Jaime HellerA week ago, my co-worker looked at me and said, “Brace yourself. Carrie Fisher died.” And I stared at him in mixture of confusion and shock. My brain could only think “What?” But he nodded and said, “They just confirmed it.” And it hit me. She died. I sat there in silent thought. When Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee died, an overwhelming sadness hit me. And when Anton Yelchin died, I was just angry. But with Carrie Fisher, I just felt hollow. I could hardly believe it was true. I knew she had been hospitalized a few days before due to what was reported as a massive heart attack, but I thought she would pull through. But she didn’t.
Her death made it feel like the world was missing something, and it was: her. This beautiful, loving woman not only inspired generations of girls and ladies, but she was an advocate for people with mental illness. She was also a writer, which hit home with me when I found out. She wrote several books and was also a script doctor for numerous films. In many of the pictures I saw circling social media in the hours and days after her death, one thing caught me: she always looked like herself. She didn’t seem to hide her faults or problems. She looked like she was having fun with life, whether that was on the set of Star Wars or at movie premieres with her mother and daughter or flicking off the camera while hugging Mark Hamill. I know she wasn’t perfect, and she wasn’t always happy, but she was--and is--still an inspiration. She didn’t let her troubles get the best of her. She kept fighting, just like Princess Leia kept fighting.
Through her own life and her famous Star Wars character, she taught me--and many other ladies--that women can be strong and smart. They can fight for what they believe. They can take action. She built a legacy that changed cinema, storytelling, and lives. And I think that’s one legacy worth remembering.
Carrie Fisher was many things, and I will miss her bright smile in this world. But she has definitely given me hope.
To be honest, I am at a loss for words. Someone I've looked up to my whole life is gone. I know I didn't know her personally, but I also know how much she still meant. To me and to millions of other little girls over the years. My heart aches for her family and close friends right now. And I guess all I can say to them is... "Thank you. Thank you for sharing her with the world. And our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time."
H. GraceWhere to even begin? I hated that we lost so many celebrities this year, however, my grief never went further than feeling sad for a couple of days and moving on. But Carrie? I'm grieving that loss. I sobbed when one of my friends texted me the news that she was gone. And to lose Debbie Reynolds the very next day made it worse. I've always wanted to meet Carrie and Debbie and now I'll never have the chance.
Even though I didn't grow up watching Star Wars, in fact, the first time I watched the movies was when I was nineteen and visiting my grandma--we watched the original trilogy on VHS (which somehow made the experience better), I still knew the basic story and admired Princess Leia. While I was nineteen when I first actually watched the movies, I remember being about ten years old and watching parts of A New Hope with a friend when my parents were out of town one weekend and my babysitter didn't care what I got into. Yeah, I was a real troublemaker. But I was so impressed by the scene where Leia is supposedly getting rescued by Han and Luke and yet totally takes over and doesn't sit around letting them do the shooting and daring escapades. I'm still not sure if I had a crush on Leia or was just blown away by her badassery. (Both. Both. Both is good.)
And then The Force Awakens came out and my princess had become a general. A clearly grieving, hardened general, but underneath still the feisty princess I loved so much as a little kid. Carrie Fisher herself had changed, coming out about her mental illness and her addictions and affairs. I loved her still, for her vulnerability, her refusal to conform to Hollywood's standards, and her continued badass attitude.
Carrie, dear, thank you. Thank you for being our princess, our general. Thank you for being you, unapologetic, wild, bold YOU. Thank you for giving us Leia. Thank you for making me realize that princesses don't have to be weak or dumb. We can shoot too. We can lead armies and defy the ones that want to crush our spirits. You showed me that women can be strong and yet feminine.
I could go on forever, but I'm crying again. Farewell, General Organa.
Jamie StewartWhen you're a little girl playing Star Wars with your brother or neighborhood kids, you HAVE to be Leia. Like, she's the only girl so that's your choice. Backyard playtime dynamics weren't always so progressive that you could be whoever you wanted to be. So thank god that that one girl character you could play as was fierce. Thank god she was powerful and a leader. Thank god she was "bossy" and smart and funny and compassionate. And thank god we got to see her thirty years later, still all of those things. Still a role model.
Carrie Fisher meant the world to so many fangirls and we must honor her by living our lives not without fear, but with it and doing whatever the hell we wanted to anyway.
"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What's important is the action. You don't have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow." -Carrie Fisher
Sky DestrianI've dreaded writing this all week because I still can't really believe she's gone. And even then, what do I even say?
I remember appreciating Leia when I was younger, but I wish I had appreciated her even more. She was sassy, gorgeous, funny, strong, smart... she was everything. She was a well-written, badass, role-model female character in a time where those types of characters were very, very rare. In the way she portrayed Leia, Carrie changed the game for all of us. She paved the way.
I love how these pictures both show two sides of her personality.--(first picture source)
Carrie Fisher was one of the most incredible women the world has had the honor of knowing. She was a role model for generations of women. She taught us that we could be strong and classy. She taught us not to put up with anything, to not take no for an answer. She did this not only in her role as Princess Leia, but in her real life as well. She was a tireless advocate for mental health, and she was unapologetic in her opinions and her femininity. It didn't matter what other people thought. She just didn't care.
(P.S. - She drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. ♥)
Please feel free to leave your tribute to Carrie Fisher in the comments.