I finally watched the new live action version of Beauty and the Beast, and as an original fan, I found it as magical and moving as ever. It surprised me that I could still be so moved by this “silly” fairytale that captured my six year old imagination, and I even felt a little silly admitting that. However, as I watched it, I thought about all the ways this story possibly influenced my life—my love for books and fancy libraries, pretty gowns and dresses, exploring castles, adventure, curiosity, fearlessness in the face of monsters (or adversity). I also thought about how apparently some folks were offended by Le Fou being gay, and boycotted the film. First of all, who cares. Secondly, if you’re really worried about your child being exposed to homosexuality in this film, well, I highly doubt they will notice it. I had no clue as a kid and didn’t care. All I saw was a funny, short side-kick, and all I cared about was the singing and dancing.
There was a meme going around about how people were so concerned about Le Fou being gay, but had no care or worry that Belle, a human woman, was falling in love with and kissing a beast. This sat with me as I watched the film, because the story does raise some very valid questions. This story is one that leads us to believe we can change a beast into a prince by loving him. In real life, that is not always the case.
Yet, so many of us girls like to love the “bad boy,” or the “broken boy.” We want to be the one who turns him good, we want to save him from his brokenness, we want to be the light to his darkness. I once lived with a beast and no matter how I tried to love him, he kept me locked up, he beat me, berated me, tortured me, and there was no changing him. He was very sick, and it didn’t matter how much I loved him, I could have been Aphrodite herself, and it wouldn’t matter. He needed help beyond me, and beyond love.
I’ve also dated a guy whom everyone loved, and in general is not a terrible human being, but there were parts of him that were very broken as the result of a very broken family. He was highly immature, especially emotionally immature. Could he eventually mature? Maybe…maybe not. He was an ego-maniac who lived off of attention—could he be brought down to earth? I don’t know.
So that begs the question, do people change? Some folks are of the mindset that people do not change. I’m not entirely sure what belief I subscribe to on this matter. I believe that life happens, and the events of our lives can alter our perspectives and the way we live our lives. As I self-reflect on my own life, I wonder if certain events in my life have changed me. I wonder if some of my "flaws" and characteristics that I want to improve on have changed or can be changed. What causes me to act and react certain ways? If I can identify those triggers, can I change? I don't know, but I do believe that people can become more self-aware. The more self-aware I am of myself, the more I can change how I act and react. I also believe that if we are capable of change, the change must start with ourselves, the desire to change ourselves. And that goes back to being self-aware. It all boils down to self-awareness. If we’re self-aware, we can better choose our actions and words.
Be self-aware. Be love. Be brave. Be excellent to each other.
BIG LOVE & HUGS