I Dream of Britney

by Jessica Grose

In 2008 I started a single topic Tumblr that never went anywhere. It was called I Dream of Britney, and the idea was that readers would submit their celebrity-laden fantasies and nightmares (no one ever posted but me, though). At that point, Tyra Banks was my subconscious’s most frequent famous guest star. Those dreams usually involved some sort of America’s Next Top Model scenario in which she was judging me and finding me insufficiently fierce and overly dumpy.

Though the Tumblr was named for Britney Spears (and she’s apparently a very common dreamscape fixture), I had never had my own dream about her until this past Saturday. My dreams have been unusually vivid and memorable in the past few weeks. I attribute this to the fact that I am nine months pregnant and in this bizarre, liminal phase between my old life and my new one.

This is one of the things no one tells you about pregnancy until you’re actually going through it — how difficult and strange the final days can be. Beyond the obvious physical discomfort of carrying around an entire fully formed little person, you’re perched on this psychological precipice with only a vague idea of when you will be pushed off of it. Also, your vagina is about to get torn up. In other words: You’re not a girl, not yet a woman.

So, the dream. One of the ways I have been occupying myself on maternity leave is to Google the celebrities born on or around my baby’s due date. Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981. I don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed about the fact that both my husband and I knew this without having to look it up, but it was confirmed by my web meanderings. Also at some point last week, I saw this picture of Britney with her two moppets and her younger sister, Jamie Lynn. I’ll just leave that there for you all to unpack on your own, but I will say that I never understood why anyone would wear super short jorts and Uggs. If it’s cold enough for Uggs, it is way too hot for short jorts. Does Jamie Lynn have circulation problems? Are her feet extra stanky? Discuss.

Saturday was December 1. I curled up for an afternoon nap and Britney came to me immediately. In the dream, she had decided to give me a candid interview, which was the scoop of a lifetime (any dedicated Brit-watcher knows she hasn’t given a real interview in years. All of her dealings with the press are robotic and hyper managed).

Britney was being her pre-Federline, pre-head shaving, early aughts goofball self. She was joking with me about being a self-proclaimed redneck mom, and being extremely revealing about her drug addled past. She was giving me amazing quotes, but every pen I tried to use to take notes didn’t work. Still, I didn’t want to stop her stream of consciousness gabbing because I was afraid she’d back off.

“I had to quit doing drugs because my kids were getting older,” she told me, clutching my hand across my kitchen table. “The hardest part was I had to fire half my staff. A lot of them were my drug buddies. The saddest thing was when I had to fire my hairdresser, RoRo, because of the meth.” As she wistfully mourned the firing of RoRo, she started to tear up. I clutched her hand back in solidarity. Poor RoRo!

Then my husband walked through the front door and woke me up. I told him what had happened in the dream, and then made the following pronouncement. “I think Britney was telling me that our baby is going to be born on her birthday.” I was half-joking when I said it, and Mike looked at me like I was a total lunatic, but I spent all of Sunday in heightened anticipation. Would our little girl fulfill my Britney prophecy? If she did, would we have to name her Britney? Or Jamie Lynn? Or RoRo?

We were driving home from a friend’s apartment when the clock hit midnight on the 3rd, making it impossible for our baby to share the same birthday as Ms. Spears. I was surprisingly disappointed, but I think it’s mostly because I had convinced myself that my bananas dream was my subconscious self telling me that our girl was on the way, and that we were ready for her. Britney was telling me that giving up one’s old self — meth and all — is doable, even if it means getting rid of some of the things you enjoyed from your past (RoRo + Meth).

I haven’t had any more celebrity dreams since Britney appeared to me over the weekend, and our baby is technically due today, though first pregnancies often go past the 40-week mark. I’m not that thrilled with her potential celebrity birthday sharers — Strom Thurmond?? — but at least I know dream Britney has my back.

Jessica Grose is a writer, editor, and grizzly bear enthusiast. Her debut novel, ‘Sad Desk Salad,’ is out now and you can buy it here for your holiday reading pleasure. She might name her baby RoRo.