We hear of “out-of-body” or “near death experiences” (NDEs) where individuals report being the observer of themselves. Recollections describe “being the observer” like the person was “watching what was happening” from above their bodies. In the case of NDEs there have been feelings of overwhelming Joy and Love, and often a bright light is described in some capacity.

Pretty interesting stuff. Not exactly what I am writing about today but no less powerful was an experience I had yesterday. I have the good fortune of being able to count on a trip to the nail salon every few weeks as part of my “self-care” routine. I enjoy a good podcast or Ted Talk and an hour later my hands and feet look like new.

Toward the end of this process yesterday, I had a moment where everything got quiet, and kind of muffled. In one ear, chimed my iPhone content on a very low volume and I could still hear what was happening around me. Although I’d been pretty engaged with the subject matter at some point the dynamic in the salon shifted and I couldn’t really hear my phone.

It was brief, maybe five or six seconds, where all of my senses seemed to converge as an aggregate of the shared energy in the room. As I took a deep breath I felt an intense connection to the others who were not engaged with me whatsoever except the woman who was painting my fingernails.

The clientele at the shop was diverse. There were three customers in addition to me, and as many staff members so seven total women. A quiet buzz of conversation was the foundation for the louder nosies that came from the street or a phone ringing. If you have ever been on a boat that was moving, and lost power suddenly you may be familiar with this feeling, which I can only describe as instant loss of movement and sound. Things got suddenly quiet, and slow.

When this happened I gazed around the room. I noticed the range in our ages, and appearances. I observed the varying ethnicities among our group and suddenly felt I was among royalty. I thought about the tragedies that likely ran through the hearts and hands of each woman.

Our shared cultural struggles flashed before me, like the pressure to conform. Like the expectations to be all things to all people, have healthy babies, look like the airbrushed images that plaster our society and be great at everything. I thought of all the women that had to struggle for us to be there, in the salon, getting our nails done, and the sacrifices made by our ancestors so that we could do things like work, vote and run for President.

There was a thread of connection, that was more like a wide, shiny ribbon that ran through all of us, with our chit chat in English and other languages, some with each other and one on the phone. It was as if some dramatic, tear jerking movie was about to end, and this was that last scene that revealed the good fortune of those in it. It was the “everyone ends up ok” type of sentiment, right as the camera was panning out.

In those seconds, short and long as they were, my eyes filled with unexplainable tears. I felt grateful, present and reminded that there are few things that cannot be made a little better by a good manicure and a room full of able bodied, strong, resilient and beautiful women.

And for those things that can’t be made better by a trip to the salon, we women have each other. Always have, always will.

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