17 times Carrie Fisher handled the world with eloquence and bluntness.

Author. Mother. Mental health advocate. Badass intergalactic freedom-fighting princess. Carrie Fisher wore many crowns during her 60 years of life.

Fisher was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 23, 2016, after a cardiac episode on a flight. A family spokesperson confirmed her passing just four days later, on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

As we mourn her loss, we should also remember her for the one thing she was above all: an icon of resilience who inspired the world in more ways than most of us could ever aspire to.


It wasn't just any one role of hers that touched our lives — it was the sum total of her whole glorious existence, with all its ups and downs.

Photo by Chris Pizzello/AP.

1. Fisher was born to celebrity parents who divorced after her father's very-public affair when she was barely three years old.

Singers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher were married in 1955, with the birth of Carrie Frances to follow on Oct. 21, 1956. Then Eddie Fisher hooked up with Elizabeth Taylor in just one of his many highly-publicized sexual exploits. Divorce is never fun for the kids, but even less so when it's all over the tabloids.

2. She was raised in the spotlight and dropped out of both high school and college for her acting career. But still, she never stopped pursuing an education.

She attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London for a time, followed by Sarah Lawrence College, although she didn't complete either curriculum. Her interest in, and commitment to, literature and the arts never wavered, however, and she certainly kept on learning throughout her life.

Photo by Dove/Evening Standard/Getty Images.

3. No one thought that "Star Wars" would explode the way it did. Still, Fisher refused to let her acting career ride on its coattails.

Perhaps her most famous appearance was in "When Harry Met Sally," although she did make countless other cameos over the decades and was also one of the only actresses to appear on screen with both John and Jim Belushi. She even found several roles on Broadway.

But, more importantly, her Hollywood career wasn't limited to acting work.

4. Of course, it wasn't easy to be followed through life by that golden bikini, among other things. But eventually, she learned how to put that in its place.

As objectifying as that iconic outfit may have been, Fisher says she also found some pleasure in it. "I had a lot of fun killing Jabba the Hutt," she told The Guardian once. "The only reason to go into acting is if you can kill a giant monster."

Later, in response to a non-controversy about parents who thought the costume was too scandalous, she told the Wall Street Journal: "The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."

Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for The Midnight Mission.

5. Fisher did a lot of drugs. Then she sobered up, and relapsed, and sobered up again. But most importantly, she talked about it.

She openly admitted to doing cocaine on the set of "Empire Strikes Back."

"I didn’t even like coke that much, it was just a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high," she told the Associated Press. But she slowly realized that getting high was no longer her own choice but a necessary compulsion, and that was a problem.

6. She even survived an overdose, which is more than can be said for some of her friends.

Fisher had been clean for three months when she accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills. Luckily, her friends rushed her to the hospital and saved her life. Eventually, she got heavily involved in recruiting and publicity for 12-step programs.

7. Fisher's addictions exacerbated her mental health problems too. She publicly struggled with bipolar disorder — and talked about that too.

She spoke candidly about her psychotic episodes and about the times she took upward of two dozen pills to find mental stability. It's not clear whether her openness came about as part of her own coping process or if it was just a side effect of celebrity. Either way, her outspokenness helped many of her fans fight mental health stigma.

Photo from "Wishful Drinking."

8. Yes, she spent some time in a psychiatric hospital as well. But she refused to give in to the shame around that either.

"There is a part of this illness that is funny," she told the L.A. Times. "Because I have the sense of humor I have, things don't prey on me long. And that's why I have it. If I didn't, I would be ... in pain. If my life weren't funny, it would just be true, and that would be unacceptable."

9. Eventually, Fisher stepped away from acting and turned her attention to writing instead.

Her pseudo-autobiographical novel, "Postcards from the Edge," came out in 1987. It was soon turned into a movie largely based on her own experiences with mental health and drug addiction. She followed it with four other novels and several nonfiction books too.

Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Wizard World.

10. Soon, she became one of the most sought-after "script doctors" in Hollywood and was brought in to fix the screenplays of films from "Hook" to "Sister Act" to "Lethal Weapon III" and "The Wedding Singer."

You won't find her name on any of them, as is the case with most script doctor work. But even through it's hard to identify her exact contributions, it's still pretty impressive. George Lucas even asked her to help touch up the "Star Wars" prequels.

11. Fisher even wrote an episode of the popular TV show "Roseanne" that dealt explicitly with psychiatric struggles.

The episode centers on the mental state of Dan's mom, played by Fisher's own mother, Debbie Reynolds.

12. Throughout all of this, Fisher was involved with plenty of famous men. But she owned her sex life and never let those men overshadow her.

She had an on-again, off-again relationship with Dan Aykroyd, and even married Paul Simon for a time — and, yes, she had an affair with Harrison Ford during filming too. These might seem like the kind of things meant for gossip columns, but Fisher owned her involvement in them all with style.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney.

13. She even became the proud mother to a remarkable daughter, who's built a career of her own.

The now-24-year-old Billie Lourd can be seen on the show "Scream Queens," among other things. Lourd's father, Bryan, was a famous powerhouse casting agent who broke up with Fisher and became involved with another man — another emotional devastation that Fisher persevered through.

"People ask if it lessens the blow that he left me for a man, because it’s a rejection of my gender and so isn’t personal. But I don’t care what people say — I was humiliated and betrayed and I believed I’d somehow messed up," she told the Daily Mail.

Eventually, Fisher began to keep a photo of Bryan's husband on her piano. "Because it’s something I made it through. It’s a failure I learnt from. Also, it’s funny. Hollywood weirdness at its best."

Billie Lourd, Todd Fisher, and Carrie Fisher. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

14. Fisher found an intimate understanding of all of life's roller coasters — having lived through so many of them.  The more she understood herself and her own struggles, the more she helped out others too.

Musician James Blunt moved in with Fisher for a while in the early-2000s, for example, and she told Vanity Fair in 2006 that they had a strictly therapeutic and non-sexual relationship. "He was a soldier. This boy has seen awful stuff. [...] He would tell me these horrible stories. I became James’s therapist. So it would have been unethical to sleep with my patient," she said.

15. Fisher's writing career soon turned to memoir, where she recapped the ups-and-downs of her life with brutal but hilarious honesty.

Later, she turned her memoir "Wishful Drinking" into a tremendously successful Broadway play, as well as an HBO documentary. Then she followed it up with two more memoirs — because one simply wasn't enough for her whole wild life.

Photo by Dave Caulkin/AP (L); photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images (R).

16. All the while, she kept getting older, in public. But she took on the aging process with pride too.

Fisher wasn't always the gold bikinied sex icon that she was when she was younger — no one is. But that's natural, and totally OK. At one point, she became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig to help her gracefully age into the acceptance of older age, and she wasn't afraid to shoot down body-shamers either.

17. The year she died, Fisher won a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from Harvard.

"Her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy," they said.

Photo from Comedy Central.

Carrie Fisher has played many different roles throughout her life, both on-screen and off. But her strength as a survivor has shone through them all.

Thank you, Carrie, for showing us that it's possible to get through the roller coaster that is life with humor, grace, and perseverance.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Chris Evans is playing the lead role in the upcoming Pixar film "Lightyear."

Chris Evans was already skilled at squeezing hearts on social media, cavalierly sharing sweet pics of his adorable dog and piano-playing videos on Instagram, as if we could just casually watch him be a near-perfect man without swooning. And now he's being even more delightful with his gushing giddiness over getting to play his dream role.

The guy is already best known as the studly Marvel superhero Captain America, so what could possibly top that? Pixar, apparently. Evans' ultimate acting dream is being in a Pixar movie. And now that dream is coming true, the most eligible of the Chrises could not be cuter in his expressions of joy.

Sharing the new trailer for "Lightyear"—Pixar's origin story about the astronaut the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on in the "Toy Story" universe—Evans wrote on Twitter:

"I'm covered in goosebumps. And will be every time I watch this trailer. Or hear a Bowie song. Or have any thought whatsoever between now and July cause nothing has ever made me feel more joy and gratitude than knowing I'm a part of this and it's basically always on my mind."

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Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term "stupid" isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he believes applies to everyone.

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