One year ago, Carrie Fisher left this world.

As we all know by now, she drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra  and although I never met her, I have had a hard time adjusting to the fact that this is a world in which she is no longer actively participating. When I heard the news of her passing last year, I was at work and I cried. Sniffling & sobbing throughout the day, many of us fans connected online, sharing stories, favorite anecdotes, and general love.

For my part, when I was growing up, so many other little girls my age wanted to be dancers, actors, princesses. I wanted to be none of those things…until I saw Princess Leia. THEN I wanted to be a princess, but only if I could be as tough, smart, and capable as her. She was not only a princess, but a respected leader and agent of the Rebellion. Basically, she was a badass and I wanted to be like her.

(Note: for the duration, I’ll be calling her Carrie, because “Ms. Fisher” feels too formal and I wouldn’t want her scoffing at me.)

There have been wonderful stories that came out about her in the last year. From Michael Rosenbaum talking about how he lived in her guest house for three months to a more recent revelation of how she looked after screenwriter Heather Robinson () we’ve learned so much about what an amazing person Carrie was in real life. She cared for those around her and didn’t take crap from anyone – including someone who took to social media to express their displeasure with the Slave Leia action figure. To them, she replied “The character is wearing that outfit not because she's chosen to wear it. She's been forced to wear it. She's a prisoner of a giant testicle who has a lot of saliva going on. She does not want to wear that thing and it's ultimately that chain, which you're now indicating is some sort of accessory to S&M, that is used to kill the giant saliva testicle.… That's asinine.”

Her activism for mental healthcare has continued into this year as well. From memes shared online saying that Space Mom would want you to take your meds & live another day – even if just for spite – to pieces that have praised her outspokenness, including matters related to aging and expectations of women in Hollywood, we are reminded that she was so much more than Leia.

This week I saw someone quote Obi-Wan from New Hope – “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” They went on to apply this to Carrie, discussing how she has become even more of an icon now to those speaking their truth about mental illness & addiction, her face – young and more mature – has emblazoned protest art, and her words in the form of her many books are a gift to us all. (In the first shot of her from The Last Jedi when they lingered on the back of her head before she turned, I thought of a quote from The Princess Diarist, “it’s all about the hair.”)

Most of us Star Wars fans first knew her as a princess and one of the most common quotes I’ve seen around is “she will always be royalty.” And while that is true, over time, she moved beyond princess to step forward and become the mature, capable leader that the Resistance – and many of us fans – needed. For me, she is my general and I hope she rests easy now.  

To everyone out there, take care, stand up for yourselves & your friends, and don’t forget to take your meds. Space Mom would want you to.