It was twenty years ago today that Britney’s “… Baby One More Time” made its debut and in that moment, my life was forever changed. I don’t remember exactly when the song made its way into my tiny 9-year-old life but I do know that when it did; it was magical. My life became a long dance routine from that moment on and though my love affair with pop music has been tumultuous, my love affair with Britney Spears has been passionate the entire 20 years.
[Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault]
Trauma is a complicated beast, it often feels like I’ve survived it sometimes it even feels like I ended up better for it. Yet other times it feels like trauma has a firm grip on the strongest parts of me. When I was nine, my life was catastrophically rocked. I was molested by a family friend at nine years old and the molestation continued until I was 13. My life changed instantly and everything that I knew to be true suddenly felt like the biggest joke.
I’ve discussed this previously on the site but I still feel a need to stop myself every single time I type the words out. This is my truth though; I consist of funny parts, honest parts, pretty parts, happy parts, lonely parts and parts that often feel like breaking.
I always knew that my connection to Britney’s music felt extremely personal but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized why it felt so embedded in my being. Maybe it feels silly to celebrate such a bubblegum-pop song but Britney and her music is what I clung to when everything felt like it was falling apart. Hers is the music that I would loudly play to drown out my crying in the shower. Hers are the dance steps I tried to teach myself so that I wouldn’t think about the man freely roaming my childhood home. Hers are the posters I taped up on my wall so that I would have something to stare at when I struggled to fall asleep at night. She felt like magic and though my life has consisted of new experiences, new homes and new beginnings: my one constant has always been Britney Spears.
I have screamed her lyrics at my parents while I tried to explain to them how grown up I was (I was a very dramatic teenager), I have recreated her music videos and I have attended her most iconic concert (Don’t fight me on this! Her Dream Within a Dream Tour was the very first concert I attended and it was iconic). She has led the way in my chaotic life and I am so happy that I had her music to quiet down the sad thoughts.
Britney Spears’s career has had its own share of ups and downs, I have been here for the good, the bad, the sad and the iconic. I think we can all agree that Britney needed that break she took from the world but eventually she made it back to us. Britney didn’t need a marketing ploy geared toward a comeback, though she definitely tried and I think we can all agree it was too soon for that VMA 2007 performance. Her comeback moved slowly and quietly. Before we knew it she was back and she was giving us the Vegas residency that we all deserve.
I didn’t know “…Baby One More Time” would have the impact on my life that it did, the first time I heard it. I, like the rest of the world, was completely unprepared for the Princess of Pop. We weren’t ready for iconic twenty years of music that she had in store for us, but boy have we had a great time during the experience. So thank you Britney for 20 wonderful years, here’s to 20 more.