Insecurities are the devil. They've popped up more times than I would like; in the most awkward moments. When I finally overcome one and do my dance to celebrate, another one pops up making me question myself. Whether it's wondering if my boobs are getting out of control (I'm rocking a 36I), obsessing over my uneven front teeth, or feeling like I'm the weakest link at a new job, if I'm not careful, I can find an imperfection at any given moment.
I might have thought something was seriously wrong with me if women like Michelle Obama didn't share their experiences with the same struggle.
We all look to her as a superhero of some sort: she's our sister, aunt, mother, friend, mentor and to some, all of the above. But her tangible proof of success isn't the only reason we admire FLOTUS in so many ways. She has no problem being vulnerable and honest when sharing her story. She doesn't try to wrap it up, put a bow on top and present it to us in this pretty package as if everything was perfect. Nope. Instead, she bares all.
In a recent conversation with Oprah Winfrey during the media mogul's 2020 Vision Tour, our Forever First Lady touched on her feelings of inadequacies. She confessed that being her own worst critic was the root:
"I struggle with looking in the mirror. I hate looking at myself. I hate listening to my voice. I hate watching myself on tape, because I'm constantly judging myself too, just like everybody else."
"I lived in a cocoon of the White House for eight years. I knew sorta kinda that people maybe sorta liked me and might be interested in reading my book. Not everybody likes me. Some people think I'm the devil. When you're in politics, you get the good and the venom too."
The criticism she received while on the campaign trail with President Barack Obama didn't help.
"People called me all kinds of things when I was campaigning for Barack, like it was a competition. They called me un-American, and this stuff sticks with you. Men talked about the size of my butt. There are people who were telling me I was angry. That stuff hurts, and it makes you sort of wonder, what are people seeing? That stuff is there. And look, I'm a black woman in America. And you know, we're not always made to feel beautiful. So there's still that baggage that we carry, and not everyone can relate to that. But yes, there is baggage that I carry just like anybody else."
And she's doing what she can to make sure her and Barack Obama's daughters, Malia Obama, 21, and Sasha Obama, 18, don't have to experience the same insecurities.
"I told my daughters, because as they're getting older they start to judge themselves and it's interesting when they talk about, 'I can't fit in my jeans that I had last year.' I said, 'But you're a whole other year older. You're now becoming a woman. You don't have a child's body.'"
"That's like saying at 20, I'm really upset that I couldn't wear my favorite overalls anymore from when I was 10. That's as ridiculous as it is at 56 to think that I should look like I did when I was 36, or for anyone to judge me like that, or to judge a woman like that."
She said that over time, she's learned to appreciate her physique no matter what; which means handling it with care in all stages.
"We are so ridiculous as women. We don't want to talk about our age, and then we want to act like we should look like we did when we were 20, you know? When, I'm sorry, men you can look any kind of way. And it seems to be OK."
"[It's] all mine, and it's a healthy body that works, everyday. I try hard not to judge it. And it's different. You have to get to know your body, because what this body is at 56 — I can't do the things I did when I was 36. It's not the same body. We are living things. We're not machines. You know, we run out of gas. We need fuel. We need sunshine and light. We need to take care of ourselves and when you don't, as you get older, just like any living thing it begins to fail on you. And for me, I'm trying to figure out, what is that balance that I need to make sure that this body, that God gave me, that I'm taking care of it the best that I can and that it will serve me well as I get older."
Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images