Re-issued: Story of a Mum Who Skates

For posterity, I’m reposting some select articles, interviews, and features from the first two issues of Malaise that were published in late 2014 and early 2015. Here’s Indigo giving a brief insight into herself as a mother and skateboarder. Indigo is also a bona-fide Dr. Nerd with accreditation in Sociology from University of Queensland and Griffith U and is a part of the Asian Australian Film Forum and Network. But skaters are dumb, right? 

Drop in at the old Paddo. Photo by Pat Gemzik

MY name is Indigo Willing, nickname ‘Indi’, and my locals in Brisvegas are Fairfield and Paddo. I’m 1001 years old, I’m a mum with a primary school-aged kid, and started skating two years ago.
It’s awesome how welcoming skaters in Brisbane have been, given I am different like that. And because I started skating super old I progress differently.
The guys and girls I see skating inspire me everyday to just do what I do and get in there. Whenever I roll, any troubles of the day also drift away. Life’s sometimes been hard for me, as it is for everyone. But when I’m skating I’m always laughing.
And I’m so grateful to say that because then my son is raised by a person who’s happiness, strength and courage is highly visible.
To show happiness is good; because I’m from a Vietnamese orphanage, have mixed heritage, and even though I was raised by a new Aussie family who never treated me differently, I lost my first family and am an orphan that way for life.
Being an outsider, you carry around a sense of loss and this deeper sadness, no matter how resilient and independent you also need to become along the way.
I like being resilient no matter what as it’s helped me achieve things like a PhD in Sociology – which surprised a lot of people given I was in trouble a lot and no-one had high hopes for Vietnamese people when I was growing up; gangs and heroin were the most noticeable element of our community.

When I finished studying, which was in-part to honour my Vietnamese ancestors and their sacrifices for my new life, I still worked very hard.
But you can also burn out, so I made time to start skateboarding, and life just throws the right people in your path sometimes.
The first person to teach me to stand on a board was my neighbour Evie Ryder who is a girl-skater who kills it. She was a finalist in the Girls Skate Australia skate comp in 2014, and was featured in an exhibition at Love Love Studio recently called ‘Play Free’.
The first time I learned to drop-in was at a skate workshop run by  Pat “Patty G” Gemzik and with some of Brisbane’s best skaters. Since then, I’ve continued to meet some of the most courageous and soulful people ever through skateboarding. All ages, genders and life stories.
My young son doesn’t skate yet, but he’s into art and is growing up surrounded by a lot of awesome skater friends, including a number of girl skaters from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
I love that it’s natural for him to see females changing skate trucks at home, getting immediately up from a slam and going for the same trick until they get it, or watching our skate videos and seeing us being very happy, supportive and strong.
This is way better than seeing his mum sitting around obsessed by mainstream TV and magazines about starving, plastic bodied celebrities wearing $400 socks with $4000 handbags, or failing to know how to respect other females for anything beyond how they look or who they date.

A skateboard is not influenced by that crap and doesn’t care where you’re from, how you look, or what you earn.


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