This post is going to be ridiculously hard for me. Partly because I’m using dictation on my computer to speak-type as my right hand is in a wrist brace rendering me unable to type. The other part is…because if I say the words, then it settles in that it’s real, it happened, and I don’t know if I can handle that. Regardless, dictation and I will try.
Let’s start happy – This is the Carrie I’ll remember. Take a moment to check out this video of her roasting George Lucas; it’s gold.
One of the first movies I ever watched was Star Wars. My brother was three when “A New Hope” came out, so when I was born years later, Star Wars was instantly a part of my life. Princess Leia was one of my first Halloween costumes. As a kid, I couldn’t comprehend the complexity and the badassery of her character, but I knew enough to immediately figure out that I loved her. I wanted to be her. She wasn’t a Princess waiting for help, she was a Princess with a blaster. I loved her hair, her dress, her attitude, her banter with Han, her witty replies, everything about her. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that there was so much more to Princess Leia that made her a badass … and a part of that came from how witty and honest and amazing Carrie Fisher was.
Leia taught me that I don’t have to wait for anyone to help me or save me – I can do it myself. I can make change with others, not waiting for others. Rogue One showed me just how those plans got into Leia’s hands, and just how she and the rebellion were tied together. That made “A New Hope” even more valuable and important; it pretty much changed the movie for me.
Leia wasn’t one to sit on Alderaan and wait for change to come, no. She went for it. She was a part of it. Laws be damned, Empire be damned, Darth Vader be damned, threat of death be damned. After having seeing all eight (currently) Star Wars films, I sit here and nod to myself at how strong General Leia Amidala Skywalker Organa Solo was. By the time “The Force Awakens” happens, she lost everything. Her parents, her planet, her lover, her brother, her son, so many rebels…where was her hope? For me, it was her. She was the hope. She did the work, she climbed the ranks, she made it happen. She was such an important part of the Rebellion that they’d be lost without her. Dare I say, they probably would’ve been finished without her.
That’s what I’ve been seeing for the past three decades of my life: a fierce, powerful princess who wasn’t backing down, nor was she giving up. She was going to fight the good fight and do whatever she had to in order to do so. But as time went on, that wasn’t all I saw. I got to see who really made Princess Leia – Carrie Fisher.
Carrie was a fighter in her own right. She struggled with mental illness, with addiction, with body shamers, and more, yet she was always so very open and honest about every single moment. She never once sugarcoated a thing; she made sure to discuss every struggle, every setback, every hardship, every tough time and tough moment that people simply don’t want to even mention.
When it comes to addiction and mental illness, there is such a gross stigma. It’s become taboo, but Carrie didn’t hold back; she spoke. And spoke, and spoke, and spoke, with all of her witty commentary, all of her honest, ugly truths, and all of her struggles. She went up against everything and didn’t stop there. There was so much negative talk on her weight, her age, her body, anything and everything one can think of. Did she back down? Did she let them talk? No. Carrie went in, head-on, told her haters and critics to eloquently screw themselves, and pressed on. She wasn’t the model princess image that Hollywood, mass media, and the public expected. Instead, she was explicit, loud, unashamed, outspoken, and unapologetic for everything. She gave the world the middle finger then laughed about it.
Since I heard the news today, I’ve been crying on and off. I feel like I got punched in the stomach then in the head, really hard. I was hoping so hard that she’d pull through from Friday’s heart attack. I was praying and hoping, sending good vibes, and constantly saying Carrie Fisher is one with the force, the force is with Carrie Fisher. I think that became a mantra for many Star Wars fans this weekend; thanks Chirrut. Deep down, I think a part of me knew… but I still had hope. It’s going to be quite difficult to come to terms with this.
Leia was an icon to me growing up, and still is. No matter how many hardships she dealt with, no matter how bleak things seemed, she never gave up. No matter what, she kept pushing through. Leia wasn’t alone in that – Carrie Fisher did the same thing in her own life. No matter what, she never gave up, never gave in to what people wanted of her. She was herself, unapologetically so, and she lived her life the way she wanted, did what she wanted, and fought a thousand internal and external demons to do it. That is what I am going to remember the most about her…her unabashed, unashamed witty way of life. I want to be as badass as she was. I want to be as honest and open as she was. I want to be as strong a fighter as she was.
So… As I’ll probably spend the rest of time crying on and off about this devastating loss, I’ll think that now that she was struck down, she will become more powerful than we could possibly imagine. We can all assist in that, by living life the way she did. Fighting the way she did.
Let’s talk about depression, addiction, mental illness. Let’s talk about ageism, sexism, misogyny. Let’s be open and honest and unashamed. And don’t forget to wash that all down with helping to destroy a galactic empire.
I’m not going to say goodbye. I’m going to say thank you. Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for teaching me so many lessons during my entire lifetime. There has never been a moment in my life that I didn’t know of you, who you were, and what you’ve done. And I will never forget.
May the force be with you.