Michelle Obama’s recently released memoir, Becoming, has sold more than 2 million copies in 15 days. The number of copies sold in a short period of time did not surprise me. The long awaited release, characterized by preorder numbers and publicity, drove anticipation. Why were so many eager for the book to be in hand, to hold it as if a found treasure, to turn pages in anticipation of a discovery?
One does not necessarily need to read the book to answer the question; the one-word title tells us. Becoming is a book about discovering our “aha” moments where our understanding or vision of something becomes more clear; when we connect with ourselves.
“Becoming” can be defined as the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state. It is when we’ve made this connection that we’ve passed into a new, different state, when we have “become.”
I’m sure there are a fair number of men who have read her book but the majority of her fans are women of all ages. Some women may say they read her book because she is a role model, others may consider her inspiring, or maybe some just want to know her better, to connect with her. As a former First Lady of the White House we saw occasional glimpses into her through her four main initiatives. We were teased and we wanted to see more. We wanted to know her. And through knowing another, we want see a possibility to connect more with ourselves.
News clips, quotes, and snippets from her book tour allowed us a glimpse into her sense of “self.” She says, “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” We are called to ask if we are being distracted from our goals. Are we a victim of negative or false occurrences? We acknowledge that we don’t allow ourselves to get caught up in something that is attempting to define us. We snap back with the assertion that we know who we are. Through her lessons learned, we can educate ourselves. We learn that we can be strong and courageous, bold and defiant. We have hope and faith that we will learn to be our best possible self.
Perhaps one of her commanding quotes should come from Socrates’ “Know thyself.”
We never appear to waiver in our desire or actions to connect, to find a better place to be for ourselves. In my memoir, Under the Birch Tree, I narrate “aha” moments, discovered connections to more of my self-understanding. A most memorable moment occurred after college graduation when I concluded a reflective perspective on my past four years. “My world offered me connections, hope, wisdom and grace. I viewed them as bridges to get me to a new place that offered opportunities to learn more about myself and to expand my vision of life. The connections enabled me to move forward into adulthood.”
This was a “becoming” for me.
“Becoming” gets us to new places.
Obama followers saw an opportunity in becoming more of themselves through her example. Her memoir is an anticipation of discovering more of ourselves.
Have you read Becoming? Did you see any of your “aha” moments that allow self-discovery to your better place to be?