What do you do when you get an email that reads: “First Lady Michelle Obama invites you to a conversation about the health of our nation to be held at the White House”? Scream.
I’ve visited the White House a few years ago, but I never got to go inside. Let alone be on a list of attendees for a special event with the First Lady. The journey there from my apartment was hectic because DC’s metro system has been having major issues lately, so I took an uber in and out of the city.
As soon as I got there and drove by the National Mall and the outer gates of the White House complex, I started to get really excited. This is where all of our American presidents lived and walked. This is one of the most historic places in the United States. It took me a moment to wrap my head around the fact that I would actually be going inside instead of standing on the outside of the gates.
As soon as I got through all the security, I was greeted by some staff and all they said to me was, “Welcome to the White House, all the rooms are open, go explore before the First Lady arrives!” …Um, did they really just tell me to “go explore” the White House? By myself? Yep. So off I went.
I was so humbled walking the halls of the White House. It was so hard for me to think that so many world leaders walked these same halls. There’s so much history in this one building, and for me to be able to visit was an amazing experience.
When it was time for the First Lady to come out, my heart was racing. I got a seat in the front of the East Room, and I was shaking. It didn’t fully hit me that I was in the presence of such an important American public figure until after I got home. Some things she said that will stick with me:
“You’re all such powerful messengers. You have such an incredible platform. Just the few of you in this room alone reach millions of people. Just take a look at yourself, and don’t ever doubt the difference you can make.”
“I hope that you will use your voice — continue to use your voice and your influence to inspire and support others. If we all keep working together, I know we can keep making a difference.”
“I really want to thank you. This was the reason why we wanted to have you here — we wanted to reward you in some way for the hard work that you’ve been doing out there.”
“There is power in this room. There is power in individual voices and you all are showing it every single day. And I could not be more proud of all that you’ve achieved.”
“I really, truly look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. So enjoy yourself, and God bless you.”
I’m so grateful and humbled to have had this opportunity. This was a day that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.