Book 3: Becoming by Michelle Obama.

The Advantage of An Advocate

Michelle Obama is an advocate for good which is refreshing and inspiring.

I was able to quietly read Becoming this week. I describe it that way because her account is beautiful and it deserves a quiet space to let her unfold her authentic tale. Her story is our story, it’s America’s story. Family, community, love, children, fear, hope, optimism, reality, dreams and a burning question, what is my purpose and how do I keep becoming a more capable version of myself?

An artful insiders view of a determined young girl who becomes a powerful woman. It’s highly relatable to every women’s journey and the road less traveled. The joys and challenges of finding her way, questioning yet believing she is worthy while balancing the demands of being a sister, daughter, mom, wife, and friend and oh yay, the best dang First Lady in my lifetime.

It is no secret, I love and miss the Obamas. Once I read the book, I could put into words what I really drove my feelings, I felt like they were advocates for me, for my family and for my community and of course our country. They had deep-rooted values for what we stood for as a country and a shared vision on where and how we could go.

Michelle shared the story of an unruly elementary classroom and how her mother fought to get her classroom changed. This action skyrocketed Michelle’s trajectory to honors classes, and with her hard work, resulted in Princeton undergrad and Harvard Law.

Michelle told the storied school early in the book, and 100 pages later shared she did not understand until much later in life “I had the advantage of an advocate.”

i had the advantage of an advocate

She described, she was not smarter, kinder or “better” than the kids left in the first classroom, but she had a vocal advocate creating change thus creating opportunity.  Michelle had the advantage of caring adults, community, family and friends – and with their support, she was able to grow faster and stronger leaning on them as guideposts – and created her voice. I saw her mother as a lioness protecting her cub, a learned skill, that Michelle has mastered and exhibits today with her girls.

Through becoming an advocate for herself, she could be an advocate for others. She met and fell in love with Bharat, and shifted her own dreams to give him space for his.

As I think of the Obama’s 8 years in office – I think they were advocates for so many. The book talks about the harsh spotlight on them being the first African American first family, the threats and social media attention. With inspired grace, they dealt with it all and never lost sight in “if they go low we go high.”  They were role models and advocated for so many – both the disenfranchised and the masses.

michelle obama
photo from msnbc

I have been blessed with powerful advocates of my own, my parents, grandparents and my husband. Teaching me great strength. Yet, some of my best lessons have come from having kids. Becoming the kind of person who is there for them, and advocate of their dreams. I work hard to be an advocate for joy, which is my dream.

I borrowed this book from my daughter, which makes me feel like I have done a good job – because she works hard to advocate for herself first and then others thru that power, she possesses. Here she is, well here we are, three of the six of us reading on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve reading

The book is filled with the theme of the stories we tell ourselves, the false narrative that can tear us down, instead of lifting us up based on someone else’s ideas and judgments. We must be advocates for ourselves, we are stronger than our past thoughts, or theirs.

Michelle and local DC kids planted the first garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt. Here are some garden images from Vogue:

The garden feels like a metaphor – it was just like advocacy, we plant seeds today – then it takes sun, rain, and patience (happiness, sadness and time) for success.

Thank you Michelle, (and Bharat). Cheers to you and all we will continue to become together.

The Joy In This Book: Every page. Be an advocate for yourself and each other. Go high.

Click to Get Becoming

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