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How to Be Unapologetically You

kahlo, Frida Kahlo artwork, Frida Kahlo portraits

Art often comes to me in my dreams. I still remember the moment I realized I had to keep a journal by my bedside. I was young, maybe pre-teen, obsessed with poetry. I woke up with a poem in my head. A fully formed poem. No edits needed. I felt like I woke up to an unexpected gift. And I never wanted to lose one.

Art comes to me this way, too. I was in that state just before sleep but not quite awake when my brain flashed an image. For months I’d pondered on my desire to return to portraiture. I’d also drawn on some connections I’d realized after running a workshop for my Mastermind called The Circle. I was recently obsessed with gold leaf. I knew I wanted it in my work.

Frida Kahlo, Frida Kahlo prints, Frida Kahlo artwork, feminist artworkJust as I was drifting into unconsciousness Frida showed her face. She had a big, beautiful, gold halo behind her head. I also saw the color turquoise. I wrote down the idea and fell asleep.

About a week later I had printed photo references of the artist and began drawing her in my sketchbook. I had found imitation gold leaf at a local store in Muscat and decided to experiment. Play time! I loved her immediately. I knew this was something that needed to be developed further. I wanted to bring her fully to life.

Frida is such an awesome example of being unapologetically herself. She lived in a much different world than ours but still was all kinds of things people today can still find uncomfortable: communist, political activist, bi-sexual, disabled… and yet when we look at her diaries and her art, she is right there, loud as ever. And today many (myself included) revere her.

So many of us feel scared to be loud, or if we choose to be loud, understand it means embracing the label “bitch.” It’s also scary to feel different. We hide or downplay the qualities that may be “uncomfortable.”

We want to be strong, to stand up for what we believe in, but still battle with the desire to be liked, to be agreeable. There is so much expectation we can feel about our roles as women that conflict with who we see ourselves to be.

Frida, we could all use a little more of you.

We put Frida on a pedestal today and for good reason: she’s an amazing example to all of us of what it means to be a beautiful, imperfect, and authentic woman.

Frida is a reminder for you and me today: accept who you are and love her. Whatever traits you have that might make someone uncomfortable are some of the very special traits that will help others, the right people, connect and love YOU.

Enjoy the finished artwork Frida Strong here.

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