Con­ver­sa­tion with Michelle Obama

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

In a life filled with mean­ing and ac­com­plish­ment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and com­pelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of Amer­ica-the first AfricanAmer­i­can to serve in that role, she helped cre­ate the most wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive White House in his­tory, while also es­tab­lish­ing her­self as a pow­er­ful ad­vo­cate for women and girls in the US and around the world, dra­mat­i­cally chang­ing the ways that fam­i­lies pur­sue health­ier and more ac­tive lives, and stand­ing with her hus­band as he led Amer­ica through some of its most har­row­ing mo­ments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Car­pool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daugh­ters un­der an un­for­giv­ing me­dia glare.

In her mem­oir, a work of deep re­flec­tion and mes­meris­ing sto­ry­telling, Michelle Obama in­vites read­ers into her world, chron­i­cling the ex­pe­ri­ences that have shaped her-from her child­hood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an ex­ec­u­tive bal­anc­ing the de­mands of moth­er­hood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most fa­mous ad­dress.

With unerring hon­esty and lively wit, she de­scribes her tri­umphs and her dis­ap­point­ments, both pub­lic and pri­vate, telling her full story as she has lived it in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and rev­e­la­tory, Be­com­ing is the deeply per­sonal reck­on­ing of a woman of soul and sub­stance who has steadily de­fied ex­pec­ta­tions and whose story in­spires us to do the same.

We asked her some ques­tions:

What was un­ex­pected about the writ­ing process?

The process turned out to be re­ally mean­ing­ful for me. I spent a lot of time just re­flect­ing and think­ing, which is some­thing I just didn’t have much time to do for about a decade. Once Barack be­gan his cam­paign for pres­i­dent, ev­ery day felt like a sprint. So it was nice to de­com­press a lit­tle bit and ask my­self, “How did I get here? Where did my story take a turn?” I un­cov­ered a lot of smaller mo­ments — mo­ments that folks might not know about, but that I re­alised were re­ally foun­da­tional to the woman I be­came.

What did you hope to ac­com­plish in writ­ing your mem­oir? was not a happy pe­riod in your ca­reer. What ad­vice would you give peo­ple who are un­sure about their path and who need a lit­tle help fig­ur­ing out their pas­sion?

If you’re some­one who’s lucky enough to think about ful­fil­ment in your ca­reer — and there are a lot of peo­ple out there who aren’t — I think the best thing you can do is lis­ten to your­self. I mean, re­ally, re­ally lis­ten. You’ve got to make sure you’re not act­ing on some­one else’s ex­pec­ta­tions. That’s where I got stuck. I spent my early adult­hood check­ing the boxes I thought so­ci­ety ex­pected of me, be­fore I re­alised that it was mak­ing me mis­er­able. I went through a lot of in­tro­spec­tion. I did some jour­nalling. And I re­alised that what I re­ally wanted to do was help peo­ple, so I set off on a ca­reer of pub­lic ser­vice. So what I’d say is do your best to lis­ten to your­self and tune out the rest.

Dur­ing your life you have ex­pe­ri­enced highs and lows but also so many unimag­in­able cir­cum­stances. How have you adapted to the un­pre­dictabil­ity of the jour­ney that has un­folded in your life?

I learned that some­times you’ve just got to throw your hands up and let the roller coaster do its thing. There’s no guide­book for any­thing, whether you’re jug­gling two lit­tle kids, a de­mand­ing job, and a hus­band who’s got big goals — or you’re par­ent­ing two slightly older kids while fig­ur­ing out which form of ad­dress to use with the prime min­is­ter seated next to you at din­ner.

Pen­guin Ran­domHouse, $55

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