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Grateful for Carrie Fisher

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 7:00 AM

By Diana Scharf


I'm not the kind of person who wraps myself up in the lives of celebrities. Their lives don't affect mine and it never really made sense to me to get worked up about their comings and goings. (Except of course when Ryan Reynolds and I were both single because hey, you never know, right)? Which is why I've really spent the last couple of days thinking about why I am so completely saddened over the death of Carrie Fisher.


I, of course, will always be grateful to Carrie Fisher for giving us Princess Leia. She showed my nine-year old self that not every princess waits in a tower for a prince to come and kiss her. Sometimes, a princess leads a rebel alliance. Sometimes, a princess disguises herself as a bounty hunter and tries to rescue her prince. And sometimes a princess takes the very chain that imprisons her and uses it to strangle Jabba the Hut. I never looked at a fairytale princess the same way again.


When I look at the way I raise my daughter and the way I write my classes, I realize the profound impact Princess Leia had on my life. I see it in the books I choose for my daughter. While she certainly knows about Snow White and her powers of cooking and housekeeping, we both prefer stories like Shannon Hale and Dean Hale's "The Princess in Black," where the princess keeps her lands safe by battling monsters and sending them back where they belong. We read about Wonder Woman and Super Girl, where strong women defeat nefarious criminals (and sometimes even rescue Batman and Superman in the process).


Now, don't get me wrong. I love princesses. Especially Disney princesses. I've taught many classes about Ariel, Elsa and the like. (Ask Miss Jessica, I am our go-to-girl if you want a princess yoga class)! But I always try to highlight a princess's strength when I include her in one of my classes. How brave and confident Ariel is to venture out into a new world and re-write her destiny. How strong and powerful Elsa is. And when I write a princess into one of my original yoga stories, you can pretty much be sure that she's going to be kicking butt in a Warrior Pose, overcoming some obstacle.


Recently I decided to test out one of my new classes on my five-year old. The class was really based around the 6 warrior poses, but by way of introduction, I decided to have a princess send her warriors off on a quest. Princess Leia would have done it, she was the boss right? But I was so proud of my kid when she asked if the princess could go on the adventure too. DUH! Of course the princess can go on the adventure too, and shame on me for not including her!


I'm sure that, with the world changing as it did, we were bound to see an action-hero princess at some point. Maybe some were already out there when I was nine. But for me, Princess Leia was the first. Seeing a princess acting as both a leader and someone who could also handle herself in battle was both a revelation and an inspiration for nine-year-old me. I like to think that I subconsciously channel that memory as I teach my daughter those values that make her send her own princesses out on adventures.


So thank you Carrie Fisher. You will continue to shape the world-view of budding princesses everywhere. Especially where I am teaching.



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