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An Open Letter to Essence Magazine: The Natural Hair Issue

Posted in Inspiration, misc by dendoo on October 8, 2010

Dear Essence,

I read your magazine before and it was okay but it always left me wanting more.  For your November issue, which is being described on the internet as the Natural Hair issue, I have only seen the cover but already I feel if your magazine were a meal I would still need to be fed after eating.

The cover features actress Kerry Washington who is talented and gorgeous.  I really find no fault with her; I find fault with the idea of using a non “natural” haired woman who is wearing what seems to be a weave or some sort of wig on the cover of the natural hair issue.

If the issue is approaching “natural hair” from the angle Tyra did on her tv show -meaning your natural hair WITHOUT weaves than okay, I can somewhat understand.  A lot of women have an issue with dealing with their relaxed hair let alone what some people angrily call napps (I say napps with love).  So I could understand, just a bit, if that was the angle you guys were going for.

However, the term “natural hair” makes me think of a woman like me:  hair that is not chemically treated to straighten it into a texture that I was not born with.   Nice thick nappies, kinks, curls, that hard hair or soft even but whatever the texture, hair that is in its raw state and is NATURAL.  So yes some naturals do have the texture Ms. Washington is sporting for the cover and more power to them but I don’t think that is her real hair.  Not at all.

If Essence is a magazine for women it would have been refreshing to see real, everyday natural haired women representing what the tagline reads “Curl it, Twist it, Lock it, Rock it”.  How beautiful it would have been to see some real women of different ages, shades, and sizes gracing the cover of the magazine truly showcasing natural hair.

I have been highlighted on the community  (Black Girl with Long Hair) and it’s great to see other naturals showing off their healthy hair and style.  It is proof that naturals can be just as divalicious as the woman who was chosen to grace the cover.  I know it’s all about numbers and picking Kerry Washington was probably given a lot of thought.  It might be too risky to throw some real women on the cover of a magazine in hopes that it might sell, but grab your balls and remember that Essence is Essence!  Break a mold for once!

Lastly, a lot of naturals are frustrated with this magazine and it’s approach to the natural hair movement.  I’ve read blogs whose authors have one eyebrow raised at this very cover I am writing about, blogs criticizing your natural hair chat that was online, and there are many (myself included) who feel as if Essence is using the natural trend to sell some units.  Well I know you have to make money but I really hope you’re not approaching this as a gimmick, as a thing to make a quick buck.

I would like to read this issue but I won’t be able to because of where I live at the moment.  However, I really hope what is inside this issue makes up for its introduction.  Never judge a book by it’s cover so they say…and I have so yeah I could be forced to swallow a big helping of “shut up” but I’m telling you from the mind of a natural that it just doesn’t feel right.  It would have been amazing if naturals could have been celebrated properly.

One last thing, if the idea of using naturals of every age, shade and sized had been done you could have had a curvy girl on the cover next right next to the topic “Curvy Girls….”

This is the cover of mixed messages.  Where’s my map?  I’m lost.



Fashion, Freedom and Melting Makeup

Posted in fashion, Inspiration, misc by dendoo on August 24, 2010

What’s up dendoo lovers?  Today I decided to merge two posts into one.  I went on a lil stroll down the hill from the scary house I’m staying in while in Japan and decided to be Glamour Girl!  Thanks to my roomies Catherine and Jennifer for taking pics of me and for enjoying the dendoo experience.   Photos will be scattered throughout.

Now, down to the nitty gritty:  Earlier this year I boycotted Forever21 because a friend of mine who is also an artist found the company was stealing her designs.  So Forever21 was the main core of my closet and it was saddening to have to say goodbye to them.

But if you’ve only known something for so long then how are you to make the switch?  It’s like going from a Mac to…..what??  What’s better than a Mac?  See Forever21, we had something good going on and then you messed it up by plagiarizing.

So what are some good alternatives to F21?  I had to change my mindset and maybe my budget but I found some great stores that can keep me looking right and tight like the plain fashionista that I am.

click mah pic to see h&m!

H&M is first on my list because this is a store that closely resembles the F21 aesthetic without stealing hardworking artists ideas. Walking into this store it feels like the grownup, graduated version of it’s little sister.

Also shout outs go to H&M because they invited my boo boo Geneticboi to be a part of this style thingamajigger (go check it out)!

The prices vary but some are moderate and others are a little more than you would pay at Forever21 but when shopping in here you have to think “I’m a grown up now”.  If you can repeat that bad boy you’re set for some good shopping.  The clothes are well made as far as cheap clothing go and they have a good variation of styles.

clicky da piccc-ky to see zara

Zara:  this is the uppity up up.  You can find AWESOME clothing in here.  Prices are higher than F21 for sure and higher than H&M but walking with a wardrobe from this shop will have you looking polished and professional for certain.  Don’t let this store scare you.  The first time I walked into Zara I asked myself “Charrish, what are you doing in here?”  Don’t psych yourself out!   This store delivers quality pieces for the money so get to shopping hunny!

Dendoo Shopping Tips: Stopping in many of the no name brand stores in the mall will allow you to purchase cheap shirts that will become the foundation of your wardrobe.  You can find plain coloured tees for at least 3 bucks that will stretch your wardrobe out extensively.

I pity the fool who pays more than 10 bucks for a plain tee.  Why?  Because these were meant to be worn at the drop of a hat, meant to spiff up a plain outfit and meant to be worn with your Jimmy Choos.  A plain tee is plentiful in your life so why would you spend $50 for a tee shirt that was meant to go through damage?  No I say, No!!

This pic takes you to ModCloth!

Here’s a good suggestion:  find a quirky online clothing store that suits your personal tastes.  If you’re into a style like vintage clothing, the internet can be a treasure chest of treats just waiting for your clicks.  One store that instantly jumps to mind is Mod Cloth.  I haven’t ordered from them yet but I plan to as soon as I get some money cause my wardrobe was minimized in my move.

These guys have awesome finds and they’re unique enough that you won’t feel as if everyone just stopped in your closet that morning.  The prices are pretty decent and not only is their regular stock reminicent of a vintage feel but they carry legit vintage clothing too!  So if you’re the type of girl that wants to ease her way into vintage pieces this would be a great stop for you.

Other great places to try would be Etsy and Ebay (although I don’t trust Ebay for the mere fact that the website is hella ugly).  There are also a lot of independent merchants who are selling awesome clothing with a very quirky feel.  You have to do a little bit of searching but when you find someone selling something that fits your style bookmark and smile cause you’re set!

These take you nowhere!!  Yaaaaay!

Last Thoughts: Recently I’ve been getting into brands.  Not wanting brands to be seen as a fashionista…if that’s what you have to see me as then you can keep that.  I have been eying brands for their beauty and durability, for the pure joy they give me and because I like what a certain brand stands for with it’s imaging.

I think it’s good to take advantage of some key brand pieces.  It’s good to invest in a suit by a certain brand, a nice handbag by a certain label, shoes by a certain designer because:

One:  you carry yourself differently when you have a label.  Does that mean you’re a label whore?  No.  It just means you’re noticing the true fit of whatever you’re wearing, the design and the style is more on point and it’s encouraging you to suck in your gut and carry yourself well.

Two:  the workmanship in designer clothes and accessories is evident and it helps the pieces last longer.  No more fraying edges and missing zippers.  You can feel the heaviness in a hem when it’s designer.  I watched a morning show do a segment on the difference between a pair of Louboutin and Payless shoes.  One part of the segment involved cutting the shoes in half through the sole and you could see there were layers and layers in the Louboutin’s and just a few little layers in the soles of the Payless shoes.  Workmanship, attention to detail, these are qualities you will find in a brand and these are the things that make them more expensive but worth the money.

Three: investing in a designer piece means you’re investing in yourself.  Yes it’s nice to go cheap sometimes but isn’t it just as nice to treat yourself?  Why not enjoy this season’s it bag, why not enjoy that dress or new shoe?  The thing about investing is you can’t pick up money from any old place and then say “Here I’m investing”.  So if you’re going to treat yourself nicely then you have to have the means to do it but there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little love.  This last point is especially to moms or women who place the world before them.  Maybe you can’t afford a $950 shoe but I’m sure you can afford a nice Coach wallet on sale at only $50.  Right?  Right.  You get to treat yourself and you gave yourself something you normally would have waltzed right past.

So maybe you still want to go to F21 and that’s your choice!  At the end of the day I’ll still drink with ya and laugh at something that’s not really funny.  I still wear my F21 clothes so I’m not going to hate on you but I realized there has to be more to clothing than F21 and these are just a few of the many options out there.

There are loads of brands to be discovered, loads of stores that respect art and design and loads of no name brands ready to stretch your budget.  I’m giving you a fraction of the pie!  Take this as a nudge, a gentle push, in a new direction.  This season what will your wardrobe say?  Are you discovering brands, are you anti brand?  Are you a victim of trends and do you want to do your own thing?  Do you want to get away from F21?

Think about fashion and where it’s taking you!  Maybe we’ll meet at the fashion crossroads.

Until then, happy shopping!!

Much much fashion love, dendoo

Curious Tuesday: Love

Posted in Inspiration by dendoo on June 15, 2010


Tell us about your most incredible romance.

Ugh…is it bad that I haven’t had an “incredible romance”?  No it’s not, it just means that I have more life to live and more love to experience.  Sorry yalls, no juicy stories here.

Bonus rounds:
Have you ever been the “other woman” (or “other man”)?  No.  HELL TO THE NAW.
What is the craziest thing you have done in the name of love?  Forgiven someone.
Is there someone who you think of as the one who got away?  No.
Do you believe in true love?  No.
Have you ever experienced love at first sight?  No.

Lol so answering this week’s Curious Tuesday questions got me wondering:  am I super unromantic or am I too realistic when it comes to love?  Maybe that is why I don’t have super long or super successful relationships.  My relationships are filled with love, or whatever love is at that moment, but in the end I always start feeling like I’m moving in another direction and the person isn’t moving in that direction with me.  The relationship ends in a friendly vibe but when I reflect on it I always feel like I was doing love because it’s expected of me.   You know?  It’s expected that you will be in a relationship and be lovey dovey.  Maybe that ISN’T me.

I’m starting to feel like my relationships are too childish for my liking.  So am I on to dating older men?  We’ll see but for now I am back to enjoying being single.  I swear my dears, single is good if you give it a chance.

Do you believe in true love?  Do you have crazy love stories and love connections?  Do you have advice for me??

Oh! I missed the last Curious Tues. so I threw it in.  My answers are much more lengthier than this week’s!

1. Would you ever get cosmetic surgery? If not, why not? If yes, what would you want done?
I think if I got surgery I would die, I have a fear of unnecessary surgery.  But if I got surgery I would probably enhance my booty area…lol.  Black girls know the booty is important!  But on the real note I’d rather fix whatever imperfections I have without surgery.

2. What is “your drink”?
I love mojitos, I love any chocolatey drink but I don’t have a drink.  I drink what is there as long as it doesn’t taste like fruit.

3. What are your five fashion essentials?  My essentials aren’t crazazy cause I think essentials should be essential:

  • Plain coloured tees – they go with EVERYTHING, they make your wardrobe stretch and they’re cheap!
  • A bright, oversized purse – This can double as a weekender, it adds colour to your outfit, and it carries all
  • Black pumps – Tyra tells all wannabe models adding a pair of basic pumps can add oomph to your outfit (so true!)
  • A good (sexy) bra – ladies get fitted, stick to your size and treat yourself to a frilly cute bra.  Instant sex appeal!
  • Sexy pencil skirts – A pencil skirt is so basic, it’s flattering and it always makes me feel sexy.  Try it!

4. Do you have any tattoos? What are they? If not, do you want some? What would you like to get?
I have a square on the inside of my wrist and I plan to get a lot more squares all over my body.

5. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m terrified of butterflies.  TERRIFIED.  Have you seen those things?  They’re just disgusting.

much love, dendoo

Condom use is Sexy

Posted in Inspiration, misc by dendoo on June 14, 2010

Well hello there!
I’ve had quite an adventurous time away but it’s back to the blog and back to sharing and caring.

About two weeks ago I watched a local show here that focuses on issues within my country’s community.  The issue being discussed that night was on the issue of condom use.  Well…let’s just say I didn’t totally agree with what was being said.  I was so disappointed I made a video about it AND wrote the show an email.  Take a look and read!

And this is what I wrote to the show:


I watched your show last night dealing with HIV/AIDS within our community.  I am pleased that you highlighted women in your show.  Overall it was okay but there were some points where I was in total disbelief and disagreement with what you and your guests were saying.

On condom use:
This is where I had a huge problem with what you were telling us.  Yes it is true condom use is not popular within the TCI community or the Caribbean community for that matter but I think this was a place where you, as someone who is seen as an educated Black woman with various experiences, have an opportunity to help change that.

I can not recollect the exact term used by you and your guests but it was something along the lines of “it would be wrong of us to ask our partner to use a condom” in the sense that since it is our culture to do without we would be asking so much of our partner, it would be against culture and prat ice to ask our partner to use a condom.

I STRONGLY disagree.  Culture is not always right.  Practices are not always right.  It was practice to throw excrement right outside centuries ago, it was practice to not wash hands before an operation or sterilize instruments before and after operating, but these practices were WRONG.  It is prat ice within our community to not use condoms but that practice is WRONG.

I agree, within the Caribbean women are usually the strong force of a relationship.  I like to believe that women have the power to be movers and shakers.  We can let a man think he is charge but a strong woman knows how to quietly pull the strings.  I will not enter a relationship unless I can use condoms.  I don’t think it’s wrong to present this to my partner, I could care less if it goes against culture because at the end of the day I know culture will not help me if I get a STD or HIV or AIDS.

I don’t think I need to negotiate the use of condoms
.  Instead of encouraging our women to be passive in their womanhood you and your guests should have encouraged woman to take a bold step and look the issue in the eye.  There is nothing wrong with looking a partner in the eye and saying I use condoms and that is what I require in my sex life.  For the woman who does not like the female condom or is more comfortable with the male condom I think it is better to encourage her to be proactive and straightforward with her choices instead of tiptoeing around her man and asking in a submissive way if it’s okay that we use condoms.

If we can start changing our mentality about these things we can start making strides beyond our imagination.  I can’t understand how we can empower women if we’re telling them to be little kittens.  If our men are expecting us to be lionesses in the bedroom let’s start by being a lioness about our sexuality and our sexual life.

I believe culture is dictating too much of a woman’s life.
Actually I touched on this on my blog a bit.  I attacked it from the angle of what is expected of me culturally as a young woman and what I expect for myself.  If you like you can read it here:

I think with all the different cultures and backgrounds we have in such a small community a woman, regardless of where she is from and her beliefs, may feel forced to keep up or conform to her partners beliefs.  A lot of people, men and women, living here do not feel it is a problem to have more than one partner AND to have unprotected sex with various partners.  However, if a woman can feel secure in who she is she will not only demand monogamy but she will also demand higher standards in her partner.  So you want to withold money?  Then keep it.  She should demand higher standards within herself.  It is only then a woman can be free from the perceptions, the practices and the unbalanced situations that life is presenting her.

Overall the show was okay but I think the way you presented some ideas could have been stronger.  I’m never going to trick or negotiate a partner into doing something that should be standard for my safety.  Screw culture when it comes to my sexual life.  We need to start educating ourselves at a younger age, don’t you think?  Too often I have asked why aren’t we educating our daughters from the time they are in high school?   Especially when this is the age many are starting to experiment sexually.

I will be blogging about this same issue.  Thanks for giving me something to think about.

What do you think?  In your culture is safe sex the norm and what do you feel about women and the strength of their voice in their sex lives?

Culture….it’s a crazazy thing.

Much love (and respect), dendoo

You’re not a traditional girl

Posted in Inspiration, misc by dendoo on June 1, 2010

pots. yuck.

Tradition.  Customs.  Culture.

As a black girl growing up in the Caribbean I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my mother say in her cutesy voice “But that’s our culturrrre.”  Yes, she does stress the R in culture and I love her for it.

If you are coming from a background that has a strong culture you can often feel lost because one foot is in the world of the now and the other foot is in the world of the expected.  My culture isn’t as demanding as some but there are some things that I don’t agree with.  I hadn’t even given a thought to what was expected of me as a black Caribbean woman until I recently entered a relationship with a guy from the Caribbean.  I have been known to say I am extremely reluctant to date guys from the Caribbean but after this relationship it is a certified fact.  I gats love for my Caribbean brothas but if they are going to stress me the way my ex was doing then they can keep their love.

So what exactly was going on with my ex?  What are the traditions/culture that I have issue with?

Growing up I often heard I need to learn to cook and clean so I can be a good wife.  I mean honestly I know back in the day that was what was expected of women but thank the Lord I never bought into that.  Sadly I can’t cook to save my life and I have no desire to but I am strongly opposed to the idea that as soon as I become a wife that is what I’m supposed to do.  Or as soon as I become someone’s girlfriend.  Ha!

As I started to learn more about the world around me and as I started to take in experiences that would shape my person I realized I want to be a savvy woman.  I want to be more Sex in the City (as far as my housing choice goes) than traditional housewife (no house with a picket fence thank you!).  I like going to nice restaurants, I like sipping wine in the evenings, I like shopping at nice stores for outrageous purchases, my idea of a nice dinner party does not include cheetos on the menu.  My ex did not appreciate this.  His response to me time and time again was “You are not a traditional Caribbean girl”.

Well duh!

But after hearing this over and over again I stopped finding joy in the statement and started to dread him saying it.  Why?  It felt like for the first time the thing I took pride in was actually bad.

You’re my inspiration!

I appreciate our traditional foods, I appreciate the idea that the man should be the leader of his household, I like our traditional music and holidays but that’s about as much as I need when it comes to tradition and culture.   I respect the most important things to me and what I didn’t agree with I worked hard to find something that fit me.  So imagine my surprise when I was getting rowed for not wanting to make him a sandwich in his own house or clean his room for him…or his house for that matter!  And not just getting the bad vibes from him but his father as well.  His own father would ask me why I wouldn’t clean or make food. I’m like whaaa?

So it made me wonder:  Is that all you expect your woman to be?  A cooking, cleaning, sex machine?

Ever since meeting my ex I started to meet more and more guys with those same expectations.  They want a meek girl who can cook them a meal, make sure the house is in top shape, sex them up good and ignore the fact that they are sleeping with someone on the side.  You can’t have a strong voice, you can’t be an independent thinker, you can’t want more than what your man needs you to want.


Was that what I was buying into?

Granted, my ex had some wonderful qualities:  he is crazy optimistic, he’s very kind, he’s a good listener and he tries to do his best no matter what…but he couldn’t escape his culture and his expectations.  So we didn’t work.

So what do I do?  Do I stay a woman who appreciates certain parts of her culture and what is expected of her or do I transform myself into a 1950’s robot whose only mission is to make master happy?  Or…do I shun it all and be the nomad I wish to be, live in an apartment with a foreign view, date a guy with blue hair and piercings who cooks, and have rooftop dinner parties that don’t include cheetos?

Maybe I’ll give a Caribbean brotha another try but if he can’t appreciate my uniqueness then what’s the point?

Would you settle, would you give up?  Would you even care?
How is culture shaping your life?

Much love, dendoo

My Life Worth Living List

Posted in Inspiration, misc by dendoo on May 26, 2010

cute cupcakes via clevercupcakes

Well sometime last month I turned 25.  Yes I turned 25!

It’s hard to believe I have spent 25 years on this earth but it’s true.

I AM 25!

So since turning 25 I have been thinking super hard about my life and where it’s going and hopefully where it will go.  I have found semi success with my artwork, I have a wonderful family, sadly I suffered and still suffer from depression (it’s not something that just magically vanishes, it’s a part of you) but I am proud to say I have great and awesome goals for my 25 year old kind of life.

I’ve heard of a bucket list, it’s a list of all the crazazy awesome things you want to do before you die.  I had a bucket list before I even knew it was a bucket list but since celebrating the big two five I decided to really focus on creating a list that is perfect for me.

Now ya’lls know I can’t give it some lame as hell name as “bucket list”.  No way!  I had to name my list something soooo me.  So I thought why not name it “My Life Worth Living List”

So here are some items from my list in no particular order (and some of these might be a shocker)

Have a Baby:
Okay I know those who really know me are about to flip out.  I am anti children hardcore.  But I’ve been thinking lately that maybe, juuuuuust maybe, I would make a really cool momma.  I don’t picture myself having a traditional family (mommy, daddy, children and dog) but I do see myself being a fierce single mother.  I’d really like to look into this in my future possibly around age 30.  I’d love to adopt or if that is not possible I do have a few backup guys who have agreed to help me have a baby no strings attached.  Is that idea a touchy one?  Well it’s just like going to a sperm bank.

cute baby stuff by amy b

I am against having children because I never saw it in my lifestyle, I never saw me being a mommy but I would love to save a child from a difficult situation and raise that child with love.  Sadly, I see so many children with parents who should hardly be called that; seeing these children with crazy parents hurts my heart.  I’d love to have a little girl who can carry on the movement of radical self love or a little boy so I can help the next generation of brothas be sweet and edumacated.  It would be nice to give a child in a dire situation a good stable environment.  So this is an area that will have a lot of praying/meditation.  Right now I’m leaning towards adoption but if the Lord wants me to have my own lil bundle of dendoo I’ll have my very own.

Have a fashion show:
This isn’t terribly difficult but it can be.  I love designing clothes but I can’t sew.  Sigh.  I can’t sew…

Well I’m not going to let that stop me from doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing.  One way or another I am going to have a fashion show AND it’s going to be awesome.  I envision girls flouncing down the catwalk in crazy shapes and colours, bold and vibrant designs and lots of ethnic models (yep all you black, latina, and asian models will have a job with me!).  Then I can see tiny me skipping down the catwalk at the very end of the show looking uber cute.  You can’t deny it.  You want to buy it.  lol.

Have an over the top vacation:
When you check in at a hotel that caters to regular as well as posh clients have you ever felt boring because you know you’re getting the standard room, the standard stay, the standard vacation.  Yep.  Boring.

The Screen Boutique Hotel

Spending a week on the yacht….

Here’s the proposition:  a luxe room at a swankadocious hotel, going out every night, insane shopping, beautiful views, dancing till the early morn, soaking up the sun by the pool in my couture bathing suit.  Room service (my mother never let my order it growing up).  I’m talking about fine dining, plush bedding, exquisite interiors and so much more.  An over the top vacation!  Oh, and a spa day that leaves me looking a puddle of relaxation.  Gotta throw that in the mix.  I’m still trying to decide exactly where I want to go but I know it’s going to be killer dude.

Make a CD:
This one is a work in progress actually!  I am making my own little CD chock full of crazy sounds, crazy songs and head bobbing madness.  No, all the songs are not about love me love me love me please (don’t you just hate when you buy a CD and every single song is about love?) There is a song that tells a girl “He don’t love you”, a song about “riding in my car”, a song about “war and drugs” a song about “prostitution”, one about “why I can’t open up to you” and so much more.  So it’s crazy cool and it’s fun to make up my songs and then sing em.  It’s not professional or anything but it’s fun!

Host a motivational seminar for young women:
I mentioned in another post that I had once gone to a seminar for women and women who were at least 20 years older than me were just as confused as a woman my age.  I felt like some of the issues these women were raising were issues that were supposed to be tackled already.  This got me thinking:  I’ve been through a lot and I’m still learning but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could host some sort of retreat for young women and motivate these women?   I’d love to tackle certain issues now so when we’re in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s we don’t have to shell out $100 bucks for some watered down advice.  So this is def something I want to do.  I’d love us women to take over the world!

Well these are just a few things that I wanted to share.  Some are serious and some are playful.  I have all sorts of wants and wishes but even if I don’t cross everything off my list I think it’s wonderful to have something to work towards.

What’s on your list?
Maybe you should include meeting dendoo!

Much love, dendoo

Radical Self Love for the Black Girl

Posted in Inspiration by dendoo on May 4, 2010

There’s a movement going on in this universe called RADICAL SELF LOVE.

Before anyone thinks I am hating on the movement or the creator please understand: I totally believe in Radical Self Love.  If I weren’t addicted to squares (I have a tattoo of a square) I’d probably tattoo it on my wrist.  So don’t start thinking “My word!  She’s against the movement.”  It’s nothing like that.  And I know that RSL is about being in love with yourself but I’m approaching this from a different angle which I hope will be apparent as you continue reading.

So what is it like?

It’s like this:  Radical Self Love already was, already had been, and will always be so snap out of your stupid bubbles and just accept the realness that is you, your awesomness and the life that will change dramatically once you do. I’m mad that more women are not accepting this movement but I’m even more upset that it has to be a movement to begin with because YOU are radical, YOU are yourself and YOU deserve your love.

Where is this anger coming from?

It’s coming from this: I was out last week running some errands and I had on a typical “me” outfit plus my afro.  The afro is what I think started this entire conversation.  This young woman about my age start laughing when I went into the store.  So I look at her like “and what” and keep browsing.  So she comes up to me and asks “You ain’t scared aye?” (don’t forget we’re island people so we have our own talks) and I’m asking her scared of what “scared of what everyone thinks of you”.  I tell her plainly and bluntly no.  I ask her why should I be scared.  She lists some stupid reasons and then I laugh.  I tell her if anything I’m scared to become like her.

She looks shocked and I smile a secret smile.  So she asks “What’s so wrong about me?”

Nothing is wrong about her but what fun is it to be just like everyone else?  What is so fun about fitting in because it’s what’s expected?  This opens up a discussion.  In the end she admits there are things she wants to do, wants to be but she feels she can’t be.  Okay, you know me.  Even if the dream will never come true I still need to have the dream.  So I share this with her and she tells me “But that’s what white folks do.  You white aye?” (yep white people I’m sorry but us black people do say that sometimes.)

So I shake my head vigorously.  NO.  LIFE IS NOT JUST FOR WHITE PEOPLE.

Then I realized I’m getting mad…and I am getting mad because this woman does not have her own foundation of radical self love.  True, it didn’t come to me like that but I knew at that moment there wasn’t enough trust in herself, knowledge about herself and about her worth in her and that’s why she was making such crazazy statements.

Look, I don’t have anything against people but I know about the black way of life so it’s something I can talk about in-depth.  I know we (black people) constantly say “That’s for white folks to do”.  Well at least in my country that’s what a lot of black people say.

Saving money for retirement, buying a condo, traveling the world, eating caviar, hiking, holding a dinner party…LIVING is for white people.  When I realized what this woman is telling me along with what I’ve heard countless times I suddenly got it: we’re clouding our horizons.  We can’t ever expect to get on with the movement.  Then I realized we can NEVER accept radical self love because we put ourselves in a bubble of “blackness” and we can’t get out.

me accepting my crazazy hair…

So I am saying today that anything she can do we can do too.  I’m not even going to say we can do better because first we have to believe that we can even do it.  To me, RSL (I’m tired of writing it all out) is about accepting who you are and then taking that person and pushing it past your boundaries.  But if you can’t even accept who you are and where you belong in this world then how can you push past anything? The most you can do is push your trolley past the little old lady in the Supermarket!

The movement was created to be in love with yourself and not have to be dependent on a man for the love you are so worthy of as Valentine’s day moved closer but to me it was more about saying “I don’t need a man to make me happy”.  It was about discovering every inner truth, every desire, every fear, and every worry that was you.  So maybe you think this girl does have her own RSL thing going on…cause she comfortable being a part of the pack, right?


I think the fact that she asked if I’m not scared, the fact that she admitted some dreams that she wants to have but doesn’t even have the courage to hold onto, and the fact that she hasn’t discovered who she is outside of the pack (IMO) all point to her not being down with Radical Self Love.

And I told her.  I TOLD HER!  Well I didn’t say she needs to learn about RSL but I did say

You can’t be afraid to be who you want to be even if it means you’re never popular and people make fun of you.  You can’t be afraid to have your wants and desires.  That my dear is radical.

You can’t be afraid to be in tune with your energies, your harmonies, your you.  That my dear is self.

You can’t be afraid to have an open heart and open mind for everything that comes along.  You don’t have to accept everything but you do have to accept that there is more than you out there.  You have to accept the you that you’re in tune with.  Isn’t that love?

let’s melt away our fears and start loving

So I’m on a mission to bring Radical Self Love to the Black Girl in my country because I’m starting to see ain’t enough of that stuff floating around.  If I offended you I’m sorry but I live in a place where I witnessed grown as hell 30, 40 and 50-year-old women pay $100 to have some stupid broad answer questions like “How to win my man back from a prostitute?” and “Is it okay to date a white man?” (I’m not joking).  I have to do my part to nip it in the bud.  I can’t wait till I’m 50 and then try to go out and help a sister.  NO!

Radical Self Love means a lot of things to a lot of people but if you can’t even start with the simplest thing…what’s the point?

Keep Moving On

Posted in dendoo art, Inspiration by dendoo on April 30, 2010

artwork by dendoo

keep moving on
even if you got scuffs on your new shoes keep stepping on
even if he says your boots were made for walking keep walking on
even if you only have your bare feet keep keeping on
no matter what you have to do
keep moving on
cause you’re a woman and that’s what we do
let’s move along

much love, dendoo

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Posted in Inspiration by dendoo on April 29, 2010

It’s that time of year again when you shower Mommy Dearest with loads of gifts in an attempt to somehow show her a fraction of how much you adore and love her.

This year might be a little difficult because HELLO everyone, including moi, is going through a recession.  They’re talking bout this thing is over and we’re heading into recovery… Um…okay…well some of us didn’t get the memo because let’s face it: things are hard.

So I started searching the internets and racking my mind in hopes of finding some fabu gift and gift ideas for you recessionistas out there.  dendoo’s got you covered.  Let’s go!

1. Plan a picnic,  2. Call your mom, 3.  Buy a card,  4. Make a card,  5.  Go for a walk with your mommy,  6.  Have tea with your mom,  7.  Write your mom a letter,  8. Sing mom her favourite song,  9. Make breakfast in bed 10. Have lunch at an affordable restaurant,  11. Help a new mom or mom to be document the life of their new bundle of joy with The First 1000 Days: A Baby Journal12. Buy mom a signature scent, 13. Roses or her favourite flower will surely brighten up the day,  14.  Bring the spa home,  15.  Book a photo session for the two of you   16. Mom should carry it all in style, don’t you think?  17. Watches are a classic, 18.  Go on a helicopter ride,  19.  Full day spa treatments (oh how I wish I could afford thee) sound nice,  20. Go on a trip somewhere exotic (my mum wants to go to China) 21. Offer to baby sit for the mom that is over stressed   22.  Dads and kids clean up the house   23.  Buy mom a star   24.  Plant a tree in honor of a mom that’s not here 25.  Take an elderly mom a good hot meal  26.  Read old mother’s day cards with your mommy   27.  Got a frumpy mom?  give her a fab makeover!  she can spring into summer…..  28.  Know a totally rad mom?  she can sport this tee   29.  Concert tickets would be sweeeeet!!   30.  Just tell mom i love you.

There are so many more ideas but this mother day, whatever you do, don’t forget to tell your momma that you love her!

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Finding your inner self

Posted in Inspiration by dendoo on April 27, 2010

//by chiaralily\\

Growing up is something we all have to do but it can be one of the hardest things we ever face.

I was having a discussion with a friend who I’ll call “Sugar Plum” (cause she’s just so sweeeet!) and we were talking about our twenties being the years of discovery.  We both agreed we’re discovering it’s hard to discover.  There’s a lot that happens when you start to come into your own:  your fashion changes, your views evolve, you feel like a woman or man but no one sees you that way, you probably have sex a lot and drink until you pass out…or not.  You want to explore new avenues and tell old ones that you’ll be back later.  It’s just one big adventure, right?


I believe finding your inner self is separated into parts:  there is the part that always was and the part that you have to awaken.

You always were spiritual, always were a big spender, you always were optimistic about life and you always wore red shoes with little black bows.  Ok those are you always, your constants, the things you are comfortable with and know about yourself already.

You didn’t know you are bi-curious, you had no clue you are a good listener, you love discovering how to go green, you make a mean cocktail, you are interested in doing your own thing & screw the consequences.  Who knew?

Maintaining your always was isn’t the difficult part, cultivating your awake and explore side is the where the issues start.  These additions to your you are going to create a whole new!  Hmmm…I’m starting to rhyme and that’s not a good sign.  Yikes!

The bottom line is you can’t be afraid to try your newness.  You might want to hang out with an edgier crowd, but you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  Go to the underground music shows, introduce yourself to new people, open your mind.  If you’re closed off you’re never going to be able to awaken and explore.

Sugar P. noted that as she started to awaken and explore new sides of her person the constants that she thought were unchangeable started to change.  Example:

“I was a huge party girl in college and everyone knew it.  If there was a party at the club you could count on me to be there, if there was a house party yep I’m there.  But then I started reading up on Buddha and it’s a zen lifestyle, more calming than anything I’ve ever known.  I used to make fun of people who couldn’t go hardcore but now I understand why some people have a limit.  Don’t get me wrong, I still party (whoop whoop!) but I love the calming effect that I get from learning about other religions and I’ve applied it to my new me.  I can go out now and have two or three drinks and still be chilled.  I was never like that before.”

Okay Sugar P. changed a constant by exploring and awakening a new side of her.  (Actually I for one am glad cause she does get a lil crazazy).   One thing we both agreed is when you decide to find your inner you have to go for it.  You can’t be a-scared.  I mean, duh, you will be a-scared but you have to push past that.  Between the two of us we came up with a listo of how to find the inner, the new, the real, yep the you!

doe:  Believe in your wants and your alreadys
Look I’m not saying if you want to try drugs to believe in that, but believe in who you are already and believe in what you want to explore.  If you want to know more about your ancestors in order to find more fulfillment in you the go ahead.  Go book a ticket and explore your forefather’s homeland, go talk to nana.  But you have to believe in what it is you’re trying to find out.  If you don’t believe in it you’re never going to press on and you’re never going to open up and accept what you find.

//by desireedelgado\\

ray:  Listen to your heart
This post is entitled “Finding” your inner self.  You’re going to have to do some digging around.  When you’re looking for something it’s not always easy.  Listening to yourself makes the journey easier.  There will be people around you asking “Why do you want to do that? Why do you want to wear that?  Why d you want to go there?”  They’re planting the seeds of doubts but if you listen to your heart and follow your inner voice you will mos def find what your looking for.  I mean honestly you can’t listen to Amy’s heart or Kevin’s heart can you?  Thought not.

mee:  Be true to your already, Be true to you
Look, you want to explore right?  Okay that’s fine.  But if exploration takes you too far from who you already are is that really worth it?  You have to find the balance between going after the dreams and keeping a part of you intact.  At the end of all this exploration you don’t want to come out a 100% new person.  We’d like to still be able to recognize you.  You can put makeup on and change one layer but underneath it all you’re still you.  Don’t forget the values and morals that make up you.  As cutesy as it may seem, some people may actually like you for the good, for the things they are comfy with and you might love you for that too.

fah:  Get a tour guide

My mommy, who I love to death, is the queen of reading self help, self improvement books.  Sometimes I laugh at her but some of her books are really on spot.  I’ve bought a few books myself and they have really helped.  Think of books as a tour guide into this journey.  Try reading some of these books, they’re not just about how to dress pretty but they deal with spirituality, sexuality, money woes, mental growth, emotional growth.  Baby it’s the whole rainbow.  The truth?  When you’re finding your inner you every part of you has to grow. These books are highly recommended from meeeee:  What to Do When You’re Twenty-Two: A Survival Guide for the Quarter-Life Crisis, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled and Independent On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction

Okay sweeties.  Just remember everyday this week is a new post on transforming a new part of your you and your life.   If you are finding your inner self I wish you lots of luck and really I do feel our twenties is the ideal time to discover ourselves.  It’s almost like it’s expected.

Who is your inner you?

Much love, dendoo