5 inspiring things we learn about Michelle Obama in Becoming

- - No comments
In her strikingly candid and honest memoir, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her.
In her strikingly candid memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from a childhood in the south side of Chicago to family life at The White House. 
Here are five facts the book has taught us about one of the most inspiring women of our time.
A young Michelle Obama. Photo courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives

1. She was determined at an early age

After a five-year-old Michelle Robinson got one answer wrong in a kindergarten colour quiz, she obsessed about it, unable to sleep while lying in bed surrounded by stuffed animals: ‘The embarrassment felt like a weight,’ she remembers, ‘like something I’d never shake off’. The next morning, she immediately asked her teacher for a do-over, and aced it in one go. ‘I like to imagine Mrs Burroughs was impressed with this little black girl who’d found the courage to advocate for herself,’ she says.
Photo courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives
Photo courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives

2. She was told she wouldn't get into Princeton

While preparing to graduate high school in the top 10% of her class, a young Michelle was told by her guidance counsellor that they weren’t sure she was ‘Princeton material’ (the prestigious school was her first choice for college). Most teenagers would have been crushed, but Michelle once again proved her determination, and instead sought a recommendation letter from her assistant principal. 
‘I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I knew about myself,’ she recalls. Instead, she wrote one killer admission essay, and was accepted. She never did tell the counsellor they’d got it wrong.
With daughters Malia and Sasha at the White House, May 16, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

3. She once took her baby along to a job interview

After deciding to go back to work after the birth of her daughter Sasha, Michelle attended a job interview for an executive director role at a local hospital and, unable to find last-minute childcare, arrived with the three-month-old in tow. As she remembers, ‘She was a fact of my life. Here is me, I was saying, and here also is my baby.' She would go on to get the job but to her, that wasn’t the point. As she recalls: ‘No matter how it panned out, I knew I’d at least done something good for myself in speaking up about my needs.'
Michelle participates in a Garden Harvest Event with children on the South Lawn of the White House, June 3, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

4. Her White House garden project was more than a campaign; it was a mission

After persuading the National Park Service, who was in charge of the gardens, Michelle tore up one of the most iconic lawns in the world and planted a vast selection of fruit and vegetables – a symbolic launchpad for her fight against childhood obesity, and advocacy for a healthier America. ‘Barack’s administration was focused on providing better healthcare, and for me the garden was a way to offer a parallel message about healthy living,’ she says. ‘The garden was simple, prosperous and healthy – a symbol of diligence and faith. It was beautiful while also being powerful.’
Michelle Obama jumps rope as part of the NICKELODEON PALA PSA TAPING on the South Grounds of the White House July 15, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

5. She's a rule-breaker

On 26 June 2015, the Supreme Court in the US issued the decision that same-sex couples had the right to marry in all fifty states. Looking out of her window at the White House that evening, Michelle Obama noticed a big crowd had gathered outside to see the famous residence illuminated in the colours of the pride flag. ‘I found myself suddenly desperate to join the celebration,’ she remembers, and after grabbing her eldest daughter, Malia, she made a break for it, ignoring the protocol to check in with Secret Service agents and speedily running outside to the lawn. In their own private corner, mother and daughter gazed up at the world’s most famous address – and their home – lit up in pride colours, just as everyone else was seeing it.

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House) is now available to buy in hardcover at a RSP of R399.

No comments

Post a Comment