Why Princess Leia Was My First Badass Friend

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Deadpan eyes. Those perfectly set hair buns. A facial expression that could stop storm troopers but enough femininity to make Luke trip over himself.

Growing up in the 80’s it was all Barbies in pink with tiny waists and My Little Pony. Any girl had her pick of what stereotypical box of marketing Mattel was kicking out. I’m not angry. I loved every minute of it. But I also knew that strength and poise didn’t come from beauty alone. It wouldn’t be enough to carry one through life.

Carrie Fisher’s character represented something I realize I recognized even at age 8 (Star Wars came out when I was 1 so I had to wait until I was out of diapers to see it). Was I being set up back then for the strength I’d need through my 30’s?

The juxtaposition of Princess Leia yielding a weapon to being held captive in a gold clad bikini was riveting. How could one be so strong yet so vulnerable? Isn’t this exactly what we each struggle with every day?

Today I came home to a package in the mail.  I had just joked to my husband that Amazon had gotten a three-day break for me so I was surprised when I came home and saw a return address from Wisconsin. A gift from a friend of a friend who I am now connected because of our cancer journey. Though only known in the virtual sense, I know she is a sister from another mister.

She sent me beautiful butterfly shaped ornaments in colors associated with our cancer. It was such a beautiful symbol and at the same time so simple and unexpected. I’ve never met this woman and only communicated with her on social media but she wrote me a note reminding me to celebrate not only on the day I received my one-year cancer free diagnosis but every day and every month.

Thanks to Princess Leia for keeping it real even when I didn’t know you were teaching me a lesson.

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