Melanie Whittaker

I am sharing my story today in the hopes that it will help you if you are experiencing any tough challenges right now. Before I start I want to thank the Brave Babes Movement for letting me share this with you. When you read this I want you to know that no matter what is going on for you right now you have the ability to change your life at any moment even when things appear bleak. Now, I’ve always been a confident woman and when I look back on my life I’ve always been able to do things I’ve put the work into and have been able to plan and go and fulfil many of my dreams. 

I’m originally from Manchester in the UK and I was able to spend a summer working in Ibiza and about ten years ago. I got to go travel the world by myself. To say that changed things for me is an understatement, let me explain. Moving to London was a big deal for me. I didn’t move as a career choice,  but because I found it hard to settle back into my old life in Manchester having spent a summer in Ibiza. A friend suggested that I move to London and at first I didn’t like the idea as I found it a great city to visit but the thought of living there didn’t appeal to me. I will never forget what my friend said because those words made me mix life up, “give it a go, you’ve nothing to lose and if it doesn’t work out you just go back to Manchester knowing that you gave it a try”. I want you to really pay attention to those words and apply them to whatever may be going on for you.

 As women we hold back on so much worrying what the outcome will be when all we need to do is try things out. We aren’t a failure if things don’t work out, it’s how we grow. Yet so many people, especially women don’t try because fear gets in the way. I’m confident but I’m also human and fear has held me back but I’ll go into that in a minute.  

So I moved to London and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I loved my life there I felt so free and in love with the city.  There is so much to see and do and because I love clubbing that just ticked every box the nightlife in London is amazing. As with anything in life we have to make a choice; do you carry on with the party scene or do you find a balance? I decided to find balance. 

I fell into investment banking and loved it. I worked the trading floors booking travel and doing the expenses forinvestment bankers. I loved the energy of the trading floors. I buzz off noise and lots going on, so combined with the heady mix of London and you have a cocktail for having a lot of fun and I sure did. I thrive off stress, but in a good way. I love lots going on at once. By working in that industry it gave me money to live a life I truly wanted. I got to go on 2-3 holidays a year and enjoy all that London has to offer. At one point of time in London I was seeing a guy and it didn’t work out and I was watching the programme Shipwrecked on Channel 4 and if you don’t know what this programme is they used to fly out contestants to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific and they had to decide between two islands which one they wanted to live on and fend for themselves.  

One particular Sunday as I was watching this programme the rain was beating against my window and I remember saying to myself “what I would give to get to go there..." As soon as I thought the words I also thought I can go visit there because I have no mortgage, no kids and no commitments keeping me behind. Fast forward a few months and I booked myself an around the world ticket. I visited LA, The Cook Islands, Australia, and Hong Kong. I went by myself and loved it. They say travel changes you and it truly does. I was getting a bit jaded with banking at this point because I’m not impressed by designer labels and how much money someone earns. I yearned to see amazing places of the world and be around people who not only didn’t know what banking was they also didn’t care what it was. I met some amazing people and had some unforgettable experiences. Now even though I’ve worked in corporate all my life deep down I’m a hippy chick who loves nothing better than wearing flowers in my hair, being at the beach and feeling totally free. I returned home with so much love in my heart after my trip. I had changed without realizing it. I had experienced a spiritual shift. I had been journaling on my  trip and didn’t even know what that was. It was totally freeing and I cleared so much junk from my heart and head. I vowed that I would go back to London, work hard and save for a year to go traveling and plan probably not live in the UK again. As we know life always has other plans. 

When I got back to London banking had collapsed in the UK. Major banks were closing down and many people lost their jobs. At this point even though I was sad to leave banking I didn’t care what I did as long as I could stay in London. The thing is if banks have no money then they can’t loan money to businesses to keep their heads above water. I struggled to get work in London and at one point I had no work for two months. This is a big deal in London because it’s very expensive and you can’t live off fresh air. One day I had a friend call me who lives on the coast not too far from London and thank god for friends like this because she could tell I wasn’t being myself over the phone even though I was trying my best to bullshit her. She gave me some hard truths and told me that the London I was in love with no longer existed for me and she was right. She also kindly invited me to go stay with her which was a great way to get some perspective. To say I’ve been on a journey is an understatement. 

For anyone who leaves London they know they won’t earn that money anywhere else in the UK so I knew it was a backstep, but I was ok with that.  What I wasn’t prepared for is how expensive the area is yet nobody earns good money. On top of that the jobs in the area are really basic and nobody feels good about the work they do. As I’d worked in a male dominated industry I’d forgotten how bitchy women can be in offices. When I came back from traveling, even with all the hurdles I crossed on my path, I still had that love but realized many women in offices didn’t. They did everything in their power to beat my spirit down by bitching and making me feel small and down right victimising.

I’m one strong chica but we’re all human and this had a huge impact on my emotional health and wellness. I hit rock bottom with all that was going on and I turned from one confident woman into a shadow of my former self. I was afraid to shine because shining meant that people would belittle me and I just couldn’t take it anymore so I dumbed myself down and didn’t engage with most people because I didn’t feel safe. This went on for years and I lost the true meaning of who I am and when I look back on that time I feel sorry for all the pain I went through but now I see why I experienced it.  

My life has taken a whole new meaning and that all started by going to a workshop on how to make soap, and other skincare products. I loved how it drew out my creativity that I never thought I had. Deep down I really wanted to make a business out of it but my spirit was felt crushed and I didn’t look into it for a long time. 

One day I finally reached the point of putting up with  enough. I was fed up showing up for jobs that didn’t light me up, they didn’t pay well and everyone hated on each other.  Regardless of what I was experiencing jobs like that will never make you happy and the old way of life makes us think that we have to do this. Especially when everyone else just keeps quiet and puts up with it. We can feel like there is something wrong with us and there isn’t. What is wrong is putting ourselves in these toxic environments and not pursuing our dreams.  

One day I decided to stop with the yearning and do something about it. I went to a course on how to set up a business making skincare and went for it. Now although I could make the skincare and I really enjoyed it I have never ran a business before and it felt scary. What felt even worse was being visible with my products. If I was being bitched on at work it’s no wonder that I didn’t want to put myself out there.

I’ve shared this story with you to give you hope if you are working a job that you know is killing your true essence you don’t have to do it. You can follow your heart and make life happen in a way that feels right to you. I am still in corporate, but I know that I will be leaving very soon because I’ve done the work. I’ve pushed through fear. I’ve shown myself the biggest form of love and I make the necessary steps to make things happen.  

Three months ago I started working markets in my area. This was a huge step for me being visible scared me because of all the low energy I was subjected to daily. Guess what? It's the best thing I’ve ever done. I love the atmosphere of markets and being around other creative stall holders. I’ve found my people. I no longer feel alone. I also love helping women see the benefits of natural ingredients and self care. If you take anything from this I want you to remember: when you love yourself great things start to happen in your life. When people bash on other people they come from a place of hate and not loving themselves. It is your responsibility to love you and shine bright regardless of how frightening that may feel. What helped me push through my fear and finally live the life I wanted was to stop making my fear about me. The women who meet me at market have loved sampling my products and they all tell me they love my passion. I would never find that passion in jobs in my area so day after day showing up and hoping it would get better was a lie. The only way your life gets better is when you do what your heart is yearning for you to do. Stop putting off what you know you really want to do.  

When you look back on your life will you be happy with the life you are living right this very moment? Do you think the way you are living now will make you happy? If you know it won’t you have to make change. The thing is, making change can be scary so I beg of you go get support. I have found the internet to be a pillar of support for me. I come across women everyday who lift each other up. They don’t lay into another woman because they realize that it’s important that we all shine equally.

I really do hope that this story has helped you see that you can live out your dreams, but you have to make a start.  It might only be a small start but a start is a start and that’s all that matters.

 

I am Mel, a total Brave Babe. 

I love and accept myself. 

 

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Kindra Murphy3 Comments