Character inspiration 1 : Belle.

That bookish beauty, Belle. She needs no introduction, “it’s no wonder that her name means beauty”. Whether it’s the classic 1980s Belle, or Emma Watson’s interpretation, she is a character with unwavering spirit and a refreshing burst of individuality. It is this air of confidence that makes Belle one of the characters I keep top of mind each day. Is it weird to think that the word “character” doesn’t quite do her justice? To me, Belle represents a way of thinking, a decision to be happy.

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Pictured: Your gal Belle with yours truly, Disneyland circa 1999.

The art of sass

Whether she is daydreaming of a far off land, or casually chatting to a beast, Belle does not care what people think of her. Instead, her daily focus is being 100% Belle and leading a life that she defines. She has been through such shit, but she is still herself every damn day.

In the real world, this is too often neglected. As you know, I have struggled with my sense of self (read more about that here). Looking to Belle and her confidence is quiet grounding. I often find myself thinking, what would Belle do? We never see her taking the easy route, we never see her bow out because something is too hard. She literally rejected the jerk and then took on a beast, as if one of those acts alone doesn’t show how badass she is.

As with all Disney characters, Belle is more than her sassy je ne sais quoi.

Belle is 100% Belle.

That is, put her in any environment and you will still get Belle.I have always admired people that are themselves, no matter what. I call them the 100%’ ers. That takes commitment and trust in yourself. It’s hard, but we owe it to ourselves to try.  

Like Belle, when I’m feeling strong, my sass comes out. But that’s just it, I have to be feeling strong. For too long I was worried about what people would think of me if I were to say no, or to put myself first (crazy, right?!). Gone are those days. With Belle front of mind, my sass is in full power. Quick witted responses, are something that I take pride in ha! #sorrynotsorry.

How do you do it? One great way to remind yourself of your commitment to you is to find a mantra. No surprises here. If you have something to fall back on when you feel less than, you’ll find yourself feeling a little more protected. The plentiful pantry of Disney quotes provide a range of tasty options. Here are my go tos:

  • “There is a great big beautiful tomorrow” – carousel of progress
  • “Have courage, be kind” – cinderella
  • “Zero to hero” – hercules

The list goes on…

Kind heartedness and optimism

It’s hard to take optimism into a world of “treat em mean, keep em keen”. It’s hard to be nice all the time, especially when it feels like the world doesn’t appreciate you. It’s hard to keep a smile on and try to see the best. True. I’m sure it is also hard to stay positive when you live in  a town where everyone thinks you’re loopy, or when you are kidnapped by… a beast. Somehow Belle managed ha!

Taking Disney inspiration into the real world, let’s put things into perspective. Belle’s kind hearted and optimistic spirit is rare. You wouldn’t be wrong if you said there was no one as sweet as her. After all, she is a Disney princes for a reason. That’s totally fine.

However, we don’t need to be perfect to be like Belle. All we need is to look at the world through rose coloured glasses when we can. Hear me out. Throughout history, great poets and writers have acknowledged that attitude is everything. Shakespeare even said “nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. If Shakespeare said it, it must be true ha!

For me, positivity is everything. I think I can thank Belle (and other princesses) for that.

Fearless and adventure

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Belle is her sense of adventure. She “wants adventure in the great wide somewhere” (*insert Emma Watson singing on a hill here*).

This ties into the whole “light a fucking fire” to see a change in your life thing. If you’re feeling stale, or stuck, it’s up to you to do something about it. No need to do anything wild, but you owe it to yourself to start working on a bad habit, start a new hobby, or take time to schedule a holiday. In the humdrum monotony of the five day grind, it’s all too easy to get caught up in “working for the man”. Life is too short for that shit.

You own your life, it’s up to you to get that adventure in. I often find myself asking, what do I want to look back on and remember? A magical moment, that’s what… Watch this space!

There you go, my thoughts on how to take a little bit of Belle with you in the wild. The sticking point is that rather than just a silly animated character, ‘she is different from the rest of us, she’s Belle’. To me, that is the definition of ‘lady powers’.