honeyskinned bittersweet muse


This has been a crazy summer, vacillating between sweltering heat and apocalyptic downpours. God and the Devil must be having an argument.

I don't have air conditioning. Sometimes I pass out on my futon and wake up a few hours later, utterly delirious. As I reorient myself, adjusting my eyes to the room, I'm inevitably caught in the gaze of Frida Kahlo.

Her face, Self-portrait with Monkey, is on the cover of an oversized biography that rests on the bookshelf across from my futon. It's like she's looking right at me, on purpose, asking why I've passed out on the futon when I should be up and about and productive.

Frida spent a lot of time on her back too, but in a great deal of pain. I think about how she must have created her most beautiful masterpieces while suffering the kind of physical anguish I can't even imagine. She was trying to paint it out of her, using her art as a means of purging and healing herself.

That takes a lot of guts.

In my most difficult moments I tend to freeze up. My unconscious mind sees this as a positive adaptation, numbing myself to reality to minimize the pain. I stop writing, stop calling friends, stop dancing, and enter these self-imposed periods of isolation and introspection. I think of it as a form of hibernation, a way of preserving what few resources I have left, but it's more like exile.

What if I did the opposite and wrote it out instead? Like Frida and her paintings.

She stares at me, says it's alright that my life's not perfect, even fairly messy at times; that there's something else on the other side of pain; and that even beauty can be found amidst ugliness and bitterness.

These may be my most difficult lessons yet. Already, I feel the creative juices flowing again.

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