I am a spy in the house of me. I report back from the front lines of the battle that is me…I am somewhat nonplussed by the event that is my life.
When Carrie Fisher died, the background of my phone was Princess Leia with Nicholas Cage’s face superimposed over hers. I remember sitting alone in my dark little cubicle in the corner of the printing company that I worked for and staring at Nicholas Cage’s face and being angry and sad and trying very hard not to cry.
I get teary every time someone posts about her, or a new promo for Last Jedi comes out, or even if I just think about her too hard. Despite how funny it was, I was choked up while reading most of Wishful Drinking.
A lot of girls grew up looking to Leia as the badass girl in the boy’s club. She was amazing with her cinnamon bun hair and blaster and sass.
I don’t think that’s true for me though.
Recently I’ve been looking back at things from when I was a kid and realizing thier major influence on me. How my passionate love for writing Naruto fanfic as a teen is probably the reason I’m still a writer. How anime and cartoons set my suspension of disbelief high in a way that was perfect practice for writing magical realism. There are so many things that I’ve looked back on recently and gone “Wow. You changed me. Thank you for existing.” I wish Princess Leia was one of those things for me, but she wasn’t.
I do not remember a time in my life where I didn’t know about Star Wars. I don’t remember watching it for the first time. It’s just something that has always been there for me. Pre-prequels, I wanted to be Luke, not Leia. I was a hardcore tomboy and I wanted to use the force so bad. Leia was a girl, worse, a princess, and she couldn’t move things with her mind.
By the time the prequels came out and I was looking for a lady role model, I loved Amidala/Padme. She was a queen. She had cool outfits.
So why the hell am I so upset about Carrie Fisher? It’s not that she’s someone that is deeply relatable to me. I didn’t grow up a child of Hollywood stars, or hop in and out of rehab. I’m depressed, but not bipolar. People don’t look at me and think “SPACE PRINCESS.”
But just before Force Awakens came out, she did this interview, and I fell in love:
What a beautiful, goofy lady.
THEN, to take up some more room in my heart, she opened an advice column at the Guardian (where she was only able to respond twice before she passed away), where she said this small line that tugged on my heartstrings and has stayed with me:
Hilariously – after all the drug addiction and celebration marriage and mental illness and divorce and shock treatment and heartbreak and motherhood and childhood and neighborhood and hood in general – I’ve turned out to be (at close to 70) a kind of happy person (go figure!).
She was happy. And I believe she was happy. She was a woman, fighting her mental illness and addictions, and she was recovering from that every day, because people don’t realize that when you have a mental illness (and I assume it is similar for addiction) you are recovering from that every. fucking. day. And she was still happy. That’s why I love her. That’s why I’m so deeply sad that she is gone.
Carrie Fisher didn’t just write or talk about the hard parts of being mentally ill, she was a pillar of hope. She wasn’t an echo-chamber of awareness, she was surviving. And at least some of that time, she was happy.
Rest in love and peace, Carrie.