2008-02-07 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Give Britney A Little Credit - And Some Down Time
By Charles Rogers

By Charles Rogers

The story began in Friday's New York Post:, "Britney Spears landed in a Los Angeles booby hatch yesterday…", while the Daily News described the trip the previous day from her home to a Los Angeles hospital psychiatric ward with a quote from family members who said she would be going to the "nut house."

If the person being taken on a stretcher into an Emergency Medical Service ambulance to be driven to a psychiatric clinic had been someone else - anyone else - you would have heard the situation treated with more dignity. The destination surely would have been described as something higher on the rung.

Unfortunately, however, this was Britney Spears being carted away on a gurney; the world renowned singer and dancer whose personal life was now a shambles - through her own doing, for the most part. Not that she should be entirely to blame, mind you.

Her father, Jamie Spears, has been given control of her assets and, essentially, her life. He can okay who visits her, and has barred visits from her friend and sometimes manager Osama Lufti, as well as others, including most paparazzi.

Although she was supposed to be in the UCLA Medical Center's psychiatric wing for only 72 hours for observation, the latest reports indicate she'll remain there a minimum of two weeks because she is suffering from "severe bipolar disorder," which, according to the Associated Press, indicates she could be a danger to herself or to others or gravely disabled. Monday's Daily News quoted one source as saying she is in a padded room.

I feel sorry for her. Genuinely sorry.

By this time everyone knows the story of how Britney Spears got there. Whether her erratic behavior stems from over-controlling or non-controlling parents is questionable. She's a grownup with what appears to be a mentality of non-responsibility - for anything. Thus, her two children - one a year old and the other two years old - have been in the sole custody of their father, Kevin Federline, from whom she has filed for divorce.

The 26-year-old entertainer grew up (until she was all of eight years old!) in Louisiana, but it turned out that her talents put her in the limelight early. At that young age, her mother took her to an audition for the Mickey Mouse Club and the producers picked her up immediately. She retained a New York agent by the time she was ten and subsequently went to the School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. She also, by the way, appeared in a few off-Broadway productions.

At the ripe old age of 13, Britney worked on the Mickey Mouse Club again. When the show ended, she returned home and attended high school for a year. Spears started singing with groups in 1997 and recorded a solo album and was signed by a record company. Concert appearances followed and the rest is history - money-making, mind-wrenching history that, essentially, put her where she is today.

Few people think about what even a modicum of talent can do to a person, but when you've "got it all," as Britney Spears does (did?), you have to realize it takes work. Work and dedication, shutting everything else out while you, or those guiding you, strive for success. There is no time for "fun." No time for going on dates or growing up and playing games with other eleven- and twelve-year-olds who are little girls and big girls at the same time; no time for boys.

And if life comes at you fast, as it has for Britney, you can't stop and smell the roses. You don't have the time! You can only fleetingly watch the flowers blow in the wind…and, without being allowed to chase them, wonder where the petals went.

The fast life, of course, becomes a blur, and the growing up seems to just be there. All those things you missed when you were working as you grew are coming at you faster than you thought they would.

Boys. Men. Parties. Gotta work instead! Mother pushing, pushing. Paparazzi crowding from every angle and curve! She wants to get away and be alone. No, she wants to be with people again. No, it's her two children she wants, although she doesn't know how to handle them, especially since she doesn't know how to handle herself. What will become of her? Some have gotten through problems similar to hers. Some needed psychiatric help. It's no fooling around now. This is it!

The kid's okay. She just needs some time to grow up.

Poor Britney Spears. I feel sorry for her. Genuinely sorry.

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