Mallory Shamim is a young, enthusiastic woman who has lived with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and chronic migraines for the last three years. She puts a positive spin on her life as a chronic pain patient and wants to help others feel better about their prognoses. Mallory is on her way to becoming a wonderful advocate. Check out her blog at Chronically Invisible
Written in G ♯ minor and at 120 beats per minute, the synthetic sound that rocks with pop beats became instantly recognizable. There she appears in a one strap black latex jumpsuit, glistening as she emerges from the water wearing a mask that looks as if it has been made from a disco ball. There she is in all her glory – beautiful, eccentric, bold. Since that first image of her, I have been a fan of this extraordinary woman.
Lady Gaga, who has since been named, Mother Monster by her followers, has never apologized for being outlandish. She is known for being provocative and unconventional in her ways of entertaining, hello remember the Meat Dress? She is also known for being completely open about her life and past and experiences.
But, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta has been in the news as of late not for her music, but for revealing she suffers from chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
This week alone this mega icon has canceled her European lag of her tour and posted her pain. Not many people are open about their private lives and for any person who suffers from anything, being open to the public critique and ridicule makes speaking out harder than just being mute, putting on a smile, and saying “Everything is fine.”
So why is her canceling her tour, coming out as suffering from Fibromyalgia, and promoting a documentary about her life behind the lights of stardom entitled “Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two,” news?
Lady Gaga’s public admittance is bringing this disorder that is estimated to affect more than 100 million people* to the forefront. I believe her coming out and being truthful about the chronic pain she lives with is starting the conversation that hasn’t always happened. If a star as huge as Lady Gaga has chronic pain and fibromyalgia, then it solidifies that it is real because she is perfect, has a perfect life, and can’t possibly be faking it. Right? She’s never lied to her fans or the public about any aspect of her life, trauma, and beliefs so why would she make this up?
Her documentary is being looked at by some as potentially a negative based on how she portrays herself and chronic pain. Some people are saying they’re scared of how this will portray chronic pain because she, as a celebrity, has access to treatments and medication that those of who aren’t millionaires don’t have. I am sure she is with the best doctors and using the best “treatments” available because she does have the money, but I think speaking out about it is more of a win than whatever she shows us in her documentary. The words “chronic pain,” and “fibromyalgia” are now on the radar of millions of people thanks to her. I’m sure some of her fans who have never heard of fibromyalgia looked it up, are trying to understand it, and maybe even finding people they never knew who suffered are suffering all simply because she put it out in the universe.
I might not be saying it from a microphone to millions of people at once but I have a voice. I do not shy away from talking about what I have, what I “suffer” with. And, like Gaga says in her statement posted today:
I use the word “suffer” not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter.
To me Lady Gaga brings hope for awareness, understanding, and acceptance. She shows that a celebrity, a world-wide icon at the end of the day, struggles with the same issues you and I do. She is more than the woman we see in her extravagant videos or on stage doing amazing choreography in heels that most of us couldn’t even stand in for a second. She. Is. Human.
- “Living with pain” U.S. Pain Foundation. Sideless Box Design Co. 18 Sept. 2017.