Heather L. Barmore
No Pasa Nada Heather Barmore Elsewhere About
Heather L. Barmore
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Heather Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Confessions of a Seemingly Confident Woman 

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

    "Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable." ~Wendy Wasserstein

    Hi. My name is Heather and I only play confident on the Internet.

    Or so I thought. I didn’t even find myself all that good at it until a friend (male, bearded, cute) informed me of my apparent sexiness. Even writing that out makes me shudder because I am nothing if not dorky with gray hair and a need for retinol infused face cream. Anyway, said male told me that it was my confidence that makes me sexy. In fact, he did this thing that many adults are wont to do where he noted that a woman isn’t just her looks but the entire package. Such as a woman who will take charge and become positively talkative when it comes to political advocacy. I grinned and he noted my smile. The smile I once hated because my cheeks overwhelm the rest of my face. There is no subtlety in my smile but it takes up the entire upper half of my body. I thought I had shrugged off the whole exchange and it had been long forgotten until I was reminded by yet another friend that I don’t seem to be the shy, quiet type that I claim to be. And yet…I am.

    The truth is that I have become excellent at being faux-confident. I am good at swiping on some lip gloss and putting on a front, a cover which started out of necessity and eventually became habit. It doesn’t matter why but it does matter how I have maintained my ability to smile even when the anxiety is creeping up from my stomach to my throat. I have a tendency to walk in and make a beeline to those with whom I need to have a conversation. I have a firm grip when I shake hands but if I know you, you will receive a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Years of working the room in politics have turned me into a woman who knows that to be at the only young, black, woman at a table I need to turn the confidence - the damn straight I deserve to be here with a grin - up to 11.

    My strong, feminist, progressive sensibilities should be offended by the things I have written: having a male reinforce the idea of confidence being sexy or that, at times, to be take seriously in politics, a female might need to stand up straight and walk in as if she owns the joint. I smile. A lot. Only because I quickly learned that others are making note of my demeanor and if I don’t seem OK then I will be inquired about. Nothing ramps up my anxiety like the feeling of being talked about. I want for others to know that it’s entirely possible - sometimes necessary - to throw your head back in laughter while feeling all torn up inside. A concept that has only taken me three decades to grasp.

    Tomorrow I am going to see three young girls, the daughters of my dear friends. These girls LOVE me and there have been moments when they are upset small people because they didn’t get to spend time with me. Even though these aren’t my children, I feel a responsibility there, just as I feel the responsibility not to swear or snark because it’s not just the adults watching me but children as well. I do worry about what others think. Another lesson over the last three decades: it often takes confidence not to do things just for myself but for others in my life who are watching me and, at times, take note of my behavior. t isn’t just about me. Other people can see me and take note. Despite being a disaster inside and feeling the need to hide myself away. I am a woman who excels at exuding confidence - even in the most difficult times.

    And that makes me hold my head up just a little bit higher.


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    Dispatch from Madrid: III

    (Dispatch from Madrid: I & Dispatch from Madrid: II)

    (This dispatch was written in Madrid but posted in Washington, DC because I am back in the US. Yay!)

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost." ~H. Jackson Brown

    October 16, 2014: I just spent a ridiculous amount of time prying a gray hair (or two) from my eyebrow. I would say farewell to my dignity but I never had that much in the first place. Whatever. I’ll be 31 sooner rather than later. Though I am not where I had once expected to be (for once I am not contemplating the state of my ovaries), I am here. Standing in this apartment in Madrid, plucking gray hairs and overwhelmingly open, willing and able to welcome what is next. For the first time in a long time I am excited. Genuinely, heart-stoppingly, grinningly excited.


    Help New York Make Women's Equality a Reality

    Even though I am out of the country I am still working hard on election related items. A big one for me is to see the Women's Equality Party realized this coming November 4th. My lovely mother, Peggy Barmore (yay moms!), attended the kick off for the Women's Equality Express and wrote about it for this site.

    On Saturday, October 4, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled his Women’s Equality Express  a large coach bus accompanied by about a half dozen black Chevy Tahoes, into the parking lot of Albany’s Labor Temple, an often-used venue for public display of a meeting of the mind between organized labor and politicians in the state capital.

    Albany was the first stop for the express, which would make two more stops in Syracuse and Rochester before the day was done to kick off the campaign for the Women’s Equality Party. Christine Quinn, the former New York City Council Speaker and Mayoral candidate kicked things off  with the help of former Speaker of the New York City Council and New York City Mayoral candidate, Christine Quinn, who had this to say, “[The Women’s Equality Express] will travel all over the state between now and Election Day, sharing one important message; to empower, engage and excite people to go out on Election Day and make sure women and men who support women are heard loud and clear.”

    A standing-room-only crowd of state and local politicians, working women and men, community activists and media, were on hand to greet Governor Cuomo. Fathers hoisted young daughters on their shoulders, campaign-style placards called for “Choice” and “Full Equality,” and advocates for groups like Planned Parenthood donned pink tee shirts with the message: “Women Are Watching… And We Vote.”

    Maybe it’s my age, but all of this seemed vaguely familiar, like déjà vu, and rightfully so. I read the 10-point plank of the Women’s Equality Party, founded in the wake of state Senate Republicans’ rejection of the governor’s Women’s Equality Act in June.  As Cuomo himself would ask, who can be against:
        •    Pay equity for women,
        •    Stopping sexual harassment in every workplace;
        •    Stopping businesses from discriminating against pregnant women;
        •    Strengthening human trafficking laws;
        •    Ending hiring and salary discrimination against parents;
        •    Stopping landlord discrimination against women who depend on housing assistance;
        •    Stopping housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence;
        •    Allowing for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in employment, credit and lending cases;
        •    Protecting victims of domestic violence by strengthening order-of-protection laws;
        •    And applying the full standards of Roe v. Wade in New York?

    The ten points of the Women’s Equality Party plank aren’t solely for new laws but to also elect new lawmakers who have the political will to enforce legislation already on the books and the courage to appoint judges who are unafraid to uphold those laws.  Or, better yet, lawmakers who understand firsthand what’s at stake when politicians and corporations put financial and political gain ahead of equity and fairness and use the courts to reverse the progress of the last several decades.

    What is heartening about the Women’s Equality Express is the number of women leaders on board. In Albany, Cuomo was accompanied by Quinn, his lieutenant governor choice Kathy Hochul, Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, NARAL Pro-Choice NY President Andrea Miller, Family Planning Advocates of NYS President and CEO Tracey Brooks, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, state Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan.

    NARAL’s Miller said, “New York is long overdue for making equality a right for women. The Women’s Equality Act will simply align NYS with Roe vs. Wade.”
    Brooks reminded the audience that “women are not a special interest,” while taking a shot at Cuomo’s rival, Republican candidate Rob Astorino. “Astorino is not a Rockefeller Republican,” Brooks said. “He’s not a Republican this state needs.”

    Hochul, who's in line to become only the second female Democratic candidate to hold the office of lieutenant governor in New York since Mary Anne Krupsak became the first female lieutenant governor in 1974, said, “If not us, then who will lead this charge?”

    “We can’t look to the Supreme Court of the United States of America to protect women after Hobby Lobby,” she said. “Gov. Cuomo is committed to righting the injustices against women in this state. That’s what the Women’s Equality Agenda is all about.”

    Cuomo put it differently. “This is about fundamental political change,” he told the crowd. Citing the passage of the Marriage Equality Act and his universal pre-kindergarten bill, he added “we want to make that kind of profound difference for women.”

    The Women’s Equality Party and it’s platform isn’t just rhetoric but renews the emphasis on the need for more women as elected leaders, judges and CEOs. Women in positions to act without the need for a male sponsor would result in real and enduring change and would truly make the women of New York (and any other state) equal to any male and, in the words of Governor Cuomo, “as entitled to full equality and full respect as any boy”.

    Learn more about the Women’s Equality Party here.

    Follow the WEP on Twitter and Facebook.

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