Paper Doll

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Today, I ventured out of my house and had hit 8k steps before 4 pm. I was exhausted. (I am so out of shape). Mind you, many of those steps were literal steps on a staircase. I felt weirdly human being out there in the wild earth. I felt the sunshine on my face as I walked past Jamaican fish sandwich shops and wig stores (one in particular caught my eye– it had a banner that said ‘Jesus Saves’ which I found to be odd and not exactly what I would expect for a wig shop. But I’m here for it, you know?). I was on the train with a woman who was unwell (that seems to be the most fitting word to describe many New Yorkers). She proceeded to open every window in the R train car where I was sitting. I can’t say I felt safe on that ride.

Ashley Olsen in When in Rome

To distract myself from the woman and all the noise from the train tunnel, I silently laughed at some of the clever New Yorker cartoons I had brought along. I remembered the ‘Giggle Gang’ section in the American Girl magazines (late 90s and early 2000s). My friend Jackie and I decided we were just as hilarious, and we would be comedians. We called ourselves the Giggle Gang. No joke, at the age of 10, if you would have asked me what I was going to grow up to be, I would have told you a writer, photographer, comedian (SNL type) or Shakira. And I would have a wardrobe like the Olsen twins (and in the back of my wardrobe, I would walk into Narnia). Epic.

I smile when I think back at all the things that made my world go ’round. It sometimes makes me sad when I think of kids today. What memories will they have other than screen-related ones? I hope many.

I had this issue. And I played with paper dolls.

If/when I have a child, I want them to read and spend time in nature and not be obsessed with consuming. No screens except for special family time (like a movie night) or a fun old old PBS show (like Arthur). I trust none of this new stuff. Ha. Side note: Did you hear Caillou got canceled from PBS? It’s about time that annoying cartoon child that teaches children to whine was banned. Only took them two decades. *sigh of despair*

I’m reading this book about etiquette, and it discusses the importance of families eating together and learning the art of conversation. I want that for my child.

As a child, I spent so many hours writing in journals. I probably averaged eight pages a day. I spent time making collages from magazines, writing short stories and trying to copy lewks from the pages of Teen People. It was a golden age.

Mandy Moore in her iconic Teen People spread

Feeling some major nostalgia. Who knew feeling human would bring on so many memories? Being at home alone for such long stretches of time is making me feel like a paper doll. Any reminder that I am still very much alive– I’ll take it, even if it includes a mad woman and some open windows.

Lizzie McGuire

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

3 thoughts on “Paper Doll

  1. First, woman on the train. Am wondering if she opened windows because of pandemic? Did the fresh air make her feel safer? Not sure you know, just pondering. And the art of conversation. Yes. Raising a teenager and trying to keep it alive . . . so many kids that age just can’t converse. They can text, but they can’t converse.

    1. I forgot to add she was laughing in a Disney villain fashion and trying to pry the doors open as well. But I am sure the windows helped for circulation even though we were underground the entire time. Her behavior was very off. I tried not to paint too disturbing of an image hahaha. But yes, it was quite a ride as she yelled to herself and laughed.
      I love that you are striving to keep the conversations alive. So important! #goals. I know he will thank you later. 🙂

      1. Oh man! Trying to pry the door is open on a moving train. OK. That puts it all into perspective. I’m glad she wasn’t successful and glad you escaped unscathed.

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