Y’all know I am not shy when I have something to say, but this one is harder than most for me. I am not a “fan” of Britney’s music, I don’t listen to it, and I don’t like her music, but I am a fan of the woman.

I remember when I heard her say that, I cried, I legit wept for this young woman who said those words in a documentary about her and her then husband Federline.

I remember when I heard Lucky for the first time, I wept then too, because for the first time in my life I think that Britney was being honestly Britney. When she said “I never get what I want” the people in the scene with her laughed, like she was joking, but it was obvious by the look on her face, that she wasn’t kidding.

I felt those words like a punch to the gut and I have thought about them often over the years because for a lot f years I absolutely didn’t get what I want. I didn’t want to invested in rape and domination fetishes, it was a biproduct of the abuse that I experienced growing up.

I think about Britney often and I wonder if she’s doing okay, if she is happy, and it’s ironic to me because I think that if Britney and I had gone to the same highschool we probably would not have been friends. She is the popular cute blonde chick, and I am the weird outspoken Black chick, in my school the two did absolutely not, get along.

The thing is, with new documentary effort everyone is talking about where the blame lies for how her life turned out, the answer is all of us. Every single one of us who consumed the rumor sheets, who fell for the drama of Britney’s “tragic” experience, the photographers, the paparazzi, her family, her friends, her ex-husbands…every person that used Britney Spears to make a buck is at fault for what she is going through now.

Sunny said this on the view and I cosign it, she’s well enough to work, but she’s not well enough to enjoy the fruits of her labors without people sponging off of her, really?

When we’re talking about mental health, the topic of Britney Spears often comes up as an example, but what no one is talking about until right now, is how complicit the people are around us to contributing to our mental health experience.

There are times I get so frustrated with my mom that I will end up lashing out and I am always responsible for my behavior, but there is this expectation that we never discuss what led up to the moment of our blow out, because our behavior matters more then the behavior of those around us.

This can’t be true anymore. We as a society need to decide that everyone is going to be responsible for their behavior, we have to decide that if we’re going to force children to be accountable for their actions, then the adults in the lives of those children, must be accountable for their behavior as well.

I was thinking about this yesterday, all the gangsters from my past life that the thing they care most about in the world is their children. Not their wives or girlfriends, not their money, not their power, but their children, and I kept thinking…but if that’s true why do you let yourself flit in and out of prison?

I remember once I got so angry at my mom that I couldn’t speak. I legit lost my ability to speak, and I was so frustrated with what I was trying to say not being able to come out, I threw a small container of yogurt at one of my mom’s photos.

I was so dissapointed in myself, but I legitimately could not speak, no matter how hard I tried, and when she asked me why I did that, I honestly didn’t have an answer. I knew then what I know now, I was trying to tell my mom that I had been gang raped in my own room the night before, and I was unable to do so. I would open my mouth, and nothing would come out.

She of course chalked this up to bipolar disorder, or behavioral issues, back then they weren’t sure what was “wrong”with me, and the truth of it is that there was nothing wrong with me. I had been abused and no one protected me, and more than that, no one taught me how to stand up for myself.

I think that’s why I understood where Britney was standing in the eye of the storm. Growing up I look back and realize that this is how I often thought of her. Standing in the center of a storm, with the world swirling around her asking her stupid questions like “do you have a boyfriend?” at ten years old and “what did you do to break Justin’s heart” in her later years.

When she shaved her head, I and millions of others felt that moment, felt the need to just be anything then what the world says you are, the need to vanish in a sea of people, so you can just be “you” for a moment, that need to escape from the life you’ve always known into something new and brilliant.

I imagine that the only real time Britney Spears gets to just be “Britney” is when she’s about to close her eyes at night, and I don’t really know why I feel this way, but I guess it’s because with the way the world has been, it sort of feels like the only time any of us can just be “true” to ourselves, is right before we fall asleep.

I don’t feel “sorry” for Britney, I feel empathy for her. I understand what it feels like to be surrounded by people and have none of them hear you, hear your voice, hear your pain, your sorrow, your joy, or happiness.

It’s easy to look at the glitz and glamour and think that everything is all happy and beautiful and lovely, it’s easy to look at the fancy events and the pretty clothes and the perfectly shaped hair and make up and think “they must be really happy”, but the truth of it is that all that shit is just a mask.

Celebrities are the court jesters of our generation, they exist purely to entertain us with every moment they have on camera, and their survival depends on their ability to entertain us, and the moment that we notice they are flawed or somehow imperfect, is the moment that the world is done with them.

Very few people can sink into the depths of hell and return the conquering hero, and those that have are reluctant to share that part of themselves with the world, because sharing that part of themselves is the reason they descended into hell in the first fucking place.

It’s ironic that I am writing this because I want so badly in parts of myself to enter into that world, but I honestly keep wondering how I would feel if my child wanted to enter that world. I have no problem believing that I would do everything I can to keep my world and the world of entertainment as far away as long as possible, because to be honest with you I am absolutely terrified of it.

Validation and the idea of validation is such a curious drug, we all thrive when we feel like we are being appreciated, and yet sometimes that appreciation isn’t enough. It’s not enough to know that we matter as individuals or even team members, some of us need to be seen and heard and applauded as often as possible, but when that applause disappears what then?

Britney Spears was never allowed to learn how to find balance in her life as a teenager, so how can it be expected she knows how to do it in real life now as an adult? We expect far too much out of these celebrities, their careers are made and murdered by our adoration or lack there of, and there is a responsibility in that that we as the general public must address.

This is why I got so angry at that person who calls any celebrity “perfect”, please don’t put that idea onto anyone’s shoulders, it’s too damned much to have to carry. Your idea of perfect isn’t my idea of perfect, unless your idea of perfect is white wine and fried chicken on Valentine’s day, step off on the idea of perfect.

We have to remember that an actor, actress, or singer’s job ends the moment they come off the stage. The moment they are no longer singing and dancing, the moment they are out getting coffee, the moment they are grocery shopping or out with their kids, they are just people again, just trying to enjoy the life that their hard work has afforded.

Who’s responsible for the experience of Britney Spears? All of us, because every single one of us in the 90s, whether we loved her, hated her, or loved to hate her, contributed to whatever she’s dealing with now, so maybe we need to go back to that not worshipping false idols thing, and just start remembering that human beings are human beings, regardless of their job description.

I’m so sorry Britney, you and so many others, deserved better from all of us,

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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