I didn’t intend this to be my first post on my new blog, but I wasn’t going to not write about her.
I have a confession to make. I never really liked Princess Leia. I mean, not as much as the majority of the pop culture world anyway. As a woman, I understand the character’s significance: the Princess redefined what a princess can be and was a gateway to strong female characters in a genre that quite frankly, was for males (Slave Leia not withstanding).
Throughout my social media feeds, images of Carrie Fisher have been posted along with loving messages from colleagues and fans alike. The majority of the images are of her as Princess Leia. Understandable, since it is what she’s mainly known for. That aspect of her doesn’t interest me. I want to honor what she has done as an advocate for mental health.
She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and instead of not going through treatment, or hiding her disorder, she loudly and proudly told the world what she has been through and the steps she’s taken to get better. She has done much more for mental health advocacy, but it was her openness that inspired me. And still does.
I struggle from anxiety disorder and depression. Despite the progress mental health has taken in society’s view, I still struggle with talking about it. I feel ashamed about my illness, that maybe I’m just imagining things and not strong enough to handle daily life. When I do actually talk about it, I still get the quizzical looks from both family and friends who don’t understand. But I think that’s why Carrie Fisher was so loud about it. She wanted to show that there’s nothing to be ashamed of and people should not put you down for your struggles.
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on,”
As if that wasn’t enough, she was pro-female empowerment. Our general didn’t take crap from all the critics who couldn’t grasp that she no longer had the young body she had as Princess Leia. She aged and was still a badass. Suck it (read quote 4.). She taught women in a society that dreads the elderly that aging is not the end of the world for a woman.
This woman was more than just a princess, more than a general to me. She was a woman that was honest about her flaws and told me to not be afraid to show who you are, both strengths and flaws.
Carrie Fisher will be sorely missed.