Leia was the only princess I ever wanted to be. I never had much time for the helpless heroine, the one who was purely there to be pretty or pure. I much preferred the witty one who could hold her own with a blaster.
She was different, though. She was also a kick-ass person: actress, writer, and fierce advocate for mental health awareness. She was one of the first people I remember speaking openly about the therapies and treatments she utilized.
So when Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles last Friday, my heart sank a bit. When someone’s struggled with addiction and mental health issues, a toll has been taken on the body. Plus, women are far more susceptible to heart disease than we like to talk about. And while it wasn’t completely surprising to hear that she died a couple days later, it still really bummed me out.
My Princess was gone.
A thousand cinnamon roll and steel bikini jokes later, my Princess was gone.
My Princess was gone.
Steve Martin took all sorts of shit for a Tweet and I’m not usually the one to rush to the aid of a white dude, but here’s the deal: Women were only supposed to be pretty back in the day, so when one was funny and smart, let alone pretty, it may have surprised a dude.
I’m not saying this was a good thing. I’m just saying it was a thing.
One of the best celebrity tributes I read was from Kevin Smith, who posted on Instagram about dedicating himself to Carrie Fisher as a nun would dedicate herself to Jesus—wholeheartedly and without ever meeting. He was completely in love with her, even refusing to listen to Paul Simon when he was married to Carrie. When he relayed his young love to her on the set of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” her comment was, “I’m glad to know I helped you find your light saber.”
I got a tiny taste of what it was like to be Leia at Halloween. We were at the Crystal Ballroom and made a point of finding other Star Wars characters over the course of the evening. There was a New Hope Leia, several Reys, and even a couple with amazing paper mache TIE Fighter and Death Star masks. Somehow, I was the only Slave Leia.
Towards the end of the evening, a fellow dressed as Dagobah Luke from Empire strolled over.
I was old enough to be his Teen Mom.
“I know this is weird because I’m your brother,” he hesitated, “but you’re really hot.”
I laughed, probably blushed a little, and said, “Thank you, that’s sweet.”
If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s to say thank you when someone gives you a compliment, whether it’s a 21 year old dude at a Halloween party or a homeless guy who likes your dress. Just say thank you.
Since it was nearing the end of the evening, Captain Solo and I were already heading for the door. As I turned and started to walk away, Luke blurted out, “I have a boner.”
I turned back and as I glanced at Luke, all I saw was the Master Yoda puppet peering over Luke’s shoulder at me. There were people in all sorts of costumes, dancing and drinking, laughing and talking, but all I saw was Yoda.
“Fucked up, you did. Talk about boners, do not,” had to be Yoda’s counsel.
And the people kept dancing.
“That is why you fail.”
And the people kept drinking.
“Judge me by my size, do you?”
And the people kept laughing.
“FEEL the Force!”
And the people kept talking.
Overtaken by some sort of blushing and laughing combo, I grabbed Captain Solo and headed for the Falcon.
Yes, Falcon means Uber in this galaxy.
It was kinda awesome to feel like Princess Leia for a second, though, even if it was just because a kid had too much to drink and got chatty.
But yes, I admired Ms. Fisher for her humor and her honesty. My philosophy that people are gonna judge you no matter what so you might as well give them the right information to judge is pretty similar to one of my favorite thoughts of hers:
"Because I grew up in a public family, I never really had a private life. And so if those issues are going to be public, I would rather them to be public the way I've experienced them rather than someone else assuming things about me. It's freeing to do it. Shame is not something I aspire to."
No shame in a life well lived.
RIP, my Princess.