I was 9 years old when I met Princess Leia. I was instantly smitten. It was 1977 and Star Wars had just hit the big screen, bringing with it top-notch special effects, a kick-butt soundtrack and the Force. I left the theater with a lump in my throat because I wanted it to be real SO MUCH.
Three years later came The Empire Strikes Back, and three years after that, Return of the Jedi. These movies changed my life, not in a geeky way, but in an “I Need To Train As A Jedi and Fight The Dark Side” kind of way. So, yeah. In a geeky way.
1. Princess Leia–I’d been raised on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Beautiful princesses who slept while princes fought their battles. But Leia! She was brave and tough and feisty and funny and beautiful and smart–and could shoot a blaster! She flirted with Han Solo and Luke, she spit in Darth Vader’s face–and that hair! For several birthdays, I wished I would wake up as Princess Leia.
2. Darth Vader–This dark villain stormed through the Star Wars movies with his own cool theme song. He was so easy to hate. But then he saved Luke! Then Luke tries to save Vader! It was all so complicated. But it taught me that there is no black and white. Behind every horrible person is a layer of anger that comes from fear.
(He just wanted some quality father/son time.)
3. Plot Twists. Say wha??? Vader is Luke’s father? Leia is Luke’s sister? Lando betrayed his friends? Han Solo is encased in carbonite?? Star Wars was my introduction to unpredictable stories–and I’ve been hooked ever since. Give me a plot with a neck-wrenching twist and I’m a happy camper.
4. There is a Force in the universe. Yeah, I can’t blow up a Death Star with my mind, but I can absolutely impact the world around me–for good or evil. Star Wars taught me that I’m already strong enough, powerful enough and wise enough. I just need a lightsaber.
(Covering all the bases.)
5. Yoda Wisdom. Yoda is my co-pilot. I wanted to fly to Dagobah and train with him to become a Jedi master. I hear his voice when I’m angry. I see his eyes shut with sadness when I choose the dark side. Today, I use his lessons in my yoga classes. Now, if I could just learn to levitate . . . .