When I woke up earlier this afternoon, I checked my phone to see that some of my friends in a group chat I’m in were talking about a recent event that they considered to be ‘one of the worst things to ever happen in 2016’. My heart immediately dropped to my stomach as I was instantly reminded of what happened to Carrie Fisher last week; she had a heart attack on a flight back from London and was reported to be in critical (later stable) condition. I seriously thought that she would make it out all right, knowing that she had survived plenty throughout her life. But when I Googled Carrie’s name, my suspicions and fear were proven to be true. Today, we lost a Star Wars legend, a hilarious comedienne, a witty writer, and most importantly, an inspiration.
My first exposure to Carrie Fisher was of course her portrayal as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. When I first became a fan of Star Wars, I was in a rough place in my life. My senior year of high school was about to come to a close and after I graduated, I had no idea where I was going to go from there. I felt like I would be losing everything. But if Leia’s character could teach me anything, it was to have hope, no matter how dire the situation could be. Even when her home planet of Alderaan was destroyed by the Empire and when Han Solo was frozen in carbonite, Leia’s resistance to it all made me awestruck. She was a Princess who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She was a Princess who showed no fear in strangling Jabba the Hutt and defending Luke, Han, and Chewie from incoming Stormtroopers. And it was all thanks to Carrie Fisher’s brave determination that shone through her acting.
Once I became immersed in the crazy world known as the Star Wars fandom, I did my research on Carrie and later found out that she was an advocate for mental health, and a rather important one at that. As someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, the fact that Carrie was an activist for similar illnesses to mine made me look up to her even more. She told her stories through several books (I’ve been meaning to read Wishful Drinking for quite a while now) and wasn’t afraid to put them out there. Overall, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind at all. In the words of Halsey (one of my favorite music artists), “(Carrie Fisher) dedicated her platform to mental health awareness and female empowerment. She is a reason + (sic) reminder to keep up your fight.” And she couldn’t have been any more right.
Carrie was fearless and quirky – some of the many reasons why I consider her to be one of my role models. With that said, I will miss deciphering her emoji-filled tweets and her public appearances with her dog Gary at her side. These are things you don’t see most celebrities doing, but quite frankly, Carrie didn’t give a shit. She did what she wanted and that was that. She broke the norms and did a spectacular job of doing so. I will miss everything she’s done for not only me, but for thousands of others who go through what I go through every single day. She gave us our voice and stood up for us. And most importantly, I will miss her lively sense of humor and her raw outlook on life.
Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher. You passed away drowned in moonlight, strangled by your own bra, and you put up a hell of a good fight doing so.