Stay True to You
The weekend that Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, “Becoming” was published, I raced to the Barnes & Noble near my apartment for a copy. I didn’t have far to look once I got inside as it had its own display adjacent to checkout. With a tingling sensation, I grabbed a glossy copy, a new journal and a few pens before meeting the smiling associate at the counter.
It was happening.
I was finally going to tap into the Black Girl Magic that Michelle Obama radiated on a daily basis. I was going to get to hear-well, read, her story the way only she could tell it.
I was on a mission.
A few weeks prior, I’d decided that I was going to create resolutions for the upcoming year. Remember when I told you guys about my 2018 goals on how I was going to recycle some going into the new year? Well, buying Michelle’s book was the catalyst of that idea.
I didn’t know what to expect with the book. I hadn’t read a synopsis and barely glanced at the inside flap when I bought it. I just knew I had to support this powerful Black woman; a woman I’d come to admire throughout her years in the White House. I felt a sense of pride and excitement once I nestled into my bed and started reading.
It took me about five weeks to finish the book. That’s not because I couldn’t get into it, but life happens and I was also trying to finish playing “Red Dead Redemption 2” on my PlayStation 4!
I still had a few hours of gameplay left, but I made sure to carve out time nightly to read a chapter for the last three chapters of the book. It was starting to slow down in my daily life, so getting the book finished was finally a priority.
When I finished the last few pages, I felt like I’d completed a marathon! I was breathless and had a rejuvenated sense of purpose.
Because whew, the main theme was powerful: no matter how life changes and relationships evolve, you cannot lose yourself. You MUST stay true to who you are.
For example, Michelle detailed how she was losing herself early on in her career. She’d gone to law school but struggled with the Bar exam. She knew that her purpose in life was to help disenfranchised youth, yet she was uncertain about whether becoming an attorney was the path she wanted to take.
Similarly, I feel I’m also at an impasse in my career. I know the industry I want to stay in as well as the department where I’d thrive, but my current challenge is that I don’t know which avenue to take to pursue my dream job. I don’t have the practical experience “needed” for some of the positions I want right now.
I’m constantly picking the brain of my older friends, who have been in my shoes, who are able to calm my nerves and let me know it’s okay not to have everything together.
Is anyone else in the same boat as me?
Additionally, Michelle talked extensively about how she tried to remain true to her South Side roots while being the wife of a self-assured man, like Barack Obama. She spoke frequently about how she had to make sure she didn’t get lost in his dreams and ideals for a better nation.
She achieved this by being a passionate mother to their two children, Sasha and Malia, by creating the healthy living initiative, Let’s Move! during her time as First Lady and juggling her own separate career in the nonprofit world.
Her ability to handle such responsibilities was inspiring to me, as I’m also trying to prioritize my own. I work a full time job, I write for two online publications, I’m active in a Black professionals organization and I’m about to begin studying for the GRE.
I have an idea of what I want my life to look like, so putting those building blocks in place is something driving a lot of my current movements.
Internalizing Michelle Obama’s mantra of “not losing oneself” has helped me prioritize what’s most important to me in the long run: a fulfilling career and a healthy social life.
Honestly, my career leaves much to be desired right now. Like many people, I believe more schooling can appease my angst by giving me more leverage in the corporate world. As far as my social life in concerned, I’m still strengthening the relationships that matter, but I’m also trying to approach more people. I finally have a desire to get out of my comfort zone.
As a result of finishing “Becoming”, as well as finishing my 2019 vision board, I have started making small but significant changes in my lifestyle. February just started and I’ve already received two certifications via Coursera, an online platform where you can earn degrees and certifications from the best universities and organizations from the comfort of your living room. I’ve also decided on what schools I’m going to apply to get my MBA. I’ve chosen a path for my career that I expect to be both sustaining and rewarding.
Furthermore, I’m taking control of my health again. I started working out consistently and I’m putting myself on a strict, low-carb diet for the first two and a half weeks in February. I downloaded an app mainly used for Keto, a low carb diet plan, and I also enjoy logging my food and water intake.
It takes us years to figure out who we are, what makes us tick, what keeps us up at night. But once we do, it’s important to hold steadfast to that. Once we know who we are and what we stand for, it’s harder for outside influences to tell us otherwise or steer us from our moral compass.
I think Michelle’s memoir did an excellent job of bringing that point across.
- Stay True to You - March 2, 2019
- Recycling Ain’t Just For Plastic: Take your 2018 Goals into the New Year - December 27, 2018
- Unplugged: How to Stay Present in the Era of Social Media - December 6, 2018