The claws came off yesterday. 

Sounds like the opening for a bar fight or a stand that ended in handcuffs, but no drama.  I had my acrylic nails taken off.  I’d been getting fills for over six months and my left thumbnail was staring to look a bit funky when the polish was removed.  This left me with the options of putting on a new set of acrylics or getting a manicure on my regular nails.

“They’ll feel so light,” the nail tech said as the filer buzzed.  Minuscule dots of royal color fluttered through the air until they dropped on the paper towel.   He looked at me knowingly as he said, “Just do a regular gel manicure on your nails.”

Not used to someone trying to down sell a service, I trusted him implicitly.  Plus, light sounded nice, as much as I loved the powerful feeling that the claws gave me.  One can’t Miranda Priestly everyday. 

Light I went.  Shortened up, jet-black, and suddenly without the need to tap my nails on counters.   

The short walk back to my apartment was nearly perfect.  Sunny, a slight breeze, and as I walked down 170th, I realized I was walking with my head up.  High. 

I don’t know if the fact that I was listening to The Bangles, “If She Knew What She Wants,” had something to do with it. 

I don’t know if it was the realization that the following day it would be one year since my plane landed in PDX for the marathon trip that would change my life.  I wrote something about my soul/sole reason for returning to the Midwest was to collect the Bitches.  When my therapist heard I was going to Portland for the marathon, she looked me right in the eye and said, “You’ll never leave.” 

Although I didn’t really understand what she was getting at in that moment, when the plane touched down in Sioux Falls, it felt like a weight dropped on my chest and the tears noted, “You’ll never leave.”

We’ve been figuring out our space here.  It takes time, but it’s happening.  It’s funny how ballsy people think it is to pack your life into a PODS unit and roll out 1,500 miles with nothing more than an apartment set up.  I saw no other option at that point.  And as different as things are, lots of things are the same.  The important differences are the ones lodged between my ears. 

I have an Oregon license and plates, so it feels official now.

The Bitches dig all the places to run and the dog parks. 

I start a gig on Monday.  It will be familiar, but challenging in its own ways. 

I am dating someone who is awesome.  Yes, I’m still a private person when it comes to relationships, but there aren’t any Watergate-style cover-ups with this man. 

I am not hiding who I am anymore. 

Plus, the Huskers and the Vikings are both undefeated.  Not saying my choices have a direct correlation to that and if I say much more, who knows what will happen…

I’m always spouting off about life having second and third acts.  It’s true.  If you ever think you’re completely stuck and have screwed things up to the point where you have to settle for an okay life, that’s a lie.  That’s a shitty lie that fear tells you.  Fear is always gonna have a voice, the trick is to hear it, but not listen.  I thought I was well into Act Two, but I am realizing it’s just starting. 

Cheers to walking with my head held high.