This was originally posted as a guest blog on I Heart Lesfic. You can find it here.
“You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at.” – Tina Fey
Tina Fey is not wrong. She’s not wrong about literally anything, actually, and I will fight anyone who wants to argue with me. Throughout my years on this planet, I have found that what makes one person laugh might not make another person laugh. I am funny in certain situations and downright awful in others, even though I am always the same person no matter what. I one time said something I thought was hysterical to the wrong audience. Lord. You could have heard a pin drop. Not cool! Call it poor comedic timing or call it not reading the room, either way, it was not fun.
That being said, regardless of my timing and my inability to read a room while inebriated, one of my very favorite things to do in life is laugh, and to make others laugh. I can think of literally nothing else I love more than the sound of laughter. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I just love it. There are so many different laughs in this world, too, which is funny in and of itself.
I can say with 100% certainty that laughing is my favorite thing to do in this world.
Wait. I take that back.
Sex is my favorite thing in this world. Aside from Baby Yoda, of course. So, sex, Baby Yoda, and laughing. Not necessarily in that order, of course. Oh, who am I kidding? Definitely in that order.
Now, laughing during sex?
Sadly, my embarrassing moment didn’t happen during sex, although what a way to set up the story, right?
Actually, my most embarrassing moment, and one I continuously like to look back on to keep myself grounded, happened when I was that ripe age where I was secure and nothing ever bothered me.
I was a senior in high school, for Pete’s sake, and I was a hot mess. Structurally, I was larger than my friends, which was so hard for me to deal with. And for some reason, after I had my senior pictures taken, I decided to cut all of my hair off. I was a jock so I told myself short hair would be easier. And I had no idea why I wanted a boyfriend, but at the same time, I never wanted the boy to touch me or kiss me. In fact, if he did, I would find some reason why I needed to leave. Immediately.
I look back on those days now and realize two things. One, I was a raging lesbian. And two? I was a raging lesbian who had no idea what being a lesbian even meant.
I did have a crush on a man, though. It was an insane, stupid crush that now, when I look back on it, I cringe at how ridiculous it was. How ridiculous I was. I guess it’s sort of sad that I so badly couldn’t come to terms with being into vagina that I found the most unavailable human being in the fifty mile radius and latched on.
My United States History and Government teacher was the lucky soul. He stole my young heart. Not on purpose, of course. He had no idea whatsoever. I’m sure of it. He was absolutely hilarious. He made everyone laugh. I don’t think there was a single student who didn’t like him. He was also a really good teacher. I mean, I still know every word to the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America because of him. I also know there are three branches of government thanks to him. A lot of the American public seems to have forgotten that… But I digress.
I’m going to protect the lives of the innocent and call my teacher Mr. Muppet. Not because he looked like a Muppet (he really did), but because I hope it will help add to the humor (please, God, let it add to the humor). Mr. Muppet was married, very happily, to my drama coach. I know what you’re thinking.
“Erin? Needed a drama coach? No way! I thought all that drama came naturally.”
I think the same thing all the time. Alas, I did, indeed, need a drama coach. And she was, and continues to be, a very important person in my life. She was incredible, and now that I think back, maybe it was her I had the crush on? Jesus. The revelations I am having right now are CRAZY.
Mr. Muppet was also the track and field coach. So, what’d I do? I joined track and field, baby! I was actually really good at throwing shot-put and discus, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
So, my most embarrassing moment… ugh. I cannot believe I am about to reveal this.
Bear with me, okay?
If you know anything about me from reading my bio, you know I’m from a very small town in Colorado, where everyone knew everyone. Growing up there was hard. Very, very, very hard. It was impossible to truly find yourself in a town where the second you let a fart slip during PE the whole school knew about it and laughed at you about it and called you something like Breezy, with the emphasis on EEZY, because my initials are E. Z. By the way, that’s not my embarrassing moment, sadly, even though it seems like a pretty vivid memory, right?
So because I was scared and lost and had no idea how to handle myself or my developing feelings and emotions (and hormones) I had for Mr. Muppet, I decided to write him a letter confessing my feelings. Instead of, oh, I DON’T KNOW, putting it into an envelope and setting it on his DESK, I slipped it under his classroom door.
“Erin!” You shout at me. “Why would you do that?”
“Listen!” I say in protest. “I don’t freaking know. Okay?”
I was so dumb! And young, naive, scared, with insanely low self-esteem. All of those wonderful qualities added up to a severe case of “what the fuck was I thinking?”
Don’t worry, it gets better.
Mr. Muppet didn’t get the letter, which seems like a great thing, right? Because if he’d received the letter, it would have been so awful. So very awful…
The janitor got the letter. And opened it because it wasn’t in an envelope. And the janitor read it. And the janitor freaked out. And turned it into the principal and I ended up having to have a huuuuuge meeting with Mr. Muppet, Mrs. Muppet, my mom and step-dad, and the guidance counselor. The whole thing was the worst thing that ever happened to me. And I’m sure it was the worst thing that ever happened to Mr. Muppet. And maybe the janitor? Who knows?
Seriously, though, I was a straight-A student. I was a varsity athlete for volleyball, basketball, and track and field. I was the co-president of the student body for Student Council. I was a member of Future Business Leaders of America. I was in drama (with his wife, remember?). I never got in trouble. I couldn’t! My step-dad was the chief of police. My mom was the director of nursing at the hospital. Everyone knew me.
Every. Single. Person.
The whole thing was horrifying. It still is! I look back on it and literally want to smack myself. I know kids do stupid things, but come on. The saddest part is none of my “feelings” had anything to do with Mr. Muppet. I know that now. They had everything to do with “not wanting a boy” and being too scared to come to grips with the fact that I liked girls. I wanted to put all of my fear and anxiety and nervousness into someone where it wouldn’t go anywhere. I wish I could apologize to him. Tell him how sorry I am for how stupid I was. There are moments when I wish I could re-live my high school years just so I could do that one part of my life differently.
Oh, and to make matters worse?
I guess you could call this “the best part” of the whole story. Shocking, I know, that there could even be more to this story…
During the sports awards ceremony, Mr. Muppet was the lucky guy who got to hand out an award to me. After peeing down my leg (figuratively speaking, of course), making my way up to the stage, accepting the award, and shaking his hand, I turned around and ran smack-dab into the flagpole.
On stage in front of the entire school and my parents and my friends and every other set of parents and siblings…
Senior year of high school was the worst.
God Bless America.
I’ve had a little over a month to process my feelings about the end of the Star Wars saga. I am still not okay.
If anyone reading this also follows me on social media, you know I am a rather rabid fan of Star Wars. I know there are a lot of us out there so it’s not like I’m admitting to liking liver and onions. I don’t, by the way.
Star Wars has been in my life since I was five years old. I’ll never forget sitting on the couch with my dad (who was a larger man with a big, round belly), snuggling into him, and watching Episode IV: A New Hope (they’re renamed now, I know, but this is how I will always know it) for the first time. He read the opening crawl out loud to me and I was hooked. A princess? An evil empire? A smuggler? A Jedi? Sign me up!
Little did I know that as I made my way through the movies, sometimes literally all in one sitting, I would become the fan I am today. I love everything about Star Wars. They’re campy and wonderful and the special effects hold up and Princess Fucking Leia.
As I grew up, I continued to watch them. I had the original VHS tapes that were so worn out I couldn’t fix the tracking at all on some of the scenes. When George Lucas re-released the trilogy with new scenes, I immediately made my mom drive me the hour and a half over the mountains so I could get them. I practically ruined that set in a year. I was obsessed.
There’s something about the entire arc in those first three movies that makes me so happy. The idea of rescuing a damsel in distress, who is no damsel and who isn’t really in distress, is so wonderful. Her falling in love with Han, and also sort of her brother, is amazing. Her relationship with Luke speaks to their bond because of The Force, their soulmate status, and everything else. Han Solo is the epitome of cool, racing around the galaxy in the most amazing ship in the entire fucking universe. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t love the Millennium Falcon? And Chewbacca! Oh, Chewy. I can’t even with how much I adore Chewy’s character arc over the nine movies.
When the Disney deal went through, I was skeptical. I love Disney so much, too, so being skeptical of anything Disney did was hard for my brain to handle. When the first trailer for The Force Awakens dropped at D23, I almost hyperventilated. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that surged through my body.
Listen, I had to sit through Episodes I, II, and III, okay? I had to see George Lucas try and make political struggles in the Republic interesting. I had to see Hayden Christiansen try and muster up some chemistry with Natalie Portman, who, let’s be real, could have chemistry with a brick wall. I had to SUFFER through young Anakin Skywalker being played by the world’s worst actor (I’m sorry if that seems mean but I’m not even going to mention his name).
So seeing the trailer for The Force Awakens, a movie I was severely skeptical about, cast with basically all unknowns, was mind-blowing. I was scared, nervous, excited, anxious, everything.
When the movie released, my friend Brad and I bought back-to-back showing tickets for the IMAX theater in the town where I lived in Indiana. We showed up two hours early (before they actually assigned seats – best thing theaters have ever done, honestly). We were so pumped. When the first notes of the amazing John Williams score burst into the airwaves, I started crying. I cried numerous times during the movie. I cried like a crazy person at a couple moments… There were a few things I didn’t love, but y’know what? Overall, I really loved it.
I saw it five more times in the theater.
Fast forward two years. The Last Jedi was released. And I was just as excited. Just as pumped. And after seeing it, with Brad again, I was still totally stoked for the rise of Disney’s Star Wars. I didn’t LOVE The Last Jedi, but I appreciated it for what it was.
Now. A lot happened after the release of The Last Jedi, and I won’t go into all of it, because you probably aren’t uber nerds who want to know the ins and outs of why people hated that movie or even why they hated The Force Awakens. That being said, they switched directors and handed the reins back to JJ Abrams, who now had a colossal mess to clean up.
Welcome to December of 2019. The Rise of Skywalker. I was relatively spoiler free. I always go off of social media days before the release in order to avoid spoilers, but I also didn’t watch every trailer. I only saw two trailers. I watched them both a thousand times, but whatever.
When I sat down in the theater to watch The Rise of Skywalker, this time without Brad, I’ll be very honest: I was shaking. I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. And truth be told? As the movie started and moved from one scene to the next, I found myself crying through most of it.
(I won’t go into all the details, but I really enjoyed it. I had my issues, and if you’re super interested, go listen to The Weekly Wine Down podcast where we discuss Star Wars for an entire episode. THE BEST EPISODE EVER. Ha!)
And when the movie ended? I was a hot mess. A hot, hot mess. I was sobbing. And I had to pull myself together. I got into my Jeep. I started it, put it into drive, and continued to cry the entire way home.
As I sat at a stoplight, hoping no one could see me, blubbering like a fool, it hit me like a pile of bricks why I was so sad. I had essentially just said goodbye to Leia, Han, and Luke for the very last time. These characters have been in my life for as long as I can remember, literally. I don’t remember much before the age of five, so really, I’m not even exaggerating.
But, more than anything, I had to say goodbye to Leia. I grew up wanting to be Leia. I wanted to be in charge and confident and amazing and beautiful with cinnamon bun hair and no need for a bra.
As I aged, I started to fall in love with everything Carrie Fisher did, said, wrote… She was so wonderful and special and raw and honest. And saying goodbye to Leia was also realizing I would never again see something new Carrie Fisher did. And knowing that wrecked me. Her candor and beauty was something I will miss forever. She didn’t hold back and she made sure her mental health was something not holding her back but helping her—and others—out.
I’d like to say this entire blog post has a deep meaningful take-away. Aside from me wanting to write about my love for Star Wars, of course, it really doesn’t. I guess what I can say with 100% certainty is that Star Wars has helped mold me into the person I am today. No, I’m not a princess or a smuggler or a Jedi, but I am most definitely a strong woman with the drive and desire to be the best version of myself I can be. And I’m doing all of that while trying to handle anxiety and depression and many other things Carrie Fisher spoke so truthfully about struggling with. I may not be the badass she was (and always will be), but I will always strive to be a little like Leia and a lot like Carrie: a damsel in distress, who isn’t really a damsel and is most definitely not in distress.
May the Force be with you.