My Childhood Hero Makes Me Stronger

My Childhood Hero Makes Me Stronger

It was a crisp evening as I queued up with 2,000 strangers to see Madonna at The London Palladium. My 20-minute wait seemed to last for hours. My stomach had butterflies. Would she make it tonight? Could she cancel at this late hour?

I’ve been a Madonna fan since I was 5. I think I have seen her perform nine times. I have traveled to foreign countries to catch her worldwide tours and lined up for days to see her up close.

So there I was, hoping to see my idol in the flesh once more. A hip and knee injury had forced her to limit her performances and cancel tour dates. There was no guarantee we would see her until she stepped out onto the stage. 

But when she appeared, the noise in that narrow, historic theater was deafening. Few audiences scream as loudly as Madonna fans. Her injuries were visible and she seemed stiff, but her quick wit and feisty charm were still there. Her voice sounded more beautiful than ever, with a new syrupy quality, but full of her trademark tenacious warmth.

Every show affects me differently.

On this occasion, I was broken in more ways than one. I felt depleted, weakened, and old. My energy levels were not at their best and I had struggled with styling my hair and getting dressed. But Madonna did her magic. Watching her power through every song — standing on that stage despite her physical limitations — reminded me of my own capabilities.

columnist pic
Madonna’s London performance did not disappoint. (Photo by Jessie Madrigal)

I am taken back to when I was 11, in makeup and a mini skirt, vogueing in front of befuddled nuns and shocked parents at my school. Channeling my hero, I fearlessly embraced my inner pop star. Other parents congratulated my own, noting that my lip-syncing was perfect. I felt like I could do anything.

I reach for Madonna’s music whenever life presents me with an obstacle that I think I can’t overcome, or when my brain tells me that I am broken beyond repair. Or on a recent weekend, when a scary flare-up pinned me to my bed and reduced me to a pile of tears and fear.

During her last song in London, “I Rise,” my emotions got the best of me. I sobbed (shout out to the theater for switching the lights on as soon as it was over). Since the concert the song’s lyrics have been on a loop in my brain:

“Died a thousand times / managed to survive / I can’t break down now

… I rise, I rise / I rise up above it all.

The truth is that my endometriosis makes my knees buckle more often than not. Right now, I am broken into a thousand pieces. But all I have to do is listen to Madonna’s music or watch her perform to feel whole again. I marvel at her persona for one good reason: I see myself. Deep down, I know I am as resilient as Madonna.

I know I’ve got this.

Cherish the people who inspire you. Channel them and celebrate the joy they bring. I will be playing Madonna albums for the rest of my life. And with every song, I will come alive once more. I will be stronger.


Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.