Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
I almost killed myself six months ago.
Obviously, I didn’t.
I thought of how mad my roommate would be when he couldn’t use his veggie zen knife anymore and I stopped myself. That just wouldn’t have been fair to him. I mean, it’s a GOOD knife.
So, instead, I wrote a thing about it. It got a pretty good response. One of the things that is always striking to someone who is suffering from a mental illness is finding out how many people around them are going through the same damn thing.
Which leads me to my next point.
I’ve always thought Star Wars was dumb.
I didn’t have the love affair with it that a large portion of my generation seemed to.
I just never connected to it.
Then I saw Rogue One last week. It was incredible.
Spoiler Alert, the last shot of the film is of the face that we have come to mourn now, that has been staring back at us in memoriam from our television for days now.
Whatever your feelings towards his bloated opus, had it not been for George Lucas, we might not have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Carrie Fisher as we have for these just about 4 decades.
That being the bat shit crazy, Tasmanian acid trip of a wonder woman that defied death for decades and then mocked it in the pages of her books, in the proliferation of her story, in her dedication to allowing mortality to seep into her being and to cherish it.
She was possessed of a hyper awareness of her place in the Universe, here, there, far away, near and dear, and best of all, open about every single shitty bit of it.
It was our privilege to receive the literary reprieves that she granted from the shame and sorrow that we may feel at our own conditions, those shadows of vague definition but sharp edges to spare.
She was laid bare, splayed for us to gaze into the abyss that she made of her life so long ago now. She invited us to laugh at her ugliness, internal and otherwise, to feel time, stare into its eyes, and tell it to fuck right off.
She had the career that she had, even if it wasn’t the one that she always wanted, and then she called out the industry that wouldn’t let her have as much as she could demand from it.
She watched many a male actor have roads of gilded promises laid before them by sheer virtue of their genitalia and she would spend her later years loudly letting people know how obvious the bias was and fighting for those who were cowed and shamed by this system.
She didn’t just write about these troubles, though. She advocated on behalf of those that suffer just the same. She spoke openly of the stigmas that we, as a society, unfairly lay upon the doorstep of the mentally anguished.
It’s difficult to explain to people how inspiring it is to have someone like her out there in the ever churning cultural whirlpool, letting people know that going crazy isn’t a reason to be treated like a leper.
That constantly reducing people to the titles someone else assigned them does no service to the underlying humanity that lies at the root of mental illness.
When we mock and we reject and we chastise and we banish those who are ill, we reduce their whole humanity to the spare parts you find in an alleyway the day after Christmas.
Knowing that Princess fucking Leia also gets sad sometimes, also fights with her mom to point of separation, and also sometimes drinks herself into an oblivion that can only be cured by cocaine, all of the cocaine, every single bit of cocaine, is comforting in a way that is difficult to put into words.
To know that she sunk to such depths despite being the progeny of Hollywood royalty is to know that there is no demographic for the darkness that exists in the civilized mind.
It attacks all of us, no matter the station, no matter the size of the heart or the house, no matter the creed, color, the favors granted, the access achieved.
We are all just a bunch of short circuiting lunatics collectively wailing at the ever amused blood moon.
And she made it okay to know that. To embrace it. To smother it in love and laughter.
I miss her.
And I think I like Star Wars now.
This has been a strange year, indeed.