I was a child in the sixties and seventies. My role models were Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty. A bunch of vapid pretty girls who waited for the Prince to save them from the horrors of their lives.
Then, out of nowhere, came Star Wars. I was eleven when it hit the theaters, and went to see it with ten other girls, all of us residents at a children's psychiatric hospital.
What I saw on that screen changed my life forever. Suddenly, the Princess was a strong woman who took no bull. She fought, she worked, she struggled, she loved and she lived. She stood on her feet after watching her entire planet be destroyed, and vowed to herself that this action would not go unavenged.
Leia changed my life, because she showed me that I could be strong, too. That I didn't have to wait for Prince Charming to marry me before I could have an amazing life.
Then as I grew older, Carrie Fisher made headlines for being addicted to drugs, for being insane, for a lot of negative things. But with hard work and amazing determination, she overcame her addiction, she dealth with her bipolar disorder. She became an advocate for mental illness and drug awareness. And this happened at a time I was dealing with my own drug problems and bipolar disorder.
A short while ago, the seventh installation of the Star Wars films came out, and the world scorned Carrie for being older, tired looking, not the cute sparkly young woman she was in 1977. And she told the world to go to hell, that this is what happens as you get older, you DON'T look the same, you don't FEEL the same, get over it and get on with it. And she said this right when I was feeling old and tired, and not desireable or interesting any more. And she gave me hope.
Carrie Fisher, to me, was the embodiment of strength. I will miss her.