Michelle Obama's Balenciaga Boots Are Gonna Teach Us How to Say Goodbye


If I were the kind of old person who thought good things were only for me and my generation, I might say that fashion, the color yellow, jaws-dropped, and lewks-served ended forever on the same night as part one of Michelle Obama's Becoming book tour. That would, of course, be the night that she paired a yellow draped silk shirt-dress with thigh-high, glittering, gilded to the gods, good-gracious-holographic Balenciaga boots…

But I’m not that kind of old person (I’m just the regular skin-care-is-a-fun-hobby-for-me-now-I-guess old), and those things didn't stop forever just because my heart briefly did when I realized there was not some visual effect on Michelle Obama's legs that night in Brooklyn, but that Michelle Obama's legs were wrapped in an entire elementary school's worth of sticker charts—AND EVERYONE GOT THE FULL-FIVE STARS FOR SLAYING.

At the sold-out Barclays Center, Michelle told her interviewer, Sarah Jessica Parker — who, in an elegant sequined sheath, was made to look like a wee freshman on her first day of fash-un-skewl — that there wasn't really a message behind these boots. "Now I'm free to do whatever," Vogue quoted Michelle telling the crowd: "They were just really cute. I was like, 'Those some nice boots.'"

Whatever Michelle Obama tells me, I will believe, so I trust that she was not trying to send some deeper message to me by cloaking her legs in one thousand Rolo wrappers. But, paired with the themes she writes about in Becoming, I couldn’t help but take on my own understanding of those boots when I first spotted them on Instagram.

Whether Michelle meant for them to or not, those boots called to me — a beacon as bold and iconic as A Christmas Story's leg-lamp. If I could run my hand up them like Ralphie before someone slapped me away and charged me $4,000, I'm confident a genie would emerge, looking something like a golden Kool-Aid [Wo]Man, to tell me: You, too, are free to make the changes that you want, as long as they are also compassionate and considered. And then, I imagine, this genie would snap in a Z-formation with her perfectly toned genie arms.  

Because Michelle Obama is not just a fashion plate, or a movie star, or a [Wo]Man In the Big Yellow Hat cosplayer emerging onstage in these boots. She is the former First Lady of the United States. And now that that's over with, she is wearing precisely what she wants; she is serving us gold-foiled cake; she is, quite literally, walking on sunshine. And why? Because, well—those some nice boots.

Image result for getty michelle obama balenciaga

In the book of Michelle Obama's life, even something as significant as being the First Lady for eight years will still just be a chapter. At the culmination of a very difficult year for the nation, these boots on Michelle Obama remind me that chapters end, and that can be a very good thing; it can be a very bad thing; it is, always, inevitable. We can't be everything all at once, but we can be a lot of things at many different times if we give ourselves the space to be. That's what the boots said to me…

Plus, they look like a Magic Eye poster and a disco ball got frisky at Studio 54. They are just just, in general, amazing.

So, imagine me, in bed on Thursday night, feeling so proud of my deep Instagram thoughts, glitter dancing behind my eyelids, composing this poem in my notes app before I drift off to sleep like a particularly earnest Taylor Swift…

I have seen

the boots

that were on

Michelle Obama's thighs


From which

you will probably


rightly recover


Forgive her

this powerful slay

so fierce

and so gold

Only to wake up Friday morning and find that Lin-Manuel Miranda just one-upped me big time [ed. note: typical] by dropping the 13th and last installment in his "Hamildrop" remix series: "One Last Time (44 Remix)," sung by Hamilton’s original George Washington, Christopher Jackson, and featuring BeBe Winans, a soaring gospel choir, oh and also…

Husband of Michelle Obama, 44th President of the United States, and next-of-kin to *the boots*, BARACK OBAMA, taking over reciting Washington's farewell address in "One Last Time.” A song about — you guessed it — saying goodbye gracefully and moving on to whatever comes next.

These American sweethearts are going to teach us how to how to say goodbye even if it kills me, and they're going to look so fucking cool doing it. I'll see you back here next week for one more look back at 2018 (we're talking best-of lists, baby!), and then it's on to the next chapter…

Where The Bachelor awaits us. I cannot promise grace or compassion featuring prominently there, but never fear: there will be more than enough glitter to make up for it.

[Photos (3): Getty Images Entertainment]