In early 2007, several mom-friends were stunned to learn that at 37, I’d never been drunk. After hearing of my conservative Christian preacher’s daughter past, they gleefully made a list of 25 wild oats I’d “missed out” on sowing, thanks to the fear of eternal damnation, and we made a plan to do them over the summer. And so began The Oat Project.
As I worked through those 25 tasks, I pushed the boundaries of comfort and had to manage panic attacks, three children, a husband, and a life. What I thought would be simple fun became an epic voyage, towing me and everyone involved into its current. I faced my fears, but lost friends. My Christian friends begged me to cross off oats they found offensive or morally risky, and to be cautious of non-Christian friends. My non-Christian friends were not all supportive either, accusing me of trying to recapture my youth, doing things—“at your age”—that would teach my children bad life lessons, risking my nice life. I wrote down what happened with each task, journalling, even writing songs, all longhand in composition notebooks. By the end of the year, I had transcribed 500 pages.
2007 initiated several years of pain and joy as I tried to make sense of all that happened, learning, becoming my actual Self; settling into Her, integrating the wilder side of me with the now-single mom who bends time to live with integrity and authenticity. As I finished the book, it became two stories: the one straight from those notebooks, and the one of what happened as a result of that summer. Join me in this still-unfolding journey. You can order the book at your local bookstore or find it online here.