"Gaga: Five Foot Two" is a documentary that hit Netflix on September 22nd, 2017, and followed the singer on her journey of making her latest album, Joanne, and performing at the Super Bowl. To be completely honest, I really had little interest in watching this, until I was sent a message from someone in my chronic support group. It was an article from The Guardian, titled "Fibromyalgia: The pain that thwarted Lady Gaga's tour" explaining how Gaga used her platform in her documentary to explore the struggle of her chronic issues.
This caught my attention.
I've struggled with two chronic illnesses for the past six years. The first being Hashimoto's disease in my thyroid and the other being Chronic Inflammatory Demylenating Polyneuropathy, or CIDP, which slowly breaks down the strength in my arms and legs.
If there's one thing i've grown very used to hearing over the years with these illnesses, it's the phrases:
"well, you don't LOOK sick" or "are you sure you're not overreacting?"
And after multiple doctor visits you start to get a bit frustrated. Okay, that's a lie, "frustrated" is too light of an explanation for the feelings that come up. It feels like no one understands what's going on or would even like to take the time to understand it. BUT, I am EXTREMELY grateful to have treatment for these illnesses and a support group of women with chronic illnesses that I can go to whenever I flare up and break down, but a lot of people don't have that. Some people are stuck in the hole of being unaware of what's going on or having their symptoms downplayed to an overreaction. So, I have a great admiration for celebrities who use their platform to bring awareness to chronic illnesses as it helps to break the stigma that they have. People like Gigi Hadid with Hashimoto's Disease, or Selena Gomez with Lupus, help to make a point of the struggles these illnesses can bring to a person; physically and emotionally. Even though you can't see the illness on the outside, they still take a heavy toll. From massive amounts of lethargy or an inability to move around normally, I understand why they make moves to cancel tours or quit what they're doing in general, because I've had to make similar choices in my everyday life.
Gaga expressed this heavily throughout her documentary, and it hit home for me.
She wasn't ashamed to show the emotional toll it takes on a person. From the massive amounts of physical pain to the mental withdrawal because of said pain, she held nothing back. She allowed the camera to capture every moment without any bit of hesitation. I have such a huge amount of respect for her because of this.
Now, does it really bring a light to anyone else as to why she cancelled her European tour? Not entirely. But the documentary acts as a foot-in-the-door for others to step up and start a conversation. It also helps people, myself included, to not feel alone in the chronic health struggle. This documentary is worth it for that alone.