Ever since President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama burst onto the scene during the 2008 campaign/election, they have been heralded as relationship goals. Men and women everywhere, myself included, have proclaimed:
“I need a Michelle.” or “I need a Barack.”
And that’s all well and good, except, how many of us:
1) Are in a position to be the equivalent to someone else?
2) Really understand what that means?
Here’s the thing that I think we don’t talk about enough, although President Obama does say it every chance he gets, Michelle is truly the catch in that relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that President Obama is chopped liver, I mean, he is the President. But, when they got together? Michelle was (still is) the LIT one. She has shone as First Lady, a role that she likely wouldn’t have chosen for herself because that’s simply what greatness does.
Mrs. Michelle LaVaughn Obama, with her degrees from Princeton/Harvard and higher status in their law firm was absolutely the catch there, if we’re talking in purely career or economic terms. Yes, Barack had degrees from Columbia/Harvard and worked at the same firm, but at the time he was still actualizing his potential, by way of holding a lower position. Michelle had already and was continuing to capitalize on hers.
Now, I know that y’all will herald this as Michelle being willing to build with a man or lower her standards and lament the “fact” that women today aren’t willing to do that. But let’s break that down real quick.
1) Y’all don’t really want someone to build with you. If you did, you wouldn’t forever be talking about how you can’t truly be with someone until you’ve established yourself, no matter how factual or in-factual that might be.
2) Y’all want cookies for doing basic things that you’re supposed to do.
3) Y’all want a Michelle or Barack and aren’t willing to do the things it takes to get one.
Ladies, you want a Barack. But are you a Michelle? I’m not saying that to say that you too must have degrees from Princeton/Harvard and be a high-powered attorney. I’m saying that to say, are your standards high and uncompromising when it comes to the important stuff? Do you know not only your worth, but your story? Can you recognize a good man when you see one – even if he might need some work?
Fellas, you want a Michelle. But are you a Barack? Again, doesn’t mean that you have to have degrees from Columbia/Harvard, be an attorney, and someday become President of the United States. But are you willing to work for a woman that you really want? Are you ready, willing, and able to rise to the occasion when/if she asks you to? Do you have a good heart and spirit? Can you truly cherish a good woman? Because, you do realize that Michelle’s aren’t going to be out here giving out cookies for doing the things that you simply should do – for being the kind of man that you simply should be (and I’m tired of y’all asking for them).
Let me be clear, Michelle did not need Barack. Most Michelle’s do not NEED a Barack. (Like, do you think Beyonce NEEDS Jay Z?! Nope, and she told y’all that on Lemonade as well as countless projects before that). However, Barack’s often need Michelle’s, as POTUS himself will tell you. Behind every good man, there is a good woman. Behind every good woman, there is often herself or other women that have lifted her up. I’m not saying this to be unfair or spout off biased gender roles. There is science that backs this up. Heterosexual marriages leave the man better off – healthier, happier, and more satisfied (The Telegraph). Debate the research not me.
I just think that when we talk about POTUS and FLOTUS, we get caught up in the hype of their titles/degrees and forget that at their core, they’re two people who love each other. Who were willing to make it work. Who met each others standards, though it seems like Barack met Michelle’s to be honest.
The real gag of course is that, there will never be another Barack and Michelle. And though we might be inspired by their version and story of Black love, we’ve ultimately got to go forward and chart our own courses. Be our own best selves and hopefully, find someone who not only aligns with, but complements that. Someone we can want and choose instead of need.
Image: People Magazine