Books and Bronzer: Becoming by Michelle Obama

For 8 years the United States had a First Lady who was the definition of style, grace, and black excellence. I vividly remember the effects of having Barack and Michelle Obama, a Black President and First Lady, as I was coming of age. 

My house was the only home on our block that had a blue banner with an Obama / Biden sign on it. I remember wearing my Obama shirt on Election Day in ’08 just hoping that by wearing it I could help influence the adults that would be voting around me to make the correct choice. Post-inauguration, I felt the effects of the “Let’s Move” campaign as my friends and I were shocked to learn that the food our parents wouldn’t let us eat at home were no longer in the vending machines at school. After I graduated high school, one of the first things I did when I moved to D.C. was to go see where the Obamas lived. In fact, I will forever cherish the pictures I have when my freshman year journalism professor took us to hear him give a press conference in the rose garden. I also remember sneaking away with my pledge brothers to go to the White House to celebrate with everyone in November 2012. As we got closer to graduation, my best friend and I would sit in our dorm and watch “Say Yes to the Dress” while actively proclaiming that we wanted our marriage to look like Barack and Michelle’s. 

The Obama’s are a shining beacon of all things that I strove to be. I want the grace of Michelle with the success of Barack. I want Barack’s speaking talents and Michelle’s ease. The Obama’s have always, and will always, be one of my favorite sources of inspiration. That is why when Michelle released her book Becoming I lost my cool. I sent my fiancé to get it for me because I absolutely had to have it the day it launched. I absorbed it during my lunch breaks, I pried it open on the train and filled my free time with its pages. I took detailed notes and texted my best friend at every quote that made my heart scream. My first post of 2019 is a Books and Bronzer featuring Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

To say that the book is absolutely phenomenal would be doing the book a severe injustice. One of the gems of this book is that everyone can take something meaningful from it. The book should be remembered for two things- first, the act of “becoming” requires hard work and courage. But, it will be the best thing you can do for yourself. Second, all healthy and lasting relationships require work and there is no way around that. However, the work you put into building any relationship will only enrich you in the end.

I Am Becoming 

Some of my favorite quotes in the book talk about failure and courage. They both are required along the path to success. She says, “Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.” Like most people I know, fear creeps around when I’m about to do something big, like launch a YouTube channel or start a new job. Sometimes I struggle with doing what I have to do in the midst of fear’s loud roar. It was comforting to hear someone I look up to say “the noise doesn’t go away. But the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.” 

The act of Becoming, as I also learned during her second tour stop in New York, is a forever process. “Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done,” Michelle wrote. Which is hard for me to always do. I have placed pressure on myself to “become.” Fear, doubt, anxiety have all said a billion times how annoying it is that I’m 25 years old and still making mistakes that I deem below me. Sometimes I look at my tribe, who either recently graduated or are in the middle of their second degree, and go “wow, all you have is a subpar blog who nobody reads. You’re doing great,” and shrivel up in a corner and cry. But that’s not true. I have a lot to be proud of, plenty to be grateful for, and more to Become. My path is unique and I am the only one who can do it. Every day I have to remind myself that this is okay and every day it gets a little easier. 

Feed Who Feeds You

I had already decided that in 2019 my relationship goal was to feed who feeds me. I’m going to be more intentional with who I give my time to and love the people in my life in a gentler way. I’ve learned that all relationships require work. Platonic friendships need to be nurtured and developed. It all takes work and effort. In the book, Michelle says, “Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses like these, swapped back and forth and over again.” While she was talking about the help she received on the campaign trail, I know that the little kind moments my friends and I exchange are vital to my life. I have a friend who texts us cute rhymes when he’s thinking about us. They are always the cheesiest things in the world, but they have brightened even my darkest of days. Consistently pouring into those who pour into you is how the strong survive. 

It matters in friendships and in relationships. When discussing how she and Barack survived the hell that his career put them through she wrote, “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.” As I prepare for my own marriage, I’ve been sucking up any piece of advice I can get. Learning about how they navigated different hardships in their relationship only reassured me that hard does not mean impossible. Marriage is hard. However, a healthy marriage with someone who loves you the way you need to be loved is not impossible.

Becoming was a vulnerable and inspiring piece of work that I will forever cherish. Thank you, Michelle Obama, for letting me into your Black girl magic.

Michelle Obama's Becoming book next to makeup from BH Cosmetics, E.L.F., and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna.

Books and Bronzer Products

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade 
  • BH Cosmetics Take Me To Brazil Palette 
  • Juvia’s Place The Magic Mini Palette
  • E.L.F. Cosmetics Silver Glitter 
  • Violet Voss Lashes
  • L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Mascara Primer
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara 
  • NARS Radiant Longwear Foundation 
  • MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Concealer 
  • Ruby Kisses Concealer 
  • E.L.F. Beauty Shield Antioxident Setting Powder 
  • Black Radiance Pressed Powder 
  • Juvia’s Place The Saharan Blush Palette Volume II
  • Colourpop Cosmetics 7 Makeup Shayla Collab Boomin Highlight
  • NYX Lip Liner
  • Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb