Selena Gomez is Sad Like Us - A Review on My Mind & Me (SPOILERS AHEAD)
Selena Gomez’s documentary, My Mind and Me, was released on Apple TV and I finally made the time to watch it.
Written byTheresa Myrill
Like everyone else, Selena Gomez was just Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend that allegedly was tossed to the side for his current wife Hailey Bieber. Over the past 4 years, Selena Gomez released a slew of cryptic post-break-up songs like Lose You To Love Me, in which we all watched her final attempt to speak her truth and move on from the perpetual narrative around that infamous breakup. So much so that the recent picture of her and Hailey apparently playing nice at the Academy for Motion Picture Gala, earlier last month –it seemed like the saga was finally over. But after watching this documentary, there really was more to the story; much more.
In short, Selena Gomez is Bipolar. She opens by talking to the camera about how shitty of a friend she has been over the years through her highs and lows of the disease and how she is undeniably grateful to her friends and family for hanging in there with her over the years, since she said, sometimes she didn't deserve their forgiveness. At first, I didn't buy it – there is something so adolescent about Selena Gomez’s face that just didn't allow me to think about her with any complexity but after watching this, my mind is surely changed.
Let's go back. I think many people forget just how successful Selena Gomez is. She's been working consistently since she was a young child, moving from a recurring role on Barney, through Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney, a CEO of an incredibly successful beauty brand, Rare Beauty, and her recent smash Only Murders In the Building on Hulu. However, it's hard to believe it's the same Selena when she flashes back to footage from her 2016 tour that was canceled after only 55 shows. She was unable to finish her tour due to some type of psychotic breakdown that was splashed across the news. From self-doubt, to grief, to body issues – you see Selena struggling, and I mean STRUGGLING to keep it together through rehearsals and performances, breaking down to her staff over and over again about almost every aspect of the show. It's a train-wreck you can’t look away from.
As she takes the time to get some clarity over her mental health and finally gains some control over her mind, she travels home to see her childhood and current best friend. She visits her hometown, greeted by ecstatic kids at the town school, almost reminding the viewer of just how inspiring Selena Gomez really is. It is at this moment that I was reminded that Selena Gomez is just a Mexican girl that was born to two high school kids in Texas and she was just like everyone else.
But things really started to get grim after her trip to Kenya. Listen Gomez really killed it with her 2020 single, Lose You to Love Me. It was considered a huge success along with her Rare album that she released the same year. Just as she was riding high on the acclaim her single and album were receiving she finally felt confident enough to perform her single at the AMAs and then take a philanthropy trip to Kenya with the controversial organization, We Charity and then set to travel to London to do press. Let's just say her performance at the AMAs was not good. Her vocals were shaky and you could clearly see her confidence was not there yet. I am not going to say it was as bad as the Britney Spears 2007 VMA performance of Gimme More, but it was a close second. Not a great situation for a singer who is told over and over again that she can’t sing.
Immediately after the fall out from her less that desirable performance at the AMA's she travels to Africa. Her time in Kenya is bittersweet. While Gomez attempts to connect with the women and children in Kenya that she is legitimately helping her like many celebrities seems to struggle with some existential questions,
“Is this the real world?” “Am I doing enough?”
Her assistant in a very uncomfortable scene responds to a very melancholy Gomez,
“This is their real world, this isn't yours.”
And at the moment it was hard to not feel bad for Gomez. It was evident that she was on a clear downward spiral, most likely brought on by her anxiety which was heightened by her lupus and her bipolar diagnosis. In one of the scenes, Gomez asks a group of high school students if they believe in love and if they are focused on looking for it. The female student responds so profoundly to Gomez saying,
“You don’t start building the house from the roof, you start with the foundation. So until I finish my schools, I can't focus on those things.”
Gomez is shocked by her candor– advice she probably needed years earlier.
The juxtaposition of a Kenya trip with all the pomp and circumstance of a press tour in London is probably jarring enough to trigger anyone, but I feel like her people really didn’t think this one through. Gomez goes from literally building schools in the African outback to flying first class to a 5-star hotel where she goes into hair and makeup transforming Gomez back into the superstar we know as Selena, but with this new darkness. It is so clearly permeating into her general disposition, her hair and makeup both dark and black and the disagreements seem to pour in with her staff, someone saying,
“You just don’t seem happy”
Only to have her respond with,
“What do you want from me?”
This is a question that seems to resonate throughout this entire documentary and an answer that she seems to be searching for, even to this day.
In short, Selena is sad. However, she is grateful. It's hard to watch someone with everything struggle to find a reason to get out of bed when you can really tell she wants to, almost fighting for it. There are such genuine moments of sweetness and tenderness in Selena. She greets everyone with positivity and humility, especially when she visits the people from her hometown. But I was left watching this documentary with this sad feeling I have felt before, almost a dread of “this isn’t going to end well.”
I hope she finds the inner peace and purpose she is looking for. A search that almost all embark on but seldom find.