Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Michelle Obama Represents

Michelle Obama is fabulous. Simply fabulous.

It's the morning after her September 4th speech at the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I can't help but still feel inspired. It doesn't happen often. But when inspiration hits me, I have to pay attention to it. When there's a message sent to me...I have to listen.

The message I got from Michelle Obama last night was a message of strength, a message of passion, and a message of social responsibility. What Michelle Obama represents, in my opinion, is a woman of character...a woman of intellect, and a woman of great humility. It's so powerful that one woman can simultaneously represent all of these great traits...yet it's so motivating, because you know from her story and her history, that it is not impossible to at least attempt to follow in her footsteps.

She is just one woman. One of many throughout history who have led others, who have inspired others, and who have stood for great things, and done so with great decency. She is just one woman...but there is something so down-to-earth about her, that you feel like as much as she's on the highest platform in the world as the First Lady of the United States of America...that she's still just a woman with a plan. An attainable plan.

I was there...the day her husband, Barack Obama was sworn into the White House to begin his four year term as the President. I was there when Aretha Franklin sang, and millions gathered on Capitol Hill, and braved subzero temperatures just to be a part of that moment. I was there.

I was there as she held that Bible for her husband, and he placed his hand on it to repeat the oath. I was there, wearing about 4 layers of clothing, with only my eyes exposed to the cold for the majority of the morning to prevent freezing. I stood next to strangers, and waited for hours. I was 587 kilometres away from home and a citizen of Canada...but I stood proudly in that moment, in the shadow of the Washington Monument...knowing there was no where else in the world I would have been but right there.

After serving four years at the First Lady, Michelle Obama has only become more fabulous. Her message hasn't changed. And the values she repeated and continues to uphold like dignity and decency...honesty and integrity...gratitude and humility...this isn't anything new. These are values that we all appreciate and strive to personify. These are things that we know we want to pass on to the generations that follow us. This is the foundation of the "American Dream" of which politicians are continually speaking of these days.

But it doesn't take an American or a politician to know what's best for our world, and who the best people are to lead us there.

This is a question that I continually struggle with...I always wonder: who are our leaders? Who will we look back on twenty years from now as the strength and the voice of our generation? And there are the obvious role models--like Barack and Michelle--and then some not-so-obvious leaders like the entertainers and musicians that I often write about. There are so many people that I see potential in...and I have to stand behind one way or another.

Even if just in word, but I think it's my responsibility to stand behind them.

I don't mind throwing my support at someone who's been anointed with a gift, a platform, and a plan. I don't mind paying my respects to somebody who is in a position to motivate me, and motivate millions. I don't mind taking the time to do what I need to do to give them credit, but the inspiration that I receive is completely invalueable as far as I'm concerned.

Last night I was so inspired. It's something that doesn't happen often, but when it does happen, I try to hold on to the moment and the message, and make sure that I take that positive energy and transfer it into something tangible and progressive in my own life.

I see Michelle Obama. I hear her. I appreciate her. I am glad that I am alive to witness this moment in history...where this intelligent black woman can stand up and speak proudly about her man, in front of an entire entire world, and move us with her words. I am glad that this is just the first of many moments like this that I will see in my lifetime.

Michelle Obama represents a standard of grace and intelligence for all women. A woman who is strong in her own right...but a woman that is in proud support of her husband, her family, and her country.

Seeing her last night reminded me of how important it is that we continue to have these visuals to inspire us. I thought about all of the young women who will encounter her in their lives, and what it must feel like to be a child/teen growing up right now, where this is the standard. Where Barack is the standard. Where Sasha and Malia are the standard.

It's not even so much a matter of race, as it is a matter of intelligence. Forward thinking. Dignity. Composure. The Obamas started off as a "black" a feeling of "racial" pride...but they have come to represent so much more than that. They are too phenomenal to be classified by their skin colour alone, because there is so much going on...that is just one of many fabulous factors of their essence.

Black, white, democrat, republican, Canadian, all really doesn't mean much. But what matters is the message. How it makes you feel. And what you do with that feeling. Some people have been blessed with positions of power and influence, and I believe they are here to lead by example.

I'm grateful for the example Michelle Obama has provided women...and "citizens" everywhere. She represents the future of women everywhere, and someone we should all strive to be like in character, in action, and in blessings.

To read a full transcript of Tuesday's speech, please visit The Washington Post.

My photo diary from Inauguration Day 2009.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

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