I watched your Billboard acceptance speech this week. Through my years as a fan, I have always wondered if you would read something if I ever wrote. I figured it is time to say what I would like to you, and hopefully you see it. What do I have to lose? I became a fan, also living in NY in the 1980’s. Your music was fun. Your fashion was amazing. Your self-expression beyond compare. I was an elementary school girl, also growing up in a Catholic family – all be it Irish, not Italian. I wore lace gloves and hair bows, rolled down my socks and had jelly bracelets up my arm. I often heard the nay-sayers. “Madonna. Oh. Why!?” But my friends and I continued to be inspired. My mom was a fan too.
I moved to Massachusetts. I got a tad bit older. Then your album, “Like a Prayer” came out. It was then, I believe that you were no longer were just a pop star. You became an icon. I also learned something more about you – the death of your mother. By the time you had released all of your singles from that album, I too had lost my mother to cancer. Now we had more in common than just being Catholic. I was an only child, with an Irish Marine, who didn’t know how to cope, as a dad. Your music became more to me than my favorite artist. I started to look up to you as someone who had made it through these same struggles. Not only did you make it through, you persevered and questioned the stigmas society had set forth on how to behave in these many hats we shared. Having sadness in one’s life did not mean having to play the martyr. I watched “Truth or Dare” with a lump in my throat as you bravely went to your mother’s grave and mourned for the world to see.
In 1998, you came out with the album, “Ray of Light”. I was a senior in college. The calm and wisdom expressed in your lyrics inspired me to try something else – yoga. Yoga became another saving grace for me. By this time I had also endured something else you and many other women had – rape. With all of these circumstances and life events, I was looking for something to heal my soul and my broken heart. Yoga began the practice of making myself whole again. I am now a yoga instructor. I love when I teach or go to workshops and I always start my story with, “I came to yoga because of Madonna.”
The parallels of our journeys have continued, like having children at the same time. Most importantly though, you have taught me to continue to shine my light, to never give up. When I saw your speech Monday, I admired how you showed your emotions and true self to the public, as you always have, that you let your tears show. I know you have been lonely in your position. But please know that your sacrifices and on lonely nights, you have never been truly alone. Your gifts and love, that you have continued to share, despite people who can’t or don’t want to see the beauty in life, has been received and has helped heal more people than you realize. In an era of change, especially for women, I would never have wanted another champion. So thank you for always being unapologetically yourself. Please don’t ever change.
With greatest gratitude,
PS: I had my teen daughters watch your speech. Onto another generation of women!