Sometimes we want to see superhuman, infallible people whose seamlessly sound judgment, political correctness and upward mobility remind us that we can all become transcendent and exceedingly special.
For some, president Barack Obama was or is that person, hence fascination with his pre-presidential life and especially his previous personal choices.
A recent Vanity Fair piece in which David Maraniss chronicles Obama’s ex-girlfriend, Genaviewe Cook, and her views on everything from their relationship to Obama’s sense of self, speaks volumes.
Although some response articles made the VF piece seem tell-all and inherently sordid, (Only readers of Maraniss’s book will truly know if it was balanced and well done.) several themes that most 20-somethings confront arose in the piece. They are as follows:
Identity. Countless people spend their lives wrestling with imperfection and striving for improvement. The qualitative pursuit of self, acceptance and assistance are universal endeavors. This gets sticky when societies that were built on the backs of isms more readily boasts reasons for division than commonality. But, modern young people are supposed to know better. Today’s Millennials are all too familiar with the implications of implications ( One time for Over-analyzers Anonymous!), the need to aspire for global perspectives and diversity; but, if one’s personal experiences and early identity formation conjure more discontentment than answers, this quest continues to be rocky.
Foreshadowing/Gut instincts. Foreshadowing is often connected to identity, hope, belief and work. People become self-fulfilling prophecies. The mind is a nucleic powerhouse. While this is encouraging, as it speaks to the power of people to learn and know, be and become, it is also a scary place of vulnerability and uncertainty.
Love. Can’t even lie. My inner fairytale-ista did the Bankhead bounce when Cook said that she and Obama began to grow apart, and that he would find the bubbly, lithe, black woman he sought. *Googles Michelle Obama images.* This joy is not as much about celebrating throwback Obama sticking it to a white woman by making himself less emotionally available to her, as it is about yet another incidence of internal voices being correct. We have them. They work. It is better to cut losses than press mute and wallow in unhappiness.
Purpose. While today’s economy, political climate and globalization continue to reshape the whos, whats and wheres of achievement, patience is rewarded. Every generation faces trials unique to their experiences, but rooted in pre-existing hot messes. The beauty is that people tend to know themselves intimately and how their actualization can come to fruition. We were created with free will—and its pitfalls and perks are our building blocks.
In unrelated news, my friend Aaron Johnson painted this pic of me. Facebook him. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002226846670