Photo: Sarina Long
Photo: Sarina Long
March 14, 2019 10:47 AM
Michelle Obama, former First Lady, mom, lawyer, and now, hugely celebrated author made a stop in St Paul Wednesday night for Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama.
Women, men and children of all ages filled the Xcel Energy Center to hear from one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. The conversation was intimate, authentic and powerful.
When a mother and daughter were asked what they love most about the former first lady, they said, "She made us feel like her own home was ours for 8 years. She's relatable, graceful, unapologetic."
As First Lady of the United States of America, 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 U.S. and around the world.
She also dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, all while standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
Having read Becoming recently Tess Nyberg said, "It was fascinating to read about how she harnessed her celebrity to make change happen on a national level. She didn't need to touch legislation to make change happen. I left the event tonight feeling empowered, a believer in education and incredibly uninterested in living in the White House."
She added, "While you could never match the energy in the room, her stories and messages matched the book, so if you missed it tonight, you could listen to her audiobook and occasionally blast Beyonce and get the same feelings."
Obama truly invites readers into her world in her memoir, sharing experiences that have shaped her.
"I"m a product of the public school system. Look at my kindergarten picture versus my second-grade picture," Obama said. "My mother was an advocate until I could advocate for myself."
During her speech, Obama spoke of "white flight" and how people moved away from her neighborhood.
"People like me were moving in," she said. "People like me. Let that sink in. Hard-working, blue-collar dads like mine. Caring, involved, stay-at-home moms like mine. People like me. And it's still happening today. So before you run, take a closer look at what you're running from."
She went on to talk about life as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work. She talked about her accomplishments, disappointments, both public and private, and told her story in her own words, on her own terms.
Onto her relationship with a guy who became her summer associate, who was late to his interview but never felt rushed. The cool black guy from Hawaii.
"Barack Obama is a unicorn," she said "He rescued me from my checklist. He taught me courage, wisdom and his ambitions took me out of my comfort zone. He doesn't know what a straight line is. He taught me how to swerve and I'm grateful for that."
But their relationship was not always simple or easy. In Becoming, Michelle Obama talked openly about marriage counseling.
"Marriage is hard," she said, which was met by applause. "I was bringing him to counseling for him to be fixed but I had some brokenness too. You may not like him for 10 years because when the kids are little, it's hard. When the kids grow up, you'll rediscover each other so just hang on."
In regards to family, Obama said, "My girls have taught me resilience. I'm in awe of how normal they turned out."
She talked about how simple things like a preschool parent-teacher conference required a sniper on the roof because the president was coming to school.
"You're ok with it when you're little, but as a teen you want privacy during your first kiss and that's hard when you're constantly surrounded by secret service," she said about her daughter.
She mentioned how great it was the first time she was able to walk downstairs in her current house, to a silent, empty kitchen and make herself a cheese toast versus having the White House Chef make it for her.
Michelle Norris, the moderator, also asked about "Fix Your Face" and its significance the day we as a nation transitioned. Obama told a very funny story about how Malia and Sasha wanted one last sleepover the final night in the White House so they could have their favorite breakfast with their friends.
"It was chaos," she said. "I wasn't sure how these 8 little girls were going to get out of that house on time. Uber? The staff was crying, my girls were crying and all I kept thinking was 'I can't be crying right now, people will think I'm crying for different reasons.' So, I had to fix my face, but then I was 'Like Bye Felicia!'"
Once again the crowd cheered for her honesty.
While closing, she talked about the 17th chapter of her book and why it was hard but really for her to write.
"I want kids to know that there's pain and struggle through all of our journeys. We all carry some kind of wound with us and it's real. I was ready to quit but I knew I had to tell my own story," she said.
Updated: March 14, 2019 10:47 AM
Created: March 14, 2019 10:46 AM
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