Life as a plain jane: missing that fly over state


I’ve told you all before that I grew up in the Midwest. Did I tell you it was in one of the flyover states? That I’m from South Dakota. Yes, people live there.
My earliest childhood memories involve tractors and my grandfathers farm. We were entertained by dirt and the amount that could accumulate under my grandpas nails while he worked in the shed. I remember gardening with my aunt. I remember sewing with my mother. Life was simple. It wasn’t just simple because I was young, it was simple because I was home.
There are times you can drive miles without ever seeing a car or another human being. Houses are not stacked. Your neighbor may be a couple miles down the road. We had one true shopping mall in the whole state. Growing up I thought designer was Hollister and Abercrombie. The word “couture” didn’t exist in my vocabulary until I actually moved away. I thought 50$ was an expensive purse. It might stink, but you could live off minimum wage. Life was simple.
It may be the fact that somebody will tell your Grandma, aunt, or pastor- but, we all dressed fairly modestly. I didn’t wear sequins, or get my nails done every week. Hair was important, the higher the better. When I say high, I mean HIGH. Root lifter was my college best friend. A simple dress and a little makeup and I was all dolled up.
Someone noticed my “chipped” thumb nail polish this past week. They pointed out that it had been like that for days. I didn’t even notice. It’s still there about 10 days later, still not bothering me the least.
When I moved to Florida almost 6 years ago, I was in for a culture shock. People wore the stuff that I only thought existed in Vogue magazine. I may have been a little ignorant- but I really did not know how to buy or even find “designer” clothes. I bought a pair of 120$ Clearance Charles David heels and literally felt like I had lost my mind. The girls I went to hair school with had more bling in their nails then I did my entire jewelry box. My clothes were considered “basics.” I thought stripes made a statement- clearly I was wrong.
I wanted to find my place in this “huge” city so I clung to a cliche that made a little more sense. The hipsters wore handmade clothes and dared to be different. My personality had always been that so I adjusted my attire accordingly. I loved that season of my life. Instead of getting lost by the “things” a city has to offer, I got lost in adventure. Music, food, culture- it was all so new to me. I remember thinking how adventurous I was the first time I ate avocado at my neighbors.
I don’t know when it happened but at one point I let myself get lost in the city. I needed the best dress and let my husband buy me a coach purse. This might not seem like a big deal- but spending that much on a purse just a few years earlier would have sent red flags through my eyes. That’s money we can save, or give. Either way I didn’t need that much money spent to carry my money. I bought a partial backless dress for our engagement party. It was OVER the top for me. More then a couple people told me it was so plain. I bought sparkly shoes to jazz it up.
Ten days later that finger nail polish is still on my thumb nail. It’s not bothering me, or I hope anyone around me. It reminds me of simplicity, working hard in the yard, my mother doing dishes. Silly enough, I am now enjoying it slowly chip away. It is a reminder that there are much bigger worries. At the heart of who I am is simplicity. I am a plain jane. Life may be more “boring” in those fly over states, but it is a lot easier. I was surrounded by people as simple as me. Who would laugh that we both hadn’t had a pedicure in months.
Things are a lot slower there. I remember searching for things to do. I don’t remember the daily hustle the city has to offer. With no designer shops, there is no expectation of more. My personality was more important than my appearance. Cheap clothes meant they had holes, not a bad name. I was raised in the same house from 0-18. My neighbors knew more about me than most my close friends here. Life was slow. Slow enough to enjoy.
I miss that plain jane. As a mother, I’ve found my heart stays true to that part of me. I catch myself day dreaming of sitting around a bonfire with my son or going fishing in the lake out back. I imagine how different it will be here. The whole town won’t know who he is. I grew up with a village watching over me. My 12 year old self likes to think our parents had no idea what we were up to. Friends, we were wrong. There is something beautiful about that simplicity. There is less of a struggle to have the best and more of a struggle to be the best. I wish I could plant South Dakota in my back yard. For now, I’m adopting a plain jane policy over my home. Life is simple here. You don’t need to have your nails done or have the most expensive purse. I’ll speak to you like I’ve known you since I was 5. We can let our kids run in the yard, through the sprinklers. We can scream and laugh loud. We will pretend we can’t be heard for miles. We will stare up at the airplanes and imagine of far off places.

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