“I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” – Carrie Fisher, writing on the subject of her death
This morning, I scared the beans out of some senior citizens at CVS. I was waiting for the pharmacist to fill my Adderall Rx (because planning ahead and calling before you run out is something people do when their brains work right), and pulled out my phone to get a jump on work emails. Naturally, my first stop was Facebook, where I learned that Carrie Fisher had passed. I’m pretty sure that yelling “JESUS CHRIST ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” in public wasn’t the most ladylike move at 9:30 am, and that the shock probably took a few years off the lives of the poor, elderly folk next to me who were just trying to pick up their Lipitor or boner pills or whatever, but I have no regrets. It’s what was in my heart.
This is the death of the 2016 Celebrity Rapture that most shook me. I felt a weird kinship with that amazing, potty-mouthed, smart as hell, take no shit, badass broad. She was always who I wanted to be when I grew up. Shit, she’s STILL who I want to be when I grow up. I mean, sure – there’s the Star Wars thing (if you see me in public, I’ll be happy to show you my tattoo of an Ewok in a teacup). But it’s so, so much more than that.
Here are some of the things she taught me, whether she knew it or not:
- Be authentic, even if other people don’t get you right away. They will eventually. Or not. Either way, that’s on them.
- Addiction is something you can come back from. Recovery is real, and you can do it if you get the right support at the right time.
- Don’t shy away from talking about mental health. Our best shot at eradicating the stigma of mental illness like it’s the motherfucking Death Star is to be real about our own struggles, so people can put a face they love to each and every condition.
- It’s OK to laugh at yourself. You’re ridiculous. We’re all ridiculous, so share your ridiculousness with others. If they can recognize themselves in your stories (“LOL white folk really do dance like that!”), they won’t feel so alone – and neither will you.
- Don’t let who you were determine who you are. We grow and change, and that’s not just OK, it’s necessary. Nothing’s sadder than a grown-ass person who’s clinging to a past, less sad version of themself. Don’t be that guy.
- You decide what aging gracefully looks like for you. Whether it’s tea and book clubs, or cigarettes and cussin’, YOU get to decide. Because, when you get right down to it, aging gracefully is just a matter of staying true to what makes you beautiful and unique.
- Be kind. Don’t be an dick. And call out those who are being dicks until they quit it.
- Get your ass out there. Be brave, and make your mark on the world, whether it’s through music, visual art, comedy, interpretive dance, or hilarious blogs about ADHD and your dumb life (don’t burst my bubble – I was on a roll). Share who you are. I guarantee there’s someone in the world who will love you for it.
- No, stupid. You’re not too old. If Carrie Fisher could tear around the globe at 60, making kickass sci-fi movies when she wasn’t on tour promoting her latest book, you can get your 35/41/70 year-old ass off the couch and down to the club. This is your world. Live in it.
I’m going to go eat my feelings now. Catch y’all on the flip-flop.