As I made my way to the Cheltenham Literature Festival this weekend, I decided to stock up on magazines for the train ride. I hadn’t bought a magazine in a long time so it was quite a treat for me. After I had made myself comfortable in my train seat I opened up Harper’s Bazaar and I came across an essay Madonna wrote. I very nearly bypassed it because I was thinking ‘what could be left for her say that I wouldn’t already know.’
Madonna, as those who know me know well, has been a part of my life since I was ten years old. My love (prefer that word than obsession) for her has taken me to all corners of the globe and while I cringe at the money I have spent to see her – a great time was had so I have no regrets whatsoever. Whilst I no longer have the same sentiment for her, I will always be grateful she played a seminal role in my life; for through her I had a different education alongside my private school upbringing. I learnt it was okay to think differently than those around me and that there was nothing wrong with me for having those thoughts, I learnt about kabuki theatre, I read Memoirs of a Geisha(Arthur Golden) and the Power of Now(Ekhart Tolle) long before they were popular, I learnt that those living with HIV/AIDS deserved our compassion not our judgement. You have to remember this was before the internet and I was in Wellington, New Zealand pop. 100,000 approx. where the latest addition of Vanity Fair would take 6 weeks to come into the local Whitcoulls. To a girl who had an insatiable lust for knowledge, having the influence of Madonna in my life helped to quell that thirst.
So I can be excused for thinking I knew all there was to know about Madonna but no, she has the ability to surprise me still. This time with the sad fact that she was raped when she was younger. This revelation saddened me but then I realised there was no need to be sad. The event happened over thirty years ago and she didn’t volunteer this information before to garner publicity or sympathy, she was simply telling the world now as part of a reflective piece on key moments of her life AND she did not and has never played a victim – she has just got on with it and set about achieving her goals AND that’s the Madonna that I will always admire. The girl – when asked by Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1984 what she hoped would happen, not only in 1984 but for the rest of her professional life – who answered without hesitation “To rule the world.” If you are interested in reading a gentler, reflective Madonna… MadonnaHarpersbazaar