Highlights of the Week
Becoming by Michelle Obama - Like Crazy Rich Asians from last week's post, this is a book I had been "meaning to read," but had kind of put off because everyone I know was reading it (I am nothing if not a band-wagoner). While browsing the airport bookstore shelves, however, it leapt off the shelf demanding to be purchased. At first I was disappointed, the beginning chapters read like summary of my own life in a tight-knit family in Iowa. Little did I know this would soon make this book feel like a conversation I was having with an old friend. In the book Michelle talks about the instant affinity she felt for Iowans while on the campaign trail, "I was in Iowa, but I had the distinct feeling of being at home. Iowans, I was realizing were like Shieldses and Robinson. They didn't suffer fools. They didn't trust people who put on airs. They could sniff out a phony a mile away."
Soon, it became a book I couldn't put down. Her struggles mirrored my own struggles: "This, unfortunately, was the box checker in me. I endured misery for the sake of appearances." Her marriage mirrored my own marriage: "It sounds a little like a bad joke, doesn't it? What happens when a solitude-loving individualist marries an outgoing family [person] who does not love solitude one bit?" Her anger, my own struggles with anger: "...[F]or better or worse, I tend to yell when I'm angry. When something sets me off, the feeling can be intensely physical, a kind of fireball running up my spine and exploding with such force that I sometimes later don't remember what I said in the moment." Through it all she manages to hang on, to find herself, and to invite us all to do the same, "Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there's more growing to be done." Love. Love. Love.
On The Moth Radio Hour podcast for July 16th, 2019, there is a story told by Gaelynn Lea called "Accessablility is the New Punk Rock," about what happened when a musician with a disability refused to play non-accessible venues. If you have any doubts that one person can make a difference in the world listen to Gaelynn's story.
The movie this week, thanks to a friend who watched the same movie on a flight to Brazil, is the missing movie from last week's post. It is called Talvez uma Historia de Amor (in English, Maybe a Love Story) and it is a lovely, melancholy rom com just perfect for a flight or Friday night at the end of a long week.