Your art touches me in ways that I never imagined possible. It claws at my heart. I feel it ache in my bones. But I am writing to you now about your words. These words:
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
I know it is old-fashioned to take a pen to paper and write a letter, but I feel this is the most appropriate manifestation of my feelings for you. Social anxiety prevents me from picking up the phone and giving you a call. A message on Facebook has insufficient weight to convey the words I need you to read. So here is my letter to you. A love letter.
I too am strange. I too yearn to believe there are more people out there like us. Being strange is a talent. I knew this long before I met you but I never understood the power that it held. Standing out from the crowd is a strength. Being different gives you a certain kind of freedom. You and I are not alone, you can find wonderful strange people everywhere, just watch for the sparkle in their eye.
You accept and take pride in the natural state of your body. Highlighting your luxurious facial hair challenges notions of feminine beauty. Telling the world they cannot force you into a box, cannot label you, cannot tell you how to exist, is a powerful statement. You laugh at the fable that women should be pretty, delicate and silent. You wear whatever clothes you want, suits and ties, dresses and ribbons. You exist as a human, giving little weight to existing ideas of gender. Imagine what the world would look like if everyone would live like that?
I dream of being near you. I imagine staying up all night with endless bottles of wine in La Casa Azul. Even though the air is warm on my face we bury ourselves in the colourful heavy woven blankets of your sofa. We talk for hours about matters of the heart and soul. We cry for your three babies who never were born. We rage about Diego and his arrogance. When he betrayed you with your sister you cut off your long hair to punish him. He loved your long hair. Even though he held your heart, you reminded him that you were not unconditionally his. I admire your loudness, your passion, your fire.
You tell me of the comfort you found in other lovers. Not real love, but warmth. These men and women could see your heart and that spark in your eyes. They put their hands around your spark and made it grow like a candle flame. It didn’t repair your shattered, crushed heart but it made you feel less alone. I wish I could be one of those people. I would do anything to take your face in my hands and make you forget your pain. To look into your eyes and make you feel less alone. To trace the pattern of your scars with my fingers. To kiss the length of your broken back and make you feel cherished. Because hearts don’t know gender, they only know love. And you deserve love Frida, my chest aches with the weight of the heartbreak you have had to endure.
Because Frida my love, I too am strange, and spending time with you soothes my tired soul. You are strong and ferocious despite your broken body, tattered heart and unrelenting pain. You motivate me to listen to the fighting spirit inside me. You build me up and I wanted you to know that. Thank you.
The truth is, dearest Frida, you will never open this envelope. You will never feel the weight of the page in your hand. Today, on the 6th of July, we celebrate the day you were born. Next week we mourn your death, 47 short years later. This letter is more than 60 years too late but I believe in the energy of love. I believe in some way you feel it.
This is a letter to all the strange women of the world.
“I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”