Introduction

“I feel uneasy about my painting…Up till now I have only painted the earnest portrayal of myself, but I am very far from work that could serve the party. I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.”
-Frida Kahlo
1950-51
The Diary of Frida Khalo

I hope this space with be about courage and truth. I want to speak about the secrets of my life, the daily indignities and small victories, what it means to be disabled, bedridden in a society whose foundation is so entrenched in the illusion of the strength of the individual, that blames the victim. I want to have the courage to speak the truth about fear, illness, isolation, pain, loss, hope and especially, love. I want to take brilliant women off the pedestal that leaves us in such a precarious a space to be admired but never really understood, that holds us to our strengths and holds our weaknesses against us. I want to cry out for community, mutual aid, interdependence. I want to provide resource and truth to those who are also alone. Many days, this illness reduces me to nothing more that a sick woman in a bed. Many days this society finds me less and less useful. I am sure in my loneliness, I am not alone, that what I endure, is endured by many others. All I have is time. It stretches on like the horizon over the ocean in California, or cornfields in Kansas. It has no interruption. In the end, we are what we make of what we have been given. There is so much I would like to do with my life. Swallowed by this illness much of the time, I need to let it breath through me, become my struggle. How can my art support transformation, revolution, resurrection?
I hope to tell the truth, the truth about my own life. I believe that in telling one’s truth, that the truth of the lives around me be protected. Their stories are not mine to tell. Where I am vague it guards a confidence, allows an incubation for someone else to tell their own story. What I tell here of the lives of others, is either already public, or has been given to me to tell. It takes courage to tell one’s own truth. Telling other people’s story must be done with kindness, respect, integrity and permission.

©2005 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved. Permission to post or forward in entirety including the copyright.
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Comments
Emma: I have been enjoying reading your Emails for years … but this one was the most touching …. You are a extremely strong and courageous woman ….. my prayers go to you and your family …. its very important that you continue your work as you work through your illness ….. you’ve been comforting others ….. now its your turn to be comforted ….. we – all those who know you – love U for just being U … chazz _Posted by CHAZZ on 10/02/2005 02:03:13 AM

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