Dear Demi

Dear Demi,

Thank you for making an accessible and honest documentary about your life thus far. I finally got to watch Simply Complicated today after wanting to for a while. One of the reasons I did not watch it until now is because I did not want the experience to be over. I wanted to savor the intimate connection with your story that viewers are able to have through the documentary. I am so grateful that you chose to stream the documentary on YouTube, as it is free to users and thus more accessible than other platforms like Netflix or Hulu.

One of the things I think your documentary does best is expose the discontinuity between how people portray themselves publicly and what they are struggling with privately. I cannot imagine how exponentially this phenomenon is exaggerated when you are a celebrity. In the documentary, you and people close to you discuss your suffering at the hands of bullies, your previous drug and alcohol addictions, your bipolar disorder, and your eating disorder, all of which were happening as you were making music as well as acting in movies and shows. Each one of these things is a lot to deal with on its own. Therefore, dealing with them all at the same time, while being constantly watched and scrutinized, is an immense struggle. What I appreciate most about your documentary is that you do not idealize your behaviors; rather you admit to being human and facing challenges, some of which you coped with in destructive ways, but all of which you have learned and grown from. 

Congratulations on five years sober! That is an impressive accomplishment, even more so because you are in the entertainment industry, where I assume it is even harder to maintain that lifestyle. In the documentary, you mention that you have not relapsed with drugs or alcohol, but that you have relapsed with binging and purging food. Having someone so talented, badass, hard-working, and confident be vocal about these issues is so important. While alcohol and drugs are not necessary to life, food is, and that is what makes an eating disorder the constant, all-consuming struggle you describe. I applaud your everyday efforts and activism around mental health and bullying. I applaud that you tell it like it is and no longer try to maintain a painful and exhausting facade. But mostly I applaud your positive influence on those who can see themselves reflected in your experiences to be the best version of themselves they possibly can and do what they’re passionate about.

Your passion for music is not just an outlet for you, but also for so many others. I can hear the heart and soul you put into every song, and the documentary shows just how hard you work to perfect each line of your songs vocally. Your vocals are amazing by the way. There are some Disney Channel stars-turned-singers who cannot actually hit a note live, but you kill it every time. Thanks for being you, and, as the tattoos on your wrists say: “Stay Strong.”

Sincerely,

Carolyn

*If you cannot tell already, I am a huge Demi Lovato fan, and I highly recommend you watch her documentary Simply Complicated on YouTube and check out her latest album Tell Me You Love Me. She will be going on tour in 2018 with DJ Khaled, so this may be your chance to see her live!*