I’m pretty sure Madonna is ruining my life.
The Celebration Tour starts this weekend and, of course, I’m going to be in London for opening night. After that, I’m going to two other European shows, before I begin my U.S. run of six more shows (so far).
Can I afford all this? Not really. But if I skip too many shows, I’ll feel like I’m missing out and then probably get really depressed. Each show has the potential for something new or unique to happen, and offers me the possibility of a brief connection with my queen.
Not only that, but my tickets are expensive AF. I need to be on the floor by the stage, or it’s not even worth it to me. I tried getting cheaper tickets before and it just wasn’t the same experience.
Needless to say, my credit cards are almost maxed out for all the travel and hotels, and I’m thinking about taking out a personal loan to have more cash on hand when I go.
My friends tell me I’m crazy and that I need to chill out, but they don’t understand how much Madonna and these shows mean to me. This tour is four decades in the making, and who knows how many tours she’ll have left after this? Plus after the pandemic, I just NEED this.
I know this will probably have major consequences in my life, or at least my finances. Why does this woman hold so much power over me?
Dear Material Boy,
Fandom can be a powerful drug. And Madonna, maybe more than any other artist, has always been a champion for the LGBTQ+ community. That said, admiring an artist is different than feeling an obsessive desire to immerse ourselves in their existence, especially at the expense of our own stability and functioning.
If you’re buying tickets that are putting your financial health at risk, there’s probably some underlying psychological or emotional payoff that’s serving you. So let’s talk about that.
You may be experiencing what is known as a para-social relationship, which occurs when you experience a one-sided, emotional attachment with a celebrity. Your thoughts might center on the person during the day, you might wonder what they’re thinking or how they’re feeling, or check social media account to stay on top of what they’re doing.
Often times, if you are fearful, avoidant, or anxious in your attachment style with others, having a one-sided relationship with a celebrity can make you feel connected to someone. It brings a feeling of well-being without having to feel the stress of an actual in-person relationship.
For others, it’s more about a desire to bolster our sense of importance or ego through our brushes with someone we deem as exceptional. If you feel “seen” by your celebrity idol, it can be extremely intoxicating, leaving you with a feeling of self-importance or worthiness. When Madonna gives you a special wink or call-out on stage, my guess is it gives you a huge rush. Unfortunately, as with other drugs, you’ll eventually need an even bigger hit to get the same high next time.
Supporting and enjoying your favorite artist is a wonderful thing, but not when it’s creating havoc in you life. If the negative consequences outweigh the benefits, it might be time to make a change. “Harm reduction” might include allowing yourself just one or two shows, and then working to bolster your mood, self-worth, and real life connections in other, less destructive (and expensive!) ways.
Going to fewer Madonna concerts doesn’t mean you’re any less of a fan, or that she means any less to you. It simply means you’re putting yourself first, even before your queen. Evita would have it no other way.