Forget the politics. Forget if you’re red or blue or a different color altogether. Becoming, by Michelle Obama speaks to the part of us that’s beyond that, to the humanity at our core. This is not so much a book about being a Former First Lady of the United States, but much more so a book about the incredible and inspirational story of a girl who could have been (and could still be) any of us—a girl who grew up not having much, who faltered and second-guessed herself, and who took the long way ’round to live a remarkable life.
I took my time reading this book, letting myself cry when a particularly poignant moment washed over me, pondering the existential questions Michelle asked herself (and in extension, us), and re-reading portions that encouraged me to reflect on my own self.
Having finished this book, I wanted to share my favorite quotes from it:
— “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” ~ Preface
— “Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. You story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” ~ Preface
— “I tried not to feel intimidated when classroom conversation was dominated by male students, which it often was. Hearing them, I realized that they weren’t at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different.” pg. 79
— “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” ~ pg. 118
— “It’s remarkable how a stereotype functions as an actual trap. How many “angry black women” have been caught in the circular logic of that phrase? When you aren’t being listened to, why wouldn’t you get louder? If you’re written off as angry or emotional, doesn’t that just cause more of the same?” ~ pg. 265
— “I’d been lucky to have parents, teachers, and mentors who’d fed me with a consistent, simple message: You matter. As an adult, I wanted to pass those words to a new generation.” ~ pg. 383
— “We grow up with messages that tell us that there’s only one way to be American—that if our skin is dark or our hips are wide, if we don’t experience love in a particular way, if we speak another language or come from another country, then we don’t belong. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently.” ~ pg. 415
— “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.” ~ Epilogue
If you get a chance to read this book, I highly recommend it. No matter who you are, I believe this book will be able to inspire you too.