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I’d been fascinated with Frida Kahlo way before she became a global brand.
Before her face appeared on T-shirts, mugs, and bags, people weren’t quite familiar with who Frida Kahlo was.
Some declare that her unibrow looked hideous, while others affirm that her paintings were too dramatic. Then comes the critics who can’t help but wondering why on earth she didn’t dump that bastard Rivera.
Having dug deep into her life, diaries, and art, Frida Kahlo was nowhere near close to the labels people have put on her.
I—and countless others who understand her experiences—know that Kahlo is worth celebrating every single day.
July 6, 1907 marks the day she took her first breath. However, she often told people that she was born in 1910 to coincide with the Mexican revolution. Herein we can see the type of person Kahlo was: a distinctive rebel.
It’s been 54 years since Frida Kahlo took her last sip of tequila and exited the physical realm hoping to never return to it. After years of constant inspiration, I choose to portray her as strong, resilient, and free.
“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo had endured many emotional and physical pains. She contracted polio as a child, went through a terrible accident that caused her health to deteriorate forever, lost her mother to cancer, went through several miscarriages, and last but not least, married Diego Rivera who was notorious for his infidelities.
It’s awful…but not to Frida. Kahlo had succeeded in transforming her pain into a vessel for art and creativity. What people often see in her paintings as dramatic was simply Frida’s way of addressing her personal issues, fears, suffering, and traumas.
How many times do we fail at putting our pain into words? How much do we push ourselves nowadays to remain positive? While we would like to turn our suffering into a season, Frida Kahlo had turned it into a reason—to live and to create.
We must celebrate Frida’s authenticity and how realistic she was with her emotions. She inspires us to feel the pain, deeply, and transcend it in any way we can.
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Some of us might think that Frida Kahlo was weak for staying with Diego Rivera despite his betrayals. I think her long stay with Diego tells me how strong and resilient she was.
All the surgeries she had undergone, the bedridden years, the physical pain only ascertains to me that she was an extraordinary woman.
Kahlo had endured much more than her body and heart could take. But she insisted on continuing on despite all the agony. It is not up to us to judge whether she made good or bad choices in her life, and the least we can do is to respect her journey and respect her resilience throughout it.
Her incomparable spirit teaches us to get up, every day, no matter how hard we have fallen the day before.
“You didn’t understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure. I am essence. I am an idiot. I am tenacious. I am. I simply am.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Be it her unplucked eyebrows or unshaven upper lip, Frida portrayed the true definition of freedom.
While many of her generation had complied with society’s mainstreams, Frida put on her colorful Mexican outfit, decorated her hair with flowers, and oftentimes enjoyed wearing men’s outfits.
She was never ashamed about her bisexuality or her drinking habits—not to mention the cigarettes which she refused to stop smoking even when her doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia. Kahlo lived a short life, but it was one she lived on her own terms. No pain or doctor could stop her from enjoying the things that made her happy.
Frida’s wild spirit teaches us to be true to ourselves and always be proud of our identity. There is no right or wrong, there’s only us in this world and our own happiness is what matters at the end of the day.
May you rest in art, Frida!