I watched the HBO documentary, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”, this weekend. To be honest, I wanted to cry the entire 1 hour & 35 minutes of its running time.
Let me offer up some background. Before I fell in love with Princess Leia, I had fallen in love with her mother. I am actually an old soul in many aspects. Growing up, I was a voracious reader, and biographical books were my crack. I absorbed books about prominent figures in history, and, about the stars of old Hollywood. I read up on Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor. Wait. Elizabeth Taylor? Yep, and that story dovetailed into reading about Debbie Reynolds.
Debbie Reynolds, the mother of two small children, who handled the affair between her husband and Elizabeth Taylor with incredible grace. She never said a negative word about them. She was always gracious and stunningly poised. She was beautiful & funny. I admired her.
Fast forward to 1977. Star Wars was released. My parents thought it was too “worldly” for me to watch, so I had to wait for it to be bought up by HBO in 1983. We were getting free HBO due to some cable screw-up, and I snuck around and watched Star Wars every opportunity I got.
To say this sassy and feisty girl fascinated me, was an understatement. I wanted to be her. (I also wanted to climb Han Solo like a damn redwood tree because my 15 year old hormones were running rampant but that is an entirely different blog.)
The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, and I can’t remember exactly when I watched all 3 original movies, but Leia was amazing. Oddly enough, the gold bikini didn’t do much for me.
Not only did I see Carrie in the movies, but I saw her life play out on the tabloids and in magazines. I always admired her ability to not give a crap what other people thought. We know now that she was a manic depressive, but regardless, I liked her style.
After Carrie’s novel, Postcards from the Edge, was released, I got my hands on a copy of it. I devoured it from cover to cover. (I don’t think a lot of people realize that Carrie has 14 published books as part of her legacy) In 1990, the movie adaptation came out, and I went to see it. I loved it.
In watching the documentary, I felt a bit of kindred spirit-ness with her. Growing up Carrie was called “The Bookworm” and I to, would read entire series of books, back to back. She smoked pot. I have smoked pot, but that is where she went through the “gateway”, and I stopped at weed. She cursed, and spoke her mind. She has a wildly eclectic decorating style which I relate to. Coke a Cola Classic is like crack to her, and I think we actually mind melded together on that addiction. She loved her daughter, but gave her to room to breathe and grow. I have hoped to have done, and do, that with my sons. Carrie worshiped her dog, Gary, much like I work to pay rent so Sophie can live in the lap of luxury.
I have seldom cried for fallen secular figures, but I wept when I learned that Princess Diana was dead. 19 years later, I could not stop the tears when I heard that Carrie Fisher no longer walked in our galaxy. My heart broke when news came the following day that Debbie had passed away also.
It seemed fitting. I don’t think Debbie wanted to go on without her best friend.
I get teary eyed just thinking about Carrie. She was such a force of life. She lived life “balls to the wall”, and seemingly had no regrets. I imagine that she had said everything she needed to say before she took her final breath. She didn’t seem the type to let things linger.
I hope at 60 years old, I am rocking the gray hair and trendy glasses the way she did. I hope I am still cursing, drinking Coke, and loving my tribe like Carrie did.
Carrie, thank you for being authentic in a world where that isn’t popular. For keeping it real. For giving me countless hours of being pretending to be Princess Leia in my front yard. For your literature. For sharing your sense of humor with us.
Thank you for being you.
An adoring fan –