Beloved actress, writer, and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher has died. Sidney Law pays tribute to Carrie’s work and his secret hero.
Featured image by Liz Lemon – https://www.flickr.com/photos/151208038@N06/32301299862/, Public Domain, Link
Last year was one of the best of Carrie Fisher’s career. She released a bestselling book, The Princess Diarist, she finished filming on Star Wars Episode VIII, and she baited Donald Trump more times on Twitter than I can remember. But in the end, it was also the year Carrie’s heart ran out of beats. Fuck.
Carrie Fisher was a beloved actress, writer, and mental heath advocate. She was my secret hero.
Without sounding too self-indulgent, let me try to unpack that a little.
I’d become increasingly interested in Carrie, not just for her part in Star Wars but for everything else: the hilarious chat show appearances, her writing, her advice columns, her tweets, her open dialogue on mental health, her french bulldog Gary and beyond. Over the last few years, I can confidently say that I’ve read, watched or enjoyed something involving Carrie Fisher at least once a week. Mostly by myself and almost exclusively on my laptop. It was only a short few weeks ago that I found myself watching her recent The Graham Norton Show appearance whilst on my own in a local coffee shop. (Side-note: Don’t try eating breakfast whilst someone talks about having discreet sex with Harrison Ford. You will choke on your pain au raisin.)
When Carrie was alive, I didn’t make any attempt to contact her, despite the power being at my fingertips. I could’ve tweeted her, but what do you say to someone that brings you relentless witty entertainment? ‘Hi Carrie, you’re so funny LOL.’ In the end, I settled on the idea that I could write a bespoke character for Carrie in a film one day. Yes, I know that was aiming high. (There’s a joke in there somewhere that Carrie would’ve loved.)
Besides my boyfriend, I never told anyone about the extent of my Carrie Fisher admiration. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I could see parallels between her mental health struggles and my own. Perhaps it was because of her brand of humour. Or perhaps it was just because she was General Leia Organa. Whatever the reason, I kept the extent of my relationship with Carrie Fisher private. It was something to be cherished and enjoyed in the privacy of my laptop.
But now at the start of a new year, it no longer feels appropriate to keep Carrie as my secret hero. Instead I want to let the world know that Carrie Fisher was one of my favourite humans. She first entered my life in 1997 as Princess Leia, but in 2016 she died as one of my greatest inspirations. Her anecdotes entertained me, her struggles moved me, and her writings inspired me. So in 2017, one of my New Year resolutions is to live life a little more like Carrie. Heck, why stop at 2017?
Sadly I’ll never be able to cast Carrie in that film, I’ll never even send that tweet, and beyond my selfish ambitions – a family has lost their beloved. So how do you grieve for someone that spent their entire career turning tragedy into comedy? You find a way to keep laughing.