Almost exactly six years ago, my Women & Literature professor challenged our class to choose a contemporary woman in the public eye, and write about the ways in which she represents the average, modern American woman.
I wrote about Carrie Fisher.
I did not grow up on Star Wars, but for whatever reason, Wishful Drinking grabbed my attention. Before I’d even finished reading it, Carrie Fisher became my hero. Here was a woman who had battled body-image issues, bipolar disorder, and addiction. And she came out the other side laughing. Even as I read about her most difficult times in life, I was awed and inspired by her ability to keep her sense of humor.
I’m not so good at that. When depression strikes, I tend to lose my ability to laugh at all. So you can imagine that I’m not in the mood to laugh right now. But I think she’d want us to.
Because my sense of humor is MIA right now, here’s some of Carrie Fisher’s. I hope it helps you smile even if you feel like crying.
“I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here’s why you cannot wear your brassiere, per George [Lucas]. So, what happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t—so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit—so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra” (Wishful Drinking, 88).
“Drowned in moonlight,” just sounds so poetic and magical, and when you follow up with laughter in the face of overwhelming pain, like “strangled by my own bra,” you get Carrie Fisher.
I wanted to meet her. More than I’ve ever wanted to meet a celebrity. I wanted to see her one-woman show and maybe wait outside afterwards so I could tell her how much her memoir meant to me. So I could tell her to her face that I did not love Carrie Fisher because of Princess Leia, but that I loved Princess Leia because of Carrie Fisher.