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Following trends is nothing new. Long before Kitsch curls and Lululemon belt bags, there were perms and, well, the original fanny packs. There’s been a constant, circulating rotation of must-buys for us to feel cool or relevant. And we women have been especially pressured to think we need these things to be accepted and part of the elusive village.

Keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians for that matter) has just never been my thing. There are plenty of reasons why I’ll never be called a trendy girl: I can’t afford to be one. I lack the stylish eye required. I don’t want to lose my originality.

For those and other reasons, there have been a few circumstances when I couldn’t quite find my place in those crowds. I couldn’t keep up with the “it” looks or products. There’d be whispers about what other women were wearing, and they weren’t complimentary.

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Well, I ain’t buying it. Literally. And girl, you don’t need any of those trends either to have my friendship.

Because even though style trends have been around for centuries, they seem to have escalated lately. We’ve become a cog in the consumerism wheel that makes us connect spending money to gaining acceptance. Not only do our clothes, hair, home, or car need to be presentable, now our cups too?!

(Okay, maybe the Stanley craze is what finally brought me over the edge about this! Must we have stylish cups?! I mean, we used to drink water out of the garden hose, ladies. Remember? We don’t need to get fancy with how we hydrate.)

But I digress. This isn’t about cups. Or eyelash extensions. Or the Kia Telluride that all of a sudden has become so popular you need to join a one-year waitlist just to consider one. It’s not about the stuff. It’s about thinking you need the stuff to have a village.

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That’s not a village I want to join. I want the village that yells at my kids to check for cars before crossing the street. The one that includes back deck chats while the kids bounce on the trampoline. I want the village that tells me there’s food in my teeth and then tries to help me pick it out. The one that swaps clothes with me instead of buying new.

I’m lucky to say I’ve found that kind of village. It’s a breath of fresh air, not to mention an ease on my wallet and peace of mind. And if someone new comes along looking to join us, we’ll care more about her heart and sense of humor than whatever the heck she’s drinking out of.

To be sure, she could be clad in every designer trend possible, and we’d never judge her for it. So long as she’s just as comfortable hanging in the front yard barefooted with her husband’s sweatpants on. Because around here, we don’t fuss. And you shouldn’t have to, either.

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Brianna Baranowski

Brianna Baranowski is a California girl loving the Iowa way of life! She is a boy mom who thrives on authentic and honest connection. Brianna is a writer, naturalist, and former teacher.

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