By a lot of measurements, Myriah Marquez wasn’t cut out to be a skater. She was a girl in a small Southern town. The only skateboarding she saw was on MTV. And when she was eleven, she was diagnosed with a physically debilitating illness.
The sickness turned her life upside down. Myriah was constantly at the hospital, and when treatments caused her to rapidly gain weight, she became a target for bullies at school. Longing for an escape, her mind drifted to the skating she saw on TV, and the freedom that seemed to come with it. As soon as she was able, Myriah found a skateboard, and took off. What she discovered surprised even her.
It was a lonely hobby at first. “I was the only girl that skated in my town…at least that I knew of. I got told, ‘what do you think you look like…skating with boys all night?” Myriah recalls. Yet, even with the lack of support, Myriah had found something special, even restorative, in skating. She explains, “when I get on my skateboard, all my ailments fade away. I don’t say that to be cliché. I truly mean that. My spasms stop, my thoughts stop, my pain stops and I’m just there—present.” What started as an escape from bullying and pain became a lifelong wellness practice.