The Mexican feminist painter, Frida Kahlo, was an unconventional rebel born with a monobrow and faint mustache. As strange as her looks may have appeared, she would describe her unflattering physiques, “Of the opposite sex, I have the mustache and, in general, the face.”
Instead of trying to fix her “abnormality” like any other girl, she nevertheless saw herself as “my own muse” and confessed, “of my face, I like my eyebrows and eyes”, therefore in her paintings, quite often she made herself the “subject” and even exaggerated her eyebrows and mustache.
Beneath her unique remarkable appearance, her personas and love life were definitely one of a kind, that were reflected on the juxtaposed images in her self-portraits, which captured hearts and souls with a sense of strength and perseverance while living with an extraordinarily disturbing marriage.
Frida Kahlo had an unconventional marriage with a celebrated muralist, Diego Rivera, who was 20 years older than her. The artist met him while she was still a schoolgirl, and in 1929, she became the third wife of his. People called this unusual couple the elephant and the dove, in that Rivera weighed 136 kg, while Kahlo 44 kg.
Like every couple, Rivera and Kahlo faced their own challenges that required them to learn to love their beloved one who had flaws and shared indifferences.
However, the trial Kalho endured in her marriage could be quite too much for a woman to bear. It had been too much for her that the impacts on the painter were detrimental on the emotional level since she was married to a serial womanizer, who could not share his life exclusively with her.
Frida Kalho Was Tormented by His Affairs
The “dove” holding onto an unfaithful man, as a result, had made her a helpless prisoner in love, taming herself in endless sufferings of his infidelities, even once with her own younger sister.
Torn apart by her husband’s numerous affairs, she described her painful experience as “I suffered two grave accidents in my life,” she said, “One in which a streetcar knocked me down … The other accident is Diego.”
Frida Kalho Accepted His Unloyalty
In spite of the insanities throughout their relationship that had been killing the artist for years, at the end of day, emotions had won over reasons. Kalho had been honest with herself that she would not want to live her life with Rivera. In time, she had accepted her husband’s hurtful unloyalty that the love of her life was “unfit for monogamy” diagnosed by his doctor.
As problematic as it is characterized by uncountable affairs which led to a divorce in 1939, their love had remained passionate and was strengthened by their remarriage later in 1940. Frida commented on their remarriage saying:
“The remarriage is working out well. Less fights, more mutual understanding, and on my part, less anger towards the other women that suddenly take up a preponderant space in his heart.”
Frida Kahlo Embraced His Flaws and Learned to Love Him Unconditionally
Kalho learnt to embrace the disturbing imperfections of her lover, and through a battle of recovering from the pain and doubts in love, she eventually gained the inner peace for herself by following her heart to be with the love of her life, which had also become a relief for Rivera.
The painter considered her husband as “my child, my lover, my universe.”, and declared her unconditional love for him, saying “I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have the hope that you do, and I’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.”
Rivera, on the other hand, couldn’t resist having affairs with other women, however he still had immeasurable love for Kahlo over the years. He regarded his wife as a “pure poetry” and had always held profound appreciation for her personas and workz of art. When Picasso once admired the eyes of his wife’s self-portraits, the “elephant’s” eyes were filled with tears of pride.
One time, for recommending an exhibition of his wife’s paintings to a friend, Rivera even wrote this beautiful letter: “I recommend her to you, not as a husband but as an enthusiastic admirer of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and fine as a butterfly’s wing, loveable as a beautiful smile, and profound and cruel as the bitterness of life.”
To his wife’s suffering from his unfaithfulness, the man was not indifferent and was genuinely grateful for Frida’s great patience and devotion for their marriage: “I was lucky enough to love the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met. She was pure poetry and genius. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to love just her, since I’ve always been incapable of loving just one woman. Having fallen in love with her is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Frida Kahlo Tells Us that Love Will Eventually Win the Day No Matter How Bad It May Seem
Needless to say, no one would ever wish to be with an unfaithful person, and infidelities should never be encouraged in any sort of relationship. However, from the controversial relationship between the elephant and the dove, we can still learn lessons of love, faith and courage as the finder exposes themselves to true love, while self-acceptance and an open mind in the keeper that preserves this invaluable treasure.
No matter how undesirable your love life may seem at the moment, the painter has proven to us that the bravery to be completely honest to ourselves along with emotional strength is the key that leads us to the light at the end of the tunnel. “The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody,” said the “dove”.
Author Bio: Jessie Koo