Stand Clear... Doors Closing.

I am a believer in mass transportation and urban planning models/ideologies that support people living in community. Though I was raised in NYC, and went to college in Washington, DC, I have spent the majority of my adult life in suburban and urban-sprawled spaces... where the freedom to hop in my Toyota Prius was always present -- but the personal thrill of interacting with the world and people in a more engaging way became absent. Moving to a small town in rural Ecuador where I walk everywhere has awakened this sense of wonder again, and it makes me miss that casual connection with random strangers as we all ran to catch the Q36 on the corner of 181st and Hillside Ave every school day.

I miss running for blocks to the Queens Village Long Island Railroad station, knowing that it would take me exactly 5 minutes at a full clip to make it there, buy my ticket, get up the stairs and on my trip to Manhattan. The spirit of Michael Johnson was usually upon me, but missing that train and knowing the next one was an hour or more away is a feeling that doesn't disappear. Sometimes, it feels worse than missing a flight, I kid you not.

I miss the times when my friends and I would hear the conductor (or computerized announcer) say: "Stand clear of the doorway, doors closing!" And we would stand in the doorway anyway until every last one of our group got on board. I've been yelled at a few times, by both conductors and fellow passengers alike, but that's just life growing up in NYC. I might have yelled back once or twice in teenage angst. I hope they forgave me.


Me and fellow PCV Javier riding the Metrovia (express bus line) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The doors close as if we are on a train, and yes, I've gotten stuck on one of these, too. Ah, nostalgia.


"Stand clear... doors closing." It is a refrain that I have heard in my brain as I transition out of my "turbulent twenties" in the coming months. This is the first big milestone birthday I've had in almost 10 years, and a lot has happened since then. I call my 20s "turbulent" because so many variables played a role in the human writing this today. It was a time of taking on new adventures, experiencing new things, testing out different waters, dating many people, moving many places, trying out new styles, ideologies and belief systems.

I dove head-first into a lot of waters, and sometimes I hit the shallow end and hurt myself very badly. Other times I dove into the deep and almost drowned. But I kept returning to the surface; lifting my body out of the pool of darkness to dry off in the sun; healing my broken bones and mending my heart toward wholeness, or so I had hoped. But scars from traumas maltreated broke through skin and bone, and in 2018, I finally sought professional support to recover the right way. It was like whatever water was trapped in my lungs finally flooded out and ever since, I have been learning how to breathe again.

Breathe. Again. Tai-Chi helps a lot with this :-)

The greatest gift my twenties has given me was opportunities to explore. The greatest lesson my twenties has provided me is that just because I try something on doesn't mean I have to keep wearing it forever. Turning thirty now means letting go of the things that do not fit; of walking away from the activities, places and people that seemed like a good idea but actually was threatening my soul & my freedom.

I'd dressed myself in layers of identities that do not match the woman God created. I never thought that I could take them off, so they weighed me down like a down coat in June. But for the past few months I have been stripping down to my purest self. I am no longer in search of your gaze, acclaim, or acceptance, but in response to deep love that already lives within me. Dear God, it's me, [Arielle].

I am reclaiming the wonder I once had of hopping through train cars, of late-night heart-to-hearts with my parents, of unbridled laughter, of getting lost on back roads, of sunsets, of letting people back in. Of Mice And Men. (kidding)

I am walking away from lives I once lived in search of the person that was already here. I am shutting windows, turning off lights, stepping back through thresholds into open spaces, saying goodbyes for good.

Stand clear... Doors closing.


#ThrowbackThursday: Riding the E or F train with my mama a few years ago at Christmastime :)


At the end of October, my domain is changing for a bit while I rebuild the website on another platform. I will post the new link as soon as I can. Hopefully I can keep ownership of the website in full! Say a prayer for me, haha. *cracks knuckles*

#change #epiphany #growth #transportation #bus #train #transit #nyc #guayaqui

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