The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Original draft 8.7.2016
While at a poetry reading in late July, I penned four completely different poems pointed in four directions that were all felt and written within 30 minutes from start to finish. From heavy, to light, to introspective, to fun, the variances gave me insight into how fantastically diverse the inner landscape of my being can be (that’s a nice way to say effing crazy). I can choose to see these aspects of myself as scars, or as important aspects displaying my character.
In the midst of accepting my “diverse inner landscape,” I watched the movie Frida for the first time. I was amazed as to the fierce tenderness of the work and life of Frida Kahlo. For those who love the edges, I found this a very fitting movie and now have a greater appreciation both for Frida as a person and as an artist.
Her husband, Diego Rivera, was quite the Cassanova. His ex-wife in the movie explains he is a chick magnet because he sees the beauty in the flaws of the women he is wooing (no, she didn’t say chick magnet).
In the movie, and I suppose also in real life, Frida was nervous about him seeing her physical scars. Instead of shying away from them, Diego kisses one of her most prominent scars passionately and lovingly. If she was not already lost to him, she probably was at that point.
Frida reminded me that the wounds are what give us our character and our drive to push forward and excel. Her wounds were the well from which she drew her passion and inspiration to paint. Diego says to Frida about painting, “You don’t paint because you want to, you paint because you have to.” And this, my friends, is how I feel about writing.
Feel the edge
So often in life and even with my work, I feel the edges. I do my best to capture them in writing. In some ways I’m still hiding, as much of the acid I keep off scene, preferring to “deal with it” and neutralize it so as to avoid contaminating the lot. Yet Frida poured it all out for visual scrutiny. A synopsis of her work is found here in my absolute favorite quote of the movie (it took many rewinds to capture):
I want to speak about Frida not as her husband, but as an artist. Her work is acid & tender, hard as steel and fine as a butterfly’s wing. Lovable as a smile & cruel as the bitterness of life. I don’t believe that ever before has a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas. ~Diego Rivera as quoted in the movie Frida
Disliking our wounds leaves us vulnerable
Diego saw Frida for all that she was… No wonder their relationship kept her going back to him, in spite of his seemingly constant philandering. He appreciated and loved her scars.
Yet, I now see how the wounds that inspired her paintings were the very things that left her prey. Perhaps if she had loved her scars, she would have waited for the man who would have both loved her scars and respected her wishes for loyalty (her words in the movie, not a judgment of mine).
Self-Love leaves us whole
From all of this I draw from the well that loving the very aspects of ourselves that scare us can motivate our art. Self-love also helps us to attract better partners who we seek not to fix our wounds, but who appreciate them with us as parts of our character. To attract this kind of love, however, we must first love the many aspects of ourselves – wounds and all – first.
It’s my new understanding that relationships are not about 1+1=2. Instead it’s a multiplication factor. Each person being whole makes for 1×1=1. Either partner entering into a relationship as less than whole weakens the relationship… and gives it character.
Image: Frida from Google, painting “Broken Column”