by Mel @troubleon8wheels
It's time to spill.
Why do we all roller skate?
Why is it such an important part of our lives?
Why do we insist on shouting about how amazing it is and getting our friends and family (who look at us like we are raving) to join us too?
Because we, as women and non-binary folks, have taken back control of our lives. We have found our authentic selves and started to show up as her. It feels like a weight has been lifted as we are no longer pretending to be perfect and that is JOYFUL.
Finally, we have stopped putting our needs last (below the dog and house plants for goodness sake) and have realised that by carving our self care time, we are actually mentally rested and physically renewed (this one may take a while as we need to build those specialised muscles first haha).
Finally, we have decided that when our own cup is full, we can be more generous without any resentment for doing acts of kindness for others. Yep, even cleaning hair out of the drain.
I used to be that woman who quietly cleaned the house, fuming on the inside, by smiling on the outside. Kill them with kindness? No, just my generous spirit, as my family thought the cleaning fairy had visited again. Cheeeers.
To say that roller skating changed my life is an understatement. I have found life-long friends, my staff and team, confidence I didn't know I had and I have an outlet to support mental wellbeing through marriage breakdown, divorce and life as a single parent. Through roller skating, I acquired skills that I never dreamed were possible! I remember looking at these strong athletic women, thinking "I will never be able to do that, but I really really want to." Courage and commitment are all you need.
Courage to step out of your comfort zone, and commitment to show up for yourself. You are showing up for no one else by learning these skills. Over time, you notice the change. In fact, you probably WON'T notice the change. Instead, your friends and family will notice you have an inner glow (I'm not talking about perspiration). That, my love, is your self confidence growing.
Fast forward over a decade, and I still love roller skating. Even more than this though, I love seeing women and non-binary folks in particular grow and develop their inner confidence after attending our classes. I can think of at least a few hundred times these people said "I will never be able to do this, I don't know why I agreed to come." I said "You don't have to do this. I'm certainly not going to make you skate if you are so anxious that you can't get up. You sit there as long as you need, and watch. Maybe later, you'll feel okay to join in."
Here's the thing that makes the difference, so these women can finally get up off their chairs? Knowing you're not the worst one in the room. The fear of judgement of others as an adult is crippling. I'm saying that you should expect to be terrible at roller skating the first few times you try. It's hard and the movements are unnatural. No-one was born with skates on their feet (thank goodness). But you can learn. At any age.
Right okay Mel, but what do I buy? The choice is overwhelming!
There is very little that will make roller skating easier when you are starting out. Very little indeed. Those wheels the internet forums or that sponsored skater is telling you to buy are not magic, and will not help. Sorry to burst that bubble!
Roller Girl Gang is proudly independent. That means we do not accept corporate sponsorship (though it would help so much with getting my dream roller rink lol) because I refuse to recommend that one product is the 'best'. This is a subjective and comparative word. It implies there are inferior products. Okay, there ARE inferior products, as cheap roller skates are often poorly made, using cheap materials that will not last, and are not comfortable. If you accidentally bought yourself a roller skate that wasn't a great one when you started, just be kind to yourself now. The companies behind those skates will have a huge marketing budget. How could you ever expect to find great skates first time around? It's okay love. There are many types of roller skate, even within the recreational skate market. You just need to find the right skate for you.
Many folks come to our shop and tell us that they are not ready to invest in a good quality pair of roller skates, they will just buy a cheap pair to see if they like it. Unfortunately, they probably won't. A cheap pair of roller skates just won't give you the same experience that a good quality pair will - in fact they may even make learning to roller skate harder! Nightmare!
So, come into our shop, whether online or in person. We will write you a note if you're online shopping or you can drop us an email if you've got questions. There are probably other blog posts right here on our site that will help.
By choosing us, you are supporting a woman and skater owned business. You are choosing products that have been carefully sourced and built with love. You are choosing to make faster progress with your roller skating because you have invested in a quality product that can do more. We simply say 'buy the best you can'. The more you spend, the better your experience will be.
Our custom collection is something I am so proud of. Started in November 2020, just one month after I opened the bricks and mortar shop, I started pulling together roller skate parts and creating beautiful custom builds. Every single pair is unique. A little piece of wearable art, lovingly crafted by us, using the skills we have learned and refined over years, so we know what makes a great roller skate. Many of these have gone to loving homes, but we have some skates that remain in our shop, appreciated by us, but feeling unfulfilled. I know why. People do not understand the value these skates will bring. Investing in a beautiful metal plate is a one-time thing. Even if the boot wears out, you'll only need to replace the boot, making your future impact more sustainable. How brilliant you can simply re-use parts of your roller skates!
Maybe you're thinking
"Nah, I can't afford that right now."
"It's not for me - I'm too clumsy" (You move in a totally different way when you skate, and EVERYONE falls, so clumsiness is celebrated)
"When I get better / hit this milestone, I'll invest in a nice pair."
Okay, great. We look forward to welcoming you when the time is right for you. We want to empower women and non-binary folks to become more confident in themselves. Because when we understand our power, we will change the world to be a more caring, generous place. I choose to take back the control in my life, and those around me. Yes, by roller skating.
Please share this blog post and tell people to shop with Roller Girl Gang! We are on a huge mission and we need your help.
Thank you love!