Frida Kahlo? Rebecca Katherine Martin? Apocryphal? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: There is a fascinating quotation about self-consciousness and the desire to establish a connection with an alter ego or doppelganger. Here is the beginning:
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do.
These words have been attributed to the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, but I have not been able to find a good citation. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: Frida Kahlo died in 1954, and QI has not yet found any substantive evidence that she wrote or said this quotation in Spanish or English.
The earliest appearance of this quotation known to QI occurred on the “PostSecret” website in March 2008. The quotation was printed on a postcard which had been mailed to a post-office box maintained by Frank Warren, the founder of “PostSecret”. Warren has described his website as a community art project. He has encouraged individuals to write personal secrets on homemade postcards and anonymously mail them to him; a subset are selected and displayed on the website.
Below is the postcard that was displayed next to the date March 16, 2008. The quotation was anonymous; specifically, it was not ascribed to Frida Kahlo; however, the background image showed part of a portrait of the prominent artist. QI conjectures that this image induced the misattribution to Kahlo:
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do
I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.
well, I hope that if you are out there you read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here,
and I’m just as strange as you.
The protean electronic nature of websites often makes it difficult to verify the dates of text and images from past years. In this case, fortunately, a snapshot of the “PostSecret” website was taken on March 18, 2008 and stored in the “Internet Archive: Way Back Machine” database. 1
Because the quotation appeared initially without an ascription it has been difficult to ascertain its provenance with much certainty. Nevertheless, QI believes that the top candidate for authorship is Becky Martin (Rebecca Katherine Martin).
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.