Like nearly every other woman in America, I’ve been reading Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming this month.

I haven’t finished the book yet but I knew I was going to recommend it to the See Jane Write community as soon as I read the preface. In it, my #ForeverFLOTUS writes:

There’s a lot I still don’t know about America, about life, about what the future might bring. But I do know myself. My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word. My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, they helped me see the value in our story, in my story, in the larger story of our country. Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.

Queen Obama was preaching in the preface, y’all! The doors of the church are open! Pass the collection plate!

Seriously, that passage alone was worth the $30. And it’s a passage I think every woman writer needs to read.

So often we hesitate to let our voices be heard out loud or even on the page because we fear we’re not smart enough, not good enough. We think we need to be an “expert” to speak our mind. But this passage reminds us that we don’t need to know everything. We only need to know ourselves and keep in mind that even that knowledge is one that will grow and evolve as we do.

The passage reminds us to share our true story, not the Instagram filtered and curated version of it. Tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. As my pastor loves to say, “There’s a message in your mess.”

To share your story you don’t have to be perfect. None of us have arrived. We are all becoming.