Frida Kahlo: Life & Style Lessons from a Diva

I viewed the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Salt Lake public library this last week. I’ve seen the movie & applaud Salma Hayek for her performance. The movie is totally hot, sad and inspiring. (Sometime I’ll share with you how this movie inspired a new vision for my body).

I love Frida. I don’t love her work. It’s sad, grotesque and painful to view. In many of the photographs I could clearly see that she was in pain or very ill. Her perseverance of living in a badly traumatized body is a testament to her greatness in itself.

At the exhibit, which was small but well done, I saw new photographs of Frida I hadn’t seen before. I saw how small and how large she really was. Frida was her own rock star, trendsetter, inspiration and her own brand. Her influence continues to grow long after her life.

Compared to Diego Rivera, she was extremely petite. Her mother commented that her marriage to Diego was the marriage of a “dove and an elephant.” Although petite, Frida was massive in her creativity and voice. (If you don’t know her story, please take a glimpse of her life by viewing the film. Powerful women of the early 20th century are rare and worthy of study).

Frida brought her own style into everything she did: her home, art, expression and fashion revealed a completely unique and influential style.

My sense is that trendsetting, powerful women always tell their truth.

While living in America for four years she was the first worldly woman of her time to wear traditional Mexican clothing while she supported and promoted traditional Mexican art forms towards their eventual economic development. She completely stood out, owned her heritage and expressed her longing for home and her views about what was true for her.

The exhibit mentioned that every time Frida dressed it was a ceremony to behold. I couldn’t get over that.

How many of us, when we dress, experience a holy ritual?

My question is: Do we understand how sacred we are? Do we understand how sacred each day is?
I’ve had the experience many times of a “sacred” creative expression of pulling together an outfit in a completely original way. It happens when I am alone and allow myself to play with my creative tools of image. It is, as Seth Godin puts it, my Super Power. I create art on people and myself. The experience is magic, fulfilling and completely personal. It doesn’t matter whether I share this act of creation right then or later, but it is an experience of personal power.

Frida wove flowers into her hair in braids like a crown across her head. The exhibit said she was “a woman of singular beauty.” I am refreshed by the beauty of many women like her (Sarah Jessica Parker comes to mind). I honor the people (men and women alike) who understand their singular beauty whether or not the world thinks so. Screw the world. We are completely and utterly beautiful. (Especially when we express our essence instead of hiding!) Frida got that.

Thank you, Frida, (and the Salt Lake Public Library) for the lessons of your life. Despite tremendous personal pain, the joy of (the creative) life is about expressing who you are powerfully, truthfully, personally and making every action of your day an artistic expression.

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