Frida Kahlo is known best for being a Mexican artist and world wide icon, but her chaotic life and fantastic ability to persevere is in and of itself an art that many are unaware of. When speaking on resilience, Harvard psychologist Robert Brooks, Ph.D is noted to have said One basic finding in resilience research is that resilient people will focus on what they have control over, (Belmain). Kahlo did exactly that during the span of her entire life, surviving war, disease, disability, and living as a unique soul in a society and time where such thoughts and actions that she took complete and proud ownership of were considered taboo beyond comparable measure. She chose to seize control in any area of her life that she could, from her style, to her art, to her lovers and her resistance to normalcy. Nothing stopped Frida Kahlo from living her life in the most extravagant and colorful way possible, fighting past each and every tribulation that was flung towards her.
Born in 1907 just three years before the start of the Mexican Revolution to Hungarian born Guillermo Kahlo and Mexican born Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez , Frida came into existence as something that was outside of social norms for the time not only as a mixed race child, but as the daughter of a European Jewish man (Kettermann). At the age of six, she contracted polio ,and at eighteen was involved in a bus crash that would result in near death, broken and dislocated bones, over 30 operations, and a life long battle with infertility (Rendell). As if witnessing several other passengers die on what should have been a simple ride home with her boyfriend was not traumatic enough for the teen, Frida was subjected to months of bedridden isolation after her body was broken in the single most important event that ultimately changed her life and sparked her creative self-renaissance . It was during this period that she discovered a new love of painting as well as a new perspective on herself, the person that she saw the most. In a letter to her then boyfriend, she said I felt that I still had enough energy to do something other than studying to become a doctor. Without giving it any particular thought, I started painting. (Kettermann) . In a situation that had every chance to turn her into a shattered woman , easing into a life of complacency and self pity , Frida chose to use the energy that was still trapped in the immobile body and used it to express her pain in a vulnerable and somehow extremely powerful way.
In August of 1929, Frida Kahlo began her tumultuous marriage with fellow artist Diego Rivera . Despite her several noted affairs through out her adolescence and even during her marriage to Rivera, Kahlo had decided at age 13 that she would marry this man that was over two decades older than her. (Kettermann) During this relationship she was devastated to have lost children in several miscarriages, as well as finding out that Rivera had began an affair with her sister , and she dissolved into a deep depression . Once again refusing to be beaten down by hardship, Kahlo sought refuge in her art, delving deeper into her own pain and bringing it forth in what could only be seen as a therapeutic process to work through the hardships. After being betrayed by two of the most important people in her life, Frida once again gained control and made the decision to leave the relationship she had began with Trotsky in the time since she had separated from Rivera , which she coined the best thing that had ever happened in [ her ] life , , and return to her marriage under the condition that she would be financially independent (Rendell). Choosing to take the reigns of her life and corrupted marriage was once again a move that many in the time considered unruly and taboo of a woman.
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