My 4-Year Blogiversary: THE RETURN

Well hello there! As you may have noticed, I took a bit of a hiatus there from the blog front, and for those who are frequent readers, I apologize for the departure.

The truth is that I had become uninspired by the natural hair world. Sure, there was the constant release of new products and fun parties and mixers to attend, but after four years that whole scene had become stale, empty and in terms of seeking out compelling content, it lacked the true depth I had once found within it.

So I stopped writing.

However, Natural Selection has brought me immense joy and growth, so I knew that it would be back, but that I needed to take time to reflect on where it is I wanted to take this next part of my journey.

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I woke up today and it dawned on me: I needed to take this blog back to it’s origins, to the ORIGINAL reasons I started writing in July of 2009. So I took a trip over to my ORIGINAL blog (there have been three over the years), to see if my very first blog post held any clues. Appropriately titled “New Beginnings: A [Moderately] Brief History of Why I’m Starting a Blog About My Hair“, this post holds it’s intrigue in the opening sentence and closing statement.

The opener:

“Since I can remember, my hair has been both my crowning glory and my greatest nemesis.”

A powerful statement, and one that rings true for many women of color, however after four years of being natural, I am proud to say that my hair is a nemesis no longer!

An excerpt from my closing paragraph:

“This blog is not going to just be about hairstyles and products. I’ve come to realize that the story of black hair is a story about cultural and personal identity, health and diet, schools and learning, world history and politics, art and expression, laughter and struggle, and family and friends.”

Four years later, I stand behind this statement still. The natural hair movement, with it’s parades of products and consumerism, has swallowed up the above the true story of black hair and I too have been swept up in it and have deviated from sharing and exploring it. However I truly believe that it’s important to keep these explorations at the forefront. It’s what positively unites us, rather than 3a/4c divides us.

I will admit that it’s funny that I spent so much time and effort worrying about where I should take the future of this blog, when all I had to do was return to the origin for the answer. A lesson for us all.

Honoring Gordon Parks with Kim Coles and Eriq LaSalle

Last night I had the honor of being a guest at an event celebrating the career, work and vision of American icon Gordon Parks.  Hosted by Macy’s in partnership with the Gordon Parks Foundation, the event brought together hundreds of people from all over the Bay Area including Mayor Willie Brown, Renel Brooks-Moon and Dana King, to learn about Gordon Parks’ work through an insightful discussion with actors Kim Coles and Eriq LaSalle.

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I thought Macy’s did a beautiful job of selecting this visionary individual to feature in celebration of Black History Month.  ”Exemplary Americans like Gordon Parks serve to inspire generations with a rich legacy of achievement that cross boundaries and continue to inform and inspire the work of those who follow in their footsteps.  From photography to film and music, Gordon Parks is the perfect American hero to honor during Black History Month celebrations at Macy’s,” said Dineen Garcia, Macy’s vice-president of Diversity Strategies.

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Going into the event, I admittedly knew very little about Gordon Parks’ work, but my eyes and mind were opened to the prominent role he played in shaping black identity in film and art during us 60-year career as a composer, author, photographer and filmmaker.  As a person in media, I was really inspired by Gordon Parks’ motive to create the portrayal of African Americans he wanted to see himself.

Think about it.

How many films are out there that truly represent you as a person of color and do not poke fun at or stereotype us as a people?  Not that many.  In the 60′s and 70′s Gordon Parks was not happy with the depictions he was seeing of African Americans in film and television and so with his films he sought out to create the images of his people that he wanted to see.

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“Whatever your gift is, that is what Gordon Parks’ legacy speaks to,” explained Eriq LaSalle.  ”Be a maverick and carver your own path.  Regardless of your profession and what your dreams are, create your own opportunities. Our community needs him now more than ever.”

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Special thanks to Kim Coles for inviting me to the event and being a generally awesome human being in every way!

The Life Inspired: the dream of equality

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In today’s segment of “The Life Inspired”, I would be remiss if I did not feature President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Watching the President stand on the Washington Mall and take the oath for his second term, I couldn’t help but think how exactly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stood in the same place and made a radical call for equality. While we have come a long way in terms of equality since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960′s, in his inauguration speech President Obama passionately spoke about the work he and his administration plan on doing in terms of furthering equality in terms of gender, ethnic, and sexual orientation.

In an effort to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far there still is to go, I’m sharing both the famous “I Have A Dream” speech and, if you didn’t catch it earlier, President Obama’s 2nd term inauguration speech.

History.
History realized.
History in the making.

FORWARD!

I Have A Dream (full text)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

No need to freak out… it’s just my FIRST TRIP TO AFRICA

Yes, that’s right peeps— I’m making my maiden voyage to the continent!!! When, you ask???

Um…today.

When this opportunity first came across my plate, everyone was extremely surprised by my reaction: complete and utter silence. “Cass, why aren’t you excited!?,” they asked. “Oh, I’m excited alright. In fact I’m a little too excited I can’t even react.” So I stuffed this amazing trip to the back of my mind, an easy thing to do when you can pile a 5 week jaunt to Chicago, NOLA, Virgin Islands, Los Angeles, Hawaii and Thanksgiving in San Francisco on top of it.

But then last Saturday it hit me when I saw this shirt:

Of all places, I was with friends at a Dead Prez concert. Upon seeing this shirt, I realized the magnitude of this experience of traveling to Africa for the first time. The colonization and subsequent enslavement of millions of African people is a gruesome and painful history we share, but most of us live pretty far removed from it. However, it came smacking me in the face that I would be traveling to one of the main ports of where people were captured, shipped, and sold into generations of forced and brutal labor. It was a powerful and necessary realization to have.

So I did what any girl would do: I ran out of the concert and onto the street and called my mom sobbing at 2am. After she calmed me down, then I called Felicia, also joining me on this trip, who also calmed me down. She explained “Cassidy, my gift is to teach people about natural hair. Yours is to write about your experiences and share them with the world.” With that I dried my tears and put my “Holy-F-This-Is-Going-To-Be-An-Amazing-Trip-And-I-Can’t-Wait-To-Write-About-It Hat back on! And then I went back into the concert and enjoyed the rest of the show. Dead Prez and crying. Go figure.

So let me tell you a bit about this trip. I’m going with an amazing new multi-media project called Black Is Global (B.I.G). The purpose of Black Is Global is to create an online platform to share stories and experience of black people all around the world. Black culture in the United States is very different than the black culture in Brasil, which is different than the black culture in Ghana, which is different than the black culture in France. So as you see, blackness IS global and through the diaspora we have created a multitude of international black identities. Very cool, right? Make sure to check out the site because this is going to be BIG (pun intended).

The inaugural trip will be to Dakar, Senegal, located on a beach lined peninsula on the Western Coast of Africa. I can’t give away the details yet, but we’re going to be seeing, visiting, tasting and exploring some very exciting and noteworthy places and experience.

Besides myself, the B.I.G. team is made up of Felicia Leatherwood, who will be speaking at the Natural Hair Expo we’re headed to; Elton Anderson, a phenomenal photographer whose work I’ve been following for years (featured once here on NSB!); and the two Black Is Global owners, Chimole Williams and Amber Patton.

We’ll be documenting our entire journey and sharing on BlackisGlobal.com, but for quick updates be sure to follow the Black Is Global Facebook Page and Twitter (@blackisglobal).

I’m amazingly excited for this trip and I know it’s going to be the experience of a lifetime! I’m really floored by the fact that I’m not just going to a new country, but one that is perhaps the homeland and birthplace of my ancestors. It’s truly a powerful thought. Stay tuned for more FROM THE CONTINENT!!

Xoxoxo

2nd Helpings: The Story of Slave Anastacia

Following this week’s theme of reflection and thanks, I am going to continue on with a tradition I started up last year: serving up some of my favorite blog posts from the past year! On the eve of Lola’s birthday, I thought I’d kick things off with my story of Escrava Anastacia (Slave Anastacia), the Brazilian woman who inspired my natural journey to begin with.

Celebrating Black History Month: Slave Anastasia (Escrava Anastacia) – 2/22/11

As you may remember, I promised to do a Black History Month post last week. We all know the big players that I could talk about in the hair game — Madame CJ Walker, Angela Davis, etc.– but I wanted to do someone that had more of an impact on my decision to go natural.  The answer came to me rather quickly and requires us to take a little trip together down to BRAZIL.

Brazil is home to beautiful beaches, men in zungas, gorgeous super models, Carnival, the 2014 World Cup, the Amazon,  and the largest Black population outside of Africa.  Yes, even larger than the US!  More people were taken as slaves to Brazil than anywhere else and as a result there continues to be a strong presence of African culture in contemporary Brazil.  Within Brazil, the state of Bahia is known as the  Afro-Brazilian capital of the country where most of this culture, tradition and population continues to thrive today.

Continue reading

“THE CASSIDY GUARANTEE” caught on vid.

So glad to hear that I was issuing “guarantees” on video at the CurlyNikki/Kim Coles LA event where I filmed a little video for the NaturallyCurly.com Curl Stories from the Street series. The guarantee in question is that YOU WILL LOVE YOUR NATURAL HAIR! Tell me—- am I right or am I right?? Do you love your natural hair? I’ve guaranteed it, so if you disagree, please pipe up! We should talk! (I’m serious! Email me! I want to support your journey!)

Check out my video to hear my Curl Story! (Also– I’m fascinated that my purple gloss + purple liner = purple eyes! RIGHT!?)

…why #iwrite… (and why I #ilove blogging)

Last week I came across a blog post by natural hair/fashion/culture blogger Lola Zabeth’s titled “Why #iWrite”, which detailed her inspirations about why she blogs. In her post, she encouraged other bloggers to write about why THEY write, offer up three pearls of wisdom, and “tag” other bloggers who they are inspired by. Well, I made a note to write the post and then a couple hours later I was tagged by DerbyCityNaturals to share why I write…

It is an interesting thing this blogging activity, one that requires early mornings, late nights, dis.ci.pline, and risk-taking for no other reason a self-propelled willingness to do it. Almost two years ago (!!), I started this blog as a way of documenting my personal journey of transitioning out of relaxed hair to natural hair. My primary audience at the time was, well, me. At it’s inception, Natural Selection was a platform for me to document my learnings and experiences. I have always loved the act of writing and throughout the years have been told that my “voice” comes across powerfully through the written word. And by powerfully, people often were referring to my style of writing that relies heavily on humor and anecdotal experiences to explore and explain topics. So in July of 2009 when I signed up for Natural Selection’s first .blogspot.com, I figured it would be a great side project for me to hone my writing skills and create an archive of this huge turning point in my life. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I amused myself immensely with family interviews, field trips, and quirky tales of my personal experiences.

Me – July 2009 at the start of the blog

Things were cruising along swimmingly with the blog and I was having a lot of fun and learning a ton about hair and blogging in general. Then a weird thing happened: people started reading. In the beginning, I figured that I could cajole my mom, my Nana, and maybe – just maybe – a handful of friends to check out the site. But I was delighted to find out that people were visiting- and enjoying – Natural Selection! “Well, hot damn,” I mused, “I guess I should keep ‘em coming back.” And so I began to approach the blog with the same fun-loving, curiosity-bent, I-want-to-learn mentality, but also began to consider how to engage a wider audience.

So there I was, writing for myself as well as for a host of readers. As Natural Selection grew, I began to develop relationships with readers as well as other bloggers. To this day, one of my favorite parts since the beginning of blogging has been to connect with people. Natural Selection has provided me with an platform for reaching, meeting, and bringing people from all walks of life, all over country (and the world!) together.

All of that is a long way of saying that #iwrite to learn, to have fun, to share, and to connect. And I write about hair because hair is beautifully, uniquely human.

March 2011 - Blogging away (photo by Gabriela Herman)

My pearls of wisdom (and these can apply to many more things beyond just blogging)
1. JUST DO IT! Sit down and start typing. All it takes is a single thought to get you started. Don’t worry about it being perfect, that’s the beauty blogging – no one sees it until you hit Publish! And once you start, keep at it!

2. SMILE! If it doesn’t make you happy, then don’t do it. End of story. Have fun with it! Be creative, be silly, be YOU!

3. MAKE A FRIEND! Take the time to introduce yourself to other bloggers, especially the ones that you enjoy reading and/or those that inspire you. Never hurts to make new friends and its sometimes you even get to meet them in person, which makes it all the more fun!

The following 6 bloggers (couldn’t just choose 5; in no particular order) I’m tagging in this post have made me laugh out loud, taught me new things, become my friends, connected thousand of people who would have otherwise been strangers, and have inspired me to keep at it!

Nikki Walton of Curly Nikki
Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks
EllePixie of Quest for the Perfect Curl
Ernest of Fly Brother
Chai of Back To Curly
Katie of Happy Girl Hair

Celebrating Black History Month: Slave Anastasia (Escrava Anastacia)

As you may remember, I promised to do a Black History Month post last week. We all know the big players that I could talk about in the hair game — Madame CJ Walker, Angela Davis, etc.– but I wanted to do someone that had more of an impact on my decision to go natural.  The answer came to me rather quickly and requires us to take a little trip together down to BRAZIL.

Brazil is home to beautiful beaches, men in zungas, gorgeous super models, Carnival, the 2014 World Cup, the Amazon,  and the largest Black population outside of Africa.  Yes, even larger than the US!  More people were taken as slaves to Brazil than anywhere else and as a result there continues to be a strong presence of African culture in contemporary Brazil.  Within Brazil, the state of Bahia is known as the  Afro-Brazilian capital of the country where most of this culture, tradition and population continues to thrive today.

It was on a trip to Bahia in 2009, that I first learned about Slave Anastasia (Escrava Anastacia si voce fala Portugues)  to whom I credit with my decision to go natural.  There are many different versions of the story of Anastasia, but the gist goes something like this:  Anastasia was in an royal African family (most likely from Angola) and was captured in 1820 and brought to Brazil as a slave.  Her beauty was great and revered by all who were in her presence.  As a result of her stunning beauty many of the slave owners made sexual advances at her, but as a woman of great virtue she always refused.  Finally, after being refused so many times, her masters punished her by placing an iron mask and collar on her.  It was believed that the mask was encouraged by the wives and daughters of the slave owners who were jealous of her beauty.  Eventually Anastasia died from gangrene and infection caused by the mask and collar.

In the version of the story that I learned about Anastasia, there was an accompanying slide show that included two images that shook me to the core and remain very vivid to me to this day.  The first was an image (and I regret that I could not find it) of Anastasia before her capture and in it her hair was the largest most amazing, lush head of kinky coily hair.  Something like this

And the very next image was

The transition between between the large beautifully free hair and the cropped and muzzled slave these two images shook me.  It struck me that in addition to the mask and collars her masters sought to diminish her beauty by stripping her of her crown, of her hair.  Then I realized that I was really doing that same thing to myself by taking great pains to straighten my hair  and remove my  natural kinks, coils, and crowning volume.  I was losing a very unique and powerful part of my identity in this process and I knew that I had to stop.  The very next day, the woman braiding my hair recommended that I go natural and I was more than happy to oblige!

Today Slave Anastasia is revered as a saint and a martyr in many of the religions in Brazil.  And today, this month, and everyday moving forward, I will celebrate the history of my enslaved ancestors all over the world  by wearing my hair FREE and in its natural state.

A Question from a Pik-y Reader

Had this question come through on the Natural Selection Facebook Page:

“Ive had locks for years! Started in 97 cut them in 03 grew them back and cut them again in 10. Now Im ready to just let my hair grow and experiment with different styles. Natural Styles of course:) I am in need of a good pick. I been searching the internet for the short and long fan pick with the black fist AND the peace sign in the middle. Do they exist anymore?” -Christina A.

Thanks for writing in, Christina.  From your description I set out on an internet safari looking for your vintage style pick.  Along the way I found out some interesting things about the history of the pik and its African roots.  Contrary to popular belief, piks are not a result of the 70′s black power movement.  Pik-style combs (as opposed to horizontally held combs with handles) originated in Africa specifically for the use on African hair.  These original piks were made of wood and were highly ornamental, displaying a reverence for craft and personal care.  The wide spaces between the teeth allowed for ease of detangling highly textured hair.  The African comb also began to have spiritual/familial/religious significance and many combs were adorned with carved figurines and symbols.

Wooden comb from the Ivory Coast

Another comb from the Ivory Coast

A Ceramic Comb

During slavery, slave masters took these beautiful piks away from their slaves as a way to not only remove all traces of African origin and symbology, but also the desire to care for ones personal appearance.  The pik did not make a popular resurgence in the United States until the 1970′s when the afro hair style returned to fashion and the pik was used to, well, “pik-out” (enlarge) the afro.

At the center of this movement, Miss Christina, was the afro pik that you are looking for- with the fist (symbolizing black power) and the peace sign.  Despite these piks hitting their most popular point 40 years ago, you’re in luck because they STILL make them today!  And they are as easy to get as making a quick trip to Amazon.  You can really get anything on Amazon.

They have a couple of styles, the Fan Fist Pik that you were looking for.

As well as the regular straight pik (with peace sign and fist as well).

Today the pik is also a popular image making its appearance on clothing and jewelery.  I love these earrings by Rachel Stewart and the t-shirt by Frolab.  Very cool.

Oh and as for the pik vs. pick spelling, I’ve seen it many places and in both formats.  I was following the model of how the sought after combs were actually spelled by the manufacturer and made it consistent.  Do whichever makes you happy, I have yet to find conclusive evidence that one or the other is correct.

As always, Natural Selection encourages healthy hair practices.  When using any sort of comb device, whether its a fist pik or a wooden comb or a Ouidad comb, be sure to do it when its well moisturized (preferably wet and loaded with conditioner) so as to minimize breakage.  Enjoy the pik, and send us a picture if/when you get it!

-Cassadie

San Diego Wrap Up ( and why the radio silence while down there…)

While sitting in San Diego, I was laying in bed one night thinking about the places and friend and family I would be visiting over the next month and my intention behind this whole trip and I came up with one word: RECONNECTION.  In each of the places I will be visiting over the next month, I will be reconnecting with many family and friends who I have not seen in months, years, and in the case of San Diego, decades.

The purpose of my trip to San Diego was to reconnect with my biological father and meet for the first time all of the relatives (including a 13 year old half-sister) on my paternal side.  I grew up in Minnesota with my entire maternal family and step father, only meeting my biological father once when I was four years old, (something I frankly have very little recollection of) so it was really a trip 21-years in the making.  Due to limited wi-fi access and the fact that this was quality time to the max, I was not blogging during this time.  (Although, I did spend a bit of effort trying to coax my coils back into existence).

Me and my father, Eric

Erica + Cassidy

This portion of the trip, while very personal, I decided to share on the blog because it not only is a part of me, but also has everything to do with Natural Selection seeing as natural selection (biologically – and simply- defined) is the process by which physical traits are passed down from parents to children.  So while I was on the hunt for where these dang coils came from so I could write about it here, I found myself in the midst of a discovery of other traits via cousins and aunts and an extended network of new family that for my entire life I’ve been wondering where they came from.

But what’s a good family visit without both history and hairstory?  One of the reasons I’ve never gotten micro braids is because I’ve never wanted to spend the time to take them down.  But who was I to deny my half sister, Erica, a helping hand in taking hers down?  Hopefully she’ll listen to her big sister’s advice and take a break from the braids (because we all know how long-term braiding can really damage edges) and rock her natural! (hint hint hint)

Taking Erica's braids down

Taking a break from the unbraiding to cheeeeeese!

Unfortunately I did not make it to the San Diego naturals meetup, but the story of my San Diego trip DID turn out to be one of reconnecting with other naturals: familial naturals all around!

At Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in LA!

Family Dinner in San Diego

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