I didn’t take my nail polish off, before I showed up to my court hearing—though I did think about it the night before. It was almost spring. I’d filed a claim the previous fall with the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program (PSA: Every state has one) for reimbursement of sex-abuse costs—therapy, wage loss, a burial plot commemorating my forced abortion. The attorney general had denied it. I’d filed an appeal. The AG had denied that, too. The next and only other step was to appeal to the Ohio Court of Claims.
So I did. I represented myself, out of necessity, not choice, which means I also had to write and submit my own brief, which I had no fucking idea how to do. The day before the early-morning Zoom hearing, I looked down at my nail polish and wondered if I should remove it. If removing it made me more respectable. Which is just a euphemism for “straighter.” Which in the justice system—in all the systems—means “better.”