Last year I was getting outside more than I had ever done. During the darkness of Melbourne’s lockdowns, we were first allowed out an hour a day for exercise, and then two.  I genuinely loved the fresh air and movement – because there was nowhere else I could be. 

I kept seeing videos of women rollerskating. Black women; fat women; queer women; women wearing hijabs, a woman using a mobility aid. Skating seemed to be for everyone!

They were skating in unused car parks and on quiet roads, with sunset filters and retro soundtracks. I could do that, I thought! 

And then, when a friend bought skates that looked like watermelons on wheels (coral and green), I searched for some too. 

There seemed to be a rollerskate shortage – everywhere was sold out! After hours of middle of the night searching for rollerskates (which beats doom scrolling in a global pandemic) I finally found  a near new pair in my size on Facebook marketplace for $60. If I didn’t stick with this hobby, at least I didn’t pay a heap, I thought. I ordered a helmet and padding even before the skates arrived. My mint green skates with pink laces arrived, and I couldn’t wait to put them on. 

When my skates arrived, we were still limited to two hours out of the house, in a five km zone. And so I could only venture to a barbecue area – which was enough for me. I put them on, and I gave it a go. It was quite scary being on eight wheels off the ground.  I held onto a pole a lot. 

When I did move, I was Bambi! I was so …….

Carly Findlay

Carly Findlay is an award-winning writer, blogger, author, speaker and appearance activist based in Melbourne. Her first book, a memoir, is called Say Hello. She has wrote for #MeToo – Stories from the Australian Movement, and is editing Growing Up Disabled in Australia. Carly writes on disability and appearance diversity issues for news outlets such as the ABC, The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and SBS. She was named one of Australia’s most influential Women (2014) and was named one of the Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. Carly has appeared on many TV and radio shows, and was the organiser of the ground breaking event Access to Fashion for Melbourne Fashion Week 2018, featuring disabled models. Carly identifies as a proud disabled woman.