Becoming… An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama

My hometown of Dallas. Michelle Obama. Becoming. Family. Friends. What more could I ask for? Monday night I cashed in on a once in lifetime opportunity, to sit in the same room with America’s and Black America’s Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. I arrived in Dallas on Monday evening. After checking into our hotel, my mother, assistant, and I quickly dressed and met my aunt who resides in Dallas downstairs to go to the event. We were just four women together ready to hear the former first lady speak in person about her book, Becoming, which has taken the world by storm.
As the music and clips and pre-show narrations set the stage, my excitement increased. Then, as she began to speak and expound upon question after question, it happened. I became mute, paralyzed, and in complete awe. This was more than a typical book discussion; it really was an intimate conversation with Michelle Obama.

I listened in quiet as the other guests clapped and whistled and hailed praises. I did not want to miss one word in mid-clap.
Michelle spoke frankly about her marriage to Barack Obama and their relationship. She initiated marriage counseling to correct his flaws. Counseling was very helpful in correcting the flaws, hers. While she thought he was the concern, it was actually her. And that resonated with me because my husband and I were on that same avenue about 6 years ago and like Michelle; I was the concern. I entered the session wanting the therapist to fix him. I left furious because I needed the fixing. 

There were so many other parallels between our lives which led me to know she is authentic and true to herself and core values. Recently, I was asked what sets me apart and one attribute was my ability to create and maintain positive relationships. Michelle’s value of friendship and relationship is much like my own. Connections with people are innate for me, but I never take them for granted and apply a great deal of effort to cultivate those worth my time and energy.

My maternal grandmother often spoke of my boldness and said I had a slick tongue. Even at a young age, I was focused and clear on what I wanted. Michelle Robinson was too. She even shared the same sassiness I did and I recognized myself in her story about her conflict and strong-willed personality in a confrontation with her aunt.

Often in her brother’s shadows, she was told by her senior high school counselor she was not Princeton material, the same school her brother attended. My daughter, Jada, was subject to this same type of discouragement in her senior year as she began to apply to
colleges and set her sights on Clark Atlanta University. Jada is dyslexic and the counselor was wrong about it inhibiting her acceptance. She was accepted before graduation! 

I continued to feel more and more body parts grow numb while my adoration for Michelle grew more and more. It was like being in the scene of The Color Purple when Celie saw Shug Avery for the first time. She could not move or speak. She just needed to lay eyes upon her and I needed to keep my eyes and ears on Michelle.

Amidst ridicule, fame, stress, publicity, adoration, and hatred in areas of her life including roles, status, and profession, she was and is always the constant and true to herself. I love the fact that she is clear on who she is, her principles, values, beliefs, and desires. The thing that I love the most about her is she is so REAL. I felt like she was a friend or family member talking. I’m sure everyone in the arena could relate to her in one way or another. 

As the event began to end, I slowly regained the feeling in my body. Michelle Obama thanked the crowd and said farewell. My senses came back together. Blood flowed through my veins again and my heartbeat returned. But, I was not the same NaKeitha I arrived as.For the first time in my life, I became a super fan.

Mental Exercise

When is the last time you read a good book?

I know with our busy schedules, it’s hard to find the time and solitude to read. Last year was a struggle for me to find time to read. But this year, I decide to make it a priority to read more. Successful people read. They read a lot. Knowledge is power. You learn so much through reading.

I was stuck at Miami International Airport for 6 hours last Sunday due to airplane maintenance. My favorite thing to do in the airport is to buy books and magazines. As I browse through the books and magazines, these two books jumped out at me. I never heard of Valerie Burton but the title and table of contents grabbed my attention. I’m a huge fan of John C. Maxwell. So purchasing his book was a no brainer.

Now my new task would be to decide such book to read first. Which was a tough decision? So I decided to read Valerie’s book first. It was a great read. The title of the book is “Successful Women Speak Differently”. She has another book by the name of “Successful Women Think Differently” that was written before the book I read. Which means I read the books out of order. But, I don’t think it mattered much because I gain a lot of insight on the power of speech and communication.

Successful women sound like a success and dress like a success. They speak positively and proactively. Their communication is deliberate, intentional, and strategic. They ask for what they want, they ask questions, and aren’t scared to say NO. But what I really enjoyed most about the book is how each chapter ended with questions, ways to apply the chapter, and quotes. These takeaways really allow you to the opportunity to digest what you’ve read and applied the information. I highly recommend this book for any women who wants to be a success in any area of her life.