By Leigh Montano, co-host of The Immortals podcast
Carrie Fisher’s loss has hit me. Hard. So hard. It’s difficult to put into words how much someone you’ve never met means to you. I always feel like memoriams of dead celebrities read false and disingenuous. But I’m going to share why she’s so important to me anyway.
Carrie Fisher is my feminist spirit guide.
Almost a year ago, at the end of last December, I had a dream in which Carrie Fisher visited me.
I was in a crowd of women, of all shapes and sizes and colors and creeds, all indistinguishable but each their own person in that way that only works in dreams. Carrie Fisher was at the head of our crowd telling us our next steps on defeating the patriarchy. She was wearing her black framed glasses and flowing black clothes similar to what she wore and always looked comfortable in, an aesthetic after my own heart.
“We need to dismantle the patriarchy! We need to take them down!” she shouted to the crowd in a way that seemed she was speaking to each of us individually. Like we were all sitting with her in some low key bar, chatting with her one-on-one about taking down the patriarchy.
“You know what we need? A good old fashioned bra burning!” she shouted to the crowd. An archaic idea that’s at least two waves of feminism old, but at the time sounded like the key to smashing the Empire.
“I’m not wearing a bra!” I shouted to her, since I was wearing my PJs since, you know, I was asleep.
She then looked at me, directly in the eyes and said, “ROCK ON! That’s a great start!”
At that moment, she picked me out of the crowd of other amorphous women and looked directly at me and spoke to me.
I’m not the most spiritual person. I’m skeptical at heart and try to believe in things but just find their lack of evidence unconvincing. After I had that dream, I felt empowered and emboldened. I felt as if I had experienced something…more. I felt like I could take down the patriarchy single handedly.
I’m sure that this dream was just an amalgamation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers and that one episode of 30 Rock where she was playing an aging television writer. A mishmash of memories creating a false experience. I had mono about the time of the dream and was rewatching a lot of favorites and 30 Rock featured heavily in the rotation. That episode was one I always enjoyed. I never sought her out for her acting career and I never really watched things she happened to be in. That episode of 30 Rock, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and The Blues Brothers are probably the only things I’ve seen Carrie Fisher in that wasn’t Star Wars related. It wasn’t really a conscious effort, just a coincidence.
In the year since that dream, I have learned more about her, about what she has done to speak out about mental illness, something I am surviving every day. I have learned about how unique and outspoken she was about everything. I have fallen in love with her dog, Gary Fisher.
I have striven to be a better feminist, to try to challenge my own comfort zone and expand my idea of what “feminism” means to me. I have donated (instead of burned) old bras to a charity called Support the Girls that donates bras and other supplies that menstruators need to people in various types of shelters and encouraged everyone I know to do the same. I have learned to be kinder but still know to call out the bullshit when I see it. I’ve tried to better the world, one small act at a time, the way that most rebellions start.
I know this is all sounding cheesy as hell but I am a better person because Carrie Fisher visited me in a dream.
A lot of people are taking their time to remember her and share reasons why she is important to them. Each one seems to be unique and deeply personal while still incredibly relatable. She was an advocate, she was a writer, she was an actor and she was a badass.
To me she will always be my princess-turned-general who didn’t take shit from anyone and who struck fear in the Empire and the patriarchy alike.