She leans into my shoulder and takes her tiny hand and places it on my chest, precisely over my heart.
“Aunt Emily, your heart hurts doesn’t it?” she asks.
“Yes, it does.” I reply.
“I love you very much and I will fix your heart.” she says, looking into my eyes.
I am giving a talk tomorrow to a S.T.E.A.M. Girls club and wanted to share my Articulate 360 Rise interaction.
Full STEAM Ahead
I am really enjoying Articulate’s latest iteration of cloud based design for ID’s. Check out a demo below using the new “RISE 360” learning tool.
45% of all female homicides in the United States are committed by an intimate partner. 63% of that number were killed by a husband or ex-husband. 57% of those women, were killed with a firearm.
The swift is fitting.
I remember when my Grandmother bought me my first nightgown so that I could play Star Wars with the kids outside. The Sandpiper apartment complex where I lived was full of boys and I was the only girl. I was sought after because they needed a “Leia”. Buns tightly wrapped near my ears, I proudly wore that red nightgown and drove my Big Wheel around the block, plastic gun at my side (thanks brother, for letting me “borrow” it). Cheers erupted when Andy, Luke and the Sandpiper gang saw me coming, glad to have a complete set to destroy the Death Star.
Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of Leia was intentional. She could have stayed with the Leia of first acquaintance, the one that speaks gently and demurely telling a man he is her “only hope”. Instead, she spoke her lines with easy confidence and stood up to bullies with sarcasm and body language that proved her place among the space gunslingers; trading barbs with the best of them while displaying vulnerability and compassion.
She once said “I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art”. That was accomplished because within minutes of her death, as it seemed that this year couldn’t be any more merciless and cruel, the words “NO NO NO!” sprung from every social media account, every headline and every mouth of the talking heads in broadcast. Her portrayals and appearances on and off the stage leave us mourning for good reason. She embodied the beauty all women at one time or another possess on the outside-adored, radiant and desired. She then bravely shared the other side of that moon, when women uniquely suffer the fall of age, addiction and loss. Her heart in the pages of brilliant books that speak of being abandoned and left standing, wondering where everyone went. Just last year at almost three o’clock in the morning, she posted the following to Twitter:
Please stop debating about whether OR not I aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us, ok.
It has only been in recent years that I could appreciate Carrie Fisher’s writing and truth tales, but I have always appreciated and admired her wit and vulnerability. She had the balls to share her struggles off the stage and hold the audience accountable for their expectations. Their expectations confused a relationship; the one where the world had the character playing a woman when really, Carrie was a person who played a character that she said “ruined her life”.
We have seen ourselves as sex symbols and have enjoyed “the gaze”, even if only for a moment before time, responsibility and various relationships take priority to the maintenance of gold bikini-clad bodies. Accepting this reality is an entirely different ball game that might take on a resistance that includes self hatred and self loathing; where we intentionally erase the things we hope to never remember by soaking our sad selves in a chosen poison. Carrie Fisher struggled like we all do with this and I believe the extent to which she tried forgetting, shortened her life. It is cruel that her death comes at a time when she seemed to have managed her demons, laughing at them instead of letting them make a comedy of her. And by no means is aging and the loss of sex appeal, within the framework of the male gaze, the most significant of tragedies. I point it out only because Fisher herself wrote and spoke of it often; I myself let it carry me to a dark place all too frequently.
We can all think of an event or circumstance that signifies a personal “ruining”. Heartbreak is everywhere you look, within each breath you take and in the eyes of every person you meet. I think the significance of Carrie Fisher as an artist to me, was the humor she used to heal through tremendous grief:
“If my life weren’t funny, it would be real and that is unacceptable”.
I used to think the greatest compliment I could ever receive was that I was beautiful and or stunning. However in the past years of my greatest tragedies, 2016 being the cruelest bitch in my existence, I have laughed at myself and made merry of my circumstance to the delight and joy of myself, my loved ones and closest friends. That feeling and being told I am funny, where everyone knows how much I hurt but laughs with me in solidarity and acknowledgement, feels more like home than any cat-call, whispered come-on or admiration ever spoken.
Carrie Fisher made it possible to imagine life being funny, made it “ok” to want it to be unreal and had the audacity to suggest its tragedy was unacceptable. For that, she is my princess.
You Have Wings, Inc. is a non-profit founded in Saint Petersburg, Florida by myself and a few friends in collaboration with other local charities.
She became official this week and I am proud to be the Executive Director and Founder of something I know will help other women see the world from a different view. More information to come, but I wanted to give you all a peak as I roll more out over the next few weeks.