Carrie Fisher is our hero. Not just because of Leia—though that is a big part of it—but because of her tireless devotion to being open and honest about every part of her life, be it good, bad, or ugly. She dedicated so much of herself to the destigmatization of mental illness by sharing her own—as they say in the rooms of addiction support groups she frequented over the years—experience, strength, and hope. Whether we related to her as someone with mental illness, or as someone with a crazy family, or even generally as a woman navigating a world that puts us second, Carrie Fisher made us feel less alone.
We miss her terribly since we lost her last year. But as an incredible writer, in addition to performer, she left us countless words to remind us of all the lessons she learned along the way. Thanks to books like Postcards From the Edge, Wishful Drinking, and The Princess Diarist, we have no shortage of answers to the question What Would Carrie Do? and plenty of lessons with which to navigate our own lives. Lessons like …
How to let go.
“Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.” - Wishful Drinking
And how, sometimes, forgiveness is harder.
"It’s the most amazing thing to be able to forgive. And so difficult. But relationships are difficult. You’ve managed to maintain your commitment to him. You’re the better person in that arena and in the position to forgive. Resentment, on the other hand, is a toxic experience. Superior and final – and when you walk away, what have you got?" - Ask Carrie Fisher, The Guardian
How to be brave, and even if we don’t feel brave, to fake it till we make it.
"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually, the confidence will follow." - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
That reaching out for help is a huge first step.
"You don’t have to like doing a lot of what you do, you just have to do it. You can let it all fall down and feel defeated and hopeless and that you’re done. But you reached out to me – that took courage. Now build on that. Move through those feelings and meet me on the other side." - Ask Carrie Fisher, The Guardian
And to never give up, even when we accomplish our goals.
"There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’” - Wishful Drinking
To own your life, and not be ashamed.
"Because I grew up in a public family, I never really had a private life. And so if those issues are going to be public, I would rather them to be public the way I've experienced them rather than someone else assuming things about me. It's freeing to do it. Shame is not something I aspire to.” - CBC
Because sometimes just getting through the day is something to be proud of.
“In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” - Wishful Drinking
And, above all else, that even though things are hard, there is still good in the world.
“I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And while the place that I’ve arrived at in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heavenly, I could swear sometimes—if I’m quiet enough—I can hear the angels sing."
And that a sense of humor doesn’t hurt.
"Either that or I’ve screwed up my medication.” - Wishful Drinking