*If you struggle with eating disorders, please be advised that you may be triggered and read with caution.
Over the weekend, the internet exploded with reports and videos of a performance Lady Gaga did in which she allowed someone to repeatedly throw up on her.
Yes, you read that correctly. She had someone vomit on her.
The act involved an “artist” swallowing paint and immediately sticking her fingers down her throat to make herself gag and proceed to projectile vomit all over Lady Gaga as she laid there, spreading the vomited paint over her body.
I watched the video as I laid in bed Friday night, amazed at what I was witnessing. Don’t get me wrong, Lady Gaga has more talent than most people ever will conjure up in their entire lifespan, however taking a mental disorder that actually kills 5 in 1000 people every year is not art.
You see, 24 million people in the United States alone struggle with eating disorders. 24 MILLION. Not to mention, eating disorders have the number one death rate compared to any other mental illness. Yet, if Lady Gaga had allowed someone to snort cocaine or shoot heroine on her, THAT would be seen for what it is. Wrong. Insensitive. Irresponsible. Very few people would be okay with it being labeled as “art.”
Lady Gaga claims that she is about self-love and accepting yourself (her heart probably is for this) however, glamorizing a disease that has already stolen the lives, dreams, hopes, ambition and beauty from millions of people around the world is only aiding the self-hate epidemic that we are already facing.
As I watched Lady Gaga parade around the stage in vomited paint, I couldn’t help but be taken back to my own journey. Eating disorders are anything but glamorous. Here’s what Lady Gaga forgot to showcase in her concert:
She didn’t show the hours and nights you spend hiding food and eating in silence in your own bathroom as you then proceed to make your body get rid of every calorie you ate.
When you are laying in a dark room in rehab, sobbing into a pillow because you’ve begun to wonder if God even exists, let alone sees you because you’ve become so disconnected from everything around you.
She didn’t mention the fights you get into with your parents as your mom screams at you in tears because she no longer knows how to help or reach you.
The moment when your younger sister confesses to you that she used to crawl into your bed those nights you were in rehab. Sobbing and afraid that you won’t survive.
Her concert made no mention of the fact that your friend circle quickly dwindles because your friends can’t stand to see you in the state you’re in.
The cold walk you take to the rehab nursing station every morning in your hospital gown to get weighed and take your anti-depressant cocktail that consists of pills you can’t keep track of.
The jobs lost because your depression caused you to not be able to physically get out of bed.
The nurses and doctors that are constantly poking you with needles and psycho-analyzing you for weeks on end.
The nights when you scream out in desperation and pass out on your bathroom floor, exhausted by your own tears.
She didn’t mention that your throat becomes swollen and remains as a constant reminder of how you failed the night previously.
She didn’t sing about how even if and when you recover, the way your body retaliates because it’s lost all trust in you.
The moment when you find out your younger sister has begun to try to make herself bulimic after watching you for so many years.
Her show didn’t seem to make mention of the girls you befriend in rehab who later lose their lives to it.
You see, bulimia is not art. Anorexia is not art. Bingeing is not art. Just like heroine, cocaine, alcoholism, and self harm is not art.
Do you want to know what is an art? Recovery. Learning to love yourself. Music. Laughter. Drawing. Getting free from addiction. Dance.
This is not a blog post used to bash Lady Gaga. As I said, I find her talent, passion, and dedication to be inspiring. She doesn’t need to use any shock factor to get our attention. It makes me worried about what may be going on in her own life and I pray that she finds the freedom that she so desperately longs for and deserves.
Let’s stop the glamorization of eating disorders and mental illnesses all together. Let’s fight for what we were born for. We were born for love.
If you do struggle with eating disorders, please know that there is hope. As I write this, I am almost a year and a half free of a ten year battle with bulimia. There is hope. There really is freedom. There really is life apart from eating disorders. You can read my story here.
If you are struggling, please seek help. Click here for some resources.
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