Carrie Fisher. Are you fucking kidding me, 2016? People die every day, I get it, internet trolls. But when the majority of icons from the childhoods of any one who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s pass away at very early ages, I think we are allowed to say WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
2016 has taken all the weirdos and now, its taken our princess. The weirdos that paved the way to be yourself, be confident in your differences instead of fearing them. To make your own path when you don’t want to follow the one laid before you. They taught us to speak our mind, create art, be proud of our faults and failures. Strive to be better but know it is okay if we struggle. Carrie Fisher was one of the loudest voices in the crowd. Now that voice, amongst all the others, is gone and I am heartbroken.
We need the weirdos. We need the David Bowies, Gene Wilders, Alan Rickmans, Princes, Leonard Cohens, George Michaels. We need the artists that are bold, daring, unique. Maybe I’m blind but there are not many I am attached to now as the ones we have recently lost. Perhaps it’s nostalgia that created such a bond with these icons. By growing up with their faces on my screen, music in my ears, and words in my heart, they became a part of me. However, I truly don’t think it is just that childhood lingering on. These artists were special. They were magic. They helped to guide us even if we never met them. When I was bullied in middle school, some of what I was picked on was for the way I dressed and the music I liked. I dressed in things that I liked that maybe weren’t the mainstream because $68 Gap jeans at age 12 is insane (you were right, Mom) and listened to Bowie and Dylan (thanks, Dad). My parents used to remind me being different was great, being different was good. I could be different and still be accepted. Sadly, this took a while and I still have my doubts and worry people won’t like me but it does get less and less with time. And I always had my weirdos to guide me. If Carrie Fisher could overcome everything she went through from growing up Hollywood royalty to addiction to divorce to motherhood to her career spanning decades and the one role that never left her, I could deal with my bra being frozen at a slumber party. I could still grow up to be a great actress even if I was a weirdo and my peers didn’t get me. Weirdos make the best art.
We all have heroes. Carrie Fisher was one of mine. It started for me as it started for most: with Star Wars. I loved Star Wars as a kid because of Leia…and the Ewoks, obviously (I was a little girl, after all). It wasn’t until recently that I realized how crucial it was to watch a princess kick ass. As a child, I never questioned that Leia was one of the heroes. I just saw a woman who was a princess being better than the boys and that was awesome. As I grew and became more aware of how rare this was and still is, it became clear that Carrie Fisher’s character was a milestone in female protagonists being more than a damsel in distress. As much as I love Disney, they weren’t really cutting it at the time. Disney encouraged us to follow our dreams which shaped me into who I am but so much of those dreams end in love stories (which may have destroyed me as I thought I was going to marry any boy I ‘loved’ and was devastated every time it didn’t work out) Lately, Disney has picked up the pace with Moana, a film with no love interest and a girl who doesn’t want to defy her father and become something she’s not; she wants to be the best chief she can be for her people by exploring and expanding her horizons by sailing off into the unknown. She’s incredibly similar to our galactic royal if you think about it. Princess Leia loses her entire planet and everyone she knows and goes off into the unknown, fighting to right the wrongs that have been done to her by preventing them to happen to any one else. She’s a fucking WARRIOR.
A few people have expressed this sentiment with the news that Carrie Fisher had left us and I couldn’t agree more: we grew up admiring Princess Leia. She was our hero. Then, as adults, our hero became Carrie Fisher just as herself. She spoke about mental illness with grace and humor. She took away the stigma from it and discussed openly her bi polar disorder and addiction struggles. Within her writing, I found solace and wisdom. She wrote for reasons I did: “I always wrote. I wrote from the when I was 12. That was therapeutic for me in those days. I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper. So writing in a way saved me, kept me company. I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know”. One of my favorite bits of hers is about when something tragic happens and at first, it is not funny and you think it will never be funny. Then, after a time, the turn happens and it becomes funny. You can laugh about it and grow from it. I learned from that, especially when my crazy gets out of the box. Eventually, you know, as long as I didn’t murder someone, I can laugh about my mistakes, my choices. Wishful Drinking is a brilliant piece of writing where Carrie does just that. I mean she bring a sex doll of herself as Leia down from the ceiling in show. She finds the absurdity in her past. She can make light of it. That’s a gift that many of us forget we have. We can grow, learn, change, laugh. We can enjoy overcoming our struggles. You know, it’s funny I used to pretend to be someone else online to stalk my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend on AIM. That’s funny now, right? Right???
One of my most recent loved Carrie Fisher moments was her reaction when she received criticism for how she had aged. “Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my Twitter. “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy bi products of time and/or DNA.” Once again, our princess is sticking her middle finger at everyone judging her. She did not give any fucks. She says in Wishful Drinking that she was hot at a time when everyone is hot. In our 20s and 30s, we all are pretty banging. I try and remember this as I struggle with my own appearance at age 32 and gaining weight and hating looking at myself. Carrie also expressed that she hates looking at herself too and while she was working to maintain her health and weight, she can’t help that her body has changed as she got older. None of us really can stop that naturally. It’s inevitable and in the movie industry, it is a tough pill to swallow. Luckily, once again Star Wars prevails and with the new episodes, our princess a general who is even stronger than her younger self. She is just as beautiful to me as General Organa as she is a Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher grew up. She’s not the starlet with the incredible body (they even told her to lose weight for when making Star Wars and she was only 105 lbs at the time!). She was now a woman who had been through it all and now lost her son and husband (lover? estranged boyfriend? baby daddy? What do we call Han?) and still is fighting like hell. Her appearance doesn’t matter, it never did. Leia was he was badass in spite of her beauty. She was more than her pretty face and wanted to be seen as such. She was tougher than all the boys and is still there, in that war room, making plans, while Luke is off on a mountain sulking. Just saying. Leia went through some shit and she’s still standing.BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have,” Fisher wrote on
I bought Lincoln tickets to Wishful Drinking when it was on Broadway. We were both incredibly excited as huge Star Wars fans and Carrie Fisher fans in general. I have always wanted her career. She has that iconic role as Leia but also all the amazing side characters like in Drop Dead Fred and When Harry Met Sally and Soapdish. Carrie had such impeccable timing and sharp delivery. She stole every scene she was in with those parts and that’s the career I still strive for. Seeing her perform this one woman show increased my admiration and desire to follow her path immensely. She was fantastic on stage, telling her life story with that timing, grace, honesty, and familiarity. The show made you feel like you really were sitting in her living room with her, gossiping about her past. While we hardly ever stage doored at this point in our adult lives, Lincoln and I both agreed we had to try and meet her. We waited only a short while and out she came, fresh, energetic, and immediately dove into talking to the people who were waiting in the cold just to shake her hand. When her attention turned to us, we both tried to keep our cool. I praised the show and her writing. I expressed to her how I grew up with Leia and also all her other characters. I told her that I found her so strong and funny and that Leia taught me that you can be tough but also royalty. She listened intently to all of it. She thanked me and said she was so glad to hear it and thrilled I enjoyed the show. I asked to take a picture and she took my arm and snuggled, and I am serious when I say snuggled, up into my shoulder and laid her head down on it like we were buds. I took her lead and leaned my head down onto hers and now I have this picture I truly treasure. She made my husband make sure it was a good one and then was the same way to him: kind, warm, delighted we loved the show. That seemed so important to her and meant something when we expressed how brilliant we thought it was.
Knowing this about her, my heart aches for those who knew and loved her personally. The fact that she made me feel so relaxed and welcomed after she performed a long one woman show she wrote herself just amplifies for me how glorious she must have been in her life to the people around her and in every project she took on. I feel her loss so much and I know it is even more for those close to her. She was our hero, our princess, our warrior. She showed us princesses can become generals. She should us an insane family life and struggles with addiction and mental illness can blossom into a creative life that reaches out and helps others. She was a queen on screen and in real life. Carrie Fisher was someone to admire and still is. She always will be. I hate this year because of what it has taken from us. There has been so much darkness. I am trying to appreciate the final art of these icons. Bowie’s Black Star and Fisher’s Princess Diarist. But it makes me ache with longing for more. Imagine the next film Alan Rickman was to make. I know I need to stop imagining what could have been because it can’t be now. I look forward to General Organa in Episode 8. I look forward to seeing her strength, comedic timing, and beauty grace the screen one final time. I look forward to all the little girls growing up now with Star Wars and watching the original trilogy and seeing a princess become a leader. I hope they feel what we all did: a princess can be more than a queen. A princess can change the world.
May the force be with you.