In a word: Self-love. I consider the artist Frida Kahlo a beautiful example of self-acceptance, or at least self-acknowledgement. Many times when I am looking at one of her famous self-portraits I think about what I find to be a powerful theme – she did not edit herself. She painted her likeness exactly the way she saw it in the mirror, complete with unibrow and mustache. No beautify filter or minimization of what could be considered masculine features. She let it all shine on the canvas and I find that to be one of the most beautiful kinds of bravery. “Yes, I accept, I acknowledge and I love me.
There is a particular insecurity that feeds off of social media. “Where am I on the scale of one to Minnie Dlamini?” It eats away at the weak layers of confidence that are easily unseated by trends. My joy in experiencing the paintings of Frida is in her I-came-as-I-am nature. What a freedom! There’s an enormous power to be learned from that. In a time when people (read I) angle toward the perfect lighting take an average of about 18 selfies, go through a rigorous selection process of the one deserving to be uploaded and then STILL editing that one to blur out the one pimple, the freedom of self-love is a lifeline!
It is women like Frida that give me the boldness to say eff it, I’m just going to be as I am today. I often think of a quote by Tracey Ellis Ross – I hope they look at me and think, That lady looks like she accepts herself.
That is the great lesson of Frida, accepting yourself and letting your individual brilliance shine. Painting a figurative self-portrait with all those memorable quirks instead of sanitizing them away and ending up being a lukewarm Minnie Dlamini. My challenge to myself this women’s month is to be a piping hot Nkgabi, quirks and all! Thank you, Frida!
Read a light biography of Frida Kahlo here.
This article is part of a women’s month collaboration between myself, Delicia Kasenge and Edgars Fashion. For more posts, search #WeTheWomen or #Edgars on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Top – Jo Borket at Edgar’s (Sandton City)
Skirt – Jo Borket at Edgar’s (Sandton City)
Scarf – Jo Borket at Edgar’s (Sandton City)
Necklace – Kelso at Edgar’s (Sandton City)
Earrings – Kelso at Edgar’s (Sandton City)