Today is Madonna’s 53rd birthday. That makes this day my personal sacred holiday. To say that I love Maddy is an understatement of the greatest of proportions. I LOVE Madonna. I’ve loved her ever since I heard Holiday for the first time. That was in 1984 while I was living in Rome with my parents. I was this awkward, shy, odd, misplaced, quiet confused, foreign girl. By the way, in many ways, I’m still most of those things to this day. But I digress. Anyway, I had recently moved to Italy from Iran. At the time, not knowing the language, not having a single friend my age and going through puberty all at once wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.
I felt alien- for normal adolescent reasons, as well as much more complicated cultural, logistical and emotional reasons. I felt like a fish out of water. Over night, I found myself in a new country with a different language, culture and way of life. I could barely keep up with all that was happening around me.
In the midst of the storm that was my life, suddenly out of the blue there she was: colorful, provocative, unusual, irreverent, odd, creative, out-of-place, beautiful, lively, funny, outspoken, open and powerful. I saw her and, like a little duckling who imprints onto the first thing she sees, I immediately attached to her.
She has taught me a lot- to express myself, to feel and be in charge of my life, to embrace being different, to excel at being unique, to love being a fish out of water and to explore cultures, ideas, fashion and hair colors. She’s been Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Marie Antoinette, Dita, Geisha, Shiva, Madge and everything in between. Through her, I’ve learned about life, love, motherhood, strength, courage, reinvention and exploration. She gave me fishnets, red lipstick, berets, crucifixes and thigh high boots. I’ve even learned a bit history just by being inspired by her.
She made it ok to be dramatic, creative, artistic and visually interesting. Her heartbreaks gave birth to the songs that became the soundtrack to my heartbreaks. Her journey into motherhood and her fierce love for her babies have created room for me to look to the future and freely love my babies in waiting. Her courage to go against conventionality came in handy to my unconventional heart, which was trapped in a very traditional, conservative and conventional culture. She’s given me laughs, tears, unbelievable joy and some killer dance moves just by doing what she does.
She brought my frustrated dancer out. She let my frustrated performer out. She brought my outrageous side out. And she’s my reminder that life is too short to conform, settle or shrink. She’s the one who teaches me over and over again that if I feel different from the rest of the world, I should show it proudly.
I saw her in concert for the first time in Dallas in May 1990. To this day, that night is one the most memorable experiences of my life. Since then, I’ve seen her many times. And every time I walk away even more mesmerized by this tiny Italian American force of nature. I’ve had the chance to see Lola and Rocco up close and felt so much love for them. And, I can say that I had the chance to speak to Madonna on the phone, which is another event straight from my bucket list.
She is with me always and I gravitate to her, musically, visually, artistically, stylistically and, dare I say, spiritually. Madonna is a the one person in the world I freely admit to emulating and proudly imitating. And she is the only person who was mentioned by name during our wedding vows.
She’s my mother, big sister, best friend, life coach, therapist, stylist, guidance counselor and inspirer-in-chief. I have loved every moment I’ve spent watching her and being inspired by her since that very first time in 1984.
The is only one Madonna. There’s no one like her and there will never be another one ever again. She is one of a kind and once in a blue moon. Every one else is just a copy-a talented, beautiful and at times odd copy. That’s because when Madonna built herself up from that Midwestern girl from Michigan, she broke the mold.
So, raise your glass to the one and only. All bow down to the queen: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.
I love you Maddy!