Pressure

By “Breaking Point”

I felt so stupid. Why did I feel that I had to do something wrong just to fit in? I read this article called, “Surrounding Pressure.” It talks about how peer pressure in America shapes crime and drug users because kids listen to their peers and don’t have the self-esteem to say “No.” I was one of those kids.

I wish I had the self-esteem to say “No” before I went to the mall with my friends that Saturday. They were trying to give me a “makeover” so I could get this guy I liked named Jason to like me. Even though when I first told them that I wanted him to be my boyfriend they laughed. “You would have to get a complete makeover if you ever wanted to get a boyfriend,” they said. I was this close to knocking them out with my purse when they told me they meant my personality.

Kevin, one of my so-called friends, told me “Guys prefer naughty girls with sex appeal. Face it, you’re not that type of girl but we can change that.” Sheila was the girly-girl type: attractive, spoiled and worshiped by the male population, so I assumed she knew what guys liked. John and Kevin were two of a kind. They were my friends but they were also your stereotypical athletic jerks who liked to cause problems of others. Then there was Layne. Layne was, our whining, back stabbing, wanna-be of a friend. Ok that wasn’t so nice but that’s the only way to describe her. She may not have been popular but I couldn’t forget her if I tried, although you could probably forget me.

I thought there was nothing attractive about me. I was this pleasant girl: the shy, hard working, goody two-shoes type. They wanted to put makeup on my face, and dress me in skimpy clothes. Basically, they wanted me to look like a hooker. And when we started to run out of money they decided to take what they needed.

I wasn’t the type who stole and they knew that. They kept telling me to “Just take it! This is where your makeover begins!” So I did, and I will never forget that feeling. I felt this strange and eccentric rush racing through me. It became a disease. I just kept taking lip-glosses and necklaces: it felt good. They all smiled and cheered me on as if I was some kind of a hero. Then this pale, hairy hand fell upon my shoulder. The good feeling was gone. I turned around and these security guards asked us to follow them to an office in the back of the store. They asked us if we were stealing and before John and Kevin could start spiting out their lies, Layne blurted out that they had been stealing all day. Technically, Layne didn’t steal, she just told me to and watched us do it, so she was let go. They told us that taking even the smallest thing could put us in jail. Although for some reason one of the security guards looked at me and asked, ” Why were you stealing?” He told me I looked like a good person. I didn’t know if I should’ve been glad or upset that even a stranger could tell that just by looking at me.

I explained and he told us he wasn’t going to turn us in. We were ecstatic. Then he said that he would still have to call our parents. For a moment jail seemed good to us. When I got home I got the beating of a lifetime. I also was grounded for 2 months but I thought it was worth it. Once we got to school on Monday morning, the news of our troubles swept the halls. No longer was I considered to be that shy little girl I was that previous Friday. I would’ve been happy expect it turned out that Jason liked the good-girl type. To add insult to injury, he started dating Layne.

As much as I wanted to go punch her huge nose in, I took some time to reflect. It was my fault. No one made me steal, and no one made me believe I wasn’t attractive but me. In a way I was grateful for what had happened. To this day, I thank God for allowing me to see that there was nothing wrong with being a good person. I also thank God for allowing Layne to be dumped 10 days later. Kevin and John proved to Jason she wasn’t so decent and he started dating some better… Me!

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