Happy Birthday, Frida

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite advocates of gender equality, art for arts’ sake, and being the architect of ones’ own life.
I was introduced to the life and work of Frida Kahlo when I was a wide-eyed, moldable sixteen year-old girl while in the eleventh grade East Wake High School and it was she that I chose to make the subject of my semester-long project in my Spanish III class. I have maintained a deep sense of admiration since that time, and on her birthday I thought it important to take a brief moment to give mention to the one of the many women I have never met but who shaped and inspired me so.

Her life was not easy but she created inspiration for herself and for so many others, enough to sustain and create works that live on. She made choices that so many deemed questionable but she refused to apologize or explain for her heart, loving boldly though hurt often and publicly, because love is its own reward. I think most strikingly, she chose not to assimilate but rather came to find peace with her more jagged facets, writing

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well I hope that if you are out there and read this know that yes it’s true I’m here and I’m just as strange as you.

What a gift that was to read, to roll over again and again in my mind as a teenage girl when it was so contrary to the messages I was getting everywhere else. Reading it now, I feel not only bizarre and flawed but beautiful and flawed, no doubt thanks in part to her. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, Frida.

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