When I was seven , I first saw Star Wars: A New Hope at a drive in outside of Beaumont, TX. I had seen a couple of sci-fi films, and vaguely remember if there was a princess of some kind that usually they cowered, screamed, and never handled the weapons. This princess was different though, beautiful, handy with a blaster, and not afraid to sass the bad guys. So, this my first Hollywood crush was Leia Organa, a fiery female from a galaxy far, far away. And, from the years of Starlog magazine to the dawning and growth of the internet , Carrie Fisher was someone I always kept an interest in.
It took me some years , but I realized that I learned a few things from the princess, and in the wake of Carrie Fisher's passing felt it would be a tribute to her to share what I learned.
1. Never be afraid to speak your mind among friends...
Even if it was direct, and not always tactful, Leia wasn't afraid to speak her mind , especially amongst friends. Whether dealing with a Wookie, or Han Solo's arrogance, she wasn't afraid to put things in their place. And when things got tough, she wasn't afraid to be vulnerable enough to share wisdom and support when needed.
2. ...or your enemies !!
So, you have a big bad guy covered in black armor, you say he can Force choke the heck outta somebody from fifty parsecs ? Big deal, Princess Leia, didn't play. Whether it was Darth Vader, or his Imperial military buddy, Tarkin, Leia spoke her mind. If it was Stormtroopers, or stinky slugs like Jabba The Hutt, Leia laid down the sass. to Fearlessness was a trait that came easy to Leia, even when the guys around her weren't so sure to speak up. (Down the garbage chute, anyone ?)
3. Know when you need to destroy something to move forward
In Return of The Jedi, Leia not only disguised herself to rescue Han, but while dealing with the bad guys, she pulled out a thermal grenade, armed it, and was ready to toss it, just to show she was serious. Throughout Carrie Fisher's life, she was in a constant struggle with substance abuse and other mental health issues. And when she needed to , she would tear down what troubled her. If she had to pull the pin on relationships, her occupation, or make drastic life changes, she destroyed blocks in her life, and got herself together.
4. Know when to take charge
Whether commanding Rebel troops onscreen, or dealing with her bi-polar off screen, Carrie Fisher knew there were times when taking charge was needed. Not only sharing her mental health problems to help fight the stigma associated with them, she also showed countless others who struggle with similar issues, that even Jedi royalty can get tossed around, but that you can also get back up and keep fighting. She also took charge of the gossip mongers and other mouth breathers by writing and publishing several memoirs that set the record, and her detractors, straight.
5. Don't be afraid to get help
Throughout her career as a Rebel and later Republic leader onscreen or in her personal life, the Princess knew when help was needed. During interviews, Ms. Fisher was an outspoken advocate for others with mental health issues, and shared how she was helped, and how to help others . She was a great example for those with mental health problems to have the courage to get the assistance they needed.
6. Yes, hugs are necessary.
Throughout the her life onscreen and in real life, Carrie Fisher showed us that warmth, and human interaction , especially with the giving of hugs, was an important part of life.
It may seem like such a silly, simple, goofy thing, but it quite often showed us the human side of a Jedi Princess, and of a woman that wasn't afraid of people, even in combat against her own demons.
7. You can go home again
With The Force Awakens, and a CGI presence in Rogue One, Princess Leia and later, General Leia has shown us the enduring power of hope, with just a touch of sass. Despite all of the hoopla, hype, and high anxiety, we have a shining example of fearlessness, and with Ms. Fisher's passing galaxies near and far are a little bit dimmer.
May The Force Be With You.