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Dear Britney...

Dear Britney, 

Where do we even begin?

You have absolutely no idea who I am. I am a superfan of yours, and not just because of the fact that your 2007 magnum opus “Blackout” remains my top-listened-to album every year.

Like most of your fans, I’ve been with you since I was a kid. I was not alive when “...Baby One More Time” came out, but I grew up in your rise to legend status. 

With hit after hit, you provided the blueprint of what a pop star strived to be post-Y2K. You shattered any inkling of being a one hit wonder and sold millions of albums and millions more concert tickets before even being able to vote. 

I was seven when “Blackout” came out, so I definitely was not aware of the nuances of your life back then. Not that I am now, either. 

Not that anyone really is.

I remember the joke on the playground at school was that you were pregnant again. At the rate that my peers were saying this, you must have dozens of children.

How does a group of second graders come to gossip about this on the playground? Why did we care? Where would this come from?

The adults. 

As they put you atop a pedestal you never asked to be on, they pulled it out from under you and watched you fall. 

As a kid, it was easy for me to tune that out and enjoy the music. 

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I didn’t know that you had lost your freedom. I didn’t know the extent to which the general public had turned against you, including the U.S. government and your own parents.

As the same public that drove you into the conservatorship laughed, they continued to make you rule the charts. 

My internet habits weren’t heavily monitored as a child, so between watching your music videos, interviews, concert DVDs and anything else I could find, I’ve visited your Wikipedia page many a time. 

The word “conservatorship” had been in your abstract for as long as I could remember, but I never knew what it meant. 

Like many #FreeBritney supporters, or at least the original ones, I followed the podcast “Britney’s Gram” very closely.

Your presence on Instagram was something we had grown to appreciate as we felt we got to know you better than we ever had before. 

The hosts, Tess Barker and Babs Gray, kicked the movement into high gear almost two years ago after a voicemail confirmed that you had been forced into a mental facility against your will.

It was impossible for me to look at your Instagram posts through any other lens than as of someone who was trapped. Even as you reassured us on Instagram that everything was alright, we still felt in our guts that something was wrong. 

There were times throughout your fight I thought maybe I was crazy. Maybe I was just an over analytical fan. Maybe we all were.

The same podcast that championed for your freedom also spent an exorbitant amount of time discussing the house decorations in the backgrounds of your pictures and the meanings behind your choice of emojis. 

As I’ve learned more about your situation over the past two years, I knew I wasn’t crazy. 

And you weren’t, either. 

In fact, you are one of the strongest people I can think of. Everything you did was for the safety of your children. As you had every right and freedom stripped away from you, you never gave up hope. 

As news outlets like The New York Times began to take interest in the case, I gained hope that people would hear the real story of what happened and do something about it.

Theories I had long believed were confirmed, along with shocking details no one could have imagined. 

But I was still weary of the conservatorship ever coming to an end. As I’m sure, sometimes, you were too. 

I learned that probate conservatorships are a larger system of oppression and abuse that our government allows to happen. It doesn’t matter if you are somebody’s grandparent or the biggest pop star in the world.

For everyone who said that you being in this conservatorship was legally implausible, there were others that said they were impossible to get out of. 

Once you formally acknowledged the movement, I knew that I was on the right side. And if you weren’t going to give up, neither could I. 

When the news came on Nov. 12, I knew people would remember the day forever. 

I could not be more proud of you. You are a role model for perseverance, strength and bravery. 

You are free. 

You can vacation in Maui, or at the Eiffel Tower, or drive your convertible with your fiancé. 

Even better, you have the power to disappear from public view entirely. We have put you through enough.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope it is accompanied with peace and serenity.

When I graduated high school, I got to do the commencement speech, and I ended it with a quote from you that defines my approach to life today.

“Success isn't about conquering something, it's being happy with who you are."

Fact is, you have conquered something. You have conquered the fight for autonomy over your body. You have inspired millions of people.

You should be ecstatic about who you are, Britney.

Thank you for helping me to do so, too.

Sincerely, 

David Kwiatkowski

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