Michelle Obama Wrote a Heartbreaking Letter to Her Former Self

Michelle Obama has shared some very personal details about her life on her book tour to promote her new memoir Becoming. Now, as the latest public figure to complete NBC News' series "Note to Self, she shares even more details about her young life as she prepared to attend Princeton as an 18-year-old.

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(Image credit: Boston Globe)

It's been eye-opening to watch Michelle Obama share some very personal details about her life on her book tour to promote her new memoir Becoming. The inspiring First Lady has opened up about infertility, her couples therapy with husband President Barack Obama, and exactly what it was like living in the White House. Now, as the latest public figure to complete NBC News' series "Note to Self," she shares even more details about her young life as she prepared to attend Princeton as an 18-year-old.

"You're at one of the finest universities in the world," she remembers. "You're smiling, and you should be, you worked hard for this. But even now, after you reached your goal, you're still not quite sure if you belong and can't get one question out of your mind: 'Am I good enough?'"

She reveals, "Years from now, you'll learn that your parents had to take out new credit cards to pay your tuition. But Michelle, what you'll come to realize one day is that you're only seeing what you lack and not everything that your story has given you."

In fact, the letter also has a heart-wrenching tribute to her personal background, specifically her father. "Your father's final lesson will come far too soon. He'll teach you that life is fleeting. So laugh with him until your side hurts. Savor the grip of his hugs, the softness in his eyes. A day will come when those memories are all you'll have."

Michelle gushes about the future she has in store, including the "brilliant" and "good-looking" man she's going to meet (hint: her husband) who will give her two "perfect" daughters. But ultimately, she reminds her young to practice self-love and understanding. "You're more than enough, Miche. You always have been and you always will be. And I can't wait for you to see that." (weeps softly)

In May, Michelle shared an image of exactly what she looked like back then, with a snap of her at Princeton in the '80s. She gave some advice to first-generation college students, saying, "Going to college is hard work, but every day I meet people whose lives have been profoundly changed by education, just as mine was." She added, "My advice to students is to be brave and stay with it."

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Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.