Friday, January 4, 2008

Dear Britney

For the most part, I don't pay much attention to celebrity news. Not that I am high-minded and above all that, just that I am pretty busy and my day holds only so much. Turning on the news this morning because my newspaper was late (really, who does not want their newspaper ON TIME the morning after the Iowa caucuses?), I made sure The Kid was occupied with his dad in another room (because I feel strongly that you can't un-see things and I hope to spare him the horror and carnage of the current war for as long as I can), and prepared to see how the caucuses had gone.

You can probably guess what I saw instead. Those gut-wrenching shots of Britney being loaded into the ambulance, still smiling that mouseketeer smile for the cameras. Turning the TV off, I walked into the room where Lefty was, described what I had just seen and said, "Why can't anyone help that poor woman?" What in the world can be done now?

I think we put a lot of faith in celebrities and the notion that their lives are somehow charmed. All of us, who would like a little fame and fortune ourselves, look for proof that this is what would complete our lives, a movie deal, a book tour, a role on Broadway, a song in the top ten. Most of us believe that a few more zeros in the bank account would make us exponentially happier. We look to celebrities for proof of that. We find them ungrateful when they don't show us what we want to see.

Take a good look at what fame and fortune and all those bank account zeros have done for Britney Spears. Her charmed life has spiraled irrevocably and horribly, publicly out of control. And she obviously has no friend, no one to help her, no one to hold a mirror up to the carnage and say, "Honey, this has to stop." I've seen interventions save lives, and families and marriages. Is there no one to intervene for Britney?

If I were her friend, this is what I would do. Take her somewhere quiet and private, preferably with beauty outside the windows. Say, take a nap. Honey, take a long hot bath while I cook a big pot of soup, or spaghetti sauce and make us some iced tea. We would eat and I would listen and listen until she ran out of words and then we'd sit down together and figure out what to do next. The first step, obviously, would be rehab.

I am grateful beyond words for the friends and family who I know would do this for me - way before the police were kicking down the bathroom door. As a mother, the terror of that just breaks my heart. There is only one thing I think I can do for Britney now. I may not be able to help, cook a meatloaf, or provide a shoulder, but I can stop watching her terrible, slow, free fall. I will not watch it anymore.


  1. We are so on the same wavelength. No more than thiry minutes ago, I turned to my husband after watching the news and said, "why doesn't someone take that child to an Italian Villa somewhere and give her the love and space to get well.

    Can you imagine having the ENTIRE world witness and delight in your mental breakdown?

  2. It's just heartbreaking. Sometimes the only thing you can do is refuse to be a witness to something.

  3. I guess you can't help someone who doesn't want help.

    It's too bad too, because with the money she has, she could get the best help available, but she chooses not to.

    Sad.. Very, very sad.

  4. It's the taking "delight" in witnessing the breakdown that sickens me. Growing up in the public eye has no doubt warped her in ways we'll never understand. She needs compassion more than anything.

  5. I've often thought that these people should travel
    with "minders." Someone who could monitor their behavior, what they put into their body, etc.