When I first learned that Michelle Obama was coming to Birmingham my heart started doing cartwheels in my chest. Yes, I have a serious girl crush on my First Lady as does nearly every woman I know.
The general admission tickets to this special event were $200. A ticket to the preferred viewing section went for $500 and for $5,000 you could get a ticket for two that included a photo with the first lady.
Um, yeah. After reading that I was sure I was not going to see the First Lady during her trip to the Magic City. But as luck would have it, an awesome pal of mine had access to some discounted general admission tickets and yesterday afternoon she and I had the honor of attending this special reception.
First Lady Michelle Obama came to Birmingham, Ala., yesterday to campaign for her husband, obviously, but, to be honest with you, the November election had nothing to do with my decision to attend the event. I went to be inspired.
|Snapshot of the crowd at the Michelle Obama Reception|
Photo by Sherri Ross
The very sight of Michelle Obama inspires me. That might be hard for some people to understand, but let me explain. Actually, a recent Clutch magazine article by Mary Annaise Heglar explains it better than I ever could. Heglar writes of Michelle Obama:
Her very being challenges every myth about black women — we are fat, ugly, angry, stupid, and (now) single. Michelle is slender, a health nut, poised, smart, and happily married...
Michelle has undone centuries of terrible PR and outright lies. She single-handedly brought successful, well-rounded black women out of the shadows. No longer the invisible women, they now meet with the Queen of England and hula hoop on the White House lawn. She is the First Lady, the face of American womanhood to the rest of the world.
To me Michelle Obama is a rock star. This is why my friend and I were giddy like adolescent girls at a Justin Bieber concert before, during, and after the First Lady's talk. I actually screamed and jumped up and down when she took the stage clad in a sleeveless, navy dress, a black patent leather belt, and black patent leather kitten-heeled shoes.
|Here I am grinning ear to ear moments before First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage.|
Photo by Sherri Ross
But yesterday was about more than Michelle Obama's celebrity. I wanted to be inspired by her words and she did not disappoint. Sure, her speech focused a lot on President Obama's accomplishments, but I'm not writing this to tell you how to vote. I'm writing this because I want you to feel as encouraged as I did as I drove home yesterday evening.
Michelle Obama was funny, passionate, smart and down-to-earth and she was also remarkable. One of the most memorable statements she made yesterday was "Sitting on the sidelines is simply not an option." She was talking about the importance of getting apathetic friends, family members, and neighbors to vote, but this statement is one we should all apply to our lives in general.
So many of us, too many of us, sit on the sidelines of our own lives. We sit there wishing, hoping and praying that things will happen for us, but they don't because we don't bother to get in the game.
We're afraid. We're afraid because once we get in the game we know we'll have to run a play, we'll have to make decisions and some of those decisions could change our lives as we know it. But this is exactly why we need to get to work.
Michelle Obama spoke about those moments when she's seen her husband wrestle with decisions he's had to make for our country. In those moments, she said, President Obama had to draw from his life experiences and his values. When making difficult decisions, she said, "it all comes down to who you are and what you stand for."
Listening to my First Lady I realized that once you know who you are and what you're truly passionate about, you can step away from the sidelines and move onto the court. When you face the hard choices your character and your values will be your guide. Trust yourself. You can do this. I can do this.