Getting Lost in Loss

Carrie Fisher died today.

In many ways, and to many people, 2016 just felt like a year of loss. And while I’ve been saddened by all the celebrities and icons we’ve lost this year…

Carrie Fisher died today, and I need to quantify why it hurts so much.

Many people pass away every year. Some of them are celebrities. Some are family, friends, and loved ones. Some we see coming, others blindside us. Some will be remembered forever, while others are a footnote to history.

Carrie Fisher is literally one of the first memories I have. Growing up, Star Wars was everything to me. Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, Lando, and the rest formed my foundation for heroism, bravery, and sacrifice. Sure, they were all in silly costumes waving neon lights around, but it grabbed me in a way nothing else has. These are my oldest and dearest friends. And one of them is gone.

Her impact is felt so far beyond her role in a silly sci-fi movie. She was an amazing writer, egregiously hilarious, and unspeakably brave when confronting her demons. Her willingness to open up about her own struggles gives me the strength to open up about my own.

Only in recent years have my own demons begun haunting me. I’m sad all the time. I’m angry half of the time. I feel lost in a sea of people who “have their shit together”, wondering when it will all click for me. I take medicine for this, and it takes the edge off. Sometimes I forget to be sad or angry and I can just be, and sometimes that’s enough for me.

I am deeply flawed. I have made mistakes. I have regrets. Carrie Fisher wasn’t afraid to say these things about herself, so why should I be? I am also loved. I am in love. I know I have it far better than most ever could, and am grateful.

Many people pass away every year, but 2016 feels sadder than most. We lost some powerful voices this year, and will lose more next year, and the year after that, and so on. What’s important is that we don’t get lost in that loss. What matters is that we keep creating and discovering new and powerful voices to fill that vacuum.

I, for one, plan on shouting from every rooftop I see in 2017. I plan on being a better me than before, to not be afraid to be myself no matter how weird that me might be. I plan on doing my part to make my surroundings better just by having been there.

Besides, what makes any of us think that 2017 will be any better than 2016.