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I’m Celebrating International Women’s Day by Sharing My Love of Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher gives the audience the bird

Growing up fans of Star Wars means that many of us got to look to Princess Leia as someone we could trust and emulate. I wanted nothing more than to be like Leia Organa. A general who takes over and helps stop Darth Vader and the Empire? It’s all I wanted to be and more, because I was seeing this woman lead the Rebel Alliance in a beautiful way.

So, when I was old enough to discover the brilliance that is Carrie Fisher herself, outside of Star Wars, I knew that as much as I loved Leia, I wanted to have the carefree nature and the ability with words that Carrie Fisher did. I’m one of the few lucky ones out there who got to meet Carrie Fisher before she died, and she said something to me that I still carry with me and hold close to my heart whenever I’m feeling down about myself.

I told her that she was my hero, and she thought that I meant Leia, like so many before. I told her no, she’s my hero because I was never the girl who ended up with the scoundrel—and Carrie Fisher said to me that I could be both. I could be like Carrie Fisher, and I could be like Princess Leia.

Sure, that sounds contradictory, but it’s important to recognize that it’s more common than we’d all like to admit for us, as women, to put ourselves into small boxes and label ourselves as being just one thing. If you’re like me, a sense of “I’m being selfish” washes over you as you think about all the qualities you have, and so you limit yourself to not seem overzealous.

What Fisher said to me, and what she preached throughout her novels and interviews, was that we could do whatever we want. She was a huge advocate for mental health issues, she helped as a script doctor on a great majority of our favorite movies, and until the day she died, she was always there for those around her.

“I don’t think it’s what you’re given; it’s how you take it,” Carrie Fisher had once said to Larry King, when he began to question why she had a lack of self-esteem, and it’s a perfect example as to the power that Fisher had and how she used it. She would willingly air her ‘dirty laundry’ to the world because she thought it could help others around her.

Watching the Larry King interviews, there was something so beautiful about the way she carried herself. She was always open and willing to talk about things and would often make her life into a joke to help her digest it.

The best Carrie Fisher quote of all may still be “Take your broken heart, make it into art” and with that, we will. I love you, Carrie.

(image: Sascha Steinbach/GETTY IMAGES)

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!