I love to watch The Real Housewives. I watch it for the fact that it is so unreal and allows me to escape the thoughts of my real life to watch these extravagant over dramatized women. So when I watched the Beverly Hills premiere I was shocked at the real emotional response I had to it. In the episode, Yolanda broke down some walls to show the world what an invisible illness looks like. Yolanda has been battling Lyme disease for about three years. I have to admit that I don’t know much about it and have the impression Yolanda will be teaching a lot this season. What I do know a lot about is having Migraine which dictates my life. They seem similar in the stigmatized nature.
To begin with, she should be proud for exposing herself to the vultures who will inevitably pick her apart during the season. She could have easily quit the show and battled behind closed doors like so many of us do. Instead, she is really making a difference in the real world by advocating and creating a support system for her inevitable following. Lyme disease sufferers will be able to see all of the treatments money can buy. Like my migraine life, Yolanda seems to be a guinea pig with her treatments and searches endlessly to find help and better health. She says she looks normal yet is so sick which is something I feel every day!
While she is becoming the face of her disease she dared to show her face make up free in Beverly Hills and on TV (GASP!) Their snickering comments did not surprise me. Not much these women do shocks me, that’s why I watch it. But let me explain the poignancy of what Yolanda did through a person with an invisible disease’s perspective……
Lisa V. commented that if she was sick she may have stayed home and that she could have taken 10 seconds to throw some eye make up on. If she was sick with the flu or sinus infection, in fact, she may have stayed home. But she has been struggling for years with this. Being that I have had migraines most of my life, I understand this. When you are chronically sick, every move takes calculation. If I do this how will I feel? Then how will I feel? And then how will that make me feel? I guess wrong all the time. I push myself and get sicker. I don’t push myself and continue to isolate myself. Yolanda has moved into a condo because her palatial home was too big for her to reside in and making her doctors closer. Her Lyme disease has taken control of her life. While throwing on makeup may seem so simple to some, I can tell you from experience that I have gotten ready for a party and by the time I was done I had to cancel my plans because I used all of my energy. So maybe she saved her energy to see her friends who she has been unable to see. But instead of being happy to see Yolanda’s face out of her condo they chose to comment on how she wasn’t wearing makeup. Honestly, she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. If she chose to show up with perfect make up and a hot dress, they would have commented on how, “She doesn’t look sick!” So she showed up, “Not looking good at all.” Guess what? She’s not good at all. It’s ok to look that way. I sometimes get a glance of myself in a mirror and think, “Wow, I should put some make up on.” Then I think, why? It is such a gross notion to think, maybe if I look a bit how I feel people will acknowledge that I’m having a bad day. All of these emotions came pouring out of me while watching Yolanda sit there watching her friends laughing about ridiculously expensive sunglasses. She excused herself early which is also something I have had to do. I could see how much effort it took her to be there and her physical response to being at the lunch.
I relate so much to her. Something I haven’t had to do is watch myself sick and trying to grasp for normalcy while my friends talked behind my back. Yolanda is going to see a whole lot of nastiness and without a doubt loose friends and hopefully discover what real friendship and love is. So let me finish by saying, no matter how close or far your relationship is, people deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. You have no idea what it’s like until you’ve walked in someone else’s Louis Vuitton. Yolanda is going to show that no matter how much money (and she has a lot!) you can’t buy a cure, health or friends. She’s going to be REAL!