Mommy Stuff

An Open Letter to Lady Gaga

*A has finally finished perfecting his letter to Lady Gaga and I’ve decided to add a little explanation to go along with it. We will be popping these letters in the mail today. We aren’t sure if she will actually get it, but it’s really what he wants to do and he knows she might be too busy to respond to him*

Dear Stefani,

I would like to start by expressing how significant your music and influence has been on my son, A, over the past few months.  The letter he has written you is something that he felt he needed to do and he spent a very long time writing it (and then re-writing it).  I should note that he has never really been interested in writing a letter to anyone else in the past (including Santa). 

As A states in his letter, I have been a fan of yours for quite some time and with the recent release of A Star is Born and your documentary, you have become the subject of many conversations in our house.  A overheard my husband and I talking about your documentary a few months ago, specifically about your openness about your challenges with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and your uncertainty regarding the reception of Joanne.  I commented to him that I greatly valued and admired your courage and willingness to openly discuss these issues in a world where most people attempt to hide them.

A is quite a unique kid – he has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s) and ADHS.  Kids like him often suffer from significant anxiety and his has gotten significantly worse in the past few years.  He gets picked on at school, he often gets in trouble because he is socially awkward, and he struggles with anxiety around routine and unpredictability.  Recently he started playing your music all the time and I assumed it was because he was trying to convince me that he is such a big fan that I should take him to see your Vegas show when we go there in the summer. However, when he told me he wanted to write you a letter because he admires you for being open about your anxiety and still being able to be famous, I was quite taken aback.  We talked quite a bit about what he wanted to say in his letter and he spent weeks working on it.  It took this long, partially because of his ADHD, but also because he wrote a rough draft by hand and then wanted to type it because he thought his writing was too messy.

A and I have had many conversations in the past about “having anxiety” and that he’s not the only person who struggles with it.  We talked about how many people don’t talk about anxiety (and other mental health issues) because they are worried or ashamed of what other people will think of them.  He asked me why you told the whole world about your struggles in your movie.  I responded by telling him that shared your challenges because you are courageous and because you want other people to know that they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to admit when you struggle with something.  Because of your courage, and our discussions around it, A has become a completely different child.  He is no longer afraid of his anxiety and he doesn’t see his diagnoses as something that make him wrong, bad or different.  Rather, he feels supported and confident because if someone as famous and talented as “Lady Gaga” can be confident and share this with the world, so can he.

My purpose in including this letter along with A’s is to give you some background on how this letter from him came to be, and to impress upon you the enormous impact you have had on his life.  It’s difficult to put into words all the ways that A has grown and developed since he’s become your “biggest fan.”  But as his mother, I can say that he is a much more certain and confident child than he was before.  He no longer hates being different from the other kids, and instead, he thinks that being different makes him special.  I am hoping that this improvement in his self-esteem and his positive outlook will stick with him as he enters into his teenage years.  I can say for certain that these changes came about simply from him learning about you and your openness and advocacy for mental health struggles and support.

Since I’m writing this letter, I thought I would use the opportunity to say that I am proud that A has chosen you as someone to admire.  As I mentioned earlier, I have been a fan of your music for quite a while, but most recently have learned more about you through your documentary, the Born This Way Foundation and the causes you support, as well as your interaction in the public eye.  Like A, I admire your courage to be open and forthcoming about the physical and mental struggles you overcome on a daily basis.  As someone who struggles with anxiety and chronic pain myself, I am in awe that you are able to do everything that you do with such passion amidst the struggles that I myself find difficult to endure at times.  As a physician, I work in a field of medicine that sees many women who struggle with these same challenges and they are often debilitated by their pain and have difficulty continuing to live their lives in a way that brings them joy and satisfaction.  It is encouraging to see that chronic pain does not always lead to unhappiness and the loss of lifetime goals and dreams.  I applaud you for having the courage to share the most vulnerable parts of yourself with the world because it gives hope, courage, and confidence to many people, in more ways than you can imagine.

I sincerely hope that these letters have made their way to you and that they have brought you a sense of pride in how by just being yourself, you have changed the life of a little boy.  A is certainly not the only person whose life you have impacted positively, and he is likely not the only child whose life will be different because they gained valuable skills to help manage their struggles with mental health.  A has put so much time, effort, and emotion into drafting his letter to you.  His biggest goal in doing this was to let you to know how important you are to him with the hopes that you would feel good to know that he admires you so much.  I admire A for wanting to “pay back” to you the happiness that you have given to him.

Thank-you so much for all that you do for your fans, your community, and the people in the music and show-business community who may be dealing with similar mental health issues.  Most importantly to me, though, is how much your honesty and genuine nature have reached a part of my child that no one else has been able to do.



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