The tragedy of Britney Spears is recycled. It’s monotonous, formulaic, and most of all, it’s really really sad. It’s been played out in a thousand different cultures with a million kind-hearted, stary-eyed little girls. She is not the first, nor will she be the last. Britney Spears embodies the wonderment, awe, and longing for acceptance which lingers inside every woman I have ever met. She needs a hug and a ride home and a few I Love You’s but is unwilling, perhaps unable, to accept it from others, no matter how pure their intentions may be. She’s stepped off the road less traveled and returned to find loneliness among the one‘s she once ran to.

So, she searches, first, into stability. A husband, children, trips to the Home Depot, dinner on the table at 6:30. Nothing satiates the longing and isolation. So, she searches, into chaos. Alcohol, drugs, debutantes, promiscuity. Nothing satiates the longing and isolation. So, she searches, into herself. Loss of control, lack of dependency, irresponsibility, retreat from life itself. Nothing satiates the longing and isolation. So, she searches…

She is a woman without a country; a girl trapped inside a maze of self-portraits. She doesn’t want your love but desperately seeks it. She doesn’t want your charity but desperately needs it. She doesn’t want anything, except maybe to want something.

There’s nothing funny about the tragedy of Britney Spears. The judgmental middle-class hypocrisy and the upper-class business maxim of make money while you still can have forced her into a corner, forced a smile and distant-eyed mumblings about everything being okay when it is anything but.

Hers is the story of a girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world. And while she looks so sad in photographs, we all absolutely love her when she smiles. I hope someday she feels the same way.

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