Michelle Obama may be regarded by many as the most popular First Lady of all time but she has revealed that even she is not immune to self-doubt. In a new piece published in The Sunday Times, the best-selling author has opened up about how she struggled with anxiety and self-doubt before her memoir Becoming was released in 2018.
“I’m proud of this book, truly, because of what it means to me. And hopefully, what it will mean to you,” she opens. “I knew from the outset that if I was going to write a memoir, it had to include more than the shade of blue I chose for a china pattern or who was or wasn’t invited to a State Dinner.”
“This isn’t to say any of this was easy,” the 57-year-old continued. “Particularly the experience of baring this truest version of myself for the entire world to accept or leave behind.
She goes on to reveal that the night before her book was published she woke up in a panic. “The following evening, I was scheduled to discuss my memoir with Oprah Winfrey in front of 14,000 people in a professional basketball arena, an event that would kick off a worldwide tour.
“I laid awake anxious in my bed, worried that these little stories couldn’t bear the enormous load. What if the book just isn’t any good? What if people hate it? Or what if they just don’t care at all? My husband [Barack Obama] stays up much later than me, and thankfully, he was still awake when my fears came to visit and wouldn’t leave.
“I crawled out of bed, put my slippers on, and went down to talk with him. Maybe the tour wasn’t a very smart idea, I told him. Maybe the book will flop. Barack put his arms around me and placed his forehead on mine. ‘It’s good, Miche,’ he told me. ‘It really is.’.”
“I’d spent eight years as First Lady of the United States. I’d done more interviews than I could count and given more speeches than I can remember. Oprah Winfrey wasn’t some high-powered moderator, she was my friend. But the doubts never leave us for good.
“We all have our tender spots, and our instinct is to keep them protected. This book affirmed within me the value in bucking against that instinct, in stepping into our fears,” she concludes.
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