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[Show Up To Grow] Day 22: Redefining Cool

By Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels

For years I wanted to be one of the cool kids. I did everything I could to fit in, but was the odd one out in every situation.

There was no social media then. Instead we had teen magazines, full of images and articles that created a generation of insecure women. Girls should be small and cute. I had an early growth spurt and was the tallest kid in every class until I was 14. I enjoyed being creative and playing the piano growing up, yet music was for nerds and sport was celebrated. The longer, swishier and blonde your hair, the more like a Timotei shampoo advert, the better. Of course, my straight black hair was cut into a bob in order to be ‘low maintenance’. Make up should be as dewy as possible, but I wasn’t allowed to wear make up.

No fitting in for me then. Instead, I spent my teenage years finely honing my identity as the quirky girl, who does unexpected things. I learned to play the bass guitar and started a band at 16 years old. I shunned what I saw as mainstream and went to any subgenre. Grunge, Britpop, Nu metal, Emo. Wearing vintage clothing. (The photo is me aged 17).

I found that I was quite enjoying the alternative to cool. And that’s cool! I stopped trying to fit in and found people who liked the same things as me. Slowly slowly I became more secure in what I liked.

I dabbled in sports and found I was quite a good sprinter. When I went to university, I carried on being active, trying everything from kickboxing to swimming to yoga. Nothing was quite right. For years I attended aerobics and circuit training classes. I ended up learning the routines by heart and it just became too familiar. I needed mental stimulation as well as needing achey muscles then.

Hello roller skating.

What activities did you try before you found roller skating?

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