In a book club I am part of we just read Michelle Obama’s book, The Light We Carry. Here is the thing, Michelle Obama is a polished, professional, glamourous, strong change-maker who spent eight years in the Whitehouse, wearing designer gowns to receptions, addressing the nation and just being visible and fantastic. So, it would stand to reason that her book could be about how to choose a designer gown based on the country of origin of the diplomats or graceful exits from a limousine or how to be photogenic at all times of the day or night.
Instead, though Michelle Obama’s book gave me a glimpse into her thoughts that are so often like all of ours. She questions, she has anxiety, she second guesses her actions and she, like all of us, has to decide each day to face fears and keep on going. She speaks so eloquently about being seen, knowing who you are and staying in that focus to run your own race.
Michelle offers: “There are people in this world who are more comfortable and feel more powerful when others are made to feel isolated, broken or unwelcome.” She envisions a world in which people can all be seen for the unique capabilities and that each of us has our trusted “kitchen table” friends to shore us up when we are battle weary.
I so often try to tell people I love at my kitchen table to shine bright and let the critics stay in the stands with their sharp comments returned to sender, sometimes I even do that myself. What I think we can all take away, again and again, is that everyone is working on their own race and, yes, it looks like some have an easier time, designer active wear and all the confidence in the world.
We just cannot assume, there is so much we don’t know about the fears and criticisms and weight that each person carries. All we can do is keep going, keep shining our light, do our best and wish the naysayers well while cancelling our subscription to their commentary. And we keep on going, keep on trying, keep on shining our light.
Photo: Michelle Obama visits the Treasury by U.S. Department of the Treasury is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0