2016 seems bent on dismantling the building blocks of my childhood one by one. Many icons have fallen this year. And I’ve mourned each of them in some fashion.
But Carrie Fisher.
Her death has hit me in a big way and I’ve been struggling most of the afternoon to make sense of why. It’s not like I knew her. She wasn’t my aunt or best friend’s mom or babysitter. But I feel her loss keenly, like something really has been ripped out of my life.
I think I’ve figured it out.
For many years, I struggled with the idea that I was somehow the “wrong” kind of woman. Too brash. Too opinionated. Too sarcastic. Too intense. Too little interested in living up to society’s current standards of attractiveness and femininity. Maybe even too smart. Finding and embracing my identity as a woman was something I intensely and truly had to work through.
Today I remembered how princess Leia was the first female character I ever encountered who made me feel all of this (*motions to whole self*) could be an ok thing to be. And maybe not just ok but maybe someone who did things that mattered and stood up against powerful people when others were too scared to say “this is not ok and we won’t just accept that this is the world we live in”. Who rebelled with a cause.
That was huge for me. I need that in my life.
I don’t believe in angelicizing the dead. Carrie Fisher had her own problems, and she was not princess Leia. But in that is strength and example too. There are all kinds of battles to be fought, and not all are external.
Fight on, fighters.