I will never jump into the same basket as the prophets and whomever else is in the Bible but I think I know what it's like to encounter opposition and a feeling like everyone would just prefer it if you jumped off a building.
When I can wear an iPod for eight hours straight and no one makes eye contact with me for the same amount of time, it's not like anyone needs to spell it out verbally to me. I turn the volume up to ear-blasting levels just so I don't have to hear anything that might be spoken against me. It helps me avoid the dirtiest look of all - avoidance.
It helps me keep my eyes focused downward on what I'm doing, pretending to be so absorbed. I try to play games with myself. I try to shape the dough faster, slower, with my right hand only.
If I try to make eye contact, I am met by a brief moment of a sightless gaze. Then they quickly look away as if viewing something unpleasant and ugly.
Most of all, I imagine what it's going to be like when I escape all this. When my plane leaves the ground on Friday, I will not put my iPod on like I usually do. I want to hear conversations that are not about what a horrible person I am and see people smile at me when I meet their gazes. Even if it's just the small, polite social smile strangers give each other when they know that one instance will probably be the last time they ever meet.
What I've learned from this experience is that I know now how easy it is for someone to lie. I wouldn't have believed it if I heard this prior to this incident. These are people that I hope, really hope, there is such a thing as karma or hell or somplace eternal where deserving liars go and bask in the falsity of each other - doomed to forever feel alienation from each other's company.
I'm not an angel. But I do believe that I am honest and kind. And a hard worker. I know the others are hearing things that are false told to them by a charismatic and talented storyteller. Lying is easy, apparently, for some though only they and I know what really happened.
That is, if they aren't lying to themselves. I'm certain, though, that even an expert liar would know that what passed between us was turned from fact to fiction by omission of facts resulting in alienation.
But I have a feeling they don't care. In fact, the knowledge that I am somewhere that was once enjoyable is now, by their own lying mouth, turned into a place where, if I were to simply vanish, the better I would feel.
I know I was in denial as these lies were crafted and laid against me with what joyfully turned into a masterful chess game that I refused to believe I was playing. I thought that reporting this situation would stop the falsity doubling itself in size by the day.
But now I'm certain it will only change when the wheels are safely tucked inside the body of the plane that will be carrying me across the United States and into the arms of those who are with me in truth and kindness.I will never stop believing that honesty and merit are the paths of personal success. Hope, unlike lies, will never rise against the soul - damned forever to pay for its sins.