When I was a little girl, aside from my mother, there were three women I looked up to and loved most in the world: Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Erin Grey’s Colonel Wilma Deering, and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. They are what I have come to refer to as my own personal Trinity, and today one of them is no longer with us.
I literally cannot remember a time when Star Wars was not an integral part of my world. I was just one year old when the movie was released. I grew up playing Star Wars with my brother’s action figures in the yard, and running around the neighborhood pretending that our bikes were X-Wings and we were brave Rebels fighting the Empire. And always, always, I wanted to be Leia.
From the moment we first see her on screen, she is a certifiable bad-ass. She is defiant in the presence of the menacing Darth Vader and his minions. A woman of passionate conviction that the Empire is wrong, she resisted interrogation and torture. Even with Tarkin threatening her homeworld, she attempts to save both her world and her rebellion by giving them the name of a system that once housed a Rebel base, but which had been subsequently abandoned. When the “heroes” of the tale arrived to rescue her, she took charge and was an integral part of their success in escaping the Death Star.
Defiant. Brave. Beautiful. Those were all ways I thought of Leia. She and the other members of the Trinity taught me that the girls didn’t have to simply wait on the sidelines and let the boys have all the adventures. She got right in there and grabbed a blaster, and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
And later, when I learned more about the woman who helped bring Leia to life, I loved her even more. Much like the princess she played on the big screen, Carrie Fisher was a force of nature. Notoriously straightforward, refusing to simply be a pretty face, she had a rapier wit and was never afraid to poke fun at herself or the iconic character whose skin she inhabited. She was every bit as badass as the fictional rebel she portrayed in the movies.
So, how does one say goodbye to someone that brought so much joy and so much empowerment to so many lives? My own thought is that we honor her by not being afraid to be brash and brave in the face of adversity. By standing up for what we believe. By taking up her fallen blaster and rallying the troops. By ignoring the odds and continuing to fight for the underdogs.
Rest in peace, Carrie. Know that there is a legion of Leias who will continue the fight.