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Treat Yourself: The Healing Power of Kindness – Madonna’s Celebration Tour

    Treat Yourself: The Healing Power of Kindness – Madonna’s Celebration Tour

    Disclaimer: The sensation of happiness is ephemeral, meaning it can go as quickly as it arrived. Therefore, we should not chase happiness. However, we can look for ways to induce it in our day to day lives.

    Working from home and watching the stream of late afternoon sunlight fade, I was blindsided by a meeting where I was suddenly laid off.

    It was 4:00 PM on a Tuesday in the waning days of December 2023. Numb and shocked, I was proud I hadn’t cried during the meeting.

    And, to be totally candid, I was absolutely relieved. I had been miserable at work for months and had been searching for new employment opportunities, but to have my power to quit on my own terms stripped from me felt like a personal attack.

    The light that you could never see
    It shines inside, you can’t take that from me

    Madonna – “Live to Tell”

    The next morning the emotional bruising of my lay off stung. The numbness had worn off, and I was feeling depressed. When I am rejected, even if it’s not personal, it’s far too easy for me to encode it as such. This also opens a floodgate of memories of rejection, and I start to dwell on all the ways I have been rejected, let others down, disappointed myself, not been enough, etc. It’s a nasty slippery slope.

    Don’t try to run I can keep up with you
    Nothing can stop me from trying

    Madonna – “Open Your Heart”

    That Wednesday, in an attempt to try and avoid taking a nosedive into depression, I decided to touch grass, as the youth say. I put on my coat and decided that I would walk over a mile to run my errand to buy deodorant because it would require me to be outside for an extended time, breathe in fresh air, listen to music and just let go of the bad. After all, I now had basically secured PTO through the holidays because of my modest severance package.

    Tell me everything I’m not
    But don’t ever tell me to stop

    Madonna – “Don’t Tell Me”

    Walking down Flatbush Avenue I made a Facebook post about seeing that the concert was happening, but also highlighted how I chose to make the mature and fiscally responsible decision to not purchase a ticket. Likewise, when I got home I talked to my partner about my decision. My partner responded with, “If it’ll make you happy, you should buy a ticket.” Friends and family members echoed those sentiments in the comments on my Facebook post. “If there are $50 tickets my broke ass would go but I’m in a show tonight,” one friend’s comment exclaimed.

    Leaving the Target at Atlantic Terminal, I started walking down Flatbush Avenue when a halo of red light beaming down from Barclays Center’s wrap around marquee billboard caught my eye. “Madonna: The Celebration Tour. 8:30 PM LIVE TONIGHT,” the signage read. “Celebrate Madonna” the vinyl lettering applied to the windows above the doors read.

    “I wonder if StubHub has any day-of affordable tickets,” I asked myself. And, before I knew it, my fingers were tapping away at my iPhone screen. To my surprise, there were actually a number of tickets available in the range of $50-$70, before fees and taxes. “But, you’re unemployed. Buying a ticket would be so irresponsible. You shouldn’t.”

    A little backstory: I had originally wanted tickets to this tour for my birthday because Madonna was originally going to play NYC on my actual birthday. My partner, with his AmEx ready, waited through the digital line for the AmEx presale. Once he saw the ticket prices, he called me and said, “We can see Madonna, or, for the same price, I could take you to Mexico City for a week.” Traveling won, and I figured I’d catch this tour on HBO or similar.

    With multiple voices of reason telling me I should get a ticket, I went for it. And I didn’t just get a $50 ticket for the back row of the venue. Instead, I splurged a bit, and got a ticket for the front row of upper level section 217. I chose this seat because it would grant me an unobstructed view of the multiple stages without being off to one side or the other. Since this was going to be my first time to see Madonna, I really wanted a proper seat for an audience with the queen!

    Love is all we need
    Everything I give you
    All comes back to me

    Madonna – “Nothing Really Matters”

    The concert, Madonna’s first time to ever commit to doing a “greatest hits” tour, was nothing short of magical. And profound. In a loosely autobiographical way, the show told the story of the star, tracing her career from her arrival in New York City with $35 in her pocket and a head full of dreams of being a dancer to being the internationally recognized and undisputed Queen of Pop.

    If we took a holiday
    Took some time to celebrate
    Just one day out of life
    It would be, it would be so nice

    Madonna – “Holiday”

    Madonna’s 2+ hour set was packed with well-known hits and some fan favorite deep cuts from her expansive, four-decade catalog of music. She opened the show with “Nothing Really Matters,” where she tells the listener that the folly of youth is to selfishly only seek happiness when truly “love is all we need.” In a crowd of around 14,000 people, it felt like the 65 year old diva was speaking directly to me. And the coolest thing was I knew each of her fans in that room felt the same way.

    Across her set, Madonna’s lyrics of overcoming obstacles and heartaches and preserving in spite of people not believing in her filled my metaphorical cup. I felt healed. I was happy. I was grateful I gifted myself this incredible experience. If Madonna could survive every odd set against her for more than 40 years, I could survive this lay off and emerge into my next chapter stronger than I was in the closing of this one. These feelings were perfectly captured in her cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” which outside of the rainbow laser light show ebullience of her performance of “Ray of Light,” was the most cathartic aspect of this set for me.


    @declarke85

    Tuesday, I got laid off. Wednesday, as a gift to myself, I bought a day of ticket to see @madonna’s CelebrationTour. It’s the kindest thing I’ve ever done for myself, and it taught me something. We need to truly treat ourselves to heal ourselves! #greenscreen #music #concert #Madonna #TreatYourself

    ♬ original sound – David Clarke


    About David E. Clarke

    David E. Clarke is a Public Relations and Communications expert. He is currently a contributor to OutSmart Magazine, and has written for outlets such as Out.com, BroadwayWorld.com, Playbill and others. He lives with his partner in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.


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