Why you should care
Because the road to hell is paved with lots of shiny things.
Welcome to OZY Confidential, OZY’s NEW weekly podcast — you know, the one your mother warned you about — for people for whom pushing the envelope is the only way to deal with both envelopes and pushing. Subscribe now to follow OZY Confidential on Apple Podcasts, wherever else you listen to podcasts — or even follow along on YouTube.
In the history of Road to Damascus moments, former professor Josefine Nauckhoff’s shock of clarity came at what most would call an “inopportune” time. Specifically at the business end of a glass crack pipe. Nauckhoff, always stunningly lucid even in spaces that would have staggered those of lesser constitutional fortitude, identified it for what it was: a life-changing event.
So despite a pedigree that included degrees from Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, an easy fluency with at least three languages, a family background of Swedish nobility and, weirdly enough, the winning of beauty contests, Nauckhoff would embrace her newly found life with a certain brio. And certainly a brio for living through addiction and then, a way to pay for all that crack she found herself wanting to do: prostitution.
Beyond that, another twist, which is where this story picks up. Nauckhoff’s clear-eyed and no-bullshit take on roads not-oft traveled is delivered, maybe most importantly, without guilt, shame or regret. It happened as life happens. Honestly and without any interest or urge to sugarcoat, equivocate or mitigate. Nothing human should be foreign to us, and when Nauckhoff’s tale of trouble unspools it won’t be because it can’t be.
Listen closely. And remember that what you might only find hard to listen to, she had to live through. It’s a story of rises, falls and another eventual rise to where Nauckhoff is now: a happy mother of two living in a suburb outside Stockholm where she’s in the midst of starting a public advocacy company that helps single Swedish mothers untangle the difficulties of the much-vaunted Swedish support system.