So, a couple of friends started comparing people to Disney characters. Somehow, I got the laebl of Simba, “A romantic with a huge sense of responsibility. You can run but you can’t hide.”
You all know me better than my friends, right? They’re wrong! Right?
I haven’t watched the Lion King since it came out on VHS. I remember it being a story about growing up and finding your place in the world, your spot on the ciiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiiiife. That is not what I see in the mirror. First of all, I’m never going to grow up. Although I am debating a Halloween costume this year that may involve tights, I’m not really a big fan of Peter pan. I haven’t done a Halloween costume in years. I haven’t done Halloween at all in ages.
There’s this scene in V for Vendetta where V is looking in a mirror without his mask on. That is what I see. That is what I’ve always seen. When I first watched the Terminator movies, I knew who Linda Hamilton was. I still remember her from long before then. If anyone understands the connections between these statements, you probably “get me” already.
I am the Beast. I have felt that way since I first caught “Vincent” on the screen in the Beauty and the Beast TV series with Linda Hamilton. I understand the quiet protector who feels hideous and unworthy of love. I sympathize with the creature in the dark who loves so deeply and unabashedly shows it expecting nothing but rejection and heartache in return. If the last year has taught me anything it is that spending even small bursts of time with a beautiful and amazing woman will soften me and make me want to walk in the sunlight. Oh, how I understood the Beast, even as a child and how it comes back to haunt me.
In different versions of the tale, the source of the curse is different, but generally it is a curse that the Beast will look like a beast until he convinces the girl to fall in love with him. At first there is generally anger and depression, but eventually he sees the girl. He falls in love with her and his edges soften; his entire demeanor changes. Slowly the girl falls for him. At first it comes across as pity, it probably really was pity at first. Eventually, she is forced to see that it is more than pity. And although pity may have been the seed, the plant that grew was love. Eventually, she is forced to choose and realizes that all she wants in the world is beneath the fur and hideous skin.
V from V for Vendetta is very much the same character. He is scarred and wounded. He is hurt to the core and knows nothing but vengeance. Then through this lovely girl, he sees more. It doesn’t change who he is or sway him from his path, but it gives him a texture. After she saves his life in the TV studio, He suffers a fundamental crisis. Is she worth it? Is there someone who didn’t need to hear my message? Is there someone who already knows? Are there still good people left? Do I risk everything or let her be dragged off by all the wrong people to answer questions and possibly be tortured?
At the same time, he feels hideous, but loves her and really cares deeply about other people. He cares. He loved making her breakfast. Gordon is the same character again in the same movie. He has this hideous trait that he hides away, but he cares. He loved making her breakfast.
I’ve been angry. I’ve been depressed. I have fur. I don’t have tusks, but I do have an extra tooth. I used to have a lion’s mane. If I don’t mow regularly, I definitely have the “brows” of a Gorilla. And now I feel like I’ve glimpsed the princess. I am growing rosebushes and baking. I’ve made myself breakfast 3 times in the last two weeks(this morning was pancakes form scratch and a homemade banana sauce with brown sugar and honey). I blog and I want the entire world to know who I am. It’s funny that it doesn’t even matter that I’ve realized she’s probably not the one. My heart has started singing.
So, I will carry on with my silly campaigns and crusades. I will continue to kidnap princesses and hope they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, or perhaps generally fall in love with me. I will fly into rages when I feel terrible about myself. I will love with the untamed heart of a baboon king, I will love my princesses and expect them to be repulsed by me. I will hide behind a mask that never changes. My voice will give away too much emotion, but most of that emotion will be in decrees and inspiring statements of fact.
V is the Beast. They are my heroes in all their forms. Whether it is Ron Perlman or Hugo Weaving. Whether I am seeing Disney’s Belle or Linda Hamilton or Kristin Kreuk or Jeannette, I will try to remember that one day the right princess will love what’s inside of me. One day, when I find her and look into her eyes, I will see reflected back, the man I want to be.