The struggles of 2016 – death by heart break


I live in a place where they say innovation goes to die.  I live in a place that has become the Mos Eisley of the West Coast.   I live in a place where I am discriminated against because I am 50, white, educated, and female.  So don’t tell me I have this fantasy magical white privilege nonsense because I worked hard to have what I do have.  No one handed it to me on a silver platter with butlers and nannies.  If you think I have any kind of  elite privilege, then we need to have a conversation about your education.

So needless to say I have been in a situation since 2008 where I have not been able to find meaningful or sustaining work, and I have tried everything that I am capable of.  So I have had to move back to the home of my childhood, and I am so lucky to have a roof over my head and loving family members and friends.

So having dreams to help stave off the depression and lend a hand in inspiring goals has been very important.  As a child I always dreamed of being a novelist.  Don’t ask me why a dyslexic child would want to write, but that has been a dream of mine since I was about 5 or 7 years old.  And since I had tried doing everything that made sense to get a job with no luck, I decided to do what didn’t make sense.  At least I would be happy doing it and it didn’t incur any expenses upon my family.  (I tried going back to school, but they don’t give scholarships to people like me.  And I felt bad about the tremendous cost to my senior mother, who paid for the classes.  By the way, I got As in all those classes and I did all the work myself.)  So I went back to one of my old desires that was writing stories.  An old school friend was doing something called NaNoWriMo and it looked like fun.  So I started writing stories again pretty much knowing that it would get me no where, but at least my mind could be focused on something positive instead of the constant state of failure that I was in.

I also realized that my SAG membership still existed from when we lived in Las Vegas.  SAG is the Screen Actor’s Guild.  This was great news because I would love to do work as an extra or even work as an artist in some of the behind the scenes situations.  I needed to find meaningful employment that would actually lead in a positive direction.  Then I found out that I live in the one place that SAG thinks is the worst place on earth, at least that is what it seems like.  No one will talk with you and act like you have the plague.  It took a lot to find a reasonable person to be our SAG agent.  A lady name Karen McFadden agreed to do it.  She didn’t live in the Mos Eisely of the West, but she understood the difficulties and was willing to help while we tried to find a way to move away from the den of scum and villainy.  No matter how hard we tried, we could not meet up with this woman.  She had so many sad things happen to her that I and my companions started to wonder if they were real and asked around a bit and found out these events to be true.  So we soldiered on while her parent’s home was burned down in a California fire, then her father died, then her mother became sick, and then her mother got better, then her office was broken into by vandals.  Then her mother suddenly died.  We didn’t hear from our agent for a month and I tried many times to get a hold of her.  Nothing.  Then we contacted SAG and finally heard that she died a day after her Mom died.  No one told us.  They don’t know why she died.  She wasn’t that old.  This happened the summer of 2016 amidst the horrible political campaign ugliness.  Nothing was going right.


R2D2 was played by Kenny Baker on the left and Anthony Daniels played C3PO on the right in gold.

It was going to be a battle to find another SAG agent.  And meanwhile I was lucky enough to have someone willing to be my literary agent for the Star Wars story I wrote, but he was a very busy person with an entertainment oriented career of his own.  So my lifeline has been this Star Wars story I wrote.  Star Wars has been my life preserver during these years, so when behind the scenes people don’t understand why some fans are hit so hard by the deaths of people like Kenny Baker (played R2D2) and Carrie Fisher….  This is the reason why.  Some of these fictional places and characters are a lifeline to keep us afloat while the real world just turns uglier and uglier no matter how hard one tries to do the right things.  The dark side of the Force is just carrying people away into a state of hate mongering.  So the death of Carrie Fisher hit me hard and the people that I am working with….the people that are holding out my lifeline… hope….my new hope for a better life are also hit hard by these events because they actually knew these people.  And now Debbie Reynolds passed away.  She, just like my former SAG agent, died within a short period of time after a loved one died.  This is heart wrenching, and I can understand how the friends and family need time to wrap their brains around this intense lose.  This is real lose.  Having a loved one who is a police officer get killed because they are a cop is heart breaking, to have a loved one killed just because they were mistaken for a criminal is heart breaking, but to complain, cry, and freak out that someone is supporting an opposing candidates is just plain stupid.  This is what we saw.  We saw people with jobs, scholarships, with the world handing them opportunities have tantrums over not winning during this year.images leia.jpg

You know, I have not been winning for the past 8 years, but I have not given up.  A few things have gone right and I take joy in each of those positive things, but for everything 1 thing that has gone right, 10 have gone wrong, but I am not sitting some where having a tantrum.  I don’t get a safe space.  My safe space is to live in a town where I am discriminated against.  I may not be happy, but I am not giving up.  I will keep trying until the day I die.  Stop crying because you are lucky enough to get into a college and have it paid for you and are being exposed to things that may make you unhappy or uncomfortable.  That is what college is about.  Expanding your mind and learning about things you don’t know.  You may not like them, but it is part of this world.

Be a fighter like Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker, who was told that he would die as a teenager.  Be a hero like Princess Leia…or like Luke if you like….  but don’t sit somewhere crying because you didn’t get a trophy.

G. Winkler ©2016

Gretchen Winkler is a Writer, Artist, Radio Show Co-Host on User Friendly 2.0, Cosplayer/Designer, and ordered Knight. She is currently working on several Star Wars novel projects and does editing and proof reading for Bill Sikkens & KPAM the Answer Portland radio. For the past 20 years she has authored several informational websites, started several technical companies, and has been an avid student of art, literature, history, technology.

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Posted in Inspiration, Professionalism, Star Wars

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