Here’s how this whole thing came about specifically for me. Back in December, I wrote an e-mail off to Gaga’s team about a possible Meet and Greet with Gaga (anyone who knows me also knows I have absolutely no access to the pit). After nearly two months, I got a reply from a very sweet guy named Trevor and he had stated that a documentary is being filmed about the Born This Way Foundation.
The morning of the show, there was literally a camera crew inside my house. They wanted to know my life story, why I love Gaga, etc. My three friends were there also, who had stories of their own. The whole interview lasted about two hours, at which point I had to hurry up and get ready to head out to the venue, where they would continue filming.
We arrived at the Xcel Energy Center shortly before 3:30. After waiting around for a bit, I met Trevor and the rest of the crew, who wanted to get footage at the Born Brave Bus and tailgate. Surprisingly, the whole thing was very casual – after awhile, you pretty much forget there’s cameras following you everywhere. They said we could do whatever we wanted. As we were eating, Trevor told us that they would like us to head over to the inside of the bus for yet another round of filming.
Now inside, we were seated on the couch and a screen with other stories of bravery featured were directly in front of us. We watched a few of the clips (they were great), and then it was action. It was more or less the same questions – maybe varying a little, but not too much – as before. Then came the point when the cameras, for a brief period, came to a halt.
That’s when the Lady herself walked in to greet us, rocking the awesome lime-green wig that’s gotten an insane amount of hits on Gaga Daily. She was just as sweet as she seems, and at this point, she sat on my left. “How are you guys? It’s so good to meet you!” she then hugged me and my friend Brandon, and I’ll be honest, she gives the most amazing hugs ever. At this point, she wanted to know our stories.
I literally could write a novel on this subject, but in short, I was born with a birth defect. I’ve basically been wheelchair bound my entire life. A lot of my childhood memories consist of more than the two dozen surgeries I’ve had to endure (not to mention a few encounters with death on the way). Fast forward to the present, and I’m now faced with a double hip replacement at age 18. On top of it all, depression grabbed hold of me at a very young age – seven. What kind of first grader hates their body? I did, and as a matter of fact I still do. It’s a daily battle; at my lowest point, I would cry myself to sleep at night. My faith and Gaga’s music got me through it. It might sound strange, but I really do consider myself to be very blessed. I have the most amazing friends, doctors, caregivers, and family anyone could ever ask for. Honestly, if I could take a magic pill right now and be cured, I’d turn you away. Words cannot even begin to sum up the incredible relationships I have formed, out of all places, through the hospital. It’s a specialty hospital located in St. Paul whose fortè is treating people just like myself, and the first one ever established in the United States. We’ve laughed together, cried together, joked together. I know it sounds like I’m going off on a tangent here, but that’s where Gaga comes in.
The hospital started a campaign called “CurePity.” Self explanatory. I thought if by some crazy chance I could meet Gaga, I would have her sign the pledge. They’ve gotten other celebrities from the area to sign (Twins and Vikings players etc), but I wanted to take it to a whole new level.
One of the first things I asked Gaga was to sign. She simply said that she promised she would, and that it’s something she totally supports. She then proceeded to tell me, “you know, my fans always come to me and ask me about me and my music, but you came to me and all you want me to do is sign this. That is so fucking inspiring. When people see this, I think you’re going to inspire people and change a lot of people’s lives.”
I won’t speak too much about the details of my personal life, but we did go into deep detail about how hard it was to be “different” and being the “outcast” if you will. When I got to the topic of the hip replacement surgeries and experimental therapies, she told me something very personal, which was, “when you wake up tomorrow, Emma, I want you to look in the mirror and say ‘I’m not going to be in pain today.’ Keep telling it to yourself until it becomes true. And by the way, I have a feeling the (therapy) will take this time.” She mentioned a LOT of the details about what being bullied in school was like with her, and how she got through it. To lighten the mood a bit, I started talking about how we make jokes about myself and how I genuinely find it hilarious. At this point, I couldn’t resist – I opened up my Siri and said “Siri, what is my name?” to which she responded, “You’re Emma, but since we’re friends, I get to call you ‘Cripple Bitch.’” And Gaga literally laughed out loud. She thought that was great and she said, “I think it’s really cool that you can joke like that with your friends.”