When I was nine years old, Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast came out. It’s the first movie I remember seeing in theaters. It stuck in my memory because of what happened that day before we went to the movies.
My dentist in Arizona was named Dr. Lamb. I saw him every six months for routine cleanings. When I reached the age of nine, he decided that, in order for my adult teeth to grow in with no problems, I needed to have four of my molars pulled. The reasoning behind this decision was that, with one molar taken from each quadrant of my mouth, my adult teeth would have the room necessary to grow in without overcrowding. Now, mind you, I still ended up needing braces due to extremely crooked and crowded teeth. So, I’m not entirely sure that his idea actually worked. Regardless, at this point in my life, that was the procedure recommended, so that’s what I got.
My appointment was in the morning and I got to miss school. Not a bad trade-off. Or so I thought. I’m not a fan of going to the dentist for anything other than cleanings. I love getting my teeth cleaned. They feel so wonderful afterwards and don’t hurt in the process. Anything else, as in anything that requires the use of needles in my gums, and I’m a huge mess. Nowadays, I can only go in for other procedures under the use of sedation – either I.V. or pill sedation.
Of course, that wasn’t an option when I was a child. I had to lay there quietly as they placed the numbing gel in my mouth on a cotton swab, followed by the dreaded needle for the full numbing effect. It wasn’t fun. Once I was fully numb, he used these awful looking pliers to grab my teeth, that weren’t even loose yet, and twisted and yanked until they finally released from my mouth. There was no pain at this point, but the sound was simply appalling. The ripping and tearing sounds as the roots were broken made me cringe.
When all was said and done, I had a mouth full of cotton and four less teeth. My face was numb for a long time afterwards and I couldn’t eat or drink anything until the feeling came back. I was fairly miserable and wishing I’d just gone to school instead. I think my mum must have known this and decided to cheer me up with a special trip to the movie theater, just me and her. It was awesome.
We got in the theater just after the movie started, but before anything big happened. It quickly became one of my all-time favorite movies and has stayed that way ever since. When the live action remake came out in 2017 with one of my favorite actresses, I was thrilled. When it turned out to be excellent, my heart overflowed with joy. Having been connected to a terrible experience, I could have ended up despising the movie. I’m glad it went the other way though. Belle is a heroine I can truly relate to and who continues to inspire the bookworms of the world to keep reading and be kind to everyone, even the beasts in our lives.