Frida Kahlo was a woman who endured - physical pain, gender discrimination, heartache, family dysfunction, and civil war. She is perhaps most known for her evocative self-portraits and tumultuous marriage to Diego Rivera, but it is her fierce spirit that connected me to her years ago. As a fellow woman who has endured, I found deep strength in Frida's story.
It is said that for Frida's first exhibition in Mexico she was ordered by her doctor to stay in bed due to severe illness. She was devastated at the prospect of missing the first show in her home country, so she had herself driven to her exhibition in an ambulance and carried in on her signature bed. As someone who has experienced limitations, it is easy to succumb to barriers and setbacks, but Frida reminds me to transcend my limitations and to engage my pain and allow it to radically change me.
Frida's story is not one with a happy ending, nor is it a blue print for emotion regulation and containment, but rather it reveals an authentically messy human who fought for her dreams. Frida was unabashedly Frida, and her fierce endurance serves as a reminder to me to courageously persevere.
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Abigail (Abby) Wambaugh, M.S., is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF #94231, working under the professional supervision of Michelle Harwell, Psy.D., MFT 50732. She specializes in treating relationship difficulties, trauma, and sexual issues.