"The last book I read was..."

Becoming by Michelle Obama - No Spoilers

just some quotes and a lot of feelings

“If we made a good showing in Iowa, it would send the message to black voters nationally that it was okay to start believing.”
— Michelle Obama

I’m not sure when I started believing.

Early on I remember seeing the Obama’s on Oprah. I found him to be charming and I found her to be keepin’ it real relatable. But I didn’t want him to run for President because he was one of us.

As if it were my own brother running for the President of the United States, I worried about his safety, his well being, and the media tearing his personal life into shreds.

I didn’t want him to go through those trials. I didn’t want him to experience the pain of racism in America and I selfishly worried about what his pursuance would do to the rest of us.

I’d seen enough of the divisions to temper my own hopes. Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn’t really think he could win.
— Michelle Obama... and my sentiments exactly

It was early in 2008, that as the only black, my workplace environment became uncomfortable. Political conversations that drifted over cubicle walls had no regards for my feelings. And when those conversations spoke of so much distaste for one of us, I felt like an outsider more than I ever had. I didn’t want to be there by election day.

By October of 2008, I had turned in my resignation. During my last two weeks I took off an afternoon to attend a community event where Michelle Obama was speaking. To leave the silent treatment of the office where no one else was leaving but me was defeating, but to turn the corner in the direction of the community center and see so many people in line and such a diverse crowd of people at that, I finally had hope.

And the rest is history!

Reading Michelle’s book brought those memories flooding back. The book is not all about her husband, nor is it all about the election. It begins with her childhood, includes an overview of her pursued education, her careers, meeting Barack, experiencing difficulties in conceiving, balancing work and family life, working through difficulties in a marriage with a spouse whose rarely there, losing yourself, and then BECOMING.

It was an excellent book. I bought the hardback as a souvenir and the audio to listen to. I had a flood of emotions while listening to her narrate her story. I wanted to cry because I could relate to so much. I wanted to cry because here’s this history wrapped up inside this book, so much work and so many sacrifices made, and so many things behind the scenes I did not know, that it made me hurt for them all over again.

I wanted to cry because of where we are now. And because I wonder when it’ll be okay to start believing again.

While my hope has been diminished by where we are today, I’ll heed the advice from our former First Lady and [try not to be “cynical”, remember that we all have a role and there’s power in every vote. Keep connected to a force that’s more potent than any one election - optimism - the antidote to fear].

I believe this book is going to shine the greatest light on our youth. It makes me hopeful to imagine a 12- year-old girl closing this book, full of optimism, believing in change and inspired to make America great again.

This was a Finish the Sentence Friday share. It's the standard prompt for Week 1 of the Finish the Sentence Friday writing community. I'm co-hosting with Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and this week we are finishing the sentence, "The last book I read was..."

Join us for next week's FTSF prompt, a Listicle post, where we will share "10 gifts from my childhood".