It feels like someone well-known dies every other day lately, and although I'm sad for the losses in general and for the families that they've left behind, most of the time I move on quickly. We've had a lot of sadness in our house this year, so it's hard to muster up more than a moment of silence or two. I have a friend who mentioned the other day that we all die one day, and we shouldn't spend too much time berating 2016 or bemoaning each death. He said this year isn't any more cursed than the next, and we should save our energy for the loss of our friends and family who personally affect us.
I was riding that thought train until Carrie Fisher died today.
Actor, author, screenwriter, public speaker, mental health advocate, mother, daughter. You can go to her website http://carriefisher.com/ or to wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Fisher or to any number of other sites to see a more thorough understanding of her achievements and life than I can do justice. She was brilliant and funny and original and brash and honest, traits to be admired and cultivated. She was so much more than one iconic role, but that's how I was introduced to her. I was five years old when my parents took me and my siblings to the drive-in movie theater to see Star Wars. Here was this Princess who was so much more than that. She could fire a blaster and defend herself, was tortured and wouldn't give up the secrets, saw her planet destroyed and didn't drop to the ground, drove the rebellion forward and planned the battle. She was feisty and determined, resilient. I loved her.
In the next two movies, my love grew for Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher. The actor showed us her character's vulnerability and her tenacity. I think that when you're a younger sci-fi geek woman, you probably imagine whether or not you could pull off her Return of the Jedi metal bikini look. When you get a little older, you realize that the real power was not in her looking good in that bikini, but in her being able to jump behind Jabba the Hut and strangle him to death with the chain at her own throat. Sure she looked fantastic, but it was meant to demean. She had become a slave and toy. Being neither, when the moment was right, Leia corrected the situation. In The Force Awakens, now General Leia Organa continues to lead the cause. 14 years younger than Harrison Ford, I think they had to make Carrie look older not only so he wouldn't look as old, but so you could feel how exhausting this life was for her.
I respected Carrie Fisher's work, her writing, her sense of humor, her struggles with addiction and her mental health issues, and her determination to share and advocate for others around those topics. She made me want to be an actor, to be a better writer and to be funnier. I will miss her a great deal. I can't help feeling like everyone's trying to get off the boat that is 2016.