Esther?

Why would you change your name to Esther? I am trying to understand, but it is hard. I would understand taking your husband’s name. If I had, I would have the same last name as Chuck D. I love my husband, and I love Chuck D., but I have worked hard for my name, and I tend to think that it is important to hang onto.

You were the biggest public force in entertainment in history. You have changed the definition of what it means to be a woman in the business. You have redefined the world, and challenged the system that would at turns adore you, vilify you, worship you, hate you. And you take it all in stride. I don’t wish to blame your religious beliefs, which I respect totally. I understand Cat Stevens’ name change, and that was entirely a decision based on faith. Yet I forget The Cat’s new name, and that causes problems when searching for his new material to download.

Prince changed his name to that symbol, then changed it to the Artist, and then to the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, and then back to Prince again, but that wasn’t because of religion, or that he was crazy. He was trying to escape being a slave to the music industry, and that his name had become a commodity, a product, and we all know he is much more than that.

But what does Esther mean? I admit, I hate the name, only because it is a common name for Korean American girls my age. There is one particularly heinous Esther that I grew up with, slightly older than me, who was a terror, but physically perfect in most every way. She made my life a living hell, until sometime in her early adulthood, she began to look like her personality, and she was not pretty on the inside. It was good revenge for the sake of girls who feel tormented by society’s standards of pretty, and how we are judged accordingly, and a kind of soulful justice for me, because she was such a bitch and completely deserved it. Perhaps I have too much baggage with that name to accept it. I don’t know the meaning of the word.

Madonna has changed meaning because of you. They used to be referring to the mother of God, but now, it is your name. You had the power to make the Virgin Mary fade into ecumenical history, while you remained the reigning Madonna, the mother of us all. I will still refer to your past and important self as Madonna, but I feel like I don’t know you anymore. Oh Madonna, Madonna, why hast thou forsaken us? I still love you as I ever did, but it is like you have killed off the warrior you once were. Perhaps being a warrior is impractical if you are a mother and a wife, but then again, you never have to drive a minivan or carpool, so you could still do both. You did everything. You were everything I ever wanted to be. I was the Madonna Wannabe that never stopped wanting to be.

Once, I was kicking a drunk and belligerent trannie out of my house, at 4am, after I found an ancient Buddhist relic in her magenta clutch. As she stormed out of the front door, she screamed, “You aren’t Madonna!” The comment stung, because I wanted to be you so badly. And I still do. I just don’t want to be Esther.

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