Category Archives: Female Space

The Becoming Michelle Interview: What I loved…

I was on a brief but much needed getaway this past weekend with my husband. We were in upstate New York and dining at a favorite spot, but I made sure we got back in time for Michelle Obama being interviewed by Robin Roberts as part of her “Becoming Michelle” book launch tour. I was so excited for it, so excited to see and hear from her. And the interview really delivered on many points.

I was most open for the parts where she talked about feeling like a failure because she and Barack were challenged when first trying to conceive naturally. She didn’t expect it to be so hard and had I believe at least one or two miscarriages.

I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them…

I was really moved by her candor on this subject. She eventually had Sasha and Malia through IVF. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this story from women I know. But I just never imagined I’d hear it from the Flotus!

I think it’s one of the worst things we do to each other as women; not sharing how our bodies work, how they don’t work…

She then went on to talk about how damaging it is when women don’t share things with one another because of shame and a sense of failure and hopelessness. It made me think about how Khalilah was always so adamant about Black women sharing with one another and how she would always get on me for not sharing enough purposefully. This was one of the reasons we would share our blog entries out to Soul Sistah Series. Spaces created for and by Black women for the purpose of sharing and learning from one another are invaluable and a dire necessity if we wish to break the curse of habits and rituals handed down through generations which do not serve to connect us to our power.

I also loved when Michelle talked about her relationship with her husband Barack, how they met, where the attraction began. I’ve been married to my husband for 4 years and have been dedicating myself to re-examining my marriage lately and  really thinking about what it means to me to be married and what makes relationships work in general. I’ve learned a lot so far from studying the work by Esther Perel, a relationship psychologist, who introduced me to the term “erotic intelligence.”

Much of what is rarely a part of a mainstream discussion is how sexuality and arousal are maintained in a long term marriage, particularly in couples who are also parents. I have always always always loved the ways in which the Obamas allowed us to witness us the powerful spark of their initial attraction to one another when in public. I can only imagine that a love that real cannot be hidden. And why would you? Their love and sexiness have inspired so many of us. In the interview, when addressing Michelle’s initial attraction to her man, she  was like, you see that cocky confident way he walks? “He has always walked like that…”

GURL!!!!

 

I would never have though it could be done in the White House of all places! LOL!!

What I know now is that this attraction and eroticism is not maintained without self love, dedication, and work.

It’s hard to deny that Obama was one of those presidential candidates with charm, charisma and attractiveness in his corner and a lot of that came from being partnered with someone who wasn’t afraid to really be Black. And Blackness is sexy af.  Who doesn’t remember pictures of the Obamas like these where just watching them, we could all only imagine they had to be getting it in on the regular? I have never in my entire lifetime been compelled to even imagine the erotic life of a first family until the Obamas.

Obamas Collage

Obama was clean and classy in presentation as was Michelle but she was the one with the most don’t give a fuck in her practices, doing and saying what she did without apology because she knew who she was and where she was coming from. She showed her arms (oooohhhh!!!!) called out threats and injustice where she saw them and kept it moving dedicating herself to programs she believed in that were in service to communities in need.

Though she admits in the interview to being scared and nervous and unsure, she knew as a Black woman that she couldn’t let that show while she was in office. Some people saw her as a threat. I saw her as strong and beautiful, fun, humorous and dignified. It’s not to say that I agreed with everything either her or her husband did or said but as a Black woman married to a Black man, whenever I saw them I just felt like I was seeing Black excellence with regard to the work it takes to keep both a marriage and a family not only in tact but thriving, let alone through a two term presidency!

 

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I was out and about this weekend running errands and attending to my regular self care when it occurred to me that the women who provide indispensable services to me on a regular basis are some amazing women. And I have selected them especially not only because of excellence with which they provide these services but because of the love, warmth, support, and receptivity that come with it.

You know what I mean.

We pay for services all the time but if we have a pleasant experience, a deeply beneficial exchange with the person who delivers those services, we go as much for that loving, supportive inspiring energy as for the service itself.

My therapist is a woman who just rocks. Like, I love her! She challenges me, makes me feel safe, helps me to be more accountable for the goals I set and much more.  Her role in helping me in my journey towards helping me peel away the layers of my own psyche to reveal my purpose in this life has been indispensable.

There’s my brow technician in Chelsea. Unless I am really desperate, there is only one woman I want to do my brows. She’s the only one who makes my sparsely growing non-thick brows work. She just makes it work. And she is always, warm and sweet and hospitable and just makes me feel dope. I took my mom to see her the last time she visited me and if you knew me well enough, you would know how huge that is. If I’m taking mom to meet my brow tech, I love my brow tech. And mom approved. Mom approved.

There’s my weekly yoga instructor, an independent contractor who has been coming to my workplace to give staff yoga classes since 2009! I’m not saying I will never take yoga with anyone else and I certainly have before. But I have never in my life taken yoga consistently the way I have with Sara. It’s more than just the yoga. It’s Sara. It’s her energy. It’s her way of explaining and executing moves, of moving with us, of challenging us, correcting us, making us laugh, keeping it light but also as she says, respecting the divine in all of us and calling attention to the ways in which yoga is not just about moving the body but also the spirit, about accessing the infinite within. I need that. So I show up as often as I can.

As I adjust to my new life in Inwood I have seen several cute nail places in the neighborhood but in my mind I know there is still only one nail salon that gets my money. Bed of Nails Harlem is not just a nail salon to me. I go there as much to chit chat with my nail tech and other ladies in the shop while sipping a complimentary tea or Bellini as to get a set of amazing color changing gel done on my fingers. The women there do amazing nails as well as provide a warm, and comfortable space where you are encouraged to linger, sit, talk and converse while music plays. It’s a class act. And I am a person who is slow to warm up to people, but once I feel like I can let down my guard, I’m inquisitive, quick to laugh, learn, talk, teach, and take mental notes. I knew from the day I walked through those doors that I would return again and again.

Because, as women of color we often struggle to find spaces in which to engage with images of themselves that are not marginalized, destructive and stereotypical it is extremely important for us to carefully select other women who care for us in ways that are particular to serving our needs based on the goals we have set and the ways in which we wish to meet, influence and engage with the world.

Gathering in spaces regularly to get  pampered, fed, educated, mentally and spiritually stimulated, all the while learning and discovering things you never would have anywhere else is an absolute necessity.  My girl at SoulSistah4real always reminds me that in ancient times it was our divine right as women to make time for ourselves in this way, for self care, for emotional, mental and spiritual care.

It still is. And it is up to us to make that happen not only for ourselves but for each other.