Like the Sirens but more active in the dark, unseen, my Pack is an organically and consciously formed group of women doing the work we do and being who we are because we can and we must: because words have power, and we have words.
I thought about editing my words for this platform, making them prettier…but the way they are now seems a more apt reflection of embracing the model Carrie Fisher created for so many women of my era. They are honest, a little messy, and a call to keep myself accountable. They are a great reminder to face the world with a shit-eating-fuck-you grin while laughing at yourself–and flipping the bird at your naysayers.
Thanks, Lisa. Thanks to all the Sirens. I hope we all get to sing and howl together again soon.
Carrie J. Cole
“Like family. Only family can fuck with family. No Outsiders.”
“YOU GUYS CARRIE FISHER DIED THIS MORNING.”
I was chatting online with my Pack—a group of women spread across the country, bonded together by fierce intelligence, wicked wit, extreme loyalty, and feminist pop culture. Intellectuals, performers, writers, academics—there are only four of us in the Pack, but we do and we are many things (and we do many of those things in nontraditional ways and in nontraditional settings).
We were plotting our next rendezvous. We were helping each other sort through the complexities of being who we are at this moment in time. And I think each one of us was somewhere in the recesses of our minds counting on “stable condition” as an improvement in Carrie Fisher’s circumstances.
There has been a lot of mourning this year as so many of us reach that age when those artists, scientists, and intellectuals who helped shape us when we were still gooey messes of hormones and hairspray have passed away. Mourning for the loss of these people, for these icons—and for the loss of what they represent to us.
And yet, as the Pack dealt with the news of Carrie Fisher’s death, this particular death hits home in a different way. Yes, Carrie Fisher got to play “the only girl in the all boy fantasy”—and she got to be a leader of those boys. Even in the “slave Leia” outfit that still features heavily in the Halloween and cosplay rotation, keep in mind she used her chains to strangle that fat ol’ pile of excrement. And best of all, we got to see that “girl” become a GENERAL.
But as much as we identified with Leia, and found in her a feminist icon of space opera (an icon that developed and matured as we did)—that was a character.
Carrie Fisher was also an awesome example of being a feminist human being (not just playing one on screen). She was balls out. She took no shit. She called people on their shit. She was honest—brutally honest—about her mental health and fought viciously to destigmatize mental health issues.
She didn’t always play by the rules. She spoke up. She spoke out of turn. And she was really damn funny.
So rather than mourn her passing and mourn for the nostalgia of my youth—I’m going to celebrate her. I’m going to raise my voice. I’m going to raise the stakes. I’m going to speak louder and laugh louder.
Because, as she put it…”what’s important is the action”.