The Britney Spears songs that taught me everything about first love

At my eighth birthday party, I received my very first pop albums (along with my own toy red Jeep!). That day, I took home Spice Girls, Tower 32 (solely for that catchy daba-dee song), and Britney Spears. Her debut album with the unforgettable “Hit Me Baby One More Time” song.

From that moment on, all I listened to religiously was Britney Spears. I have all her seven studio albums. To put it simply, I did not discover the radio until middle school. All I needed in this life was me and Britney Spears.

Why did I love listening to Britney Spears? Because she was a young girl like me (minus the python, tight outfits, and killer dance moves). She sang about daily struggles like friendships, independence, relationships, and everything in between. Britney was like my Southern, blonde older sister and I wanted to be like her. Honestly, I still do.

Most importantly, Britney Spears introduced me to the complications of romantic relationships. I would blast her music in my room as I went through countless elementary and middle school crushes. So, before you read any further, get ready to revisit classic Britney tunes (is your Spotify up?).

Here is what Britney Spears taught me about love as I drew hearts and stick figures in my pink diary:

Having a crush is totally all-consuming

Listening to songs like “You Drive Me Crazy”, “One Kiss from You”, and “Thinkin about You” made me feel less guilty about the things racing in my little head. When I wasn’t playing Barbies or using my toy jeep outside, I made up these stories in my head about getting married to my crushes at the ripe age of ten. Britney taught me that crushes do take your breath away and that you can’t help but stare at them if you like like them. I’m so excited, I just can’t sleep. This, ladies, was also how I learned the importance of eye contact, the first sign of mutual attraction.

But don’t let it change who you are

Yes, boys (and girls!) can be very cute but Ms. Britney Spears taught me that I still have to be myself, whatever that meant for a little girl who has no clue who she is (and probably still doesn’t). Songs like “What You See is What You Get,” “Let Me Be,” and the JT and Britney collaboration “What It’s Like to be Me” (God, I miss them together) really painted a clear picture. You shouldn’t change for someone who doesn’t accept you as you are. If they want you to, then you need to walk away. You are the one in control. Your game, your rules.

A partner should understand and accept you

In terms of my own love life, back when I was a pre-teen, I was always a little shy. I was not as bold as Britney Spears, but she taught me that potential love interests should try to get to know you—especially if you are shy around them. Listening to “Sometimes,” “Overprotected,”and “Can’t Make You Love Me” really showcased how the courtship should be a two-way street. It is easy to start liking someone but in order to have it grow into something more, they have to be willing to dig beyond the surface. Sometimes, I will be shy around you but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Yes, I might have gone through some issues and changes, but I’m still the same person.

Have fun with it

Throughout her career, Britney Spears celebrates being a young girl/woman. Sometimes, you do want to let loose and have fun, especially when it comes to romance. Now, I didn’t get crazy in elementary school or middle school but I did have my fair share of pre-teen partying. Blasting songs like “I’m a Slave 4 U”, “Boys”, and “Anticipating” made me realize that I am a girl who wants to You can look and feel good about yourself. Hey, if you get your crush to do a double-take, more power to you.

You’re eventually going to have your heart broken

Classic Britney Spears had lots of sad songs about heart ache. “From the Bottom of my Broken Heart,” “I Will Still Love You,”and “Born to Make you Happy” are prime examples of Britney’s longing for the one that got away. Although she sings about the sky falling, missing you so much, and not knowing how to live without your love, Britney taught me that love is painful. You can give someone the world and they can still break your heart. Always and forever does not ring true sometimes.

But you’ll get through it

No one likes breaking up. But, it isn’t the end of the world. Listening to “Stronger” and “Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door” taught me that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stronger than yesterday. You shouldn’t put all your self-worth on a boy and for that same reason, you shouldn’t settle for someone less. You don’t need anybody but yourself. It will be alright.

With this rich catalogue of pop songs from Britney Spears, I learned to love and be loved in return. Okay, I didn’t meet my soulmate in my childhood but I went through my first loves and crushes nonetheless.

And I wasn’t alone. I had Ms. Spears to guide me and give me healthy love advice. Thanks, Britney!

Ana Christina Perez is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University and currently working on an original web series. Follow her at @AC_Perez_DelRio and @girlmatterprod

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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