You must always look beyond what you can see. It sounds corny and cliche - I know. But something as simple as a Disney movie is what convinced me. I grew up in a house with two beautiful older siblings who had the whole ordeal. The shiny golden-brown hair, the captivating light brown eyes, the glowing skin, etc. I always thought my sister’s boyfriend was gorgeous enough to have any girl he wanted. He had the whole “Abercrombie look.” Likewise, my brother’s girlfriend could easily pass for a beach model with her wavy blonde hair and dark skin. The couples I grew up around made me feel like you had to love someone with a similar range of beauty to you, and that was the only way a couple could work.

I laid on the couch, head on my mom’s stomach as my aunt put in the DVD for Beauty and The Beast. Belle was beautiful, and initially her appearance only strengthened my theory of how couples worked seeing that she reminded me exactly of my own sister. Her hair was still stunning, even in just a regular braid. It sounds kind of funny, but even as a cartoon I thought she was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Gaston appeared, handsome as ever, and I was for sure that they were soon to wed--you know, how every gorgeous Disney princess marries her handsome prince charming. However, Belle denied Gaston. I was so shocked, and I recall asking my mom “why won’t the pretty girl immediately marry the pretty boy? Isn’t that just how it works?”

I recall my mom explaining to me that it wasn’t about his looks, it was about his character. However, I wasn’t convinced. If my normal, everyday siblings dated beautiful people and understood this shallow status quo that I believe to be true, then why wouldn’t a role-model such as Belle do the same?

So Belle meets the beast, right? (Whose appearance is synonymous to a wretched ram-wolf-mix.) She spends her time with him, dances with him, and eats with him, and I was like wait - what? Is this some sort of joke? Later on, Belle is released to save her father, and I thought “finally, she’s off to save her father and marry her good-looking Gaston!” But my thoughts were twisted when Belle does everything in her power to save the Beast when the townspeople and Gaston go after him. She even returns to the castle and fights for him. After he was stabbed by Gaston, the beast falls to the ground, and Belle tells the beast she loves him, reversing the spell that turned him into a hideous beast forever. Right at that moment, it hit me.

The beast wasn’t beautiful, but he loved her. Even as a beautiful girl, she loved him back for his true character. Inner beauty will always trump outer beauty. I believe in every situation you must look beyond what you can see, because there is always more inside. Your own “prince charming” or happily ever after may not look the way you expect, but they sure will be filled with wonderfulness and beauty inside. It’s time to believe not only in inner beauty, but also to believe in other people. Belle believed in the Beast, conveying the real meaning behind looking beyond what you can see.

With today's society, everyone expects you to be "perfect." But what even is perfect? Do you need to be a stunning princess? Do you need to be under a certain amount of pounds? Do you need to have silky straight hair? Absolutely not. Your beauty on the outside is irrefutably remarkable, but when the right person looks beyond any of societies so-called "imperfections," there will be no such thing as a beauty and a beast - only two beautiful people.