In the past few months we have seen Lady Gaga open up more than ever about her journey with chronic pain, with her Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” offering us a look behind the curtain at how difficult it can be to find treatments that work and face the uncertainty and unpredictability of life with chronic illness.
But after confirming her fibromyalgia diagnosis in September and cancelling several performances and tour dates due to chronic pain, Lady Gaga is back in action.
As a long-time fan of Gaga, it has been so exciting to see her almost-daily updates on Instagram and Twitter. Not only is she back on the road for her Joanne World Tour, but in the past few weeks, she has also managed to join all five former living presidents for a hurricane relief concert, partner with former Vice President Joe Biden to advocate for sexual assault survivors, become a brand ambassador for Tudor, oh – and get engaged to CAA talent agent Christian Carino. All of which she does wearing high fashion and a smile on her face.
There’s no doubt Lady Gaga is a captivating performer. Even just looking at photos of her, I am in such awe of her style, beauty and poise.
And yet, simply watching her jet around the country to attend various events with important people and put on high-energy, kickass performances makes me tired.
As someone with an autoimmune disease, my energy tanks are constantly low, even after a restful weekend or long vacation. I don’t think I could make it through a single day in Gaga’s shoes. Her schedule seems like it would be hectic, exhausting and stressful for someone in peak health, let alone someone with a chronic illness.
While I love following Gaga on social media to see what she’ll pull out of her sleeve next, it can also be difficult to watch someone with a similarly taxing health condition accomplish so much more than I believe I ever could.
Lady Gaga puts on incredible performances every other night, and I barely have enough energy after work to heat up leftovers for dinner.
Lady Gaga travels all over the country to meet and work with some of the most important people alive right now, and I’m in too much pain to walk my dog around the block.
So the thoughts go. It’s all too easy to look at snapshots of a celebrity’s life and think, wow, I must be really lazy or unmotivated because I could never achieve that.
This comparison game is dangerous, but it becomes especially tricky with celebrities like Lady Gaga or Selena Gomez who have been open about their chronic illness battles. I generally don’t lose sleep comparing myself to celebrities; I know they lead very different lives with access to far more money and resources than I have. But then, when they are open and vulnerable about health difficulties, it creates common ground between us. Watching Gaga’s documentary, I felt like I was connecting with another human being over similar struggles.