Whether or not you were lucky enough to see Michelle Obama during the 2018-2019 book tour for her memoir, "Becoming," take heart: Not only will you get a special glimpse of what it was like in a new Netflix documentary, but the former first lady also has some special words of support for those finding the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine challenging.
The documentary "Becoming," directed by Nadia Hallgren, releases on Netflix May 6, and will take a "rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories," according to a news release from the streaming service.
"As many of you know, I'm a hugger," said Obama in a statement attached to the news release, and in a caption to an Instagram photo she posted Monday. "My whole life, I've seen it as the most natural and equalizing gesture one human can make toward another — the easiest way of saying, 'I'm here for you.' And this is one of the toughest parts of our new reality: Things that once felt simple — going to see a friend, sitting with someone who is hurting, embracing someone new — are now not simple at all."
The former first lady, 56, and her husband, President Barack Obama, 58, were residents of the White House from 2008 to 2016. "Becoming" was published in 2018 and sold more copies than any other book published in the U.S. that year.
Obama spoke of traveling and meeting with others during her tour in the statement, noting that all of those in person connections "drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can't be messed with. In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams."
Now, she says, "as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion, and uncertainty" those memories are more important than ever.
But, she added, "I'm here for you. And I know you are here for one another. Even as we can no longer safely gather or feed off the energy of groups, even as many of us are living with grief, loneliness, and fear, we need to stay open and able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Empathy is our lifeline here. It's what will get us to the other side. Let’s use it to redirect our attention toward what matters most, reconsider our priorities, and find ways to better remake the world in the image of our hopes.
"Even in hard times, maybe especially in hard times, our stories help cement our values and strengthen our connections. Sharing them shows us the way forward. I love and miss you all."