I finally get the whole 2007 Britney affair.
At the time, many of us were confused. Images were popping up all over the net of Britney Spears, one of the greatest pop idols of the Millennial generation having what can only be described as a very public meltdown. A half-shaven head, a threatening stance, breaking of windows,, and perhaps most memorably for me, the absolute look of terror in her eyes that was reminiscent of a trapped animal, pushed to its very limits. I also remember thinking to myself how bonkers she must’ve been. How could a beautiful celebrity with a seemingly perfect life suddenly end up shaving off their hair for all of the world to see? She had obviously gone insane.
Ah, sweet, innocent Isobel, you were but a naïve 14 year-old when this all occurred and could barely comprehend how mental disorders have the ability to distort your life in ways you couldn’t have even began to imagine. Alas, 12 life-defining years later, after struggling with various mental illnesses that at that age I never even knew existed - I finally get it. I really do, I’ve been there myself, not in those terms of course, but in the mindset of a rabid, trapped animal that had to escape something without realising that that very thing was deep inside its own head. I understand that impulsivity, that need to do anything and everything to make something change on the outside in the hopes that it would change something within ourselves, even though cutting our hair of piercing our nose won’t make the slightest bit of difference, I’ve been moments from doing something I’d come to massively regret (and a few times actually gone through with it, but that’s another story for another day). And I’m not even remotely famous, yet alone one of the world’s most prominent superstars.
The first two photos were taken in October 2018 and the third in April 2019.
It’s not a coincidence nor a styling choice that in the above photos my hair got shorter and my facial features became more defined. I was (and still am) undergoing some of the most traumatic and stress-inducing mental challenges of my life, and I’m nowhere near the public eye. So to you, Britney, although I’m certain that you will never read this, I am truly sorry. Sorry that you were mocked and misunderstood, sorry that you felt this way, and most of all, sorry that you had to go to those extremes to get the help that you needed, which is too often the case.
Luckily there is a lot more knowledge surrounding mental health now and a lot less stigma, but I can’t help feeling so terribly sorry for Britney. She obviously needed help and she probably still does. I hope it’s available to her.