I want much more than this provincial life.

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I am absolutely in love with the new Beauty and the Beast film. So much so that I went to see it twice in three days. It stuck with me like no other film has in a really long time, which made me wonder why that is.
I’ve never had a favourite Disney princess. Despite having seen all the classic films, it was only Alice that stuck with me. But after seeing the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, I now do have a favourite princess – and no, it’s not because of Emma Watson.

Here’s why.

I relate to the film in two different ways.
One is Belle herself. Looking back, I’ve always felt like the odd one out; I still do. I may not be from a poor, provincial town – not in a literal sense, anyway – but it’s small enough to host a good selection of small-minded people who don’t really accept anyone who’s different.

I didn’t study law or medicine; I didn’t train to be a shop assistant or handyman. Instead I studied languages. “But what will you ever do for a living?!” is what I heard far too regularly.

I didn’t hate having to read. Instead I buried my nose in books; written works of art that I could gain so much out of. I was titled as “the one that likes Shakespeare” in my final yearbook.

I didn’t avoid sticking out. Instead I dyed my hair black, wore clothes that were loud and listened to my dad’s vinyl records. “She’s never going to get anywhere” still rings in the back of my mind.

I didn’t want to stay in that town forever. I literally want(ed) much more than this provincial life. So instead I went to Australia for six months, to London for nearly seven months and eventually emigrated. Whilst my friends settled down, moved in with partners and even got married, I still lived at home, saved money and planned for a bigger future.

You get the point. I’m the one that thinks too much. The one that reads a lot. The one that always had a hard time finding real friends; people I can actually connect with. I’m also more likely to fall in love with Beasts than Gastons, but that’s another story.

And then there’s something else. The final piece which makes the whole story so damn relatable for me: Belle’s relationship with her dad.
Not only does my dad look a little bit like Maurice (there’s a picture for you; I mean it in a positive way, dad, I promise!), I see characteristics in him which I can translate to similar characteristics my dad has. Both Belle and Maurice are outcasts in a town of little people but not only would they not change that for the world, they also stick to and up for each other, come what may. I can almost feel how much she cares for him because I know what it’s like to have a relationship with your dad like that. I’d lived with just him for over ten years before I moved to London, and that’s a joint you can’t break.

Likewise, I feel like we’ve always been looked down on together. I get my ‘odd one out’-characteristics from him, so naturally, he faced – and occasionally still faces – the same struggles as me. As a result, he guided me through life with invaluable advice whilst never holding me down in any way, and I think that’s what makes Maurice and Belle’s relationship so special, too.

My dad also let me date a few beasts in the past – unfortunately they never turned into prices, though.

It may sound stupid but having a story so relatable gives me hope that things will work out for everyone involved. And it’s nice knowing that there might be a happy end after all.

’til then x

P.S. Love you, Daddyo.

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