We are the change

Redefining Me: Following through on my dreams

7am Monday morning and my alarm goes off yet again, the fourth time since I pressed the snooze button thirty minutes ago. Finally I drag myself out of bed and dash into the shower. I have just under an hour to get dressed, made up, run out the door and get to the train station in time to catch the 9 o’clock train.

Dressed to the nines in my designer suits, hand bags and stiletto heels, I was always the perfect picture of a successful city worker. Deep in the midst of the hustle and bustle of London commuters scurrying to grab spaces on the jam packed trains, I fitted in really well.

On the outside

I had what appeared on the outside to be a dream life; I was earning a very decent salary having acquired a degree in Accounting and Finance on the ‘advice’ of my parents. “It is a reputable and well paid profession“, I remember them saying. But the saying never judge a book by its cover swiftly comes to mind. Although my life was nice and glittery on the outside, the truth was I was deeply unhappy in my career.

Living the life

After years of studying and building a successful career, I was desperate to get out of the industry, but I was at a total loss as to what else I could do. I had made several attempts to change careers, but each time meant having to start at the very bottom and working my way up. I really could not afford a pay cut; I was heavily in debt with huge bills to pay. Who I was and how I perceived myself was defined primarily by my job status. My lifestyle was built on the premise of how I thought a woman of my “calibre” and “status” should live; expensive lunches, fancy health club memberships, regular shopping trips at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, spa breaks and holidays etc. True to form I ‘lived the life’ well, but deep down I was extremely miserable and totally unfulfilled.

On the inside

Relief for me always came at night after work. In the comfort of my home I would binge on food to my heart’s content, only to make myself sick afterwards. I did this almost every night for hours on end but no one knew about it. One night after a huge binge session, I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror and cried my eyes out. My life was a mess and I knew I was living a lie, pretending that I was happy and in control of my life. Far from it! I desperately needed help, but shame would not let me muster the courage to tell anyone.

A difficult decision

One morning in one of my many uninspiring finance meetings, I found myself firmly holding my legs down to stop me from running out of the meeting room, screaming and shouting “I’ve had it! I’ve had it! I’ve had it!” I simply could not take any more of living like this.  I was fed up of attending meetings that I could care very little about. I was done with talking about balance sheets and financial instruments that meant absolutely nothing to me. I was not prepared to spend hours doing something that I dreaded so much. This most certainly was not what I wanted for my life. That day I decided I needed to seek help and make changes.

Journey of discovery

I sought counselling, life coaching and spiritual guidance. I knew I had to deal with the root of my deep seated unhappiness, my bingeing and excessive shopping addictions.  I was encouraged by my counsellor to go on a personal retreat, a journey inward to discover who I really was. I discovered layers of amazing truths about me.  I had no real personal definition of myself, who I was and who I wanted to be. My desire to conform to family, cultural and societal expectations caused me to gravitate towards whatever I thought other people thought I should be.

But why did I do the things I did? Who was I really doing it for? Why did I feel the need to only wear designer brands and labels? Why was I so paranoid and overly obsessive about my weight and appearance? Why could I never leave my house without wearing makeup?  Why was I spending thousands of pounds on hair extensions when I had perfectly beautiful natural hair? To my horror I discovered that I had spent the equivalent of a small mortgage deposit on hair extensions alone, over the past ten years.

Why did I worry so much about what people thought of me? Why was I so afraid of disapproval as result of not meeting other people’s expectations of me? Why did I always want to fit in? Why did I feel the need to be liked? I simply did not have the courage to dare to be different, to go against society’s status quo.

Redefining me

After a barrage of soul searching questions, I decided to take the bull by the horns and redefine me. It was time to ‘fix’ my self identity, this time not according to anyone else’s evaluation of me, but according to my own personal convictions, desires and ambitions. What I needed was a Make-under!

I took out my 18 inch hair extensions, and reverted to wearing my own natural hair, which with every passing day I have grown to love immensely! I weeded out my wardrobe and started wearing clothes that reflected my true personality and unique style. I was done with following expensive fashion trends. I ditched some of my 5 inch heeled stilettoes for more comfortable flats. I learnt how to love my body and totally accepted that I didn’t have to look like a super model!

A career change was definitely what I needed. I went on a number of courses, studying subjects I really enjoyed, including handbag making and a diploma course in Styling. I have recently started a Counselling course.

Setting up MY business

My greatest achievement to date is setting up a Style Consultancy called “Style ‘n Shine” which is focused on helping women discover their authentic style as part of their journey of self-discovery. Today I am so much happier and fulfilled in doing what I love most – making a difference in the lives of women like myself.  I have come to appreciate my natural affinity for the fine things in life, beautiful clothes, hair, bags and shoes. The difference is now I understand that these things must never be acquired at the expense of one’s true happiness. What I wear and how I look is simply an extension of me, not a definition of me.

About the author: Oby Bamidele has years of business experience and now runs a successful style consultancy helping women with their journeys toward self-discovery. email her at oby @ stylenshine.co.uk or visit her website www.stylenshine.co.uk

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Eunice says

    I love this article. Many of us women suffer from the insecurity of trying to macth up with what is expected of us. It takes immense courage to be able to break the mold and stand up for what you really want out of life.

    Well done to th ewriter of this article, and may many of us follow suit !!!

  2. Precious says

    Very very inspiring! Definitely a message to get out there…and fast!! I love it!

  3. bj says

    Very personal and inspiring article…Daring to be true to who we really are is a message everyone (male or female) needs to hear!
    Well done!

  4. Ify says

    Wow, I’m really encouraged by your article especially as I have very similar issues to those you had. Well I guess I need to redefine me too 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. lola says

    Welldone, follow your dreams..

  6. Inner Essence says

    How beautiful a place would this world be if we all felt confident enough to be our ‘true’ selves. We’d all be a lot happier and we’d live in a much happier world. My hat off to the writer of this article. Its so impressive to see a young woman dicovering such great truths and insight at an early stage in her life, rather than waiting till she’s ninety something when it’s too late to change anything. Very inspiring indeed.

  7. Toyin says

    Go Girl! Fantastic inspirational article. Thanx 4 sharing. Most women have similar issues. but the very courageous ones step out ahead. All the best

  8. Amaka says

    Thank you for sharing your story with us…I think it’s a really brave thing and shows that you have moved on from all that to a much happier place. Bravo! I’m currently working in the city, but I’m not passionate about my job. I believe I should work harder in order to do a job that I really love…if you can do it, so can the rest of us (I hope :-)) Keep shining!

  9. Aijay says

    Very inspiring article…
    A must read for every woman…

  10. Oby Bamidele says

    Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I have received some wonderful emails from ladies as well. Wow, it’s all very encouraging! so good to share xx

  11. Julie Hall says

    Hey Oby

    Thank you! Such a great and inspiring story. I’m really pleased that you had emails as well. We’re pleased that we were able to share it on here.

    Julie, Editor… Women Unlimited

  12. dakweenb says

    Fantastic article! Great to find someone who is true to herself. You will definitely blossom as you fulfill your real purpose in life….inspiring others. Hats off to you!!!

  13. Pauline says

    Emotinal and very inspring . Well done girl.

  14. Vivianne I says

    What a moving story and so true on many different levels. It is so easy to “fall” into a career as it pays the bills, but I feel one of the hardest things ever is to find/define what you are truly passionate about. The reality is that once an individual finds that thing they are truly passionate, invariably you do it well and do not mind putting into the required effort to achieve their goal. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being so honest, and well done for taking the bold step in doing your own thing.

  15. Teree Necole Rae says

    Truly inspiring story, and a great example of following your heart and self belief.x

  16. Heike Prentice says

    Oby, that’s an amazing article… thanks for sharing this truly honest and courageous journey, an inspiration to all who hear about it. If we all dare to become who we are really meant to be this world will be a better place!

  17. Endee says

    Excellent article … Well done and thanks for sharing with us! Your story is truly inspirational and has given me a lot to think about. We all need to search deep within ourselves to find out who we really are and what we’re truly passionate about.
    Oby … more success to you!

  18. […] of my experiences and I am so pleased that it has inspired and encouraged others. So here it is “Re-defining Me”. Enjoy the […]

  19. Adrienne says

    Oby that is such an inspirational story. there are so many women out there who are buried under the stress, duty, disappointment, unhappiness of their lives and they coat it with external rather than looking at the internal. Because as we know it can be hard and painful sometimes but what wonderful rewards we can get when we do. You are an inspiration, Well done – for seeing the brave, amazing, wonderful woman you truly are.

  20. Rebecca Oladele says

    Amazing!!! Truly inspiring and certainly something I can relate too.

    You have to love yourself from the inside out and then begin to make the changes that refelect the love, respect and confidence you have for YOU!!!

    When this achieved you begin to wear your hair different, put on clothes that refelect who you are and NOT who people want you to be and you look after your health and physical body, not too be skinny but to be fit, healthy and vibrant.

    We all need to get to that place where we redifine ourselves for the better.

    Personal Trainer and Nutrition Adviser – FIT2SPARKLE

  21. Temi says

    Hey Oby,

    Lovely story. I had a similar experience of self discovery and isn’t just amazing what you discover when you did deep enough. It is gives double joy when you do something you love to help others. Keep the fire burning.

    Business Consultant @ Business First Steps.

  22. […] There are times when we have to make pit stops on the journey to ensure that we are in check of who and what we are representing. I made a pit stop a few years ago because I realised I was living my life according to someone else’s definition they had of me. I realised they could not define me, nor should I have allowed them to define me. You can listen to my track Soul Tie on my website to understand where I am coming from. Oby Bamidele wrote an article for Women Unlimited, regarding her definition. I totally got her, in every way. She’s inspiring, she’s real and she is totally redeFINEd! Read it here. […]

  23. Mucha says

    they say better late than never, i have just bumped into this website because my soul is longing to find fulfilment and voila, i got just the right article!! thank you God for directing our footsteps. i notice this article was done in march and today is june 16 but boy oh boy, how appropriate and very relevant it is! many of us women are caught up in careers that we dont identify with but because of the status etc that come along with the job we find that outside we’re very glamorous but inside we’re slowly dying……thanks Oby for your article , may you be blessed immensely . and to all the women out there, lets have the courage to be who we were meant to be, that way we will contribute more to the world!

  24. Amanda Wilson says

    Well done for finally daring to be different. It takes a lot of courage to step away from the image others have created for us and step towards the person we were meant to be. Your story is very inspiring – and very honest. I wish you every success with your business.

  25. Vicky says

    What a great story! You’re clearly a courageous woman with a can’do attitude. Sadly, it’s a trait that seems to be missing in today’s society. Wishing you the very best with your business! 🙂

  26. Becca says

    Great story, you have to take risks in life and I am glad yours paid off big time!


  27. Gabriel Gutierrez says

    Very inspiring story and every one get a lesson from this story I’m proud being a woman..thanks for sharing us this informative story..good job..

  28. Dion Johnson says

    Whoo Hoooo!!!! Loving This! You’re an inspiration:-)) I’ll be in touch Oby! Your story needs to be heard near and far. Thank you

  29. gear says

    Very inspiring article…
    A must read for every woman…

  30. […] got her, in every way. She’s inspiring, she’s real and she is totally redeFINEd! Read it here Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]