What if Beauty was the Beast?

Disney’s formulae of yore have always functioned like a well oiled machine – the ingénue, the gallant and noble hearted hero, the doting yet hapless father, the jealous sisters/step sisters, the protective brothers, good vs evil, and the not-so-subtle didactic message that serves as the thematic veil of the story, have all left countless generations of smitten parents and children happy and sated.

With the live action remake of Disney favourite Beauty and the Beast having hit the theatres to wide acclaim, the movie continues to be the talk of the town. Beauty and the Beast remains a favourite for many reasons, one of the reasons being that it switched up the damsel in distress model and decided the Beast was the one needing ‘saving’, albeit deciding to keep the age old, cookie cutter heroine with a disproportionately sized head, large, almond shaped eyes, a button nose, small mouth, flowing locks, tiny waist and tiny feet; made of sugar, spice and everything nice.

Infatuation with good looks and pretty boys notwithstanding, the Prince in this story was cursed and subsequently metamorphosed into a hideous beast. The lesson to be derived from this story is that beauty is only skin deep. As long as the man is the “ugly” one, that is.

Originally penned by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the fairytale has had several retellings, with abridged versions of the story published by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and Andrew Lang. The initial version tells a compelling story – that the Beast had snubbed the love of an “unattractive” fairy who fell in love with him. In recompense, the fairy cursed him, leaving him imprisoned in the body of not only a hideous beast, but also a dimwitted one incapable of holding a simple conversation. An ironic punishment meted out indeed, all things considered, but nevertheless a glaring and oft untold plot twist.

Belle isn’t your average Disney movie heroine; she’s erudite, her nose always buried in books. Certainly, superficiality may not be high on her list when picking out an ideal male partner. A fact that stood out as she continuously dismissed the advances of the dashing Gaston.Unsurprisingly, Belle falling in love with the frightening Beast has been attributed to various factors. Many have alluded causation to the Stockholm Syndrome, which Emma Watson, star of the movie denied when asked by reporters.

Many are the tales that feature the “unattractive / grotesque hero” – Cyrano de Bergerac, The Frog Prince, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera a few among many. In shocking contrast, cases in which the female has been “unsightly” are few and far between in texts, The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle being a better known one. Interestingly, Sir Gawain marries the “ugly hag” not because of love, but as an act of sacrifice. To reiterate, he considered the act of marrying an ugly woman an act of selflessness. Fancy that.

But the fact remains – if roles were reversed and Belle was the Beast, would the Prince still have fallen for her? We asked people and here’s what they had to say.

Hazma

I’d like to believe that love is more than just what meets the eye, and if the roles were reversed the story would go exactly the same. That a prince charming would fight for her, not because of what she looks like but because of who she is.

Tash

That’s why they say beauty is only skin deep. What matters is who you are rather than how you look… isn’t it?

Julaine

If Beauty was the Beast a prince charming will come after her because she is rich and has a big castle not for true love. If not she would be lonely and miserable. So we find men who would love a woman if she looked like a beast. Even if he did will a man have the courage to defend her and bring her out to the society. In this 21 century a woman needs to be either rich or good looking to survive. If you’re beautiful but poor, men will be like “who cares, her beauty will make me shine more”. If she is ugly but rich, men will be like “who cares she is rich”. But of course not all men.

Gabriel

You know what? Beauty, although a beauty from the outside was a bit of a beast inside, as she was ‘different’ from the rest in the town…. but the Beast, although a beast from the outside was a beauty on the inside.., through his obedience to his servants and his want to set them right and stop suffering as a result if his own mistakes… When their paths crossed, they managed to bring out the best in each other… making them ‘normal’ as defined by society… This happens in individuals lives daily depending on whom we associate. It truly is a tale as old as time….

Oliver

BIC for women will do a ten blade razor, with a pink handle. Veet shampoo is also another option.

Manaal

The underlying theme would remain exactly the same – selfless love is powerful magic. At the same time, it would perhaps carry a stronger message and of course she won’t need any help too woo Prince Charming. She’d have her feminine wiles. The plot would take a more romantic slant and maybe she will be harder to win over as she carries the burden of guilt for being the cause for the curse. A woman is naturally more wary.

☆☆As published in the Daily Mirror Life☆☆

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Live and let live

You know what they say – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”. And in the general scheme of things, I’d dare say I’ve been pretty great with that, tbh. 

Whenever I’m  tempted to let someone have it, I laugh it off instead. Or I’ll smile. Or giggle (I do this when I’m really mad, I noticed). But most often than not, it’s because I’m genuinely happy.

But as it happens, I’ve been told many a time – both directly or indirectly  (mostly indirectly, because people are cowards, unfortunately) that I should laugh less, smile less, giggle less. Because of course, “people” pay all my bills and as such, assume it’s their place to tell me how to live my life. I wonder – would they rather I give them a piece of my mind and tell em what I’m really thinking? Or would they prefer that I actually give two hoots about their feelings and be nice instead? Or is being happy a crime now?

It’s pretty sad actually. That people have time to mull and complain about something as inconsequential as someone laughing. And giggling. And smiling. There are more important things that require our energy – how about you use it to show others love and compassion? How about you use it to do your part in eradicating poverty? The list is endless. And I’d be more than happy to take time off my busy, yet fulfilling life to offer up suggestions as to how you could successfully utilise that energy. Or where you can shove it  😉

Yes I laugh, giggle and smile a lot. So what? I’m not hurting anyone. Positivity can be infectious, and at least I’m doing my part to help spread it rather than spread doom and gloom like you. While you bring your negative energy to the table, I bring positive vibes. So while you’re consumed and blinded by your holier-than-thou attitude, let me relish in own happiness and look on the bright side where it’s all sunshine and unicorns and flowers.

Which brings me to life lesson #223: one can NEVER please anyone. It would be stupid to try. 

So laugh as much as you want. Smile nonstop. Eat that bag of chips you’ve been wanting to eat. Devour the bar of chocolate you’ve been craving. Talk a mile a minute. In fact, do whatever the hell you want. Because life’s too short to live your life afraid of being judged. Trust me, the very same people who seem to have a gazillion opinions about your life will be the very last people to reach out to you when you’re down in the dumps.

Live and let live. It’s that simple.

Saying goodbye to student life

What did your final semester in college feel like?

Yes, you. I’m asking you.

But first let me tell you what I thought. I guessed that I’d be excited to be done but that I would probably be a little upset about missing the time spent with friends. That I’d gleefully complete all assignments and do my best now that I know how most of my professors think and know what they expect. That I would savour each moment so I could hold onto it long after I was done.

Boy was I dead wrong. Screw savouring time – I couldn’t wait for the semester to be over. I still did all assignments the way I always have – in a frenzied panic. Nothing was pre-planned. I didn’t tailor my assignments to appeal to the professors the way I’d initially planned. I didn’t celebrate my last presentation, my last research paper or my last exam. Heck, I didn’t even realize which ones were the last. My final semester wasnt the smooth ride I had hoped it would be and was, instead, the roller coaster ride it had always been. In fact, I felt like I lacked motivation, I just couldn’t be bothered about anything. To be honest, more often than not, I completely forgot it was my last semester.

But other times, I’d remember. Then I’d worry about what my future held for me. What would I do? Where would I work? Most importantly, which career path would I pick? That would determine if I would pursue further education.

Soon, college became something I desperately wanted to hold onto instead of discard. The real world beckoned on the horizon as I desperately try to cling to what’s left of my final semester. The future seemed scary. Uncertain. 

But this made me realize the obvious – the future will always be uncertain and full of surprises. It will always be one helluva rollercoaster ride. So all we can do is enjoy the ride; the rush and the high that comes with it, persevere through the scary moments. 

Life may not be predictable. But you know what? That’s actually the best part!! Think about it – how fun would life be if it was monotonous? If there were no challenges? 

I’ve learnt to embrace life wholeheartedly – the ups, the downs and the inbetweens. And you should too.

2015 – Where did thou go?

Seriously? In the time it took us to blink, 2016 is THREE months in already!! How crazy is that!!!

Anyhoo, 2015 has been a pretty good year for yours truly – and about time too considering the past few years haven’t been the greatest. But what made 2015 great was myself. Life knocked some sense into me and I figured that I was responsible for my own happiness, and that sometimes, you have to stand your ground and be assertive, and you absolutely HAVE TO think of yourself.

I’m not one to whine about the past or talk about “serious stuff”,  nevertheless, I thought this post was necessary – especially if it would help others make juice when life handed them lemons 🙂

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Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way. Most of them will make you think you’ve heard it a million times before. And you probably have. But that’s because it always rings true.

1. Learn to love yourself.
I have always loved myself – the good, the bad and the ugly. No, not in a narcissistic way. But in an accepting way. And this is what helps you realize that you deserve better.

2. Sometimes, you have to be selfish.
I have always lived to make others happy. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for others. But always in a way that they wouldn’t realize that. I’ve always hated for people to think I’m being selfless (weird, I know). But at least every once in a while, learn to do things for yourself. Because YOU want to do it. Not because it will make someone else happy when you do it.

3. The glass IS half full, okay? Even though you may not see it at first.
One of my strengths has been that I’ve always looked on the bright side. Be it in people or situations. While I have sometimes questioned why certain things happened to me in the immediate aftermath of it occurring, before long, I couldn’t be happier that it happened. Everything really does happen for the best. Believe that.

4. What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
You truly never know how strong you are until you get put in hot water. At the end of it, you’ll wonder where all that strength came from, and you’ll be surprised to know that it all came from you. For me, I feel like I have nothing left to lose now and that has led me to actually LIVE my life.

5. If people talk crap about you, it says nothing about you and everything about them.
Let em talk. Seriously. And if people believe the worst about you without hearing your side of the story, do you REALLY need people like that in your life? Exactly.

6. Don’t let anyone dim your shine. Ever.
Know your self worth and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re nothing and make you feel inferior. If people really care for you, they will make you feel better about yourself. Not belittle you. Not continuously insult your intelligence. So don’t take any crap from anyone. Respect yourself enough to do that at least!

To all those of you who are currently having a tough time – always remember, nothing lasts. Especially the bad. And always talk to someone. Don’t suffer alone. We all have our different ways of coping, and although I prefer handling stuff myself, having a support system doesn’t hurt.

Here’s hoping the rest of 2016 turns out to be amazing for all of us!!!!

Stay strong and hang in there.

Lots of love

Hiatus

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I know I was MIA the past few months, but I’ve tried – and obviously failed at – not falling off of the face of earth entirely. I think 😛

Let me start listing off my lame excuses by saying that I honestly have so much respect for those who work and study – I’ve been struggling with time management!!!!!  Psych degrees are crazy (APA research papers, amirite?) and being a writer and sub editor on top of that – and you can bid adieu to any semblance of social life :/

Okay so I’m blaming everything on work + college – because why not? Lol. And having to do coding as a subject is driving me up the wall. Honestly – who gives a rats butt about coding??? Who??????? Did my coding midterms yesterday and had major anxiety for the duration of it :/ I literally have no idea what I did 😦 Life.

Anyhoo, while I’m prolly still not going to be consistent when posting, I’m hoping to at least post once a month. Set simple goals. Baby steps. Gotta start somewhere noh? So I will – fingers crossed – devote as much time as I can to the blog.

Hope you guys are rocking the hell outta what’s left of the weekend.

Much love 🙂