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The Dragon Beside Me

Suffering Through Paint

By ElsaPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
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I’ve always been around color.

Colorful outfits that my mother would buy me, to represent our culture.

Colorful fruit I ate as a child grown and picked with the tired hands of my people.

I grew up with art. From museum visits to paintings and ceramics.

One of the first paintings I saw of Frida was a self portrait of her surronded by thorns and with a cat and monkey. The first thing I thought was “why is she so sad?”, ever since, I dove deep into her life.

Frida was ahead of her time. An old soul, so to speak. As I grew older and started diving deeper into my own paintings, I often found myself thinking of hers and how she felt when she painted. The pain she felt that dripped into every single one of her paintings. The sorrow and melancholy of her life.

She is considered one of Mexico’s greatest artist. Her life was not easy, as a child she suffered greatly with her health and that continued to impact her through her adult life. Frida also had a terrible accident and with that lead to her painting, she was bed-bond for a while and to keep busy, she painted. Frida was strong in every aspect, expect when it came to her heart.

When she met Diego and married him, her life became one of more sorrow. He was notorious for being a womanizer, she still married him and he continued his affairs through their marriage, even having one with her sister. This tore Frida apart, enraged, she cut off her hair and continued painting her pain.

Frida is and always will be an icon. She was ahead of her time, in many ways. But what held her back was the love she craved and wasn’t given. She wanted affection from someone who did not care to give it to her, but to hand it around to others. I was once like her. I craved the attention of emotional unavailable men. I allowed them to walk over me and treat me poorly. A hopeless romantic? That’s what Hollywood calls them but honestly it is someone who does not love themselves enough that they have to seek out the company of others to fill the holes left from their past.

Frida deserved better. But perhaps she did not love herself enough to know her true worth. I do not intend to say I know how Frida thought and what she felt, I can only see what she depicted in her paintings. And that was pain, sorrow, grief, broken heart, and tears.

The Wounded Deer, 1946, is one of my favorite paintings. She painted herself as a deer, shot with multiple arrows, still alive but suffering. It was an analogy of her life. She took her audience through the physical and emotional pain that she was enduring.

“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far worse.”-Frida

If she only knew she deserved better.

“At the end of the day, we endure so much more than we think we can.”-Frida

That quote got me through some tough times, heart breaks, work issues, money problems, and over all life. We are stronger than we think we are, when faced with challenges we are able to gather the strength from deep down and overcome them. As she did. She used oil and canvas.

If only she knew she deserved better.

“Fall in love with yourself, with life, and then with whoever you want.”-Frida

Wise words from Frida. So many times we are focused on finding our “missing puzzle piece“ but we are already complete, we don‘t need to find someone to complete us. There is a difference between wanting someone and needing someone, and a lot of the times we settle for a Diego because of needing not wanting. It is important to know yourself, love yourself, and love life first, before finding someone to share it with. A lot of the time we lose ourselves in others and with that comes pain and confusion. I no longer am that hopeless romantic but one that is waiting for someone to see me as some sort of magic.

“Find a lover that sees you like maybe you’re magic.”-Frida

If only she knew she was.

Frida will continue to inspire generations through her paintings and words. I know she’s inspired me in many ways, creatively and emotionally. Her heart break transcends time and a story like hers is seen in many different ways. We give ourselves to the wrong people and suffer greatly. When we should be mended and learning to love ourselves, and wait for that person that sees you like maybe you’re magic.

If only she knew she was.

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About the Creator

Elsa

Teacher, traveler, fur baby mom, reader, and writer. I enjoy writing historical fiction stories, fiction, poetry, true crime, and nonfiction.

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