take away for me from the book: having a strong growth mindset. Michelle doesn’t stop learning anything along her journey. She takes time to better herself, better the people around her, bettering the community around her, and then impacting the people around the world. She never makes it about herself, but about others. That’s something I feel we can all learn.

The White House

The more fun side of the book talks about her experience inside the White House. Moments like Michelle and her daughter sneaking out of the White House evading the security show her human side in all of this. Another interesting incident involves pizza delivery for one of her daughter’s birthday party.

To sum up her experience inside the White House, she says: “It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once.”

Ending Words

She leaves us with some words of wisdom at the end:

“And here is what I have say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect.

It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others.

This, for me, is how we become.”

book 1

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