NEW DELHI: Former first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, has come out with a younger reader’s edition of her memoir “Becoming”.
Published by Puffin, the children’s imprint of Penguin Random House, “Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers” has a new introduction from Obama.
In her note to the young readers, Obama says that she aims to give them “my story in all its messy glory – from the time I struggled on a question in front of my kindergarten class, to my first kiss and the insecurities I felt growing up, to the chaos of a campaign trail and the strange experience of shaking hands with the Queen of England”.
She also says that the most meaningful parts of her story aren’t the ball gowns or state dinners but the little things: “the way my grandfather smiled when he put his favourite album on the record player, the smell of our house when my mom cleaned it each spring, the sound of an ice scraper on a car window in the middle of a Chicago winter”.
During the writing process, she says, she realised that there is no memory too small, adding “every last bit of our story” has meaning.
“Some memories can bring a twinge of pain, particularly those that happen when we are young. I can still feel the embarrassment when I failed in front of my classmates at a young age. I can still feel the knot in my stomach after someone doubted me.
“And I still feel the pain and the emptiness that came with losing those closest to me. At some point, we all experience the kind of hurt that we can’t fix on our own. But those tender spots -the ones that we try the hardest to keep hidden – are often the parts of ourselves that are most worth sharing,” she writes.
According to Obama, feelings like discomfort and struggle are “signs that we’re doing the hard work of discovering the greatest truths about ourselves”.
She says when she looks back at her own life, she sees that it’s only through those moments of great difficulty that she was able to find the strength to make a change or search more purposefully for who she wanted to be.
These kinds of things aren’t usually what we feel comfortable sharing with one another, she says.
“We’re usually most concerned with what I like to call our statistics – our test scores, our exploits on the sports field, the kind of jeans our family can afford to buy.
But truly, what’s most important is our story – our whole story, including those moments when we feel a little vulnerable.
So often, it’s in sharing those parts of our stories that we see the beauty not only in our own journey, but in someone else’s,” she writes.
Obama hopes that those reading her story will also think about their own because it’s the most beautiful gift they’ll ever have.
“The bumps and bruises, the joys and triumphs and bursts of laughter – they all combine to make you who you are. And who you are is not some static, unchanging thing. It will change every day and every year, and none of us know what shape our lives will ultimately take. That’s what becoming is all about. And just like you, I still have a whole lot of becoming left to do, too,” she writes.
Obama’s memoir “Becoming” was published by Penguin imprint Viking in 2018 in which she chronicled the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
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