Journal Date: February 2, 2021
In contrast to the first myth I wrote about, my second (and earlier one) is much more fun.
As a little girl, my favorite movie was Beauty and the Beast. I was literally obsessed with Belle (though I wouldn’t call her my favorite princess– for the purpose of this exercise, let’s say favorite Disney “archetype”).
To go back and look at this story and the character of Belle is both endearing and amusing to me.
I hadn’t thought about this movie or how much I loved it in years, maybe decades, even.
So it was pretty amazing to me to discover that my adult self had turned out to be so similar to this character I’d admired so much as a child.
Here are some examples of the similarities that I had a good laugh about while I listened to the song called Belle from the original movie:
There goes the baker with his tray, like always
The same old bread and rolls to sell
Every morning just the same
Since the morning that we came
To this poor provincial town
|Me complaining about living in Eastvale, or about “normal” day-to-day life in general.|
Look there she goes, that girl is strange, no question
Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell?
Never part of any crowd’
Cause her head’s up on some cloud
No denying she’s a funny girl, that Belle
|Accurate. This is how I live my life, with my head in a book.|
|Look there she goes, that girl is so peculiar|
I wonder if she’s feeling well
With a dreamy, far-off look
And her nose stuck in a book
What a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle
|How often have I heard people wonder why I’m so different from everyone else?|
|Now it’s no wonder that her name means “Beauty”|
Her looks have got no parallel
But behind that fair façade
I’m afraid she’s rather odd
Very diff’rent from the rest of us is Belle
|It’s true. People usually do seem to perceive me this way.|
|Look there she goes|
The girl is strange but special
A most peculiar mademoiselle!
It’s a pity and a sin
She doesn’t quite fit in
‘Cause she really is a funny girl
A beauty but a funny girl
She really is a funny girl
|Seems to be the general consensus about me…|
It might seem a little silly at first, but I think there’s something to this idea of having a personal myth that your soul wants to follow.
I’m tempted to say that the movie had a big influence on me, but in reality, I think it may have been the other way around. I think I was so drawn to it because there was something in me that recognized itself this story.
“Stories like that are the stories that lead us to developing our intuition, and using it, and saying, ‘This is right, this is my life, this is the way it should be,” Estés says. “Think of the story or movie or book or dream that you’re really taken with: it’s because it resonates to the deepest symbols within your own psyche.”
So maybe this is it. Maybe I don’t need to go back and make all these revisions to the later myths of mine, because I had it right with the first and original one I chose as a little girl to begin with.
And believe it or not, Belle does share some essential characteristics with characters like Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.
At the root of their personalities is the tendency to be a dreamer, and a certain dissatisfaction with living a quotidian existence they are told they are supposed to want.
They all dare to go against conventions and imagine something more for themselves.
Maybe the only difference is, Belle stays true to herself, and true to her integrity. She’s different in that she has faith that she can have what she desires without violating her principles.
Her compassionate and loving nature does not become a liability, but is in fact the essential key to achieving her dreams.
Most importantly, she belongs to herself. She honors herself and makes choices for herself that reflect that.
As an example, she doesn’t give in and marry Gaston, no matter what a prize he seems to be in the eyes of the townspeople.
She doesn’t back down and diminish who she is or compromise her values, no matter how weird or strange anyone else thinks she is.
Her peculiarities do, in fact, make her ill-suited to achieving the kind of success the townspeople would recognize.
However, it is these very same qualities that make her the only one who is capable of lifting the curse put on the prince by the witch and restoring harmony and beauty to the castle.
It is through her stubborn desires and continued capacity to dream and love that she is able to achieve her dreams and bring healing to where it is needed most.
So that’s it.
That’s the new ending to my story.
This is how I will reclaim my original guiding mythology.
May I find that I too be able to live like Belle, may I always remember it is truly possible to create what I dream of.
And the best part?
I don’t have to change or alter anything about me.
I just have to let the true self emerge.
That is enough.
Maybe it always has been.