Relay: My Rebel Heart

“But, Mommy, please, it’s my hair.”

This past September I went to see Madonna in concert at Madison Square Garden with my concert buddies, Yuka, Maxine, and Tom. 

Yuka and I drove to the city. When we arrived we were both tired, since we had worked all day, especially Yuka, who is a talented costume designer and was on call for a film set at 6 that morning. We joined Maxine and her husband, Tom, who were already at the concert — Tom, who once told us Madonna was his baby sitter. She would bring her boyfriend over while baby-sitting, he said, and told him not to tell his parents because she really loves to baby-sit. Sounds like Madonna. 

Before the concert started, we all appeared calm; I was falling asleep, since it was way past my bedtime. At 10 she came out dancing and singing with her entourage, and we had a surge of adrenaline. Later I was emotional as I sang along with her classic hits like “Vogue,” “True Blue,” and “Burning Up,” to name just a few. At some point during the concert Madonna said she was feeling nostalgic and that she had played at Madison Square Garden 30 years ago. She was lost in sentiment, and so was I. Her music was what I enjoyed listening to in my younger years. She was my idol and still is! Not only was I in the same place as she was, but we were also both in the same nostalgic mood. I was in total bliss.

Part of the lyrics to her new song “Rebel Heart” touched me the most. The part when she sang, “Hearing my father say: ‘Told you so, told you so. Why can’t you be like the other girls?’ I said: ‘Oh no, that’s not me and I don’t think that it’ll ever be.’ ”

It reminded me of my oldest daughter, Kelsey, who just became a teenager and started to show some signs of rebellion. Over the summer, she wanted to dye her hair blue. I said, “No, it would ruin your beautiful long hair. Why can’t you be like your best friend, Emma? She didn’t dye her hair and see how healthy her hair looks.” 

“But, Mommy, please, it’s my hair.”

“Yes, it’s your hair,” I replied, but I get to look at it and wish you didn’t have blue hair.” Eventually, after numerous pleas, I gave in. I said, “If you only dye the ends of your hair.”  

“Okay, Mommy,” she said in her sweetest tone. She dyed her hair at my parents’ house with my sister’s help.

The blue hair was not blue, but a seaweed green color, which was perfect because that weekend at a beach party we were going to she could blend in with the seaweed while swimming in the ocean. But she ended up dying half of it, rather than just the ends. 

I was mad and I couldn’t help but try to find comfort from my colleague the next day. Kathy said, “Don’t worry; this is nothing. Let her make her own decisions and her own mistakes.” 

I thought about it and I guess she’s right. But I’ll still be there to help and guide her with good decisions, whether she likes it or not.

Last week, she wanted to trim off all the dye, because that part of her hair looked all dry and unhealthy. Excerpts from that song came to my mind, “Told you so, told you so.”

Now she has the cutest hairstyle for the holidays. She didn’t look bad with the blue-green hair. But I like her new hairstyle better! 

Just wondering what my young rebel heart will do next. 


Yupay Vong works in The Star’s production department.