Ever After has just come on the TV. I was obsessed with this movie when I was a kid. Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Ever After. All of them have the common themes of being saved by someone; becoming a princess. Even now, at 28 years old, I sit here watching this movie and I wonder when my fairy tale moment will come.

But I shake myself because I’m bigger than that now. I’ve been struggling against this whole ‘somebody save me’ complex that I have had since I was a child, and I’m starting to realise that it started with these movies.

But so much has been written about that, and so many changes have been made by Disney storytellers in today’s new movies that this isn’t really the point of this piece. I’m more focused on how I have saved myself and made my own version of a fairy tale.

I’m nearly 29 years old. I have no savings, I have no assets, I live from month to month, relying on my pay to come through so I can feed myself, pay for my gym membership and maybe have a city break every couple of months.

I am going against all the things that I was taught growing up: financial stability, settling down, being solid as a rock, having options because I’ve worked hard to cement my place in the world. I yearn for that as much as I yearn for being saved – and both of these things go hand in hand.

I’m going to call this position ‘solidity’. Solidity has taught me that my success in the world is tied to following a certain path. The path of solidity has assets. This path has success laid out in an often linear fashion: university, job, partner, career, house, family – maybe with marriage thrown in the mix.

I tried this path: university, job, partner, career, family. It didn’t make me happy – I felt an almost painful sense of failure at all stages. I did things in the wrong order, I became a stepmother quite young, I put so much pressure on myself to be the best in all areas of my life. It was too much – too much pressure on me. And most of the time this pressure was coming from myself and not others. I had it in my head that I was meant to do things a certain way and that I should be succeeding in a certain way. I wasn’t doing it the right way.

My life has tended to go in a less traditional direction. I do things the hard way – I don’t know whether it’s just because I like the challenge or because I’m subconsciously trying to break myself out of the path of solidity – and I learn a lot from it.

If one path is solidity, the other path is best described as fluidity. I’ve always wanted to go with the flow, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I’ve actually worked out how to do it. My yearning for solidity made me terrified of what might happen if I gave up the certainty of assets, career, family and being in one spot.

But I had to recognise that solidity wasn’t working for me.

I was unhappy and I hadn’t seen the world. I’d let fear get in the way and I’d let myself be trapped by what I thought were the world’s expectations of me. I’d been waiting for somebody to come along and save me from my life. All those movies that I’d watched and loved as a child had taught me that when you’re sad or when something isn’t going right for you then somebody would come along and save you from it. Then you could live happily ever after. Why hadn’t that happened to me?

Spoiler alert: I had to do it for myself.

I’ve put so much pressure on myself to ‘succeed’, but what I didn’t realise that success isn’t something solid or something that has a set path. Success is fluid. It changes from person to person; it changes from year to year. It can even change from day to day. It’s fluid and it’s subjective. My path of solidity might be the perfect path for someone else; it just isn’t the right one for me.

I’m nearly 29 years old. I have no savings, I have no assets, I live from month to month, relying on my pay to come through so I can feed myself, pay for my gym membership and maybe have a city break every couple of months.

But I have moved to the other side of the world with no plan and landed on my feet. I do not have any family on this side of the world but I have started making my own with friends. I am seeing the world, slowly but surely. I am learning new skills in a supportive gym – I can hang upside down in an aerial hoop and work my way around it in odd positions. I can spin a hula hoop around my body with my hands. I can brighten people’s day with my sense of humour. I can strategise and compromise and educate and learn. I can look after myself and look after my friends. I can embroider and cross stitch. I can knit and crochet. I can do a handstand and a cartwheel. I can write. I can read. I can dance (not well, but I can still do it). I can empathise. I can be there for friends and family. I can love. I can laugh. I can feel sadness. I can feel.

My success isn’t measured by my assets or where I am on the path of solidity. My success is fluid and, at the moment, I feel pretty damn successful.

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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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