In one of my fantasy lives, I look like Frida Kahlo.
Without those mad, wild eyebrows, of course.
I don’t imitate her style, exactly, but I’m not afraid to wear cuff bracelets and chunky necklaces with stones that look like they were freshly mined from the earth and rough-polished. I’m not afraid to wear colors that stand out in a crowd. I put flowers in my hair as if it were the most normal thing ever, and I wear rebozos and indigenous prints stitched by hand in rich-colored threads woven into deep dark velvets. I call attention, in a good way.
In my real life, I’m non-descript: happiest in a worn-in pair of jeans, an earthy colored tank top or cotton pull-over, a super comfortable pair of flats I bought for $20 at Target and which I wear with everything until the soles are thin. I wear my wedding band and nothing else. If I call attention, it’s probably for looking like a schlub.
“Look at her,” people on the subway probably say, “what a bland outfit. She must be a terribly boring person.”
If they only saw my inner Frida!
Sometimes, though, she creeps out. Yesterday I played dress up, layering blues and greens over each other so that my upper half looked like the sea. I wore earrings and a bracelet and an extra ring, and threw a mossy green rebozo in my bag just in case. No one noticed but me, but it sure felt good to play dress up.
Who would you be if you played dress up?
The singer Lila Downs, channeling her inner Frida so well:
Photo: califdweller (creative commons)