The girls are starting to discover the magic of Disney, and in particular, the princesses. They are loving Belle and Rapunzel especially. Belle was always one of my favourites growing up and I’ve taken to watching it with the girls again, seemingly a lifetime ago the last time I saw Belle first lay eyes on that library.
But, now, I see the women and stories with a different lens, and our conversations about the Princesses delve much further than just how pretty their dresses are. In fact, I think they’ve taught me a couple things about love.
Always be true to yourself.
Let’s look at Rapunzel. That girl meets Flynn and literally runs around with no shoes, a frying pan, and a chameleon as her bestie, but she owns it. And you know what? Flynn falls for her, just as she is. Even when she starts rocking a new ‘do. And really, what guy wouldn’t want a lady who is just naturally her-flaws and all as opposed to someone who exhausts themselves putting on airs. There was a time I used to try and be what someone else wanted but was more of a character of myself. Now, I’m more like, here I am, sometimes I’m super awesome, sometimes I obsess over dumb shit, take it or leave it, but know that you’ll miss out on something fabulous if you can’t handle it.
Sometimes, the line between good and bad isn’t as clear as it seems.
It would seem to some that the obvious bad guy in Beauty and the Beast would be the Beast, but let’s be real, Gaston is the biggest asshole ever. And those girls fawning all over him like him because, he’s supposedly good looking? Is that all that matters now? As I’ve explained to the kids, he’s mean to his friends, tries to control Belle, hurts the Beast, and all because he thinks some chick is hot? Like, grow up. At least the Beast owns his crazy until he’s a total baby after being attacked by wolves. He also shows us that love can come in the unlikeliest of places. When we’re looking left, someone comes from the right.
We all have baggage.
Dating in your thirties pretty much predicts that there’s some kind of back story there, and if there isn’t, how weird is THAT?! Flynn was pretty much a typical criminal jackass until he opens up. The Beast seems like a rageaholic until we realize he grew up feeling like a monster. Even Kristoff’s comments to Anna about her “true love” comes from being raised by actual love experts. If we’re coming into love with our own baggage then we have to give others a chance too. Even those seemingly unworthy, for who knows their story?
Sometimes we don’t know what love is until we know what love isn’t.
Let’s take Anna and Hans. He seems like everything she’s ever wanted, like true love. Except, in her time of need, he’s a giant douche and it takes a snowman to talk some sense into her. Pretty sure snowmen don’t even have brains, but once she realizes, she gets it. Love was there, but not the way she thought, and not with the person she thought. My kids always say how Hans is the bad guy, not because he tries to destroy Elsa and take over the kingdom like a real jerk face, but because he lies to Anna about loving her, the ultimate betrayal.
I can’t protect the kids from having their hearts broken or making some poor dating choices, but I can talk to them about love and show them that the Princesses do more than just look pretty. They’re smart, resourceful, and refuse to be anyone but themselves, even in the face of adversity. And that’s a powerful message for anyone.