“Normal” is for other people. The more Barbara Allen fought to be normal, the harder life laughed at her. And just when she thought she’d got the last laugh, life turned against her in a tragedy that almost destroyed her.
Barbara was just 32 years old in 2005, when her world fell apart. Her husband had been murdered in Iraq at the hands of a fellow soldier. Barbara was left to raise four young boys – just 6, 5, 3, and 1 year old at the time their father was killed. She wanted to give up. She very nearly did. And yet, in the midst of the darkest moments, she always found some reason to take one more breath. Face one more day. Slowly, she found the strength to piece herself back together as she flew to Kuwait for one military court proceeding, and then spent years traveling thousands of miles to all the rest. She learned to navigate the military’s criminal justice system. She earned a Masters degree and wrote a book about her ordeal and the grave miscarriage of justice in this case. She learned how it could all have been prevented, and she began advocating for change so it would never happen again. Today, Barbara is deeply entrenched in veterans advocacy and her own steadfast pursuit of justice for her husband. She works as a Veterans Specialist and continues her fight to secure the Purple Heart for her husband. She has experienced impressive emotional face-plants and vast arrays of challenges- some self-inflicted, others randomly encountered. And she has acquired the skills to not just overcome it all, but to enjoy the ride.
Barbara may have learned how to turn her adversity into an advantage in life, but this lesson did not come easily. And this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena. www.barballenwrites.
With Poetic Theater Productions: