I don’t know why I love her so much. Believe me it’s a question that curiosity has asked of me many times over the years.
She’s mysterious and enigmatic, as well as vulnerable and available.
She’s fierce and wildly soul passionate, as well as flawed and deeply fallible.
She’s subject to the ever changing blowing Mexican whims and to try to pin her down is futile.
I’ve tried, but to no avail!
I was just 20 years old when I bought her diaries. The Frida cult craze was not yet in its full iconic throttle. As an artist myself, a sensitive and shy dreamer, she enchanted and enthralled me immediately.
Frida Kahlo, whose birthday is celebrated this 6th July, was a pioneer in ways that we take for granted now: The art journaling, all poured out emotion, snippets of her bruised heart’s tales, the water-coloured walking wounded impact of her accidents (she counted her lifelong love to Diego as one of them!); The ‘selfies’ she painted, in the form of idealised self-portraits, long before even the Insta-camera, never mind Instagram!
Unlike any other artist before her, she lived, and exposed, her rawness. Of being a woman in a time when kudos to women artists was not yet in favour (and is still unravelling as I type!). She dared to be a voice of a woman in pain, in the inability to carry a child, and in the many betrayals that her lover, and life, bestowed upon her.
Yet she was no victim. Hell no! And that’s a part of why she speaks to us still now, stronger than ever, when everyone from Madonna, to Tracy Emin, and thousands of artists all over the world are in some way bewitched by her.
You could say that she was a narcissist, and you wouldn’t be wrong. You could call her self-indulgent, and though that may be part of how she remained so close to the cuts to the bones of her being, she was also very publicly and proudly an advocate for the rights of the Mexican people, about politics and, consciously or not, the visibility of being a woman who was, and is, allowed to be both creative and sexual. Frida lived her life as art, and whose art was her life. There was seemingly no separation! She was unapologetic about her realness, and though she chose to clothe herself and make up her hair in the costumes of the indigenous people of her beloved country, ironically, she was not hiding behind any mask. Her flawed and imperfect persona, her physical as well as emotional scars, became the unfettered, and unfiltered, ingredients that made up the creative matter of her art. Her art became her therapy, long before such a thing was so common place as it is today.
I stare at the poster of her that hangs on the wall of my living room. Indeed I have several dotted throughout my home. I have been looking at this image for a while, asking her questions, waiting for her to bemuse my muse with some epiphany or great insight. It doesn’t happen! She just gazes back, a force of brazen presence, that won’t, can’t and would never consider backing away from my gaze.
I am not alone in believing that some part of her lives within me, as silly as that sounds. That I was born with a slight sprinkle of her cellular magic that has been brushed eternal into my soul. Over the last quarter of a century I have discovered that there are many of us out there who claim to be a little part Frida incarnate. She was and has a lot to go around!
The thing about Frida was that she bore her life, her love, her pain, her beauty. All of it. Some she suffered through her self-imposed and human choices, and some through the twisted and unfair fates of her destined hand. She bore it all with such a spirit. An unbreakable spirit. There may have been times when she was broken and brought to her knees by life’s grief and brutality, but she never gave up, or gave in. She never shrunk herself down, hid or denied any of it. I wonder if it was because of this that her fire shone so bright!?
Maybe she reminds us of this within ourselves. A Mother Mary deity, a modern day Kali, a goddess of the twentieth century, and something, someone, that we, as women, need to believe in, to look up to in awe, to embrace, to mirror back to us the fragments of our vulnerable but invincible spirit. We might live in a time of swaddling self-help sanitisation, and faux fixes for our feral spirit, but Frida didn’t seek to ‘heal’ herself, but rather to roar out in force! Her art, her creative spirit, used her.
Not for the faint of heart. Not for those of us seeking to hold our pieces together in some kind of sane semblance of civil belonging. Where did Frida belong? In a way her art and life implores this question over and over again.
And isn’t it ironic that all these years later, she belongs to all of us in some way.
A myth and a mirror. A muse and a model. A misfit and a mistress of full passion and no fucks given!!
Maybe Frida was a trickster, waking us up to so much truth. Maybe she was a sorceress, her art and voice like incantations and spells weaving their web over the world.
I still don’t know why I love her. But maybe that’s the point?! I can’t put into words something that’s deeper. It’s a feeling that stirs within my own soul. It’s a truth that runs through my wild fire blood. And truth, when we recognise it, has no words.
Happy birthday Frida. And thank you. I love you xx
Anyone who knows me well, is aware that I am currently working on crafting a selection of retellings of fairy tales. Adult tales with an erotic flavour. At some point (though I am so blessedly aware of how long it takes me to do anything, my uber slow wondrous pace! ;-)), I hope to publish them as a book. I’ll keep you posted upon said progress. (Though head over here if you’d like to read one of my tales my love :-))
‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been sitting with me lately, both sides whispering in my ears, pulling my arms this way and that. Asking me to choose between them. As if i ever could.
For is not this time of the year the liminal time, not quite deep winter’s cave, and yet not entirely the fire lit action lands that we have enjoyed over the summer? The bridge between light and dark, creation and destruction, life and death. In response to my last foray into the realm of intimate romantic love are not all relationships, including the ones with our own selves, an ever flowing dance with these pairings? And is not the perennial and seasonal cycles of our creativity and sexuality a continuous merry go round of perpetual change and movement up and down, round and round, and forever in ebb and flow?
Do we dare to offer our ‘ugly’ to the world, our shame and unworthiness? Can we have the courage to drop the censorship and bow to the fullness of every part of what we say, in whatever language we desire to sculpt it in? Are we able to dig deeper, deeper than a pleasing aesthetic, in search of bones and grit, blood and guts, heartache and fear, and offer all of these as a prayer to the divine?
Can we say yes to both ‘Beauty and the Beast’? To hold both in the palms of our hands, allowing them to beat with wings of blood and magic, neither one ‘better than’ the other? Both a part of the fullness of everything we may hold dear.
Neither one nor the other. Not summer nor winter. In the land of enchantment, and the liminal.
Liminal spaces. Such a delicious word. It means threshold my darling :-)
Transition times. One foot in one place and the other in another. Not quite having stepped over. Holding the space for all to be, to be, to be. No rush. No rush. No rush.
The balance between worlds. The ‘upper worlds’, all day to day, routine and ‘Father Time’, work and schedules, the to-do list and all of the myriad moments of a full life; and the ‘lower worlds’, the pull and draw inwards and downwards, dreaming time, rest, shadowlands and Persephone’s seduction, essentially the call to the sovereignty of the soul.
How do we keep them both fed and nourished? How can we find the possibility of holding both in our hearts? How do we acknowledge and respect and honour both for their need for nourishment, attention, care and tending?
I know in myself I can have a tendency to separate aspects of my life. To compartmentalise if you like. To put into boxes. This can work, up to a point, but unless we have very little of these boxes, with very minimal content, then my guessing is at some point, everything starts to spill out and become chaotic and, well, untameable!
The untameable. The wild. The chaos.
Aaaah! Here we are, back in the realm of creativity! ;-) Of life. Of Love. Of everything.
If we ignore one aspect, one ‘box’, turning away in frustration, in judgement, in a restlessness, we take away its energy, so that it begins to dry out, atrophy, and become a muted grey slab in our vivid technicolour life! We become ‘wonky’ and unbalanced, either living in high fantasy, unreal and ungrounded, avoiding alone and its gifts, and all doing doing doing and full of sugary coated, if unconscious, denial; or we walk through our days in the thunder, deep intensity, a devilish realm with an absence of joy and other. For soul work is solitary my love. It always will be. As we are both human and divine, we need both.
Why do we have this propensity to turn towards what we perceive as the ‘Beauty’ in our life, and dismiss with disdain the ‘Beast’? For surely, life is about coming to realise that there is a darkness to this beauty that we so long to hold on to, and conversely, there is sweet exquisite heart and wonder if we dare to stay a while with the beast. In life, in love, in art, and in our own dear dear self. We are all of this, and more.
Now, we are, in our essential pure nature, vaster, larger and infinite, in our capacity. Read that again my love. You, dear one, have the ability to stretch far and wide, to bear all of what life demands and beckons off you. It’s just the way of our true nature. The key, I believe, is not in necessarily wondering, organising, nor controlling, all of these parts of ourselves. I mean, hell that bloody well doesn’t work out terribly well does it my fellow recovering control freaks?! But in shifting one’s attention instead, on to the thread that binds all of these parts of one’s life together.
The thread? Being in devotion to, in service to, in prayer to, the sacred.
You see, the sacred threads through everything. Nothing in our lives cannot be held by and in the sacred. If it’s a part of our living and our experience, then it’s a part of everything. And nothing that’s in everything, can be separate from us. You may want to read that line again.
When we resist, panic, and try to control, then we are essentially reacting from a place of fear. We all do this. It’s part of our human nature. We want to feel like we have a grip on whatever the lunatic hell is going on!! My advice? Loosen the grip, fall into the madness, surrender into the chaos. But, not blindly dear one, not without sight. But instead, by using our night goggles of seeing through the eyes of the Holy. The whole. Holiness and wholeness. And then even our fear is holy, and part of our wholeness.
Endings and beginnings. Is there ever such a thing truly? Sure, on the surface level, in the ‘upper’ world thinking. And this can cause us pain and heartbreak (I’ve been there recently). But in the ‘lower’ world thinking, we can ripen the soul, season it, weather and wizen it with whatever wisdom we can bear to taste and swallow. And then there’s the sacred thread that binds both upper and lower worlds, bigger than all, simply holding, with love, clear, solid and still.
Hold all those unanswered questions, that your year may have offered to you as gifts, and that the mind might be feeling like it’s running out of time and gotta sort and figure it out by Dec 31st!! Hold these loose and unfinished questions as prayers, as soul poetics. Offer them now to Hades, to Soul, to the shadowlands, to the soil and worms and dead things.
Hold all of life’s uncertainties, tipping points and transition times, as a way to grow towards and into the unknown, the winter, because it’s coming and ready or not it will ask its own demands of us. It takes strength. And resilience. And a steady stance to weather the storms and to let the leaves of us fall, and to sway and blow this way and that way, and yet still feel rooted in trust as our skeleton is revealed, as we dare to risk becoming exposed. Because we have no choice. Not if we are artists of our lives. Not if we are open to life. Not if we desire to live in full and fierce truth and grace. Not if we know that we know nothing and that to control is ultimately futile (though we give it a damn good go! ;-)). Not if we are willing to take life as our lover. For it will strip us down over and over again. It will rip open our hearts over and over again. It will pour medicine thick and thorough, over and thro us over and over again. And it will blast us open to beauty and truth and wonder and miracles and magic over and over again. If we are willing, life lived in this way will always take us straight back to God. But it’s a warriors’ path. And a bloody one. And we will be scared.
And I like how the word ‘scared’ is an anagram for ‘sacred’! ;-)
Are you scared yet? Good!
Rattle your bones beauties. Shake rattle and roll. Soul roll that is. As you may know I’m bowing to and daring to commit deeper and deeper to this way of living. Some days I forget. Some days I fall down. Some days I am driven by the scared and not the sacred. So this my loves, this is also a reminder for me too :-) xx
As Shirley Valentine says ‘Are we living such a little and calling it a life?’
Liminal lingerings and lushest longing love to you all xx
Thank you for reading xx
Value and worth and Love...Oh My!!!
If we are seeking outside of ourselves for how much we are of value, then we follow a foolish and folly path. Looking for the percentage of love or care from another, and we diminish and immediately devoid and devalue that which can never be measured at all.
Who is it in us that seeks this reassurance, this affirmation, this validation? Who is it in us that has forgotten to drop our head’s down, to our hearts, and listen? And who is it in us that by focusing solely on the woundings of ego unconditional love, has negated and lost that which can never be questioned, that can never not be, love itself?
When we are in our own heart, solid and stable and unwavering though each and every crash threatens to drown us or engulf us with splutterings of salty tears, we are unmoveable. Not in a fixed, shut down, guarded and hard way no, but in a fluid and flexible and feeling and alive manner. We allow the waves to crash our star board. We allow ourselves to get wet, soaked in fact, and yet the anchor of who we are is so deep and so vast that we do not sink to the bottom of the sea bed and become lost treasure.
Nothing outside of ourselves has the power to wash us away, unless we are looking out, on the captain’s deck, from the wrong telescope, scoping the horizon in a limited and anxious perspective.
My value and worth does not depend on anyone else.
The ending of this latest love affair and sitting on my mat I drop in to find some part of me wanting his attention still. Wanting to know if he had cared really, if the words and intimacy shared and hearts touched really had meant nothing or something to him. I wanted to know if he still wanted me. Aah! I wanted to know how much he valued me, now or then, as if in this very moment, after the fact, when we were already fast becoming strangers again, that would mean anything.
Well, to some part of me, that would mean I mattered. I was valued, that I was loveable and valuable and worthy.
And something shifts as I hear myself say what I see. My heart opens more, stretches, and that’s ok in its ouch. And I realise, as I drop back in to me, to I am, to here, to the ordinary moment of no-time and no-thing, that it doesn’t matter what he thought or thinks. It doesn’t even matter what his experience is and was. Indeed, to quote my teacher, its none of my business. And my heart opens more, and I bear a little more, because that’s all I know that I can do. Is to bear my own experience.
All I can know is my own experience, what I felt, what I gave, what I received, what moved through me, what my hopes or dreams or expectations were, what I was met with and what I wasn’t. what I delighted in and received pleasure so deeply from, and what hurt. What I was willing to stay open and in ‘love’ to, and when my boundaries were seriously crossed. What I did when I realised that my value and worth was nothing to do with him but my own responsibility. When I said no and goodbye. When I said thank you in appreciation. When I decided that the inner compass of my worth and value, this place that is my anchor, was way off course. When I came back to me despite the hurt and longing and soberly saw what I had been gifted. When I had to go through something old to realise that that’s not who I am anymore, that’s not for me.
When I realised my worth and value was inherent within me all along. Its my rock. It’s the diamond polished by life’s tsunamis over and over and over again until it glints and glistens so bright that its light can create shadows to cast behind everything in a call for fullness and truth.
Maybe I am not the captain seeking and sailing and bobbing along vast waters. Maybe I am the lighthouse and there's nowhere to go searching, just this light that casts its slivery, and silvery, net, over all the oceans and boats and fish and sailors. And the ones who know, who get it, who feel it in the depths of their own waters, will find their way to my light.
Nothing to do. Nothing to prove. Here I am.
Stories are amazing.
Our mind's creative imagination is amazing. It is one of the richest paths to follow, full of unimaginable things n landscapes. We need stories for we ARE stories and that's pretty goddamn amazing!
What's your story? You can be anything. We carry stories in our bones, they create us right down to the tender loined marrow.
Yes we all carry stories, and yet, we all have the capacity to create any new one that excites us, calls to us, pulls us by our dreamings, desires, n deep soul joyed thrills. What are your stories? What do you wish to be created into like the mud, the earth, Adam, all crafted and formed by the hands of God.
Not too sure of the word God? Substitute that to Spirit, Muse, Mystery, Magic, or how about Curiousity or Love.
Sprinkle love onto every damn thing you do. No, not like candy filings, or sweet sugary butterscotch cream. Oh no, that's not Love. Love is full of substance and weight, a solidity that's unmoveable, ordinary, just there.
It's a force is Love, one that moves us, not like a hand on your back, but by pushing on your heels, nay, your roots.
It's all in, devoted, unshakeable.
Love can move mountains and bring us to our knees. It can cause us to throw all that we have assumed that are we are so certain of, out of the window, upside down and inside out. We are spinned out of control, the carefully jenga-stacked pillar of who we are turned to salt, like Job, because of Love. But salt ain't too bad.
It's the Love inside tears, and salt water, and sweat.
So Cry. Swim. Dance. Fuck. Make Art. Offer your sweated brow beads to life, each a deep hearted and guts oystered pearl of You. Of Story. Of Imagination. Of Wonder. Of Love.
Our stories are amazing.
I burn with the fire of words escaping like flints that violently spark red and heated from my fingertips. Wired like charges from what my heart needs to say. In a way I don’t know what my heart needs to say but it needs to say something.
We all have a voice, that still small voice that runs like God’s prayer within and through us, a veined cable of electric current; a current that links and bridges the truth of the divine that holds each cell a vibrant alive particle that makes us a living breathing Frankenstein creation of madness.
There’s a madness that runs riotous within us. A madness that is in fact our genius. It causes us to squint and squirm if it doesn’t have its time unleashed to growl wolf and bare its fangs and let the slobber that foams at its mouth fall in globs and drips and piles of wet moist stickiness down our chin.
What is this rabid frenzy? What does it want from us?
It’s our freedom and it wants to run and roam untethered.
Many of us have a problem with this wild feral voice. Many of us have a wounding nestled deep down in our throats, a cork stopper of nicety and good girl/boy-ness, that swallows up the words, the voice, that threatens to upset the apple cart of Eve coated sugar and pour a bitter-sweetness out on to the city streets.
I question what it is I need and the bile rises to be belched out. Not at him or you or something to pin the donkey tail of blame on to. Oh no. Blame and shame keep us spinning headless chicken like, plucking feathers out of integrity’s nest.
We all have a right to our anger. When our boundaries have been blurred by neglect and carelessness and the allowing of another’s punch of dishonour to wind us of who we are. I have been learning about my boundaries these last few years. Learning where the frayed edges cower back afraid. Afraid to say No. Afraid to say yes to what is my truth. Tell the truth my teacher says. Tell the truth.
I read some words recently, by Herman Hesse, one of those quotes that bound about like whores all over the place. But this one choked me up and especially one line. This line:
“My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.”
Who no longer want to lie to themselves.
We live a lie each and every time we do not say no. We live a lie each and every time we know, and god damn how we always know, and open our mouths then shut em close like a goldfish blinking complicit in its own demented memory loss. We live a lie each and every time we betray our own soul, our own worth, our own truth, to become a pawn in the porn soul selling for the admission of another’s momentary thrill and pleasure. And we live a lie each and every time we make that choice, we topple over, into diminishing ourselves for the god forsaken validation and supposed ‘love/not love’ of another.
Guilty. I’m guilty. Guilty as charged. Guilty and yet not gilded by guilt nor shame. Guilty and yet oh how I see, post incident, post accident, when the blood and guts have been mopped up and the sirens of emergency have gone back to drama land, and stillness descends once more and there’s only this, just this, just this left to be with. Guilty and yet bowing to the medicine of that gift, another reminder, another choice spilled over on to the wrong side of the road to splatter.
And as the dust settles once more the voice arises. The voice of No, the voice vilified by the vice seduced once more on the faux shiny road of addiction. Addiction to the victim that no longer serves.
No more, the voice rises full and free.
And I let the voice rebuild and re-enliven. And I let the voice be brave in its shaking. And I let the voice rip through the hiding and the denial and the silly folly of the old fool for love/not love. and I let the voice do its surgery on me tending and threading and stitching and pulling together taut its wires to knot back together that which fell apart, this time reinforced with steel so that those rips are stronger, perhaps some of that light that Mr Cohen spoke of, gets inside too. I can only hope.
The voice is my doctor and my God right now, my life in its hands. There’s no anaesthetic, no soothing balm, for I must stay awake to its crafting, to its service.
And when it is done and the instruments of forgiveness have been put down and its hands of words are empty I can only rest. Rest and surrender, and let the healing happen, the scar a part of my living, my wisdom, curious in the knowing that I cannot, and will not, go there again. No. No. No.
Heidi Hinda Chadwick
Creativity. Sexuality. Life. Art. Soul. Love.