Don’t turn back on an­noy­ing fam­ily Spears’ ...Baby One More Time re­mains an iconic launch point as it turns 20

Winnipeg Free Press - - ARTS LIFE I EN­TER­TAIN­MENT - MAU­REEN SCUR­FIELD MISS LONE­LY­HEARTS ANIKA REED

DEAR MISS LONE­LY­HEARTS: Be­ing home for Christ­mas and New Year’s was suf­fo­cat­ing. I had a lousy Christ­mas with my fam­ily. I may love them, but I re­ally don’t like them right now. I’ve been away at univer­sity, liv­ing in res­i­dence, and I like it there bet­ter.

My par­ents are deeply re­li­gious, and the kids left in the nest are fol­low­ing ex­actly what mommy and daddy say and be­lieve. At Christ­mas and New Year’s, my aunt and un­cle — a pair of di­nosaurs — kept ask­ing when I’d be fin­ished schooling.

My un­cle had the nerve to ask when I’d move back to Man­i­toba so I could “use my med­i­cal skills to be of some use to the prov­ince.” Small-minded peo­ple like him who’ve never been any­where make me fu­ri­ous.

My aunt asked a lot of per­sonal ques­tions. She’s afraid I’ll fall in love with a guy at univer­sity, marry him and never come back to the fam­ily.

The women in my fam­ily had no ca­reers — the men paid for ev­ery­thing and they stayed home to raise the kids. Good for them! I don’t want to do that.

I’m writ­ing to you while I fly back home where I’ll be able to fi­nally breathe again. How do I han­dle this snoopy, pushy, re­li­gious fam­ily with their in­sin­u­a­tions and out­right crit­i­cism of my life?

— Frus­trated Be­yond Be­lief,

In the Sky Over On­tario Dear Frus­trated: You don’t have to “han­dle” them. Just carry on as if they have no power over you. Since your mom doesn’t have a job out­side the home, the only one who has power over you at this point is your dad, who’s pay­ing for your ed­u­ca­tion. Look for ways to al­le­vi­ate some of your fa­ther’s fi­nan­cial bur­den, thereby loos­en­ing the strings that tie you to him.

As for not mov­ing back, you can ap­ply for jobs in On­tario, where you can land in-per­son in­ter­views more eas­ily.

Once you are fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent, no­body can put pres­sure on you, un­less you al­low it.

Do you have a part-time job? Have you ap­plied for any awards or schol­ar­ships? Know any­thing about stu­dent loans? This would be a good time to talk to a school coun­sel­lor about your fam­ily prob­lems and get some ca­reer ad­vice.

Email your fam­ily ev­ery two weeks and em­pha­size the pos­i­tive as­pects of univer­sity life and how much you are study­ing. No need to turn your back on them be­cause you have a dif­fer­ent lifestyle than they do.

They love you and you love them, even though you feel like they are med­dling old-world di­nosaurs. Maybe they are, but they’re your di­nosaurs. T’S the al­bum that launched one of the big­gest pop stars of the 21st cen­tury. ...Baby One More Time cel­e­brated its 20th an­niver­sary on Jan. 12, and though it has only been two decades, it’s hard to re­mem­ber a time with­out Brit­ney Spears.

A lit­tle-known teenager with Bi­ble Belt roots and cred­its on Star Search and as a Mouseke­teer, Spears was cat­a­pulted to in­ter­na­tional fame and pop su­per­star­dom thanks to her de­but al­bum.

The al­bum’s epony­mous sin­gle and its cor­re­spond­ing video are the stuff of leg­end, with a song that brings peo­ple to­gether and takes you back to where you were in life when you first dis­cov­ered Spears, on the cusp of be­com­ing a ma­jor main­stream artist.

While the al­bum as a whole is cer­tainly of its time (see E-Mail My Heart), its lead sin­gles ...Baby One More Time, Some­times and (You Drive Me) Crazy are clas­sics that are both time­less and cru­cial pieces of pop cul­ture his­tory that could be pulled out of a time cap­sule for Y2K.

The al­bum launched more than just one sin­gle star — with Spears, it ush­ered in an en­tire era of ev­ery­thing from pop roy­alty rank­ings to pa­parazzi chaos and chang­ing at­ti­tudes about wom­an­hood and men­tal ill­ness. So much that we came to know and talk about in pop mu­sic and the sur­round­ing tabloid fod­der was in­flu­enced in part by Spears.

She has one of the most con­sis­tent ca­reers, de­spite many tu­mul­tuous years in the spot­light that had fans wor­ried that she might not pull through. Spears was caught in a down­ward spi­ral, hav­ing gone through a trou­bled mar­riage and divorce with Kevin Fed­er­line, be­com­ing

Ia mother of two in the spot­light be­fore turn­ing 25, shav­ing her head, be­ing put un­der the con­ser­va­tor­ship of her fa­ther and a lawyer and be­ing chased by the pa­parazzi through all of it.

But she has not only pulled through, she’s pulled her­self back up to a place where she’s on top in her own realm and still mak­ing mu­sic, though she’s cur­rently on a work hia­tus be­cause of her fa­ther’s ill­ness. She is now cel­e­brated where she was once torn down, be­com­ing a bea­con of re­silience for her fans around the world.

CHRIS PIZZELLO / IN­VI­SION FILES

Brit­ney Spears is cel­e­brated where she was once torn down.

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