Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Tuesday
    Aug122014

    For You the Bugle Trills 

    "People call those imperfections, but no, that's the good stuff." - Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting

    Whenever I write about my depression I start with the story of my sophomore year of college during which I found myself at, what I had assumed would be, the lowest of the low. How I walked around my DC neighborhood smoking and then putting cigarettes out on my arm in the hope of actually feeling something, anything. Or the weekend that I disappeared to my newly leased apartment after a week of staring down the orange and blue lines of the metro thinking that I could just jump. If I jumped everything would be OK and it would be over. Ease was what I sought because death had to be far better than being in what seemed to be an insurmountable amount of pain. And despite having written about this struggle on numerous occasions I still find my heart thumping inside of my chest as I hit publish for what will others say or think about me? Will I be seen as broken and unworthy or will others acknowledge that this is a disease that will never go away and one that I will spend the rest of my life fighting?

    I have had several major depressive episodes that have been fixed with talking or a bit more Lexapro. This is my life, which I have long accepted but it isn’t my everything. To speak out and write about mental illness is to write about any other thing that happens to be going on in my day to day living including what my cat is doing, the wine I’m enjoying, the dress I just purchased. It simply is. I present as an average and capable adult because I am, in fact, a boring typical adult who happens to struggle mightily at times.

    Like many others who have depression hearing about the death of Robin Williams made everything ache. The ability to wrap my head around the death of someone so brilliant and beloved as he has everything to do with having been in that same deep, dark hole, crushed by a pain so unbearable that it is hard to breathe. For those who wonder how such a successful person could succumb to such a horrible illness it is because depression is a disease that does not discriminate. I know why he did what he did. I also know that but for the grace of God and therapy, I could easily be on that same treacherous path. Robin Williams’ death feels personal because it could easily be me or anyone else I know.

    Thankfully depression isn’t a foe for me today but it could be tomorrow. For those seeking words of advice I can only say to be gentle. Reach out. Dole out kindness. For those suffering, well, obviously you are not alone and when you are ready to talk there are people waiting to hear you.

    Thursday
    Jul312014

    How to Spend a Thursday Evening 

    {This is a sponsored post. Product and compensation provided by One2One Network. Opinions provided by yours truly}

    Last Thursday evening, some time between the second glass of sangria and the 47th selfie, I had this feeling that I had done something very right in my life to be asked to host a party that combined two of my favorite things: wine (well, in this case, Eppa sangria) and yoga. Like, clearly I have been doing something in my personal branding to have someone know me well enough to say, “Heather Barmore! She likes wine and yoga! Perfect fit”. I was actually debating not attending BlogHer this year, which, I KNOW. But then everything fell into place and next thing you know I’m standing under the San Jose sun with my cheeks and belly aching from laughing and smiling so much.

    Me and Morgan. You can’t tell but we’re dressed like twins here

    You know when your life is all, “Tick…tick…tick…BOOM” and The Universe dumps a heap of crap on your lap and you’re like, what am I supposed to do with this and the universe is like, I dunno. Deal? That’s how the last two months have been. The Universe saying that it’s going to give me something to cry about and me being skeptical but amazingly enough going right along with it. I mean running away sounds swell but trust me when I say that in any attempt to run escape will end with your problems following close behind. There has been a lot of going with the flow and yogic breathing: Ujjayi, ocean sounding breath. Everything in through the nose, out the through the nose. The air swirling at the back of my throat. There are many things I have realized that I am terrible at but I have learned to breathe like a boss.

    PHOTO CREDIT: Lucrecer Braxton

    The evening was perfection. Then again it’s hard to make a party horrible when the rules are: 1. Wear yoga clothes. 2. Drink sangria. In nine years of attending the BlogHer conference this was by far the most chill party I have ever attended. My idea of a good party is no pressure; neither for the hosts nor attendees. I am often a very tense person and achieving even the briefest moment of relaxation has been a very long but valuable learning experience (thank you, yoga). It also helps that I was forced to host with three women who…I don’t even know what to say. We really can't stand each other. Can you tell?


    PHOTO CREDIT: Farrah Braniff
    There was a minute when I had to walk away from all of the commotion. I found my little corner of our party space to simply observe the action. I do this quite frequently because I get so overwhelmed with all of the people and I needed to step away to see that after nine years all of these people who I have met and adored for so long were standing there, melting but having a fantastic time, right along with me. I know I sound all ‘woo woo’ and introspective which has been one of the highlights of a regular yoga practice: the ability to take what you need from life and leave the rest. The ‘rest’ being whatever that is blocking you from enjoying yourself and the present. Being at a party that was all about sangria is my jam. Being at a party that involves walking around in yoga pants, is exactly how I like to spend my Thursday nights. Being at that party, with that group of people, was like having the Internet in my living room.

    There was a sense of balance and joy and an internal high five because perhaps, given everything, this is where I needed to be.



    For those of you who attended, I hope that you enjoyed yourself. For those of you who were unable to attend but got this far and waded through the clichés, I salute you. As a treat, how about 25% off from Soybu? The promo code: #NamastEPPA. Limit of one coupon per household. Valid through Sept. 24, 2014.

    Thursday
    Jul242014

    A Question From Your Childless Friend

    "You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." ~Franklin P. Jones

    When you find yourself suffering from terrible insomnia just 48 hours before flying across the country, you will find yourself in a no good, very bad, terrible mood. Keep that in mind before you read further:

    My flight was from Albany to Baltimore. Baltimore to Oakland. I was already Grumpy McGrumpypants when the gate agent decided that my bag was too big and proceeded to follow me around the airport - including into the bathroom - in an attempt to get me to check my bag. I was just as forceful in my saying ‘HELL NO’ as she was in her quest to get me to give up my luggage. I finally relented because, whatever. There were eye rolls abound and muttering under my breath and general unpleasantness because no one is happy at six AM.

    The second part of my flight - Baltimore to Oakland - is a six and a half hour venture across the country. I have done the NY to CA thing on numerous occasions and every time I know that I am going a long distance I make sure to check in 24 hours in advance so that I can get my prized window seat. When it comes to traveling 3,000 miles I become anal retentive because, like most people, I am all about being somewhat comfortable.

    There we were sitting on the plane but still at the gate a few minutes past the scheduled departure time. A woman and her three children are the last to board. I am barely paying attention as the flight attendants move the family, swiftly, through the aisle. An announcement is made that only middle seats are left and the front door is about to be closed. I go back to perusing Facebook where I am, somewhat ironically, reading through a friend’s page and giving side eye to mothers judging other mothers and then mothers judging people who don’t have children. Imagine my surprise when I look up and the mother who had just boarded with her three children was telling her young daughter - about seven years old - to sit in the seat beside me. I was at the window and there was an older/grandmotherly looking mother in the aisle seat. Before I can say anything the little girl is sitting next to me and her mother is sitting directly in front of us.

    Here is my question: What would you do at this point? Would you protest and switch seats with the parent who didn’t seem that concerned about not sitting with her child or would you do what I did which was to shrug and fall asleep?

    Actually, the first thing I did was to sigh and avoid eye contact with the mother in hopes that she wasn’t going to ask me to give up my seat. After it became apparent that she wasn’t going to say a word, I simply fell asleep. My brief moment of bitterness quickly went away and the girl was very good during the very long flight. When she needed assistance with opening something and getting her seat to go back, I was more than happy to help her because it takes a village and all that jazz. I wound up running into her in the restroom post-flight and then at the baggage carousel where she pointed me out to her mom and then enthusiastically waved at me. The mom ended up being pretty chill about the whole thing and thanked me for my diligence.

    I realize that I was quick to be offended because I am used to parents being quick to jump and tell others what to do and was pleasantly surprised to have a mother be so chill and not immediately demand my changing seats. I have to wonder if more people would be willing to be nice to kids/families if parents weren’t so prickly. I can honestly say that I am never offended by children but by the adults who are supervising or ‘supervising’ as the case may be.

    So, parents, what is the proper etiquette here: Offer to move or go about my business? This inquiring mind would like to know.