The body’s a skeleton key.

It was like the universe was coaxing me into assuming interest in Frida Kahlo. First, I came across her in a piece about unconventional beauties. Then, I came across a reference to her writings. A third time, I stumbled upon a friend’s old blog-tribute to her personality that resurfaced as a commemoration of the artist’s birthday in July. That got me interested enough to read up about her, and I ended up watching the movie ‘Frida’ starring Salma Hayek this evening.

For those of you who knew Kahlo from before, you are probably aware of how she channelizes her pain into taking life head on, and her creative works. But watching the film and reading about her, re-established a sense of appreciation for the body in me.

The physicality of our selves is often abused as being a burden. In the present day, it is a world of the brain, the mind, and thought. The importance of reason and emotions are often weighed against each other, while our physical aspects are usually belittled and played down- both in cultural as well as spiritual (so to speak) discussions.

But we forget that the body is our access to mortality. Without it, we would not be able to navigate through this plane of existence. We treat it in a manner of neglect while focusing our goals around our senses and our mind. The body is ultimately considered a burden, or a mere facilitator. It has very little say, and when it does, it is often seen as restricting. Simply put, few people seem to make us of the body to the fullest. Rarely do I see people eating for peak physical vigour, exercising to enjoy the vitality, flexibility and strength of the body, and even less often have I heard of people exploring their surroundings as the body makes it possible.

To me, Frida came across as a woman, who despite being crippled, was willing to push her body the limits. She celebrated the features that set her apart (yes, the unibrow as well as her enchanting eyes and lustrous ebony-black hair). When she indignantly voices her wish to be burnt instead of be laid to rest in a coffin after a life of several bedridden episodes, it portrays a woman relatively unique in her desire to live through her body as much as her mind and other faculties.

The body sure is a wonderland if you only knew how to discover its beauty and usefulness.


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