I wasn’t really a Star Wars fan as a kid- I just never saw the original trilogy and can only assume my parents weren’t fans either because they didn’t ever take me to see the prequel trilogy as the movies came out. I didn’t see the movies in their entirety until a little while before The Force Awakens came out (still haven’t seen all of The Phantom Menace, but have been assured that I’m not missing very much). That said, five or twenty-five at first viewing, I love Princess Leia. I immediately loved the beautiful diplomat who helped lead a revolution and stayed focused on the rebellion when family drama unfolded. I loved the Matriarch of the rebels. I loved the woman who would strangle her abuser with a chain while wearing a metal bikini.
I’m mourning Princess Leia, but even more than that, I’m mourning Carrie Fisher. I feel like I’ve lost two heroes all in one go.
I suffered from depression while I was in college- I still do, but my life has gotten significantly better and my support system is much larger and that all means less crying on the floor of my shower. When I read about Carrie Fisher- a successful woman who has been so very open about her own struggles with mental health and substance abuse, I felt a kindred spirit. And I saw a woman who made it to sixty despite having a mental illness similar to my own, with a successful career and a child- she was an actress and a writer and an advocate. A woman who dared have a life and not be the sex symbol society wanted her to be forever. Princess Leia is my role model for leading a sci fi rebellion, but Carrie Fisher is my role model for living life.
For the last three years or so, I’ve been struggling with the worst writer’s block of my life- words won’t come out right and the best I’ve been able to manage is angst-ridden stream of consciousness (I think fourteen year old me trying to write fanfiction was doing a much better job). I’ve been afraid that all of those dreams I had weren’t really worth much and I was going to spend the rest of my life folding the socks of dancers in a theme park, which while not awful, is not glamorous, exciting, or at all artistically satisfying. But I’m going to try my hardest to put something out there this year. Over the Christmas season, friends have been giving me gifts that all seem to say ‘you need to be writing’ and now with Carrie’s death, I keep reading quotes encouraging others. “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
So I’m going to write that novel. Because if she could be Princess Leia and an author and humanitarian, I can manage my twenties and try to hold onto what I’ve dreamed about doing since I was around twelve.
“I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”