Sixteen year old Priscilla projected a false confidence and bravado to all of her classmates in an attempt to garner their respect and build her own self esteem. Her ostentatious ways only served to alienate her further. There were only two girls in school who could tolerate her enough to be called associates. Priscilla would commonly proudly say that she didn’t have friends, she only had associates. Secretly she wanted nothing more than to have close and dear friends to share her teenage experiences with. Well to do was Priscilla’s family and they cherished their only daughter greatly. She was treated like a princess always getting whatever she desired. Her two older brothers took exception to their parents favoritism but got over it because they had something more valuable in their late teens, friends.
Name brand fashions were a must for Priscilla and she went to great lengths to show them off. She would wear a Guess top, Ralph Lauren bottoms, a Gucci scarf and Baby Fat shoes just to show that she had everything. Instead of receiving accolades for her wardrobe she received ridicule for not knowing how to put her clothes together. Priscilla turned her nose up at everyone and put on airs of being superior to them when in actuality she remained insecure. Priscilla was average looking at best but her attitude made her somewhat ugly. Girls whispered about Priscilla’s large eyes; their nickname for her was ET as in the extra terrestrial. Priscilla always pretended not to hear it but she did, she always did. The spring of her sophomore year she turned sixteen, received her driver’s license and convinced her parents to purchase her a used BMW. When Priscilla pulled up in the school student parking lot Monday morning in her new car she just knew that she would be the envy of every girl in school. She took her time getting out as students gathered around to see who had pulled up in the new fly ride. She stepped out of her vehicle even more pompous than the week before. When everyone saw who got out of the car, grumbles and insults were hurled from the crowd of students at both Priscilla and her new car. Priscilla just sucked her teeth, rolled her eyes and strutted pass the “haters”.
Her artificial arrogance appeared true to her classmates but their lack of appreciation for Priscilla’s new vehicle actually hurt her heart. She ducked into a rarely used hallway bathroom and shed a few tears. She then put her face back on equipped with counterfeit cocky smirk and headed off to homeroom. Priscilla was grateful for her associates Jill and Judy’s complements on her new car during lunch. She still couldn’t find a way to be gracious, instead her comments once again came off as conceited and narcissistic. Priscilla sat in her room that night and tried to think of new ways to be more popular in school. She thought to herself that maybe a new look would help her situation. Priscilla looked through magazines searching for the new her, eventually she found it. She ran with the article in hand into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner and demanded that she take her to the beauty supply store right away to help her pick it out. Two hours later Priscilla returned home with the most glamorous wig that she could find and her mother returned with a headache from extended exposure to her spoiled daughters whining and complaining.
The next day Priscilla pulled up in that pretty car of hers and strutted across the parking lot and into the high school with her new wig on. She just knew she would turn heads. Instead she merely received a few smirks from the girls in the hall; again only Jill and Judy complemented her. From Priscilla they received lies about the wig being her hair in return for their kind words. Both girls were sure that she was being deceitful. Priscilla liked the wig look so she stuck with it. She pinned her hair and wore a fitted stocking cap under wig to ensure a good fit. After five weeks straight of Priscilla wearing the wig, people started to take notice and not in a flattering way.
“Wanda, can you believe that stuck up ass Priscilla is still wearing that tired wig on her head.”
Wanda looked over her girlfriend’s shoulder across the lunch room at Priscilla and her two associates.
“Oh hell naw! I know she ain’t still got that damn thang on her head. What’s wrong wit that goofy girl? That damn ET.”
TT just shrugged and laughed at Priscilla’s fashion faux pas. Just then the daring New York transplant Angie joined the two girls at the table.
“Angie, you see ET’s wig?”
“Yea Wanda, her shit looks busted yo.”
Then TT spoke up.
“I bet you won’t go snatch it off her head.”
Angie sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes at the challenge.
“I ain’t gonna snatch that girls raggedy wig off but if she keeps wearin’ it everyday then I will.”
A mischievous grin covered Wanda’s face as she prepared to issue another challenge to her girlfriend.
“Ok Angie if she still got that wig on come Friday then you gonna snatch it off.”
Angie smiled because she was up to the challenge and she really disliked the big headed rich girl Priscilla. In the South Bronx where she was from not even grown people drove around in BMWs and here this girl was with one and she was only a sophomore.
“Alright then bet, if she got that whack ass wig on Friday I’m gonna snatch that bitch off.”
The girls all laughed and gave high fives around the table. Friday came around and Priscilla still had on her wig believing she looked good. Priscilla had become a little lax with the upkeep of the wig as well as her hair below; she no longer wore a cap or pinned her hair down. She now just stuffed the wig on her head and headed off to school everyday. The three girls lay in wait for her as she took a seat at a table in the middle of the cafeteria. Just as she got situated Angie ran by and snatched her wig off tossed it on the table in front of her. Angie continued to run and hid in the library until things died down.
The cafeteria erupted in laughter as Priscilla struggled to get the wig back on her head straight to no avail. She propped it on top of her head and ran pass TT and Wanda doubled over pointing and laughing at her on her way to the bathroom. In the bathroom Priscilla attempted to compose herself before going to homeroom. She was irate at Angie for what she had done but Priscilla wasn’t much of a fighter and she definitely didn’t want to getting into a physical altercation with Angie of all people. Angie could fight and she did it often. Priscilla decided that instead she would take the high road and act as if it never happened. She would hold her head high and be dignified about the situation; she refused to stoop to their childish level, mostly because she didn’t know how to retaliate. Priscilla made it through the day with her large eyes a little lower than usual. She was now more humble than hubris and in desperate need of a change of scenery. When she returned home she demanded that her mother transfer her to another school.
“Mama I don’t want to go to that school anymore with those dumb kids.”
Priscilla’s mother was puzzled, her daughter was getting good grades and she had the nicest stuff; why would she want to change schools?
“What’s wrong baby? Why do you want to change schools?”
“People there are mean. They make fun of my clothes, my eyes, my new car and now my hair.”
“I don’t understand, you wear nice clothes, drive a nice car and are pretty smart. Why don’t they like you?”
“I don’t know?”
“Well what are you doing for them to like you?”
“I don’t do anything; I’m not going to try to get them to like me.”
“Well honey maybe by not trying to get people to like you, your actually doing things to get them to dislike you. You are my daughter and I love you but you can be a little stuck up sometimes and you’re a little too wrapped up in material things. I know that I am part to blame because I spoiled you rotten but it might be time to grow up now. You need to learn that it’s what’s on the inside that counts; be yourself. Be your good self; treat people well. Now, I can’t transfer you until next school year but maybe a fresh start will be good for you. When you do start at your new school I want you to learn from some of the mistakes you made at this school. I love you and I want you to be happy baby but you have to treat people good in order for them to be good to you. We are blessed with a lot more than most people are and if you rub it in their faces they will resent you for it, you understand?”
Priscilla looked up from her pillow and answered her mother in the affirmative after a few moments of contemplation on the events of the school year and her behavior.
“Yes mama, I understand.”
“Good, now come here and let’s do something with that hair. I’m taking you to Hot N Now to get your hair done.”
Priscilla jumped up and hugged her mother tight and kissed her on the cheek.
“Oh thank you mommy. I love you.”
Patricia looked down at her daughter and smiled before answering.
“I love you too baby.”
Many times in life the things we do to draw people closer to us actually pushes them further away when those things are superficial rather than set and sealed with substance.