Perceptions of Beauty

I’m average. I’m smart, (I’d like to think) witty, funny and I have varied interests but I’ve never been nor will I ever be beautiful. I don’t consider myself ugly, I just know that I’m never going to turn heads with my looks and that’s okay.

When I was younger and going through the angst of teenage learning; I desperately wanted to be beautiful. I was confused by beauty; particularly by the reaction it got from men and women alike; the reaction it got from me.

As I grew into my long arms and legs, I realized that I wouldn’t be a 10 and somewhere along they way, I gave up on the futile quest of hoping for something I couldn’t change and started to focus on what I liked about myself, my passion.

I found love early, with a handsome man who does indeed fit the standard (in my opinion) of above average attraction – I still get stares from women when he introduces me sometimes – it’s a scornful look that almost knocks you down before they say hello. They were looking for the justification of why we ended up together and how we’ve managed to stay together since High School. It’s an awful feeling, especially coming from women that I’m happy to give a compliment to – who doesn’t love being around a beautiful woman?

I’m not ugly. I’m not beautiful. I’m somewhere in between and I’m okay with that but acknowledging that you’re not beautiful doesn’t mean that you’re automatically insecure.

Why is that always the assumption? I’m not talking about this for clicks and RTs; I imagine I can’t be the only woman that feels this way and I’m sure that this isn’t a feeling limited to women either.

I’m insecure about my writing. That’s what plagues me; deciding whether or not I’m talented enough and represent something worth giving to the world. I’m not angry / sad / depressed because I’m not as beautiful as I once wished I was. Being beautiful I’m sure has it’s own set of responsibilities and issues; and I’m quite certain that I’m not willing to add any complications to being an Afro/Indo Caribbean Immigrant that’s trying to make it as a writer. I’m good.

I’m not owed being beautiful and beautiful people don’t owe us any of their beauty.

Thank you to @trvmlyncrl on twitter for raising this topic tonight and inspiring me to write a bit.


Carefree Girl Part 26: Fatalities. 💅🏿


I follow this amazing ray of light on twitter. She’s everything!

Originally posted on 8 Based Artistry.:

This will be the 26thinstallment of this liberated and carefree series highlighting beautiful women and how open they are. I ask that nobody judges these beautiful women nor their liberation. It’s a beautiful thing for women to be confident in themselves. Each segment I do in this series will have the same question criteria leaving each woman to answer freely. This series is their platform to be open.

My name’s Dyandra Harrison, or otherwise known as Dee by all my friends and family lol. I’m a 17 year old born and raised in The Bronx, NYC. I’m basically your average carefree libra trying to navigate life.

Being carefree to me, specifically being a carefree black girl means just being yourself in a world that will do what it takes to make sure you conform and it means loving who you are. Growing up I was definitely the bullied weird girl…

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No Reason to Reject the Ordinary

As an writer I’ve always hoped for a grander life, so that after I’d passed my prime or relevance, I could write a shocking, interesting memoir and be that cool old lady who had seen the world. Unfortunately, my life has been relatively average in most respects and average is what doesn’t get written about.

I’ve realized like most, that anticipating a life that I could never have, is depressing and it makes you forget to pay attention to the little things, the more important things that happen in your life while yearning for the unattainable.

It annoys me that women don’t really write about women’s issues. Real women’s issues. Like what do I do to help with the discoloration of my arm pits? No one wants to talk about real life. I don’t want every empowered female blog about sex, social issues, makeup and hair but not about questions that I want to ask my girlfriends but I’m ashamed to because they’ve never brought up such topics. And I’m not talking about shamefully doing it in passing, but really openly acknowledging that there are day to day insecurities and issues that impact us. Yes, I know there are more serious things that impact us in a bigger way, but that doesn’t that these things don’t deserve attention.

I wonder why this is. There is a huge separation on taboo topics that are being addressed versus issues that women have that they should feel free to openly discuss with other women. I’ve found a few blogs here and there that tackle these things from a “I’m pushing a product” perspective but generally – the more popular blogs are one or at most, two dimensional.  Articulate, sex positive, real bloggers are out there but what but why is this a rarity? Women blog, women live regular lives, why the silence?

I’ve gotten over my delusions of greatness and I’m comfortable now with being average and regular, I just want to talk about regular stuff.

Don’t alienate the everyday.

The Taking of Deborah Logan – Review

*Please note, there are some spoilers in this review, if you haven’t watched the movie yet…you know the rest*

This movie was almost being force fed to me; it showed up in most of my horror related lists so, I finally gave in. It’s important of me to note, when I first noticed the movie on Netflix some months ago, it initially had a rating of one star; now it has a 4 star rating.

The Taking of Deborah Logan begins with an introduction to Mia, who is filming her PhD thesis with the help of Gavin and Luis. The emphasis of the documentary is the effect of Alzheimer’s, not only on the patient but on the primary caregiver, Sarah who consents to the cameras.

As the film crew gets comfortable with the family, Deborah’s behavior escalates. We hear about Deborah’s past life as a switchboard operator for the community and how she became a successful business owner and single mother. The heartwarming stories of Sarah’s childhood provide a bit of a slow start to the action but it really endears you to the story.

Deborah’s Doctor insists that the disease is spreading at a rather aggressive rate and changes the medication to reflect that change; meanwhile the film crew and Sarah start to experience things more in the realm of the unexplained.

One night, Deborah is caught on film as she leaves her bedroom and makes her way outside where she is found pounding the earth with her bare hands. Mia cleans up a seemingly confused Deborah and gets her settled while the film crew calls her and Sarah’s attention to something alarming caught on tape; something impossible with no break in the film nor a reasonable explanation for how it would be possible.

Sarah, concerned for her mother’s safety confronts her the next day about her behavior, Deborah reacts angrily and tells her that she doesn’t need her here.

The film crew decides to show Deborah the captured footage while she is on camera herself, in an attempt to get her to understand their concern, an attack occurs and Deborah is back in the hospital and under the care of her doctors.

Her concerned doctors ran more tests to try to explain all of the anomalies in her medical condition as well as changes in her skin. Deborah becomes increasingly more violent toward herself while her doctors recommend more specialists to run tests.

It becomes quite clear to Sarah, Mia and the crew that something more was going on. Deborah is found seemingly having a nervous breakdown in front of her old Switchboard, shaking and babbling in french. They pulled the sound off the video and they hear “the eternal serpent will free you child” and “be my fifth” among other equally creepy things in French.

Sarah consults with Harris, their long time neighbor to see if he knew why her mother would be speaking french and Harris tells her to leave it alone; stating that Deborah was being used. You know, the kind of vague shit someone says when they know exactly what’s going on but of course Sarah misses this.

In an attempt to solve the riddle of why she was at the switchboard, they try to trace the customer profile for the number she wrote down before she went into meltdown mode. The name of a local pediatrician who was wanted for the murder of a four teen girls in the area is the name that they stumbled across in their search. The girls were found with a serpentine symbol on their faces, bodies cannibalized and rattlesnake venom in their stomachs.

Desjardens, the pediatrician, disappeared after he attempted to complete a demonic ritual which required an offering to the gods in an attempt to gain immortality. Experts state that the ritual was not completed as 6 girls would be needed and only 4 were found.

When Sarah questions her mother about Desjardens, her mother plainly states, after very little pressing, that Desjardens is dead and it was murder. Deborah runs to the bathroom from the dinner table where they find her a few seconds later, on the floor with what seemed to be vomit but it was of soil and earthworms which earns her another trip to the hospital.

Sarah attempts to confront Harris about Desjardens, knowing that there was not much her mother would be involved in that Harris wouldn’t know and gets frustrated with him as he continues to deny.

Mia’s theroy is that Harris killed Desjardens when he found out that he was responsible for the the death of the young girls and that Deborah knew and was covering for her friend. As they argue the plausibility of that theory, Harris shows up and start unpacking some shotgun shells into the film crew’s car.

The police are called and the Sheriff shows up before too long to arrest him. We see Sarah and the Sheriff talking and it’s clear that the ladies have a more intimate relationship.

Sarah eventually meets with another doctor who told her about a similar story with a woman who started to take on the spirit of her dead son and in effect, became him because she lost her mind and it was easy for the spirit to manipulate her.

Harris decides that it’s time to take Deborah out at the hospital but his plan backfires as the footage allows us to see that the t.v. in the hospital room removes itself from the cage and hits him at the back of the head as he is trying to suffocate her with the pillow.

Sarah and crew hears of this new development and race to speak to Harris before he is too far gone. Harris tells them that Deborah overheard Desjardens on the switchboard; Sarah was his next intended victim. Deborah got to him before he could get to Sarah and they buried him alive in the garden.

The remainder of the story plays out in a way that completely ties the supernatural and natural elements of the film together seamlessly. The Taking of Deborah Logan is well casted with a group of talented actors that you really wouldn’t expect to do horror, particularly Jill Larsen (Deborah Logan) who I’m familiar with because of her extensive television appearances in shows like All my Children and As the World Turns. Sarah, portrayed by Anne Ramsay is also a well seasoned television actor. These two women provide the backbone for a very topsy turvy movie; that really makes you think about the lines that can be blurred between sanity and the supernatural in a very realistic way.

Jill Larsen and Anne Ramsay made a horror movie that was for a more adult demographic and because it’s set in such a way, it makes how the story even more terrifying than if it happened to a bunch of asshole teenagers who were camping in a forest. The supporting cast of the grad student and film crew, helps balance the movie for the younger viewers; as they are experiencing this all as well with you as the movie progresses.

The Taking of Deborah Logan was very satisfying,  I very much enjoyed the direction of the film and the combination of found footage through the aid of the documentary and traditional camera movie angles. I also appreciate that you’re not left to wonder too much after the most traumatic events of the film take place; folks are dead and the cops came knocking.

I’d give this movie a 7.5 out of 10 with a recommendation that you should give it a try if you like more realistic horror (an oxymoron, I know, but you will deal).


Shadowshaper – This is not a review, not really.


If you haven’t heard of Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older then I clearly haven’t been doing my job as an advocate. It’s a YA novel that features an Afro-Latina protagonist from Brooklyn, who finds her self, her magic and her light with the help of her curiosity, reasoning and amazingly delightful group of friends and family members.

I got the book ahead of the publish date when I attended Book Con, I even got to meet Older and get is signed (yeah, I cried) and I’ve been working in the review for a bit over a month. It’s been overwhelming. It’s impossible for me to finish my review because, like the book, I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to break the connection with this story, that seemed like it was written for me; a Caribbean girl who has walked through those same paths in Prospect Park, that’s felt the call of the water…I felt renewed, refreshed, and completely inspired.

I’m letting four versions of the review sit in my Google Documents after three full reads of the book. Why? Because it deserves my best writing; and that’s how I know that it’s already left a lasting impression on me, not only as a reader, but as an aspiring writer as well. I want to be proud of the review when I post it because I was proud to read it.

So, this is a quick PSA to those of you who are looking for a new book to read and haven’t been able to decide, or for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of his prior work – Shadowshaper is a must read this summer and you’re really missing out on a wonderfully fabricated story if you miss it.

Here’s my storified reaction when I completed Shadowshaper for the first time; and was kind enough to share on his blog. *squeals in fangirl*

Shadowshaper made me cry

And when you’re done with that, be sure to get your copy of Shadowshaper and read it so we can discuss. You can purchase it here Amazon or Barnes and Noble when you’re done, @ me. I’ll be there for ya.

International Women’s Day – Book Edition

I’m recovering from pneumonia but I couldn’t let the opportunity to share some of my favorite books by some amazing women.

Some of these books I’ve discussed or reviewed on the blog but all of them are invaluable to me and my experience as woman and a lover of literature.

1. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


2. Seraph on the Suwanee – Zora Neal Hurston


3. Annie John – Jamaica Kincaid


4. Kindred – Octavia Butler


5. Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende


6. Unbowed – Wangari Maathai


7. The Goddess Chronicle – Natsuo Kirino


8. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies

9. Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo – Ntozake Shange

Sassafrass Cypress and Indigo

10. Push the Button – Feminista Jones


Please keep in mind, this is a small list in my mind. I tried to select stories told by women of different walks of life with a variety of genres to choose from. These 10 books to me are essential to me because they all helped me understand more about the world and myself.

If you do read one of these on my recommendation, I would love to hear from you. If you’ve read it before, I’d still love to hear your thoughts.

Who are your favorite female authors?

The Dubious Task of Depression

Depression is a real thing, and as we continue to lose people to the emptiness they can’t fill, I hope we can be compassionate. How can someone begin to explain? It’s a lot easier to self medicate or over medicate with illegal or legal drugs to try to dull the pain. The relief that you feel is nothing short of bliss, even if you know it’s temporary – even if you know it isn’t real.

When the mask crumbles and you’re forced to deal with the anchor of pain that you can’t even justify in words that make sense to anyone but yourself…its a humbling and scary thing.

Most of the folks that (I know, who) suffer from mental health issues are constantly afraid, not only of their depression but how it will manifest itself next: the racing thoughts, the over thinking, the surety that your life has no meaning and love will never find you in the darkness. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy, replaying your failures. your doubts and your insecurities.

Sometimes its a flash of knowing, other times its lingers like an old hateful friend that’s overstayed their welcome on purpose to rob you of happiness.

Speaking for myself: I’m fully aware of the stigma around mental health and mental health care. While there are more folks talking about it, Mental Health Illness is regarded as preventable or only at opposite sides of the spectrum; you’re either cutting and suicidal or you’re the goth girl in the movie who has an attitude and is later exposed as being mentally ill. The portrayal is ridiculous, the conversation is generally unhealthy after all of the jokes are made.

How do you reconcile this as someone who suffers from Mental Illness? I was there for all the Whitney and Bobby Kris jokes on Social Media and now, am I supposed to believe everyone had a sudden change of heart and is willing to be understanding and compassionate now that Bobby Kris is fighting for her life? I don’t want to find compassion as I’m playing chess with Death. We often reverse the care we give those who suffer the most – while alive we assist their road to infamy so we can more access and more information with which to pretend we know someone – while dead we extol their many virtues.

I would love a world where Mental Illness is treated as what it is; sickness and for myself, I would like a world where I’m not afraid to be myself…which does mean that am depressed from time to time…and be accepted as a whole instead of as a broken person.

You may never know the ways in which someone is struggling but the one thing we all have in common is that we have experienced pain or loss. I urge you to be gentler, kinder and more compassionate toward those who really are begging for a chance to walk with you in the light and to be understanding of those who simply can’t reconcile a decision to stay and suffer – there are some who need the escape more than they need the pain and we must respect that.

Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost. – Sandman #74 – Neil Gaiman