I thought I’d go for a catchier title this time, but don’t get lured by it. I’m not going to write about how salmon did miracles for my skin or how low temperatures help you burn calories, though the virus-killing cold weather of Oslo, was indeed the end of my recurring bronchitis.

Some years ago, I lived the life of a fragile person. I lived with the stigma of my eating disorder and that meant, that everyone knew better about me than me. Of course, I’d come to believe exactly the same thing about myself and I didn’t dare make my own life decisions without consulting with a “normal” person first. At least not without doubts, regrets, insecurity and anxiety.

The worst thing about it however, was all the help I was getting for everything. Getting help when needed is great, but I believed I couldn’t do without it and I didn’t bother trying. My father helped me with the groceries, helped me get my cat to the vet, my mother with laundry when I still didn’t own a washing machine and so much more that I’m now slightly embarrassed to admit. And I dreaded what would happen, if I one day, couldn’t get help any more. And for that, I was angry at myself and at the world. I was angry for not being good enough. I felt crippled, useless and at the same time, I was spoiled. Like a princess in a castle.

And then, I felt in love with my husband, who I’d met on vacation many years back. And I felt so madly, head over heels in love with him, that I simply couldn’t find it in myself to not try to be with him. Lucky for me, love – love itself or love for something – overshadows fear. So, on the 20th of September 2012, I came to Oslo with only two suitcases, not knowing the language and not having a single idea as to what I would do here.

And for months, I took language courses and went around and handing out my CV to restaurants and stores. When I started working, I worked on many jobs irrelevant to my studies, worked long shifts, started working in Norwegian only one year after moving here and even had three jobs at the same time at one point. I’m not trying to impress you. I didn’t even impress myself. On the contrary, I was disappointed with myself and I didn’t understand why I had to fight so hard when others seem to have it easier. Why other people know from the beginning what they want, where they’re going, what they’re doing, or land a job more easily.

What kept me going, was the deep knowledge that the man I’m with, is really special and I want to build a life with him, but that wasn’t all. There was also this weird kind of persistence in me, of which I’d only seen glimpses of in the past, telling me “I will not give up! I will never give up!”

Three years forward and having finally found a job that I thrive with, I was in the middle of a ceiling-therapy session (a.k.a. me staring at the ceiling), when it finally dawned on me. I thought, “If something goes wrong now, will I not make it alone?” “Hell yeah I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna fight!” and that moment is worth gold to me, because it was the first time after decades, that I gave myself an honest vote of confidence. It was the first time I felt capable enough and strong enough to manage on my own, come what may.

I think I needed to fight so hard for what I want, because it was the only way I could prove myself that I am actually able to and that I am good enough. I had achieved things in the past, but it’s almost as if nothing sunk in, as long as I couldn’t deal with my problems on my own.

And I really want to share this moment with anyone who’s insecure and anyone who’s lost faith in themselves, because I discover more and more every day, how many these people are, how many believe that they can’t make it on their own, how many want to try, but don’t dare. This has nothing to do with success, because I still struggle, I’m still changing, failing, growing, learning. I will,  probably, keep doing so, for the rest of my life.This is hopefully an inspiring story for all the princesses and princes, who want to go out and live, but hesitate.

Success as it’s served to us nowadays, is a synonym of perfection anyway and that makes it  an unattainable goal. Success for me, is being the person you want to be and hard work, is the only prerequisite for that.

Published by Eleni Riga-Johansen