Woman In The Flames is the first painting I finished as part of Flora Bowley’s Bloom True e-course and it represents how fire – the trauma and pain and crisis in our lives – shapes us; how, as women, we have the ability to be reborn when our life is burning around us.
When I painted it my life was in flames. I’d become a Mum 9 months before. Giving birth left me feeling so very vulnerable, when I’d spent most of my life trying to ensure I was invincible.
All the walls I’d put up to keep people away from the real me came crashing down. The stories I’d told myself about not being able to love were battered down; the fundementals of who I knew I was were changing…and I didn’t know how to be; I’d never felt this, I’d never been this Alison.
And then came the trauma: A three month battle with breast-feeding, at the end of which I was completely exhausted, followed by the threat of being reported to child protection agencies for choosing to feed my son unpasteurised milk. A process of unravelling my view of myself which led to me letting go of the business that I had been my heart and soul over the previous 5 years. Watching my partner trying to find the time to build up a freelance computer business when I knew all he wanted to do was play the piano. Living with my mother-in-law having walked away from Italy, the country I’d always wanted to live in. Then 3 months into my son’s life hurting my neck and shoulders meaning I was unable to pick up the one I loved so dearly (and have not been able to throughout his short life).
I was in the flames. I’d been bashed. I’d been through so much pain. I’d let go of so much. I didn’t know who I was.
And then, through Instagram, I saw Flora Bowley’s art and life. And I fell in love. I’d never painted. But a little desire grew inside me to do her course. I was scared; scared I’d be in too much pain in my arms and shoulders; scared I’d be rubbish; scared of getting all the stuff and just not liking it; scared of telling anyone.
I’m so glad I sat with the fear and continued to take little steps. Flora’s course was the start of something amazing. Painting has held my hand the last 9 months and helped me grow a new Alison who I love. It has taught and shown me so much.
The Woman In The Flames appeared intuitively. I didn’t realise what I was birthing, what I was processing, what I was creating. I cried the moment I knew I’d finished her. What joy, what release, what power, what re-birth.