Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Courage To Share

I was watching The Wendy Williams Show the other day, and the delightful Richard Simmons was a guest. I grew up seeing the infomercials for Richard’s “Sweating to the Oldies” and other workout videos, and I have always loved his spirit. He has such a positive attitude and always brings joy and inspiration. As he burst through the audience, shimmying in his colorful fringed leotard and circling around the couch to hug Wendy, I was thrilled to hear what he had to share.

If you’re not very familiar with Wendy Williams (how you ‘doin?), she always gets straight to the point with her interviewing, tackling the tough issues first. She immediately asked him about rumors that he was in poor health after he made a guest appearance on Dancing with the Stars to support Chaz Bono. When questioned about recent claims that he was sick, he shared with Wendy that he has had eating disorders for years and it is currently still hard for him to swallow. Wendy listened and then deflected to her next question, possibly because she was unsure how to respond. Although I was annoyed by Wendy’s inability to provide an appropriate follow-up question, I was still quite moved. I said to myself, here is a man who is famous for his weight loss programs and positive spirit, bearing to the world that he has and still suffers from eating issues. It always inspires me when celebrities and other public figures are so open about their mental health issues. Not only does it give me the confidence to be open about my own mental health, but it can also be a stigma-fighting force that can touch millions. Check out the clip here, and let me know what you think:

Rhonda Marie

Rhonda Marie Bynum is a member of ETD's Ambassador Council as well as an ensemble member who has appeared onstage with ETD numerous times. Click here to read more posts from Rhonda Marie.

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