I sat down and tried to write a long and emotional blog post yesterday. Then I thought I’d let everything settle in before finishing and posting it, because I always write and react best once I’ve given myself time to process things. Yesterday morning, I had hoped to write to you about my holiday, a little life update, and tell you about the posts and plans I had for the new year. And today I’d hope to find the adequate words to express the gravity of my feelings and grief over what transpired later that day. But, I didn’t process. I don’t think anyone did, really.
Yesterday, Carrie Fisher died. Today, so did her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
You probably already knew this, of course if you own a television, a phone, or a computer. Or, you know, if you were raised on planet earth. This year has been filled with shattering losses, but there is just something about this one that just grips me. My heart and all of my love go out to daughter and granddaughter, Billie Lourd. I can’t even imagine what their family is going through and I am absolutely heartbroken.
Debbie Reynolds was my first ever “celebrity crush”, you could say. She and her work were beautiful and she seemed absolutely untouchable. She represented all that was class and inspired a creative spark in my childhood. My mom sat next to her on a plane, once. She said she was such a sweet and real person. My favorite role of Debbie’s though would by far have to be Charlotte, in Charlotte’s Web. I struggled a lot as a kid too, and that movie brought me so much comfort. I still pop it in from time to time. Debbie just had it all. She was it all. She’s a magic that is all her own. Debbie was the song in the rain.
In the past few years, I’ve only recently gotten into Star Wars. And it was only because one day I was talking about how I’d never seen it at work and some guy asked if I’d been raised in this galaxy and wanted to know how I functioned as adjusted adult. So, I borrowed the DVDs from a friend and binge watched them over a weekend. They were amazing. But, Leia Organa was the most amazing. It was incredible getting to watch a princess be a complete bad ass and end up as a tough as nails General. Leia lost so much, but she did not wavier or let it destroy her. She rose above it and always fought for what she believed in. In this day and age, and ESPECIALLY then, I think that message for girls and women is so important. It’s amazing to have that kind of figure to look up to.
However, for as amazing as Leia is, nothing comes close to the real deal. I want to start this out with saying that this blog would not exist without Carrie Fisher. I’ve admired Carrie long before I decided to be a real human being and watch the Star Wars movie. She not only shared with us her talent, but she shared her entire life and soul with us. And I think that’s why it feels like there is just this huge, gapping hole that is completely empty now. Carrie wasn’t afraid to show that she was a real person and that takes the utmost bravery. She was open about her struggles with addiction. She was an advocate for mental illness and constantly spoke about her own. She was a feminist, she stood up and spoke about body positivity. Never did she sugar coat anything and that’s what made her so real and so tangible to us. It was almost like through all of her struggles, not only did Carrie triumph, but she normalized being normal too. And she did all this while making us laugh. Laugh until there were actual tears in our eyes. Nobody could crack a joke quite like Carrie. She would no doubt have several jokes about this situation. Something about it being just like her mom to upstage her even in death, I presume. She was such a bright light that will continue to shine forever.
Carrie gave me the bravery to speak out and write about my experiences with mental illness. Sure, so many people and things inspired me to accept this part of myself, but Carrie did so in that so-very-real and witty Carrie way. I wouldn’t be where I am, or writing you, or maybe even accepting it at all, if it wasn’t for Carrie.
2016, as I said earlier, has taken a lot of people from us. But 2016 did not take Debbie, she left to be with her daughter. And 2016 did not take away the light and love they leave us with. We must continue to use that to inspire us in the new year to come. Be the kind of person that Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher would be proud of, you know? Be bold, embrace your spark, and aspire to inspire, just as these strong and beautiful women did. Thank you, Debbie and Carrie, for sharing your light, your love, your talent, your voice, and yourselves with us.
You will never be forgotten.