Chicken Soup for the Sole: Frida Kahlo

This month’s subject for Chicken Soup for the Sole is the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Although she was a famous Mexican artist whose name and work you’ve likely heard of, you might not know that behind her beautiful paintings, there’s an inspiring story of her struggle with a variety of physical disabilities. Read on and be inspired!

An Early Life Marked by Struggle

Frida Kahlo was born in 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico. To say the least, she had an emotionally and physically difficult upbringing. She would go on to describe the atmosphere in her house as “very sad” due to the tensions between her and her mother, and at the age of six, she contracted polio. Like many children of the time, polio caused her numerous physical issues including one of her legs being made shorter than the other. There was one positive from this experience, though. Polio brought her closer to her father, who suffered from epilepsy and could closely relate to the physical struggles his daughter was fighting to overcome. Through hard work and an appetite for sports, she was able to recover from polio and rejoin her classmates.

A Dream Derailed by Tragedy

Surprisingly, Kahlo’s first career aspiration wasn’t to be a painter: she wanted to be a doctor. Unfortunately for her, that dream was not to be. On September 17, 1925, a major bus accident left her with severe injuries, including an iron handrail being driven through her body. The severity of her injuries and the time she’d need to recover killed her dream of becoming a doctor. But instead of laying in bed and feeling sorry for herself, during her long period of convalescence, she discovered the gift that would make her famous: the ability to paint.

Frida Becomes an Iconic Painter

The rest, as they say, is history. Frida Kahlo, along with her then-husband Diego Rivera, has become synonymous with the term “Mexican Art.” Unlike many great artists, Kahlo was recognized for her art during her lifetime and traveled extensively. Her fame has only grown since her death in 1954, and to this day her paintings continue to be exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world. Although she spent most of her life fighting physical ailments and conditions, she never let her physical limitations dictate what she could and could not accomplish.

My name is Jessica Cox, and I admire people who are able to take difficult circumstances and use them to their advantage. If you’re interested in allowing me to help the attendees at your convention, meeting, or faith-based gathering discover their hidden strengths and learn to live their best possible life, please call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website.