We Should All Be Frida Fans

Frida Kahlo is one of my biggest inspirations, and I think everyone has a lesson to learn from the vibrant & theatric life of the Mexican painter, despite the pain that permeated her story and created such strong dichotomy that continues to live on in her work today. From her, we should all learn to be. Be present, be real, be loving, and simply be — not get caught up in others’ stories or others’ stories of us. No circumstances can prevent you from being the author of your own story should you choose to be so.

“I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic , I am tenacious. I am; simply I am.”
— Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo self portrait with thorns and hummingbird
Frida’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird; taken from fridakahlo.org

Frida Kahlo

I’m by no means an authority on Frida’s life, and there are so many twists and turns, and little details in the mosaic of her life I by no means can capture her true essence in a description of mine, but long story short: Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her self-portraits, pioneering & developing early feminism, and her vigorous, spirited personality. However, throughout her life she lived in constant pain; she caught polio at an early age, leaving her growth stunted and a deformed right leg, and later at age 18, she was in a bus accident where she was perforated by a pole hitting three vertebrae, shattering her pelvis and which exited through her vagina. This left her bed ridden for months, unable to have children (although she later still tried) and in and out of hospital for the rest of her life going in for surgery after surgery. I’d recommend reading up on her some more, because I can’t even begin to capture the depth of Frida herself.

I am; simply I am.

I’ve recently been reading up on her a little more, and only get further wrapped up in her incredible story. She was a woman in the 1920s wearing mens’ suits who penciled in her unibrow to make it more prominent and was hell-bent on always being the author of her own story. There are stories of resilient women throughout history who defy their from Joan of Arc to Rosa Park, but I find Frida is set apart by the sheer vibrance of her spirit that shone through the painful conditions she was subject to, from an unfaithful husband to never-ending surgeries, metal corsets, infections, and suffering (physical or mental). She refused to let her suffering dictate her life, whatever form in may have come in whether that be physical or emotional. She lived boldly, had no problem showing her narcissism and self-confidence, and proudly shown all of her features in her self portraits, even the most intimate imperfections in the intricacies of her face. She could always have chosen to reduce her unibrow, or moustache, or change her face shape as she liked to make her fit beauty standards, but chose not to do so. She was celebrating herself, and her life — she was the main character of her story and she would direct that play as she pleased. She wasn’t worried about what other’s might think of her, instead she was busy being herself and living and directing her own story.

Live an Ethereal, Coruscating Kaleidoscope of Experiences — Write Your Story

In writing this, I don’t feel I’ve put out wisdom that hasn’t already been said, but I think Frida’s life highlights and wholly embodies the power of living a vibrant, dazzling, one of a kind life. In my eyes, Frida lived with immensely inspiring vigour, and boldness in her attitudes, beliefs and actions, enabling her to write her own story no matter what circumstances one might find themselves in.

As a part of a generation today living online, we live in a world of curated content, refined & photoshopped images, taking only the best shot of 50 photos no one sees behind the scenes. As a result, there’s a huge mental health pandemic I’ve experienced first hand, most deeply in the people closest to me, most often because the simply do not see the control they may really have in their own story. As such, I think we may all have a thing or two to learn from Frida, who showed us the power of possibility everyone has to be their own author & director. Staring nakedly at your own insecurities is not easy, but choosing to then love them is hugely empowering because they then cease to have power over you. It is important to recognise we ultimately do have the power to write our own stories — Frida can teach us all that much.

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