Welcome to The Editor Series! If you hadn’t already noticed, the women behind She Reads are truly inspired by books and every now and then, we come across one that really changes us, makes us feel something or leads us down a new path in life. In this inaugural article, our Digital Brand Expert, Janay Lampkin, gets real and talks about the ways Becoming by Michelle Obama is a book that she will forever remember and deeply cherish.
In case you managed to miss all the rage, our former first lady Michelle Robinson Obama published her memoir this past fall and the internet exploded. Bookstagram was filled with gorgeous flat lays featuring that beautiful thumb-stopping headshot leading most of us to double tap every chance we got. Regardless of your political preference, this memoir was one that women of all ages had their eyes on. It found its way to Amazon best-seller lists prior to its release and was set to publish in 24 languages by Crown Publishing Group.
As a black woman working in the digital publishing industry with a never-ending infatuation with the Obamas and all of the barriers they’ve broken as a family, this memoir was at the top of my reading list. With the holiday season picking up and workloads increasing by the boatload, I saved this one for a six-hour cross-country flight because I knew I wanted to read as much as I could in one sitting. And that I did. From the moment I peeled back the first few pages, smiled at the dedication and rushed into the preface, to the very last page, I smiled, laughed aloud and fought back tears all in one sitting. I’m serious, it’s that good.
In her memoir, Michelle reflects on some of her toughest moments in the political spotlight and shares how she had to learn to juggle the expectations of being first lady, with the day-to-day demands of being a wife and mother. She reveals her biggest triumphs – both personal and professional – while looking back at some unexpected disappointments. She shares reflections on being a little girl from the south side of Chicago and how she discovered her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others. She shares her raw emotion of how she met the love of her life and opened up about how tricky it is to balance marriage and careers.
What stuck with me most in this memoir was her resilience. Obviously, as the first lady of this country, we all know that it takes a very strong, brave and resilient woman to stand by the man holding the most important job this country knows. But as a driven and well-rounded wife that didn’t exactly beg to be the first lady of this country, she bent in ways she didn’t know her flexibility would allow and stayed grounded and consistent through things most people never live to have to experience. Most of all, she wasn’t afraid to share the fact that she sought help. She leveraged resources to strengthen her marriage, stuck by routines as a mother and kept her family close to keep the balance in her life as much as possible. I will keep this book on my shelf forever and likely re-read for inspiration every so often. I am forever inspired by this woman that pours so much into black girls (and all girls) everywhere and thankful for this memoir that showcases the many glass ceilings women everywhere can continue to break through.
I encourage you to read this and challenge you to take one piece of advice and apply it to your career and family. Enjoy!