“Tale as old as time…” If those words ring a “belle” deep in your mind, then you just may be a diehard fan of Beauty and the Beast.” (See what I did there? *wink* *wink*)
Most women my age were introduced to this classic tale through a Disney animated movie that was released in 1991. I grew up in a home that had no television and we did not go to the movies, so I didn’t get to enjoy it when I was very young. As a child, I did watch a little gem of a movie called Rigoletto, which had very similar themes to the Beauty and the Beast plot line, but I did not see the Disney version until I was an adult. I grew very fond of it once I watched it, and when they re-released it in 3D in 2012, my then-boyfriend and now-husband dutifully went along with me to see it on one of our Wednesday night dates.
Imagine my excitement when I heard that a live-action version of it was being released with some of my very favorite actors and actresses taking part in it. Earlier tonight, I was able to go see it with two of my girlfriends. It was a great evening filled with laughter and tears as we gaped in wonder at the screen before us and two of us spilled out entire sodas into the aisles and seats and purses around us. I don’t want to name names, but I was definitely maybe one of the spillers.
As I was caught up in the magical re-enactment of one of my favorite fairy tales, I had a pretty big epiphany during the scene when the Beast let Belle go so that she could go save her father. The Beast sang heart wrenching words that caused the tears to flow, because I realized that there are a few precious moments in this story where I relate to the Beast far more than I relate to Belle.
“How can that be?” you may ask. Well, I am sure that someone has told you this before, but in case they haven’t, I will do so now. Not all children grow up wanting to be the princess in the story. Sometimes, little girls and little boys are given extraordinary circumstances that mold and shape their lives in very non-traditional ways. Since I was never really exposed to a constant barrage of movies, TV shows, commercials, and toys that taught me how to be the damsel in distress waiting for Prince Charming, I just sort of evolved into a roll up my sleeves and get to work gal whenever there was something that I really wanted or needed.
Maybe I related to Belle because by the time I was introduced to her character, I had already been through a lot of beautiful and rough things that showed me how resilient I could be. And my Prince Charming came at just the beautiful moment, but it was here, that I liken my mindset to that of the Beast. I tried to push my love away, not in the hopes of having it return to me, but in the desperation that I could never truly be loved in the way that I was feeling. And just like the Beast had his Belle come back and roll up her sleeves to help save him, I had my Belle roll up his sleeves and prove to me that I could be loved and that I could break any curses that tried to hold me down.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, that’s a good question because I have been wracking my brain trying to figure that out. Maybe it’s just this… don’t ever try to fit into the mold that the world presents to you. Don’t just think outside the box, break the damn thing! Figure things out for yourself because not every one can be the princess who gets saved. Some of us have to be ugly for a while before we find the true beauty inside.