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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gallo

Always good to try and read something different

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Becoming by Michelle Obama

It is around 2 a.m and I could not sleep. Most times when I cannot sleep I read. Why? Most books that lay around our house are inspirational books in some shape or form. So, at least I know when I grab a book to read it will give me some insight on life. There was one book that was sitting on my wife’s night stand. Entitled ‘Becoming’, by Michelle Obama.

Last year, I bought my wife and her best friend tickets to see Michelle Obama. To be honest, it was a night out for me and her but I knew how much it meant to her to go out with her friend that loved the Obamas! When she came back she was just in awe of how strong of a woman Michelle Obama was in the way she presented herself, to the way she spoke and that she was just real. That was my first spark and from that point on that book was calling me every time I looked at it. What really intrigued me was that her husband was Barack Obabma and I wanted to know what it is really like to be on the other side of someone that held one of the most important positions in the world. What does this woman have to say about life? What are her thoughts about living, when she just held the position of the first lady?

I also kept leaning towards it because I wanted to know the pressures and level of commitment it takes to be a parent, partner and at the same time have the entire world watching you at every moment.

One day, the kids were outside on the trampoline, Josie, my wife was relaxing on the couch and I was about to take a nap. When I leaned over I saw the book and in that moment, I decided to give the book a go.

Once I turned the first page, Michelle just reeled me into her life and I could not put the book down. I realized, I have never read a memoir of a woman. Michelle was able to dig deep into my heart. She brings you right into her childhood, which began in the south-side of Chicago. Michelle came from humble beginnings. She speaks about her life living above her aunt's home, where her aunt taught music lessons almost every single day. Along with her humbling upbringing, she displays perseverance throughout her entire life in being the best in every aspect of her life.

There were a few specific areas in the memoir that inspired me.

“Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.”

This quote struck a deep chord. It gave me an entire new perspective on women and that as men we need to be more conscious of how we communicate and behave around our female counterparts. It really hurts to hear that women hold this burden in their lives everyday, with every breath. Especially when they are trying to move forward in their career, family or business.

After 2 hours of reading, I had to continue and could not stop. The book was so raw. I learned about her upbringing in the south-side of Chicago, going to law school, being a new mother, holding onto a high level position with a company and on top of it all having 'Obama' as a husband who was fully into politics and running for the president of the United States.

What I love about her is that she is honest in the challenges she encountered in her marriage, especially when Obama was not home a lot because of his campaigning. Or the fact that she was in such a downturn when her kids were young and she was holding on to a high level position in her career.

Then there was a turning point. Michelle decided to take control of her life. She no longer waited up for Barack to get home and make sure he saw the kids but made him understand that their family needs came first. She made him meet the needs of their family and well being. Now, she was not giving up on him, she just knew that she had to take care of herself or else everything else would crumble. She woke up early to workout, ate well and was always ahead to keep a float. It made me realize that marriage is a team effort and its important that both partners take care of themselves. You need to support your partner's endeavors but not give up on your own. One thing Obama gave to Michelle was the idea that nothing should hold you back to pursue your dreams, especially when there is an intention to help the world.

I really loved her message on marriage,

“The answer, I’m guessing, is probably the best and most sustaining answer to nearly every question arising inside a marriage, no matter who you are or what the issue is: You find ways to adapt. If you’re in it forever, there’s really no choice.”

Marriage is forever, similar to the adjustments we make when we have children or a pet, you just adjust. If your looking for a real read and some inspiration for your relationships and life, Becoming is a must read.

“Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” - Michelle Obama

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