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Princess Leia: My Idol, My Friend

In 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, I was only 6 or 7. However, my older siblings gave me an early introduction into the Star Wars galaxy. I grew up wanting to be Princess Leia - right down to any and all hairdos she wore. I would run around dressed in a white sheet as a dress carrying a banana as a pistol. And, for the record, I also hit every Storm Trooper I aimed at. She was my idol. I learned a lot from her.

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"Though she be but little, she is fierce!" - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Via tenor.co

One of my favorite things about Princess Leia is her caustic, sharp wit. She may be small in stature, but her overall presence was demanding. As someone who is also vertically challenged, knowing that you could still be strong and commanding while not being able to reach the top shelf meant a lot. She taught me small is not synonymous with weak.

If you want something done...

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She wasn't someone who sat around waiting to be saved. In a world where stories are told that princesses sit in towers and wait for a prince to save them, Leia showed us that we have other options. While others hesitated, she jumped in and did what needed to be done. She taught me not to wait on anyone else, to be proactive, and do what I need and want to do.

Cool, calm, collective

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Captured, tortured, and locked away, she was still chill when Luke opened her cell door. Seriously fierce, people. She taught me there was probably a level of fierce I will most likely never achieve, but that's okay.

Leia get your gun.

She was a leader and by all rights could have stayed out of battle but never did. She led by example. If there was ever trouble, she never hesitated. Whether her weapon was a gun, tree branch, or wits, she never failed those who relied on her. She taught me to be the one to be followed.

If I need your help, I'll ask for it.

Via giphy.com

I think from the very beginning she had a thing for Han. I mean, who wouldn't? (I did!) However, he was a little cocky so she made him work for it. She set the ground rules right away to let him know she was no damsel in distress. In the end, it was she who saved him (more than once). She taught me to stand my ground and be strong.

You have a way with words.

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Leia was seriously the best at insulting. It wasn't just Han who was on the receiving end (though I think he was there the most). She even insulted Vader and all his men. See the next gif...

Be strong.

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When Han was set to be frozen and delivered to Jabba, she didn't fall to pieces. Histrionics weren't her thing. She was the one to calm everyone else. I like to believe she was already calculating a plan to save Han. She taught me to be strong and keep my wits about me in intense situations.

Always get the last laugh.

Via giphy.com

Jabba is truly the most disgusting creature ever. I'm pretty sure I dated his cousin in college. He thought he was all powerful - invincible. He laughed at her as she was chained to him. It never occurred to him that a little woman who he majorly demeaned by dressing in metal and sheer material would be his downfall. She taught me to not let those slimeballs get to me.

Extend the hand of friendship.

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Leia never hesitated to extend a peaceful hand to those who were willing to accept it. She had a gift of discernment and treated all as equals. She taught me treat others the way I would like to be treated.

Give credit where credit is due.

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Even in moments of distress, Leia was a great enough leader to take the time to praise those around her. She never took people for granted. She taught me to take the time to express appreciation and praise to those who are deserving.

Comfort those in need of comfort.

Via giphy.com

As a friend stated this morning, "We all wish we were Rey today." With Carrie Fisher's loss, we are all in need of some comfort. Leia always took the time to hold up and comfort those who needed it. She taught me that compassion is a sign of great strength.

Don't say goodbye.

Via tumblr.com

In The Force Awakens, Leia tells Han, "I've always hated watching you leave." He replies, "That's why I did it. So you'd miss me." I feel like a huge part of what helped me to grow up is gone, and since I too hate watching you leave, I'm not going to say goodbye. I'm going to say, "See ya later."

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