Photo Credit: Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP, File
If you are someone like me on a journey to being your best self, then I recommend you watch “Becoming,” a Netflix documentary film about former First Lady Michelle Obama on her memoir book tour. This documentary is so much more than her experience as the former First Lady of the United States. In fact, it’s everything but. It’s about who she is, her voice, and her story. It’s inspiring, it’s real, and it’s relatable. I love Michelle Obama because she’s just like me; a beautifully educated, Black woman from the Southside of Chicago.
Initially, I watched for entertainment but after only a few minutes in, I was already catching the gems Michelle was dropping. I won’t tell you that she shared something completely new that I hadn’t heard before, but it was her perspective and experience that spoke directly to me. So, I thought it was necessary to discuss. Now, my opinion might be slightly biased because again, I love Michelle Obama, but even so, there’s no denying the knowledge and insight that was gained from her documentary. She touched on so many topics including her upbringing, marriage, motherhood, the world’s perception of her, etc., but I will focus on what I believe to be the overall theme of the documentary.
Early in the film, there’s a scene where Gayle King is walking down a hallway preparing for her discussion with Michelle. She recalled a quote from Michelle’s book. It was a brief clip that wasn’t elaborated on or discussed directly but for me, it was impactful.
“I’m becoming more comfortable saying no, more confident saying yes, and more willing to say what’s on my mind,” Gayle recited.
I rewound that clip several times reciting those words myself because that’s who I’m working to become. Someone who comfortable saying no, confident saying yes, and willing to say what’s on my mind. Throughout my life, I’ve found myself in the people pleaser lane not wanting to rough any feathers or cause any conflict. But in being that person, I’ve hidden my voice, my opinion, my power. Let me tell you, when you live your life trying to make everyone else happy, you lose yourself. And it’s not easy trying find that person again. Trust me.
It starts with us and as Michelle said, “You have to find the tools within yourself to be visible, and to be heard, and to use your voice.”
Finding your voice and recognizing your power, in my opinion, are the themes of this documentary. On the tables of almost every stage Michelle sat on to discuss her book were two coffee mugs with the words “Find Your Voice” written on them. The mugs in conjunction with her conversations with moderators and the students to me were a subtle yet loud call to action for women and young girls to figure out who you are, what you care about, and what makes you happy. Then, you can follow that path or create a new one if you need to.
While on tour, she did some community events where she talked to teenage girls. There, she talked about the power in our stories, the stuff that makes us who we are, and the experiences that shape our lives. That’s what helps us to find our purpose. One of the girls asked Michelle about getting back on track to a normal life after being the First Lady to which she replied,
“What track? . . . It’s not getting back on track. It’s creating my next track.”
Although she was speaking about getting back to life after the White House, we can all relate this to right now. We’re all trying to navigate our lives through this “new normal” because there will be no going back. We’re forced to create new streams of income, find new ways to spend our time, and new ways to educate ourselves and our children. This pandemic has changed us forever.
So, let’s talk.
Not only did this documentary give us a brief overview of who Michelle Obama is, it was also filled with so many inspiring messages specifically for women and young girls. I 100% recommend you watch this. I encourage you to watch it with your mom, aunties, daughters, sisters, nieces, best friends, etc. I know they too will gain something from it.
Listen. I hope you recognize that who you are and what you do is the guiding light for your purpose and your path. And when necessary, you might have to blaze a trail and create a new lane. You hold the power! You always have.