Does he know? My footsteps patter down the hallway, and I’m dreading the look on my partner’s face. He is checking his phone, but no.
He looks at me for a moment, still tired, barely awake for a few minutes, trying to comprehend what I mean.
Then his eyes soften. They sink. He lets out a small breath.
We sit for a couple of hours, absorbed in sorrow. Numb. Caught up in the flow of tributes. My heart isn’t ready to accept this loss. So I write. I let it flow.
While this year has been f***ed for those of us who care for and love our heroes in the arts, losing Carrie Fisher feels like being kicked in the teeth while you’re down. We’re already in the dirt, trying to piece together how to move forward, getting a hand hold and our footing back underneath us. The boot comes towards our face with our Princess’ name marked, and we stare in utter disbelief that she could be next.
The name on the boot is a mistake, it can’t be true. She’s a lifeline, a living legend and symbol to women and girls of all ages that you can totally be a Princess in charge of your own destiny, and not need a damn rescue. You can be a General. You can have Depression or any other host of mental health things going on, and be funnier, smarter and kick more butt than anybody else. You can prove everybody’s opinions wrong, and that you don’t have to care about them in the first place.
I must have been four. Her hair was the coolest. She was sharp, intelligent, poised and not afraid to get dirty. Darth Vader – the one thing I was so scared of that I’d hide behind the couch every time he appeared – she stood in front of him, looked him in the face, and didn’t even flinch. She didn’t back down. This Princess kept her cool, while still being loudly passionate about her cause. As a kid I never even understood what that meant, and now it means everything. I wore her New Hope costume to school, and I felt like I could achieve anything.
Growing up I was amazed at her talent, the way she would personify so many characters. It never felt like enough though, I was always wanting to see more of her work, not realising that she was fighting her own extraordinary battles on a daily basis.
When I heard she had mental illness I was thankful and grateful for what she was able to give us. Because dammit it’s hard enough as it is to get out of bed and take a shower when you’re living with the demons in your head, and she gave us ART. She gave us stories and life. She gave us hope. As someone with mental illness that arguably has more bad days than good, she showed me it was possible to survive, to weather the storm as an artist and to keep stoking the flames of creativity. To be a storyteller. To be brave. We can do it, because she can do it. Because… she did do it.
She was. She is our indomitable Carrie Fisher.
“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.”
I keep looking at her face, at her sparkling eyes filled with mischief and humour, and I am not ready. She may have joked about not being beautiful as she’s aged, but to me she is remarkably stunning. More beautiful than she was with buns on the side of her head.
My heart is breaking. I am not ready.
Weep today dear Rebels, mourn with your whole heart. Feel this loss like the horrible wound it is. Hold her family, and Gary, in your minds and send them love. They must be in absolute agony right now. Re-group tomorrow.
Tomorrow we become Generals.