Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Just Another Post About My Hair

    "Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground.  Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices."  ~Shana Alexander

    After eight years of the same hair I finally decided to do something new:



    See also; I am incredibly lazy and if I can just wake up and have my hair done then it’s totally worth it.


    Naturally, people have questions so I am here to answer them.


    1) Is that your hair?


    It is my hair in that I bought and paid for it.


    2) How long did it take?


    Six hours.


    3) SIX HOURS?


    Yes. English, do you speak it?


    4) How long will it last?


    6-8 weeks but I’ll probably stretch it out to a solid ten. See aforementioned statement on laziness.


    5) Can I see it down?




    6) Can I touch it?


    Sure if you don’t mind losing one or both hands.


    7) (A statement rather than a question) It looks really good/I really like it.



    *This is purely satire because people always have questions about black women and their hair.


    This Is 29

    "I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it."  ~Charles Schulz


    I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other evening. Saturday, I think. It read something like Baby. Baby. Baby. New House. Engagement. Pregnant. Baby. New House. House. House. Baby. I clicked a few likes and cheered people on. People I had known for what feels like forever who are now doing the things that most of our peers are doing: growing up. Being an adult. Or - as it has taken me the entirety of my late 20’s to realize - being their version of an adult which isn’t what I am and that is OK.




    Last week I ran out of cat food. Knowing that I didn’t have cat food or wine, for that matter, I ran out to the liquor store. I purchased wine and an adorable bottle of Bulleit Bourbon but no cat food. Luckily I found a can and Simon was appreciative.


    The next day I called my landlord about a slow moving toilet. The maintenance guy popped on by right before I left the apartment. I came home that evening after a late-ish Bikram class to a happy cat (I finally bought food) and a working toilet.


    This is the kind of person I am right now. I barely remember to feed my cat let alone myself. (I’m having Cinnamon Chex for dinner tonight) I have no interest in wanting a house. As my friend Emily said the other day, “Enjoy mowing your lawn, suckers!”


    I don’t want a baby right now - never mind what my body seems to want - and I have no interest in homeownership and that’s OK.



    It seems so simple, right? That I should be OK with my life and where I am and what I’m doing. But it’s always the simplest things that are the most difficult to fully grasp. I’ve spent the better part of two years thinking there is something wrong with me as I compared myself to friends old and new. Perhaps I’m not living life correctly. They’re moving forward and here I am in neutral. How do I fix this?




    I believe in fate and I am absurdly superstitious. I also believe that that there is a bigger, better plan and that when ‘it’ - whatever ‘it’ is - happens it happens. But for some reason I have been unable to accept my own fate. Unable to stop, breathe and take it all in because the decades go quickly and, forgive me for quoting Dave Matthews, I shall miss these things when it all rolls by. It’s true. While I am deeply fascinated by life and the sunrise/sunset of it all, I always wish for it to move quickly. I want to see what’s next before I know what is here in front of me right now.



    This is my version of 29: Almost three decades to learn that I am incomparable to others. I’m OK. Everything will be OK. And I do not want to start my 30’s wishing that I could be like the person next door and never be OK with being myself. I want to be excited for what is next and to anticipate it not because of what others doing but because of what I have done and will continue to do for myself.

    And tonight I’m going to go to yoga, drink wine and watch terrible television and be content with my life. All of it. Do you ever feel like the best is yet to come? I do.


    The One About My Mother

    "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." ~Abraham Lincoln


    My mother used to say, “I love you, Heather Lynn, but I don’t like you right now” and then she’d send me to my room for my infraction du jour. To be fair my adolescence was the stuff of Lifetime Movies. There was drama and door slamming and then the door was removed from its hinges. I was a hellish teenager.



    In hindsight the relationship between my mother and I was normal and maternal. Nothing spectacular. Peggy isn’t one for endless displays of affection but is good with surprises. Like, when she took me out of school to go to New York City to see the Rockettes or the time she took me to Chicago for my 16th birthday to see Oprah and to visit my dream college. She was good at grand gestures and to this day doesn’t really enjoy being hugged but simply wants to be appreciated and respected.


    I would assume that being raised by strict, God-fearing southerners doesn’t really present itself with the need for a parent to be liked. Parents should be respected, yes and possibly feared. As a child I was told to be seen and not heard and when rules were broken I was free to pick out the switch of my choosing. I have no doubt in my mind that this is a woman who loved me with a fierceness it’s just that so much of parenting is a learned behavior and what she did or didn’t learn - and that isn’t my story to tell - from her parents she had to fall into with hope that she was doing the best she could.



    Anyway, this was supposed to be about how I came to like my mother because I do. It isn’t just that encompassing love that a child might have for their parent but a genuine like of a woman who is dear to me. I have wondered if I would feel this way even if she weren’t my mother and I have realized that I would. I didn’t discover this until my 20’s when I moved back to Albany. I was told it was a bad idea to work with my mother and that I’d hate it and was treated to hypothetical stories of, “GOD. If I had to work with my mother I’d jump out of the window”. It was difficult yes. What people said about me was even harder, that I received a position simply because of who gave birth to me. Which couldn’t have been further from the truth and what hurt my deeply six years ago I shrug at now. For if you were to see us together you’d know that we have our moments of being mother and daughter and nitpicking about my hair or my clothing or why I’m showing so much cleavage.


    She’s the manager. The one who others respect. Ah...that’s it. That’s why I like her and respect her because others do and she commands it by being a pleasant person to work with. While I ignore people she says hello. While I let acts of betrayal or dishonesty consume me she compartmentalizes and moves on. She can forgive but keep it in the back of her mind. I...well, right now I’m toeing the line of saying something I shouldn’t say and she’ll read this paragraph and shake her head. “Heather Lynn...” she’ll say under her breath. I’m the emotional one who puts it out there. She’s the one who keeps it in - at times to her detriment but she’s good at not letting people see her sweat. Over the past six years she has given me another gift - almost as good as that time she gave me life and a college education and paid for the movies yesterday - which is someone to look to and a way for me to realize my faults simply by watching her.


    She retires in July. Have I mentioned this? Have I mentioned my reaction or how I feel anxious whenever it’s brought up? Have I mentioned how much I will miss her? Because, my God, I will miss that woman profoundly. I’m tearing up just thinking about it because she’s more than just my mother leaving or another manager leaving. It’s the mixture of the two and a loss that I am still unprepared for.

    It will be good for her and it will be good for me. After almost 30 years of wanting nothing but the best for me I suppose I could do the same for her.


    *I love you the moon and the stars, Peggy Barmore and I wouldn’t trade you in for any other mother on the planet. - Heather Lynn.*

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