Three months after the letter I quoted in my last post, Frida wrote another to Alejandro on April 25, 1927:
"Yesterday I was very sick and very sad: you can't imagine the level of desperation one can reach being this sick. I feel a dreadful discomfort that I can't describe and besides sometimes I have a pain that nothing can take away. ...nobody at home believes that I'm really sick, because I can't even say it, since my mom, who is the only one who worries a little bit (about me), gets ill. And they say it's my fault, that I'm very imprudent. So nobody suffers, despairs, and all that, but me..." (The Letters of Frida Kahlo, compiled by Martha Zamora, Chronicle Books, 28)
I admit, I don't think I can fully imagine the level of desperation Frida must have felt. I try and I've had moments when I've been sick with the flu and imagined what it would have been like for Frida to feel that awful for months and years. A few years ago, I contracted some virus that attacked my joints. I could barely do anything for ten days. Opening up a jar was impossible. Walking was nearly impossible because every part of my body hurt. I was in physical pain, but it was the emotional pain that haunted me. First, there was the intense fear that took hold. Am I ever going to get better? If I do, will I still have pain in my joints? What if I can't take care of my daughter? What if I can't take care of myself? What if I can't ever type again without severe pain? I had to work very hard at not letting the fear overtake me, but I underscore work very hard. Then, the despair kicked in after a few days of being an invalid. Watching television is a nice break for one or two days, but then it gets old. In those moments of deep despair, I consoled myself by thinking about how Frida (and many others) was in a much more difficult situation. I tried to imagine what she endured.
This letter makes me feel so sad because not only is Frida in physical pain, but no one believed that she was really sick. She couldn't even talk about how she was feeling. She had to worry more about her mother's feelings than her own. And, on top of it all, the family said Frida's suffering was of her own doing. Now, of course, this is Frida's perspective. If we could talk to her parents and sisters, they would probably give a different account. This doesn't mean that Frida is lying. This letter conveys how Frida felt in that moment. It must have been torture to have no outlet for discussing her feelings (This is why these letters to Alejandro were necessary). On top of that, the family saw Frida's suffering as self-inflicted. That's a lot to deal with.