Michelle Obama is someone that I stan for. Her time as First Lady was the epitome of CareFreeBlackgirl. This post was a response to her powerful speech at the DNC conference in 2016.
Lately I’ve been moving into new spaces of my academic career that have caused me to, at time, be apologetic for my blackness and after watching the First Lady’s Speech I realized that I belong in the spaces I’m in, regardless of the fact that there aren’t too many who look or even think like me.
"That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn"
You are more than your circumstances
Going through certain hardships throughout life builds your character. As someone who didn’t have a clear-cut path to success Michelle persevered. Working twice as hard to get half as much isn't something I should be conditioned to believe but I am. I've seen how parts of my identity, being black and being a woman, in particular, have caused me to have to go the extra mile in everything that I do. But I have to constantly remind myself that it's all for a purpose, to reach a place where they said I couldn't make it, to reach degrees they said I couldn't have. When I see Michelle I'm reminded to not let the box of expectations others have set limit how I set goals for myself.
Never put your career goals aside to create the home you want
As I continue to move up in academics I meet more and more women who’ve told me to make time to create the life I want. As someone who has high aspirations of being a wife and mother, I admire Michelle. As someone who plans on getting the highest degree possible in my respective field, I admire Michelle. I've learned from Michelle that it's possible to be successful as an individual and successful as a couple. Throughout life, a lot of people have painted the picture that as a woman you have to choose, life or family but every time I see a picture of the beautiful first family and photos of Michelle in her Princeton gear I’m reminded that I can have both. As a black woman, I need that imagery, I need that motivation because unfortunately there aren’t too many of us who find the time to navigate both worlds.
Naysayers don't define you
Out of all the people in politics, it blows my mind how so many people in this country find any reason to disrespect Michelle. People have called her a man, a monkey, and tons of other extremely disrespectful/derogatory names, yet Michelle has never lowered her character to meet them where they are. As she said in her DNC speech,
“When they go low, we go high”
You can’t let the negative opinions of those who want to see you fail to throw you off course. Continue to prove the naysayers wrong, continue to show them how great you are through your actions and accomplishments.
Stand true to yourself, stay unapologetically black
When you continued to get questioned for your “attitude” or you're made to feel as though you’re in a place of power where you don’t belong remind yourself that what you’re doing is bigger than you. I can only imagine how many times Michelle might have wanted to throw in the towel or wonder if she wouldn't face so much scrutiny as FLOTUS if she wasn't black. One thing I'll always appreciate about Michelle is that she's never apologizing for any part of her identity. She never apologizes for being a badass black woman, who just so happens to be married to one of the most powerful men in the world. Every comment she's made, every speech she's given she hasn't once apologize for how her blackness has made people uncomfortable, something I think black women of all ages can learn from.
In all honesty, I don't think I'll be able to fully appreciate all that Michelle has done until her time in the White House is over. What she's represented for black women is something I'm sure will go unnoticed in mainstream media which is why I know it's up to us as black women to continue to make a point of how important she is to us.
with love, Breanna