2016 has been a rough year for everyone. It doesn’t seem to be interested in slowing down on its way out, since it has taken one of the biggest badasses of our time: Carrie Fisher. She blew up at the age of nineteen when she hit the screen in Star Wars, becoming one of the biggest first geek screen crushes of all time. She later was put in a space bikini outfit and then used her own chain to choke the Hutt that imposed it on her. In her time, she also stuck an automatic weapon in John Belushi’s face, did not marry Billy Crystal and became a harbinger of the future for Tina Fey, among other things. She was also a blisteringly funny writer, creating a series of autobiographies and semi-autobiographies.
And that’s all well and good, but the thing Carrie Fisher did for me wasn’t her acting on screen…it was her being on screen–being herself–and giving no fucks about doing so. And this isn’t easy for anybody, much less someone who has had to grapple with bipolar disorder and addiction. I didn’t know specifically what she was dealing with until seeing her discuss it with Stephen Fry in his docuseries, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. But seeing how she was able to deal with it–and do so fairly openly and with tremendous strength–has made her a serious role model for dealing with mental illness as well as a personal hero of mine.