Frida Kahlo’s NYE Resolutions:  “New year, new life.”

Catherine A. Jones
 | December 29, 2023

Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist known for her vibrant spirit, thrived on exploration and free-spirited adventures. 

“… she was a person who loved to explore the streets of Mexico City, ride her bike as fast as she could in Coyoacan, and run through the halls of The National Preparatory School,” Celia Stahr, University of San Francisco Art Professor and “Frida in America” author, writes.

She was even “famous for her bursting energy” during her time at the preparatory school, according to a documentary by the outlet BrightSite.

However, fate dealt a devastating blow on September 17, 1925, when Kahlo, at merely 23 years old, encountered a life-altering moment.

“ … After a day of classes, Kahlo and her friend Alejandro Gomez Arias boarded a bus heading toward Coyoacan,” writes. “Minutes after they sat down on a wooden bench, the bus turned a corner and slammed into an electric trolley car traveling at full speed.”

After the accident which drove a metal rod through her body, Kahlo forever lost her capacity to bike or run with ease.

Despite this tragedy, Kahlo’s indomitable spirit endured.

Her dreams persisted, especially one cherished desire to travel — to explore the United States. This was one of her New Year’s resolutions.

Kahlo’s NYE ‘New Start’

Just eight months before the accident that almost took her life, on New Year’s day, January 1, 1925, Kahlo wrote about visiting the land of ‘gringos,’ as she called them, in a letter to her boyfriend, Arias, who was on the bus with her that fateful day.

In an excerpt from a letter to Alejandro on New Year’s day in 1925, Kahlo’s sentiments on travel and new beginnings resound.

 “My Alex,

… Listen little brother, now in 1925 we’re going to love each other a lot, eh? * Sorry about constantly repeating the world “love”, five times in a row, but it’s just that I’m very silly.

Don’t you think we’re arranging the trip to the United States just fine?

I want you to tell me what you think of our going in December of this year, there’s plenty of time to arrange everything, don’t you think?

Tell me all the pros and cons you find and whether you can really go; because look Alex, it would be good for us to do something in life, don’t you think?

Since we’re just going to be like a couple of fools here in Mexico all our lives; since there’s nothing lovelier than traveling for me, it really makes me suffer to think I don’t have enough will-power to do what I’m telling you; you’ll say you don’t need just will-power, but first of all money-power or cash, but that can be gotten by working for a year and then the rest is easier, right?

But since, to tell you the truth, I don’t know how much about these things …

Because you have to realize that in all this that I’m writing you, from the little cross to this* line, there are a lot of castles in the air and it would be best if you undeceived me once and for all in order not to see beyond good and evil. (Because I’m still a bit of a dunce, believe me).

At 12 o’clock midnight I thought of you my Alex, and you?

I think so because my left ear was ringing. Well, since you know “a New Year a new start”, your little woman’s not going to be a two-bit shrew this year, but the best and sweetest that has been known to exist till now so you can eat her up with nothing but kisses.

Your chamaca Friduchita who adores you.

Answer me and send me a kiss.

(Happy New Year to your mother and sister)”

Against all odds, Kahlo’s dream materialized.

Despite the trials and tribulations, her New Year’s wish came true, years later. But not how she planned it.

“Frida certainly had her moments of utter despair and hopelessness while convalescing, but she never completely gave up hope and, in 1930, her dream became a reality; she was in the United States, but instead of seeing this new land with Alejandro, she was seeing it alongside Diego,”  Stahr says.

Kahlo’s life remains a testament to the power of resilience, a vivid canvas illustrating the strength to pursue dreams against the backdrop of adversity.

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