What have we done to you? What is it about the American dream of fame and fortune through singing, dancing and acting (yes, the triple threat) that took hold of you (and your mom) and just didn't let go? From your early appearances on Star Search and debut on the Mickey Mouse Club at age 8, you have managed to stay in the public eye from girlhood through adolescence to womanhood. A hero to girls and tweens and school girl fantasy to middle aged men, underneath it all, you were just a talented trashtastic girl who just wanted to have fun. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be judged and scrutinized for everything -- from fashion faux pas, to poor choices in men to your parenting skills and pantiless partying. You tried to talk to your fans in authentic ways with your "letters of truth" and to show your Chaotic life with Kevin.
But in the end, it all just became too much. The insatiable hunger for constant attention. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Hounded by photographers, having your sex secrets sold to the tabloids, even making fellow celebutante Lindsay Lohan look square. You cracked. Who wouldn't? Shaving your head publicly, getting tattoos, and sporting a really unflattering new wig. It feels like a cry for help, and I hope you get it. Because a lot of girls still look up to you and still share your dream of growing up to be triple threats. American Idol has replaced Star Search and the Disney Channel continues to create young multi-platform pop stars, but obviously there is a price to be paid for finding fame and fortune so young. I hope when your hair grows back and you're feeling a little bit more like yourself, you'll tell us what happened. Was it your parents' divorce? The breakup with Justin? Did you not have a solid support network to keep you sane and grounded? Tell the girls what can happen - share your story with Oprah or Barbara or some other television interviewer who can feign compassion.
Maybe it's from my own experience of having grown up in the South around lots of girls who remind me of you or my own shattered dreams of stardom when I didn't make the middle school dance club and wasn't cast in the community theater production of Annie. Or maybe it was my own college meltdown when I became a militant feminist with a crew cut against clear cutting (old growth forests), but I truly feel for you and hope you can pick up the pieces and move on. You are at a "Crossroads," "Not a girl," but definitely a woman who has been in some "Toxic" relationships. I hope you emerge a "Stronger" person.
P.S. I'm glad you've decided to go back to rehab.