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In the morning we tumbled out under bright sun and unfamiliar trees, lined up, and wove through a maze of tents and tables to collect black duffel bags and stuff our things inside.We were each issued a water bottle, a divided plate, a set of silverware and a cup.My whole life I’d been told who I was supposed to be and how I’d fallen short, and my whole life I believed it was my fault.But now I was struggling in the heat of a swamp when the brochure had promised me a rain forest, and wondering if maybe I wasn’t the one falling short.
My first test of courage came that morning as we went down the breakfast line.I tried to be a good girl, but it wasn’t in my nature to be submissive.It wasn’t in my mother’s nature, either, but she believed it was god’s law that men should take charge and women should be wives and mothers who submit to their husbands, so she struggled to make herself fit.We stacked wooden boxes painted with the books of the Bible in their correct order. This also meant we were in charge of cleaning the rancid bathrooms.At the end of the course we had to get our whole team over a huge wooden wall. Sometime near the end of the week I realized the Piggy signs might be my fault: I’d been arranging my stuff the wrong way without realizing it.