It's been a long time since Princess Leia came into our consciousness. I think it was 1977 when I saw her in Star Wars. I was at the beach, it was unbearably hot, and since I had a sun allergy I dashed into a dark, air conditioned movie theater. And there she was, Carrie Fisher as the Princess, royalty from outer space, a young woman in an angelic white dress, a hairdo from the Germanic underworld, being fought over by two handsome men. That was a part I could play, I thought.
Years later, I ran in to her again, Carrie Fisher that is. I picked up her book, "Post Cards from the Edge" and it was truly from the edge. More importantly, it was almost about me. While I didn't have the alcohol and drug problems, we both spent our twenties in a terrible mental mess. And yet she was talking about it to the world and I could only talk about it to my shrink at that point.
The power of voice, of finding out who you are, connecting with it so completely and authentically that you are free if not compelled to share your truth with others. That's what she became for me.
Over the years, Carrie continued to talk through her books and through her onstage appearances, making dark, smart humor out of her deep pain and suffering. Perhaps this talking was part of her therapy but for me her talking has always been part of mine, helping me better understand that despite the parts we play - in our minds, in our lives, throughout our years of good health and even illness - there is always an opportunity to laugh, to share our stories, and to create meaning and enjoyment out of the places we've been - both dark and light.
Thank you Carrie for your voice, your humor and your courage.