"Never tell me the odds!" - Han Solo
Not so long ago, in a town one state away, we grew up on Star Wars. It was one of the few things on which my brothers and I agreed as awesome. I was several versions of Leia for Halloween over the years (and R2D2 once when I was quite small). One Christmas my older brother got the Millennium Falcon--his wonder and amazement at his new toy must have been like a a trip to Mecca or the Vatican for some. My mom would put the story records on at bed time and even though I usually fell asleep before Vader captured Leia, more of the story sunk into my dreaming brain.
Leia was the only princess I ever wanted to be. She was smart, pretty, and brave, plus she shot a gun, just like any other Rebel. The girl with the big castle waiting for the prince to come save her or rescue her never resonated with me. Her special man friend, Han Solo, did resonate with me. Han was my first love. He was so cute and well, different. He wasn't lock step with anyone, he did his own thing, which made much more sense in what my child's mind thought of as a good rebel. He said things like, "I take orders from just one person: me." He hung out with the bad guys, but he wasn't a bad guy. And there was something sort of fun about the way Leia and he acted like they hated each other, but we all knew they really liked each other. Han would have definitely pulled Leia's braids and teased her if they were in school together. But the other thing my child's brain latched on to was the idea that Han was sort of a lost guy who just needed Leia to save him. He needed her love to see what was important and save him from the life of smuggling.
I call this effect my Han Solo Syndrome. It's slightly fueled by my Anne Frank quality, where I try to find something good in everyone (even Hitler LOVED his dog, Genghis Khan was tolerant of different religions), but I also think Leia being the rescuer instead of the rescued was huge. (Star Wars nerds--not interested in an argument about Obi Wan being her only hope and needing to be rescued from the Death Star. I'm going macro-level on IV-VI here.) Not a lot of strong women in the fairy tale-type stories, especially when a beloved was involved.
It was the perfect storm of the woman I wanted to be and the man I wanted to love.
It just isn't such a great blue print for today, in this galaxy.
The thing about our world is that our Hans don't get encased in carbonite. Our Hans get encased in far more sinister things like booze, powders, pills, gambling, and mental illness. Measured against the likes of those real-world issues, rounding up a group of friends to plan an escape from an obese, desert gangster sounds pretty feasible.
We can't save our Hans here, though, and isn't that a bitch to learn. So here's the deal...
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Han died in Episode VII. I cried, silently with mouth agape, the first time I saw him die. The next time there was actual sobbing and a snotty nose, but the point here is that we have to move past things.
Earlier in Episode VII, when I found out that Han had gone back to the life of smuggling, it was like getting stabbed in the heart. My childhood ideal was gone. She hadn't saved him. He hadn't changed.
Love wasn't enough.
Love wasn't enough.
Helping save the fucking universe from the Empire wasn't enough.
And even though I cried as I watched him die, I wasn't sad for the death of Han Solo. I was sad for the little girl who believed in it all. And then angry for the woman who spent her life chasing Hans.
Who knew that J.J. Abrams was such a therapist? I feel like my movie tickets should count towards my deductible.