Selena Gomez May Have Panicked, but She's Human
Remember that celebrities can actually be vulnerable, too.
I'm astounded by the amount of headlines I've seen over the last couple of days about #SelenaGomez's reported panic attack at the #AmericanMusicAwards November 24.
Maybe "astounded" is too strong a word. Perhaps "sad" is better.
You see, it's hard enough to struggle with mental health challenges without having to do so in the public eye. I realize that Gomez has been a staple of public consumption since her Wizards of Waverly Place days, but that does not mean that she's got instant shielding that she can drop to protect herself any time the media decides to write any sort of story - good or bad - about her.
From her relationship with #JustinBieber to her relationship with #theWeeknd, to her health crises and battle with #lupus, this is a 27 year old who has fought through a great deal in order to become the woman she is today. She is passionate about her music - you only need to hear her sing to recognize that - and as such, likely puts an incredible amount of pressure on herself to do well. Plus, you have to recognize that this is her life's work; she's poured her blood, sweat and tears into her music for the last several years, and like it or not, to make money, she has to put her work out for public consumption. That puts her in a very vulnerable position, and while she's doing that by choice, as she has chosen to be a singer, she is not immune to the worry and concern she might feel in putting out new tracks, particularly if it's been a while since anything new that she's produced has hit the airwaves. We also need to be mindful that reportedly, her new music is more personal than ever before, and with her health battles and her relationship with Bieber apparently being some of the key focuses on some of the tracks, she is effectively laying her heart open for all of us.
That's a wholly vulnerable position to be in.
Imagine how she felt, then, when the emphasis became about her emotional performance at the #AMAs rather than the songs themselves. From what I gather, her appearance at the star-studded event was largely designed to be a celebration of her return after a couple of years of tough times with her health. It's been around five years since she released anything new, with her debut solo album hitting stores in 2013, the second landing in 2015, and the new one, #SG2, coming in 2020.
She has every right to look at her first big performance in a few years as something to be nervous about. She has every right to feel anxious. It is not up to the press to tell the world that Gomez had a panic attack. If she had an emotional performance while singing a ballad, didn't she deliver the sentiment behind the song? Why does it even matter that she had a panic attack in the first place?
I understand that Gomez is an almost-universally liked singer. I get that. I also understand that there are those who are very protective of her, and that is a good thing; who doesn't need more supporters in their corner? However, Gomez has, in recent years, become a role model in addition to being a well-known celebrity. She's shed light on organ donation, living with chronic conditions such as lupus, and now, is garnering all sorts of attention due to her anxiety prior to what could easily be termed a comeback performance, though the term "comeback" seems odd, given she's only 27.
The fact of the matter is, Selena Gomez has reminded us that celebrities are humans, too. The headlines lamenting her panic attack, while sentimental, aren't really necessary. Let her be human, and let us love her for it.