The Window Sills

The Windowsills: Making The Glass Glimmer

By Karleigh Byrne

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Above the living room in my house, back in Louisville, there is a window. Countless times, I have seen birds fly straight into that window. The birds think there is nothing stopping them, so they keep flying forward and then out of nowhere the world hurts them. That window stopped the birds from being free. I️ believe that is how our lives go sometimes. I believe that we are all like birds - we think everything ahead of us is clear so, we keep moving forward. Then, out of the blue, we are struck by an obstacle. Instantly breaking our wings.

1. The impact from the glass

windows

VSCO

The reflection in a window can toy with your mind.

Just like birds, I broke my wings when I️ hit my own window. The tricky thing about windows is that if a bird flies straight into it, they won't be knocked down. The glass of the window may be broken, but the window sills keep the window intact. But for me, this window was not made of glass. It was a window with a name - Anorexia Nervosa. When I started to fly, I was only 16-years-old. I was healthy, happy, and wildly in love. Everything in my world orbited around high spirits.

The scariest scary part of anorexia is the fact that I️ had no idea how it happened to me.

When you lose someone to death, you feel broken. After it happens, we as humans usually come to peace with thinking that the loved one is in a better place. For me, losing this person led to me losing myself. I found no peace, I felt that I could not grow. The people that I once loved spending time with I never wanted to be around. This was the first time in my life when my heart was quiet and my head was loud. Loud like a thousand trumpets blaring in my ears.

2. Collateral damage

Photo by Anna Wittkowski

When our wings break, it feels like we have nothing else to help us revive.

Some people may think that anorexia is defined by needing a feeding tube and hospital trips. That it is not a 'real' eating disorder until these criteria were met. I held the same misconceptions. I had this goal to drop weight from 145-pounds to 95-pounds, a goal that I made sure I met. On my break at work, I would eat a pinch of spinach with no dressing, three slices of tomato, and two slices of cucumber. Even while I took these extreme measures to achieve what I thought would make me feel better, I told myself that what I was doing was okay. I thought that it was sustainable and I truly believed that I was healthy. Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was. Now, I am able to recognize all the tricks that my mind played on me.

Anorexia is the fear of weight and the fear quite literally eats someone alive.

It took me a while to realize that I did not want to move to Wisconsin to join a group home full of people like me. A house full of people where everyone was still alone. It's not that I didn't want to eat, it was that I was afraid to eat. If you have ever dreamed about you were running yet it felt like slow motion or dreamed where you were felt like you endlessly falling, that is how my life felt. Except for me, it was not like living in a dream, but a nightmare - I can never forget the living nightmare. Not the ones that were filled with ghosts and zombies, but the ones that filled my reality. I had to "eat" alone in my nightmares. They consisted of the hellish times, such as looking at a box of Gigi's cupcakes that I received from my Grandma as a birthday gift, causing me to instantly break down and cry until someone got them out of my face. Nonetheless, we either let the nightmares come to an end by turning our backs to them, or we let them take over and dictate how we feel.

3. Taking flight once again

birds in flight

VSCO gallery by Nish Amin

What many people don't know is that some of the birds that break their wings after flying straight into the glass, fly again.

However, it all depends on the results of the impact. Sometimes glass breaks into pieces that are large enough to put back together. Other times, the glass shatters into a million tiny pieces. But, when you shine light through the shattered glass, it glimmers.

I consider myself to be one of these fortunate birds. But, this was not an easy feat. The wakeup call that I so desperately needed was when I lost connection with one that I truly loved. After this well-past-due call, I finally started to fight for myself. No longer did I have bruises down my knees and up my spine. I realized that growing hair on your arms, back, ears and feet was not cute. That charcoal-colored fingers were not the ideal hands that boys would think about when they hear Beyoncé sing "if you liked it then you should've put a ring on it."

I found my smile once again, and my wings were repaired and much stronger this time.

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10 Reasons Why Frida Kahlo is Iconic

A spotlight for a woman deserving of it
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Frida Kahlo de Rivera was an artist born in 1907 in the city of Coyoacán, Mexico. She is celebrated for her work, primarily self portraits, which boasted originality with every stroke. Kahlo expressed her deep rooted Mexican and indigenous culture in every single piece of hers. Recognizable by her bold eyebrows and her eccentric attitude, Frida Kahlo is the artist to know.

1. Frida Kahlo defied society's beauty standards

Frida Kahlo was radical in every sense of the word. She took it upon herself to purposely darken her facial hair as a statement. Kahlo didn't care to fit with the norm, she subverted to the concept of femininity and the idea that beauty meant having only Euro-centric features.

2. Frida Kahlo was un-apologetically bisexual

Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas, c.1950 - Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine

Kahlo ventured into different parts of herself quite often. In her time, women weren't accepted as being individuals who could be fluid with their sexuality. Of course, Frida Kahlo didn't care to subject to such restrictions. She said to have had a lot of lovers including Josephine Baker, Dolores del Rio, Paulette Goddard and Maria Felix as well as the prestige American painter, Georgia O'Keeffe.

3. She had exotic animals as pets

Frida Kahlo and her pet deer, Granizo, 1939, photograph by Nickolas Muray

The artist incorporated her animals in many of her portraits. She owned a spider monkey, a fawn, birds, and a dogs throughout her lifetime.

4. Her artwork is extremely genuine and raw

The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo (1939)
Frida Kahlo suffered from a lot of pain and downfalls due to a bus accident she was involved in as a young girl. It resulted in a severe spine condition and a lot of time laying in bed immobile. She painted as a pastime and deeply channeled her roots and hardships. The painting above showcases her internal thoughts after having suffered several miscarriages due to her physical condition.

5. She never cared for gender roles

Sometimes the abstract artist cross-dressed as a political statement. "She dressed like boy with shaved hair, pants, boots, and a leather jacket" in attempt to create an eye-catching attraction that's hard to miss.

6. Kahlo survived an accident that should've killed her

Frida Kahlo after an operation, 1946

Although Frida suffered a lot, she endured that pain until her late 40's. Frida Kahlo was involved in a bus accident that ending up essentially ruining her spine, because of the lack of proper procedures and medical equipment at the time. She was diagnosed with scoliosis, and she had consistent problems with her hips and knees. Kahlo spent a lot of time in a wheelchair or on bed rest where she created some of her best work.

7. She looked to herself for inspiration



Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo (1940)

Frida Kahlo stated “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” She looked to herself to create beauty out of the abyss she found herself in.

8. She lived in a blue house

What is now The Frida Kahlo Museum was once Frida Kahlo's family home in Mexico City. It was nicknamed "La Casa Azul" or "The Blue House" because of it's beautiful vibrant shade of blue. Frida spent the majority of her life in that house, and so personal objects are left in their place as a look into her personal life.

9. Her long-term spouse was another artist

Although Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo had a rough marriage, she loved him deeply. Kahlo was found herself separating from Rivera only to unite once more. She wrote about him and painted about him. One of her journal entries includes "I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have the hope that you do, and i’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.” He wasn't good for her, and she was aware, but ultimately that didn't seem to matter.



10. Frida Kahlo de Rivera is unlike any other artist

Frida Kahlo with a Portrait of Her Father

Frida Kahlo is truly remarkable. She acknowledged her insecurities and her flaws, and she created life and beauty out of them.There will never be an artist with such imperfect grace or original distinction.



Cover Image Credit: Lucienne Bloch

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Art Is Anyone's To Make And Anyone's To Hold, That's Why It Means So Much To Me

I love the flexibility of it, allowing it to take any form or shape.

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The passing strokes glide by each other, each holding hands with their neighboring strokes.

The wind rushes them forward into a convoluted gesture of mixed feelings onto paper and forming a figure in the distance.

A girl.

Standing by the apple tree

looking up into the bottomless abyss we call our night sky

feeling time rush by, an intangible force streaming faster than any wind, any sea tide, any stroke.


She breathes in air and slowly time seems to vanish

and it's just her

and the night sky

the stars glimmer in the distance

and hold hands

in a serpentine path

forming the collection of the universe's belongings.


She breathes out.

And as she looks up.

She wonders

how everything in this universe came to be.


For me, that's something art can communicate in just a single canvas. It expresses intangible ideas onto a tangible material, shaped and created by our very own bodies — the boldest shout of humanity into the deep void.

I've loved art since I was a little girl. Its meaning to me would change as I grew up and developed deeper and more complicated notions and interpretations of the world but that didn't mean that I gave up on how I communicated it. There was always a blank piece of paper, a pencil, a handy eraser, and my imagination splashed out in front of me, daring me to begin. Art can be silly or fun but it can also be deeply abstract or sentimental. I love the flexibility of it, allowing it to take any form or shape. I like the enigmatic character it holds as it compiles you to think deeper on the artist's intent. And most of all, I love that it can be anyone's to make and anyone's to hold.

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