As soon as the lockdown guidelines were announced across the UK last week, I made the decision to move back in with my parents. As you can imagine after three years at university, this has been a somewhat challenging situation to adjust to! It has been made even more testing due to the fact father has had to lay off many of the staff due to them calling in sick. We are down to one cook and a mere handful of cleaners. It’s a nightmare! Thankfully we have a solid internet connection and I have been able to occupy myself on social media the past few days. I say ‘occupy’, but that’s more of an understatement. It’s been more of an essential lifeline to me.
If it wasn’t for the celebrities out there putting themselves on the front line this past couple of weeks in the midst of a global crisis, I’m not sure how I would have remained relatively sane. It’s times like this when you realize just how valuable these people are. Yes, we go on about nurses and doctors and yes, I am sure they are also doing good work, but morale is the most important weapon we have in the fight against this pandemic (which Trump calls ‘the China virus’ but I am absolutely NOT going to give him the satisfaction of having me repeat his vile racist propaganda).
One celebrity who has stood out for me so far is Madonna. Her ‘Quarantine Diaries’ video updates have been a breath of fresh air, or a ventilator if you like, on my timeline. Her ‘fried fish’ song was an inspiration to us all as she struggled to regain her balance after a tricky turn, she displayed courage and dignity the like of which I have no doubt many of us had never witnessed before.
When I saw the video she posted on Saturday in which she was surrounded by expensive medical equipment with carers around her checking her vitals, it gave me hope that father’s private health insurance will ensure that perhaps I myself might be able to have access to such assistance if I should be in need of it. It sends out such a positive message to us all, and you cannot put a price on that.
On Mother’s Day she posted a video of her adopted daughters telling her how wonderful she is and how much they appreciate her giving them a better life because of course she did, she’s Madonna! It brought tears to my eyes to see those two children give thanks to Madonna with absolutely no prompting whatsoever. The obediently dignified way in which one of her children read from a script she’d been given was so very moving. As she occasionally struggled to pronounce a word she was unfamiliar with, it brought it home to me just how amazing Madonna is. Madonna truly is wonderful (as her adopted daughters testified to the world in front of a camera, so there is no denying it).
Yes, Madonna taking the time out of her day to let us know how incredible and talented Madonna is, is worth more than a billion intensive care nurses in my opinion. Just when I thought her generosity was at its peak, she posted another video on Sunday night (since deleted) in which she gave us an insight into the intellectual magnitude of this pop icon. She spoke words of such intense truth and deep impact that I wept.
‘That’s the thing about COVID-19,’ she said, casually gripping the taps of her bath while ominous harp music played in the background. ‘It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.’
‘It’s the great equalizer, and what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it.’ Madonna went on to drop this devastatingly profound statement: ‘What’s terrible about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways, and what’s wonderful about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways.’
As I sat there naked in a clawfoot bathtub, submerged in milk, surrounded by floating rose petals, it struck me that she was one hundred percent correct. Madonna and I are very much alike. The veracity of her philosophical meanderings nearly floored me. As I stared into her eyes, I saw Madonna for the first time, as a woman. A woman who like me, knew the pain of laying off at least half of her staff, while having to deal with the anguish of getting very little attention from people in the real world during a global pandemic.
In that moment I really did feel that Madonna and I were equal.