Former First Lady Michelle Obama is known for many things: her intelligence, style, grace, fun personality, and my favorite, her unforgettable side eye.
Recently, in her Oprah Mag interview with Oprah, she also put us on to her transparency. While promoting her memoir Becoming, Michelle shows us the many detours that her life took before she became the icon that we know and love today.
In her younger years, she was just like most of us millennials, doing what she thought was right and what everyone else advised as beneficial to her future without taking the time to process how she felt. She zeroed in on a career that would bring home a substantial salary and make her family proud, but what was missing on her checklist was pursuing a lifestyle and career that served her higher purpose.
Michelle explains her failed formula to perceived success that many of us initially follow:
"In the book, I take you on the journey of who that little striving star-getter became, which is what a lot of hard-driving kids become: a box checker. Get good grades: check. Apply to the best schools, get into Princeton: check. Get there, what's your major? Uh, something that's going to get me good grades so I can get into law school, I guess? Check. Get through law school: check. I wasn't a swerver. I wasn't somebody that was going to take risks. I narrowed myself to being this thing I thought I should be. It took loss—losses in my life that made me think, 'Have you ever stopped to think about who you wanted to be?'"
The now poised and clear Michelle Obama seemed to be stumbling in the dark just like the rest of us, with a job that she was not passionate about and an uncomfortable feeling in her stomach that whispered for her to go. She faced the question that most of us ask ourselves when we know we have to make change in our life, but are petrified to do so: what now?
Once Michelle opened up that dialogue with herself and the universe, her future husband Barack, who wasn't even her type, appeared into her life as the King Of Swerve himself, forcing her to be more flexible and open-minded. Dating a man that was the polar opposite personality from herself opened up her world in unimaginable ways. She realized that there was purpose for her methodical approach to life, just as sometimes it served her to swerve along.
The testimony of Michelle Obama teaches us that there is so much beauty in being uncomfortable. Uncomfortability can act as an engine to drive you to your best self and it can reveal to you the most fruitful sides of your being that you didn't know existed. It is when you are able to observe what is making you uncomfortable about your life, instead of criticizing or reacting, that you can make beneficial choices that will transform it for the better.
The Michelle that we see now is one that has been through enough adversities to confidently ensure young women that at any given moment they have the right to change their mind about their lives and circumstances and not beat themselves up about their desire to do so.
Shop Becoming here.
She empowers women by gifting us with the responsibility of our own happiness, which requires us to give a serious side eye to our lifestyles and choices and ask: Do I like Who I'm Becoming?