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An Open Letter to Carrie Fisher

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Like most Star Wars fans, and particularly other female Star Wars fans, I was fond of Princess Leia. I really first discovered Star Wars in third grade and it was nice to actually have a woman role model in fantasy/sci-fi. As the chubby girl, I never actually got to play Princess Leia, that was decidedly for the skinnier friend of the group to play, but I appreciated Leia’s presence nonetheless.

As I got older and still loved and rewatched Star Wars, I realized just how much Leia wasn’t a damsel in distress. She kicked some serious ass! I don’t have to list the reasons for how amazing Leia Organa was in this post. The fans know exactly how Leia is the most emotionally stable, loyal, and founded individual of the bunch.

And then, as we all come to understand at some point in our maturity, there was that click that Princess Leia was actually portrayed by Carrie Fisher, and Carrie Fisher was more than just Princess Leia (although Princess Leia, as already determined, is a great person to be). She was in Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally, and I noticed that Carrie Fisher actually had a pretty great sense of humor.

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Then there was nothing. For years I didn’t pay any attention to what was going on with Carrie Fisher. Why would I? There is a lot of stuff going on when you’re a Millennial and you have to go to college, work, and have your own life outside of movies and TV and books (no, seriously, you have to enjoy yourselves outside of these realms–don’t forget to have your own adventures, no matter how small they may be).

Then there it was: Star Wars resurrected. The original cast was coming back! And so the interviews began, and as a niece reunited with a long lost aunt, I became acquainted with the real Carrie Fisher.

I say “niece” and “aunt” because that’s kind of what it felt like. I’m still trying to find my way in the world, even though it might appear as if I have my life together. I’m navigating this miserableness of discovering fine wrinkles around my eyes, noticing my neck is getting those creases, and finally understanding what this whole “your metabolism slows down” thing actually looks like. I’m aging and I’m a woman and it’s kind of hard to stomach waving goodbye to your twenties and realize that, no, seriously, I should really begin adulting (whatever that means) because I am, without a doubt, an adult. And then there was Carrie, out of nowhere, and she was brash and bold and basically the amazing aunt that every adult-girl needs in her life to say that it’s OK to be you and to hell with everyone else.

That interview on Good Morning America woke me up to Carrie Fisher. Carrie didn’t just have a good sense of humor, Carrie Fisher said it as it was and had everyone cracking up! At first I was a little worried she was off her rocker, and the incredible part was she was off her rocker and controlled the whole thing! She’s amazing! I started paying attention to Carrie Fisher all over the place: memes, Twitter, articles, NPR–If you have 30 minutes, just listen to this interview from a month ago from Fresh Air, because she’s fantastic. It’s also a bit heart breaking to hear about her mother, as we’ve all heard of Debbie Reynolds passing today.

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I say all of that to say this:  I will miss you, Carrie. You never knew me, you never knew what you did for me, but I wish I had the chance to say thank you, and I’m grieving the future that I will have without you.

You proved that during playtime I could run around with the boys with blasters. You let me know that I could be perfectly honest with my husband and let him know that I would never want that wagon wheel coffee table. You made it OK to love your goofy dog and be loud and snarky and talk about uncomfortable standards. You said that those living with depression, like yourself, were heroes for just making it day to day. You spoke up and told everyone that is was alright that your body didn’t age as well as you did.

You were wonderful, you were funny, and you were beautiful. You didn’t have to be Debbie Reynolds to be gorgeous; you were Carrie Fisher and you were more than you could ever appreciate. You were my hero and portrayed someone I could aspire to as I grew up. Now that I’m grown up, I was so looking forward to you being back in my life and returning as my hero; to be someone I could grow into all over again. And now you’re gone and it hurts more than I can express. I haven’t just lost Leia Organa, which is devastating enough, but I lost Carrie Fisher, and that’s a hit that has been nearly impossible to process. Your fighting words, your trailblazing ways, your love, all that you could have been is lost to us, and that stolen future has broken my heart.

I wish I was that person who actually wrote to celebrities to let them know what kind of a difference they made in my life, and never have I wished it like I wish with Carrie Fisher.

I wish you knew what kind of a positive, life-affirming impact you had on me.

I wish you knew how special you were.

And above all, I wish you find the love and peace you need.

I love you.

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…And I sincerely hope, wherever she is, Carrie Fisher finishes this, smiles, and replies: “I know.”

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