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Is Belle teaching us to never be satisfied?

June 30, 2009

As a child I was the one that dreamed big. I wanted the crazy life, the life that everyone was jealous of, the life in the big city, with the big job, with the great stories to make everyone jealous with at high school reunions. I balked at the thought of having an ordinary life, whatever that meant. I wanted the adventure. Anyone who didn’t want the same things as me I promptly made fun of or made faces at. In reality, as most kids out there, I didn’t really know what I wanted. There were so many lives that I could see myself living that I couldn’t really tell. Many times my story would change when talking to my mom, and much of those changes depended on the latest book that I was reading. But to society, to those outside of my family, I still stomped around with my, “I’m going to be BIG, you’ll see.”

The other day Beauty and the Beast came on the television. I was dusting in the other room, but I could hear the music. And even though it was in German (go figure) I could immediately sing the beginning song. “There goes the baker with his tray like always, the same old breads and rolls to seeeelllll!”

Damn Disney. It is quite possible that those aren’t the exact words, but they are the ones I found myself singing and are close enough. But back to the point.

I started thinking about Belle and how in that beginning song she basically puts down anyone and everything in her little town and I was reminded of myself. Anything that I deemed “ordinary” as a teen was put down, made fun of, passed along as something to “settle” for. I was so convined that everyone around had settled for the comfortable instead of for the incredible that I basically dissed everyone and their mother. Typical teen.

And I began to wonder, “Is this where I got that attitude from, from television, from Disney?”

I’m obviously not blaming Disney for my bad teenage manners, but I wondered if it is possible that we are subliminally taught from a young age that if we stay where we are we are settling, and to settle is bad. Does society teach us, from the time we watch cartoons, that if we do the same as our parents, that we are not living life to the fullest? And what exactly is “living life to the fullest” and what exactly is “settling”? Yes, my brain really takes a workout while I dust. But seriously now…

I was reminded of people being so jealous of me when I told them that I was moving to Europe with my husband. “What a glamorous life you have!” They would say. Sure, I could look at it that way. It is pretty cool that we just vacationed in Tuscany for the price of Americans vacationing at the Grand Canyon (nothing again the great GC, I love that place) and it is definitely a dream come true for me to be able to speak a different language daily, but when people gripe to me about their “plain” lives and tell me that I can’t understand because I am “living the life” I want to scream at them.

In the end life is the same every where. We wake up, we go to work (or look for work as in my case), we get married, have kids, or don’t have them…

What I mean is that there are very few of us who live this life in which every day is super glamorous. I’m not that rich. Everyday life here is, well, everyday life. DD and I do much of the same thing everyday and to see us you would think we live in an average American town, or average European town. Seriously.

In my concluding thoughts I realized that “living the life” is to be had by all, it just means being happy with the one you have made for yourself. But as the next song in the Disney movie comes on I wonder how I teach that to this little girl who is twirling around like Belle in a way that she understands. In a way so that she isn’t the one always thinking that the grass is greening, because honey, grass is either green or brown, all you have to do to make yours green is add a little water.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 6, 2009 6:34 pm

    LOVED this one! Thanks for following me on Twitter. I’m about to go return the favor…and I love your blog.

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