For so many of us, hair is a deeply personal part of our identities. Britney Spears can relate. In a candid new Instagram post, she opened up about her journey with bangs, revealing that she “never felt pretty enough” when she was younger to show her forehead. It’s both heartbreaking and, unfortunately, often so relatable how our hair ties into our self-image.

The pop icon shared a selfie, in which she’s sporting a high pony with her signature wispy blonde bangs. In the caption, she detailed a story about having bangs in third grade and how her hair choices still affect her self-confidence today.

“People choose different ways to protect themselves…when I pull my bangs in front of my head I feel like I’m protected…almost like I’m in 3rd grade again,” Spears wrote.

Reflecting on her childhood self, she told a story about meeting with a modeling agency in third grade. At the time, she left the meeting because she felt (and seemingly still feels) that she “wasn’t pretty enough.” So, she went home and decided to get rid of her bangs and show her forehead, which was “such a big deal” to girls her age where she lived.

“Only pretty people in the South could do that and I never felt pretty enough to pull it off,” she wrote. “All the beauty pageant girls did it, but I never felt beauty pageants were my thing…I had bad teeth and felt like an ugly duckling.”

When she did expose her forehead, she wrote that it looked “soooo bad.”

We’re just going to stop her right there and disagree because our hearts hurt to think that she ever felt this way about herself—especially at such a young age. Based on the post, Spears still struggles with these feelings.

Of course, it’s entirely Spears’s decision how she wears her hair, but we hope she can see how iconic she looks with any hair she tries.

Spears has been open in the past about her experiences with anxiety and confidence issues.

In 2016, she told Marie Claire UK that moving to Los Angeles when she was “very young” was tough for her. “I was so under scrutiny. If a hair was out of place, I’d be so anxious. I would get very anxious about so many things.”

While we’re sure it’s not easy for her to open up about such a vulnerable part of her life, we are so grateful that she did. Bangs or no bangs, she’s our forever pop queen.