May the Fourth be Luminous

May the Fourth Be With You, this day that everyone, from casual Star Wars fans, to lifetime devotees celebrate the wonder one of the greatest science-fiction franchises.  Reverberations of sadness are felt throughout the force, however.  Today is our first May the Fourth without the woman who portrayed Princess Leia Organa, actress Carrie Fisher.

The character lives on, but so much of what Leia became in our consciousness is due to the actress that embodied her.  A princess of two worlds, a rebel leader, a general, sister, wife, matriarch and Jedi… none can be separated from Ms. Fisher.  There is a palpable sorrow attached to Leia, now, even though I will always celebrate her.  I liken it to the feeling when Christopher Reeve was paralyzed, and, later, when he passed away…

Leia defied conventions.  The layman might mistake her for the stereotypical damsel-in-distress.  Sure there a moments, where she appears to need the rescue.  But how quickly and thoroughly does Ms. Fisher show herself to not only be her male counterparts’ equal, and then go forward to be THE if not one of the most capable people in the ensemble?  Over the course of the films, Leia becomes the central strategist and heart of the Rebellion.

70138746ac66d0914c4b4982f4ac40d6The skeptics will cite, “Slave Leia,” and the metal bikini, the objectification of those scenes. She’s treated as eyecandy, as property to be possessed.  Move forward just a bit… how did that situation end for the slaver?  Throttled by the same woman he underestimated, with the very chains that bound her.  Probably not an intentional feminist moment, but its there.  She’s never again treated as anything less than the determined, capable leader that she is.

I appreciate Ms. Fisher, in real life, just as much as her most famous role.  She was unabashedly straight-forward, sharing struggles with substance abuse and mental illness with surprising candor… surprising for anyone else, that is.  That type of bravery, showing vulnerabilities to the world, was the hallmark of her character.  The BBC shared the following quote, in their obituary: “There’s a part of me that gets surprised when people think I am brave to talk about what I’ve gone through,” she once said. “I was brave to last through it.”

May the Force be with you always, Carrie Fisher.  This May 4th is not the same, and never shall be, again, with your absence.  Many of us take comfort in the words of Master Yoda: ” For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”  A truly luminous being, indeed.  Rest well, Princess…

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