The fact is, Princess Leia was never a role model for me.
I didn’t grow up thinking I needed a female hero. I didn’t grow up thinking she was a maverick character; a hero who was unlike women who came before her.
I was all about Luke Skywalker. It’s just the way it is. I was boy crazy I think from birth, and I liked NICE guys. Han Solo, that rogue and scoundrel, wasn’t for me. I liked the fresh-faced farm boy. How apropo, huh? Because that’s what I got in Adam (although yes, I know he got into a wee bit of trouble in his youth).
The thing is about Princess Leia … I hadn’t grown up thinking girls and women couldn’t be heroes. In 1977, I think I still thought I could actually be a Los Angeles Dodger. My mom and dad taught me through their love, trust and support that I could do anything or be anything. I didn’t need Princess Leia as a hero for that. But many girls did, and I’m glad girls today have Jyn Erso and Rey.
I preferred male heroes anyway. It’s just the way I was. Luke instead of Leia, Hicks instead of Ripley, Rico instead of Dizzy, Jamie Lannister (yes, Jamie, at least book Jamie) instead of Arya, Star Lord instead of Gamora.
It wasn’t Princess Leia who I loved, it was Carrie Fisher. As I grew older, struggled with my own depression here and there, I admired her candid nature. I like to think that maybe I’m a little like her. I say what I want to say; I’ve always been open about my mental health struggles to those who asked. I went out in my life and tried to kick ass. I knew what I wanted and I got much of it, perhaps a little like Princess Leia. I like to think maybe that’s something that Adam loved about me. Who is that sent me a birthday card that once compared me to a Mack truck with an “I need a hug” sign on it? I sort of always relished in that.
In Orlando at Star Wars Celebration V in 2010, we waited a long time for autographs with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Ms. Fisher was pleasant and generous, and shook hands with each person; she looked them in the eye. We freaked out like Laura Linney in “Love Actually.”
That Celebration, we also reaffirmed our marriage vows in the Star Wars Commitment Chapel. How lucky were we that we got Steve Sansweet, the greatest SW fan and collector in the universe, as our officiant. Margie Halloran was our witness and took these photos for us.
With Carrie Fisher dying, a little of our passion in Star Wars dies. Sixty is too young, just as 43 is too young. Adam and Ms. Fisher both struggled with addiction. She conquered hers, and she has pushed to make mental illness an everyday topic. I like to think Adam may have conquered his at the end as well. I think of him as a success despite his death.
Show compassion for your friends and family with addiction and mental illness. Have courage in dealing with it. Make the lives of people like Adam and Ms. Fisher matter by passing on what they have taught us.
May the Force be with all of us, but selfishly, especially for me right now.