Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spying in the Hair Salon

As we speak, I'm reporting from my hair salon that I work at here in Murrieta, Ca. I've always wanted to sit back and see for myself what exactly goes on n a hair salon when clients leave and we have a little time to ourselves...well, this is what I see:

*Stylists are retouching they're make up
*Stylists are cutting their own hair, something doesn't look right apparently (hmmm..)
*The breakroom is filled with silence as one stylist is sitting across from the other (awkward!)
*One stylist constantly looks at herself to see if everything is in place
*Lots of hair sweeping
*In the color room, intense chemistry is going on that the energy's a bit much
*2 stylists are battling over eachother, "Thank you so much!" "No thank you so much!!"

The salon world is filled with it all! There's so much estrogen flowing that the occasional stare down happens a lot and they don't even know they're doing it (most likely due to their hunger) T.V. has this facade that women are out to destroy eachother and they're always ready to rumble over the next client coming in through the door. As much as the world would like to see a catfight in public, the stylists here in this salon actually get along! Truth be spoken!

Me being a boy in a female dominated world just makes the mix all that much more interesting. Luckily I was raised by women, so I know when to step down when I see one of the female stylists irritated. Also lucky for me, I'm a fatty at heart and love food, so I surprise them with their favorite Starbucks drink or pastry, I learned a lot from dealing with my Mom for 18 years under the same roof, phew!

Were so human in here, sometimes we get so wrapped up in pleasing others so much that we forget the reason why were here in the 1st place, it's because we love what we do, we love to create new images. Times have come and gone where we've been crying, get mad and irritated, don't feel so good, colds are going all over the place, yet, we seem to pull it together to make someone else's day better. Just like all of you, we want to see and make smiles happen.

Hairstylists are a lot of things, one for sure is that were simply human, were not the catty beings you see on T.V....well, sometimes, I'll make sure to keep you guys updated and spy in on a rumble next time it happens..hahahahaha! Just kidding : )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Case of You

This song written by Joni Mitchell is by far THE song that at least to me, truly, describes strength and vulnerability all rolled up in one!

I first heard this song in the movie "Practical Magic" with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman back in 1998. "A Case Of You" has such a small part in the movie, at least 30 seconds long. For some reason though, I was captivated by the small clip I heard. I have to admit, this was the very first time I had ever heard of Joni Mitchell. Funny how I came to discover her through a movie.

I then bought the movie's soundtrack in 1999 and kept repeating track #6 over and over and over again! The words were so tender, so heartfelt that everything from her vocals to the words just makes Joni sound calm and collective. I told myself, "Wow, this person whom she loves lives so strongly in her that she feels bitterness and sweetness all at the same time, how can that be?"

Little did I know that a year and a half later, I would find out how bitter and sweet one person would make me feel, and just like Joni described, he was in me like holy wine, tasted so bitter and yet so sweet that I could drink a whole case of him and I would still be on my feet.

Aside from these feelings, I must say that I wasn't prepared to fully understand the "if's, and's, or but's" that come along with sharing and giving a part of you to someone else. Yes, a part of what we tend to do when were so mesmerized with our other half  for some reason is that we become fearless, we tend to just go forth and fight a good fight no matter what the cost, fights, bickering, etc. Yet, when the tough get's rough, we re-think everything we just went through. Why do we do that? Normal is it? Yes.

Whether it's been anywhere from 2 months to 20 years in a relationship, we must understand our own strength and vulnerability and not get tangled in the web of others. In this case for me, I was so scared to show either one because I was so intimidated by what I didn't know about myself. Although, I had to make sure I was going to be OK in the END, when our END came and see the true worth of the "if's, and's, or but's". Were they worth it, oh Yes!

It's ALL worth it, no matter what the outcome, we lived and loved from our hearts!

Joni Mitchell wrote "A Case of You" in 1971, and now in 2011, 40 years later, were still discovering how she felt that very first time : )

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reflect and Understand

On this great earth of ours, we have no chance but to understand why things are the way they are. We can be like those little kids who are always asking, "WHY?" Yet, that simple one word question will NEVER be answered, due to the fact that, well, "It is what it is".....

Two of the biggest words I came to learn and actually love in my 7 years of Youth Ministry were:

                                            *Reflect*    *Understanding*

I have literally questioned every single piece of existence when it comes to LIFE and the human mind. I would often ask myself, "Why am I made to Understand everything?" One of my pet peeves back in the day was when everyone around me would assume that I would be ok with change, that no matter what decision was made or what the outcome would be, I would "Understand" that would get under my skin! Until the day came when I said, "Excuse me, I actually DON'T understand! Please, explain to me why you believe that I would understand this circumstance?" 

I felt sorry for my friend at that time because he caught me on the wrong day! He stumbled  and couldn't find the words to comfort me or just simply to make things better. He got as pale as a ghost and then said, "I'm sorry Erik, I just thought it would be OK with you since in the past there's never been an issue". I suddenly felt like a complete JERK! This was all about locating and bringing a "prop" to church for a skit that was going to take place in the next couple days, assuming I had the time to do so since our other team player had something else going on and wasn't able to complete the task.

Later that night, as I was lying in bed, I had to Reflect on what really triggered my being so annoyed, and most importantly, why on earth would I ever act that way especially in front of others and put my friend on the spot? After a 15 min. deliberation in the dark, I found my answer:

Being the 3rd of 4 children, I was really never asked for an opinion and was told to do things just cause, no questions asked. My friends in middle school saw me as this shy boy that followed a crowd, and in high school I always seemed to blend in with the crowd, now that I had the opportunity to express an opinion, I still wasn't able to because I never spoke up, I felt the way I did when I was a kid, and finally for once, I wanted my own voice to be heard. 

I now knew and understood my place and what I had to do to make things right.

The next day, I called and apologized to my friend about the incident and explained myself in detail about the way I felt and why I did what I did. Thankfully, he accepted my apology and from that moment on, he took me into consideration and valued my opinion when I wanted to express myself a bit further in future endeavors that we were a part of.

Most of the time when we tend to overreact and take things too seriously, all it takes is to take a step back, really look the situation, Reflect and fully Understand our position and slowly move forward in the right direction.

It may take a while, yet once taken the proper steps, that's really all it takes. It is what it is!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Storms Come but Fade Away

I believe it was last week when Jennifer Hudson was on Oprah, and if you haven't seen her lately, you HAVE to!! She looks amazing! Her energy is glowing!

She spoke about her weight loss, her baby son, her husband, and for the first time ever, the loss of her Mom, Brother and Nephew 2 years ago.

I have to say that by far, this human being has been so strong, that my mind couldn't grasp around how she overcame her loss and still manages to smile and continue with life even though the BIGGEST storm of her life came and rattled her world. My sister and I were laughing, crying, and overjoyed to see the strength this woman has! Oprah asked her how she was able to cope with her grief and how she was doing now, 2 years later, and Jennifer said, "My baby, my husband, family and GOD". Isn't this the TRUTH of it all?!

I'm sure all of us could agree that with those in our inner circle, our foundation, anything is possible. They're the one's we cling to when we need them the most, they're the one's who hear us out and pull us out of any hole we seem to have gotten ourselves in. It's so easy to say, "I can do it, it's no problem", that's the first stage of denial.  Then we resurface with, "This is my storm, I can sail through this by myself cause I got myself here", yet, were only covering ourselves with so much pride that we become blind. It may be hard to ask for help, but it's a lot harder to go through the storm by yourself.

Ever since I was a kid I always showed my softer side, as an adult, I still do. The only difference between then and now is that I decipher whether or not I can survive when the "Storms" come. By surviving I mean moving on and taking in a great lesson along with me. Like anyone in this world, I've lost loved ones, friends, mentors, etc. and each time, it's never easy. Times come when my world's collide, when betrayal sets in, and even lightning strikes when my world seems to be at peace. When this happens, my pride used to set in an instant and the only person worthy of battling my issues would be me. Then as the years have gone by, I started to see and learn that I didn't have to go through "Storms" by myself, you can take people along with you to help you, to help cover you when you need it.

In this world, we live LIFE, we don't live in a paradise. We unfortunately need to go through the "Storms" to grow, to learn we can survive, to discover and expand our foundation. If we go through LIFE battling our own "Storms" by ourselves, we will lose something along the way, that can easily be who we once were. I keep saying to everyone these days that we HAVE to live LIFE for what it is and not let it get to us. Easier said than done, although, allow someone to come along for the ride with you, things will get easier.

I applaud Jennifer Hudson for her strength and her belief in moving on for her family. She even said that her pain still lives, it comes in waves, yet, being with her son and family makes things easier for her to look forward to the future.

A BIG side note to this, if you can't trust anyone to go through the "Storms" with you, knock on GOD'S door anytime, at least, he's ready to listen : )

Storms do Come my friends but at least they Fade Away

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wrong Impression..Or is it?

How many times do a lot of us, GET the Wrong Impression and/or actually GIVE the Wrong Impression? If you're saying "Not me!", grab a slice of HUMBLE Pie and start eating!

The best way I could ever describe giving the Wrong Impression would be by sharing with you one of the songs that really describes this feeling:

This song came out in late 2001, when I had just turned 18 and let me tell you, it is by far in my Top 10 Favorite songs of all time!

Natalie Imbruglia's "Wrong Impression" simply consists of someone merely taking a chance on love. She's so careful with wanting to make the right choice that she is taking precaution before making the move, that way she doesn't give the "Wrong Impression" and

1. Scare the love of her life away
2. Live the Wrong Impression

Notice in the song when she sings:

I want you
But I want you to understand
I need you
I love you

The word LOVE can scare a person, especially when it comes to the heart. It took me so long to finally say "I LOVE who I am" that in that time it even affected those around me. Saying it is one thing, and meaning it is another, if we give ourselves the Wrong Impression, all were doing is lying to ourselves and making things worse.

If you notice in today's world, break-ups, cheating scandals, fights, etc., break out because someone in the relationship forgets to truly find meaning in themselves. Take this song for example and sing it to yourself, it takes on a whole different course on its own. If you say:

I want you
But I want you to understand
I need you
I love you

to yourself, would you be able to understand what "loving" yourself really means? What the word "need" really translates to? Now don't get me wrong, I myself sometimes have trouble finding meaning, yet going there, searching for the answer can be a lot quicker to find if I truly look in the mirror and see "ME" for who I really am.

In the past few years, my last 2 relationships, I was trying to change my looks to make someone else desire me, I had the latest mohawk, I lost weight, I was pleasing my partners in every way possible so they were happy and content. I thought that if I made myself over I would be able to adapt to the new me without fail. Boy was I ever so wrong! I began to resent myself for not being able to share opinions the way I wanted to share them, I began to find it exhausting trying to manipulate and alter my looks, and I began to fake the smiles, the truth behind what was really in my heart. Pretty soon my inner circle had taken notice and knew that the real ME was being suppressed, and they asked, "Are you happy giving the Wrong Impression of yourself?" That right there was a nail that had dug through very deep! It reminded me of the song that I once grew to love, and you'd think I'd learn from the first time around, but I didn't and I repeated the same pattern yet again.

Finally I made a decision (twice) that made me appreciate myself and said, "No more!" Why was I giving the Wrong Impression and taking a chance for ME to be unhappy, in order for THEM to be happy? Both times, after I made my decisions, I listened to this song and had a much deeper appreciation for what came to be the best thing for me, the chorus of this song said it all as if it was written just for me:

Didn't want to leave you
With the wrong impression
Didn't want to leave you
With my last confession
(Yeah) Of love
Wasn't trying to pull you
In the wrong direction
All I wanna do is try to
Make a connection
(Yeah) Of love 

I tried so hard to make that "connection of love" that I gave the Wrong Impression, and once I was wanting to come out with the real me, it backfired. Oh well, the Universe made both situations BE.

So to answer my own title statement question, "Wrong Impression...Or is it?"

I most certainly am Not nor do I GIVE the Wrong Impression...are YOU?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LIFE is what you WANT it to be

Everyday is a different situation for everyone in this world, whether you have a desk 9-5 job, freelance, mechanic, computer programming, receptionist, etc. Although their is a BIG difference between what IS and what one WANTS....half the time we have to go with what IS.....but truth be told...what's wrong with what we WANT? Absolutely NOTHING!

In the salon's I get VICTIM'S (a.k.a clients) that come in all sorts of frowns and smiles. Believe me when I say that even I'm not that peppy at times, but I'm also not a Debbie Downer. VICTIM'S who will make your life hell are out to get the world and destroy all the happiness that exists, while the VICTIM'S who are peppier than life itself have a "Sweet Tart" flavor to them (sweet/sour at the same time). Yet, there seems to be no in between...why is that?

In 2010 I got rid of 10-12 VICTIM'S from my client list due to their incessant needs and very unnecessary demands that made MY job miserable (this by the way is NO secret).  I kept thinking to myself, "I'm in such a bad mood! I can't stand it!" So then, I thought I was exaggerating, and I would continue to see them, after the 3rd-4th visit, I cut them off completely! I was mentally drained by them because everything I seemed to do on them was never good enough, I was their punching bag and I was expected to make them feel so deliciously amazing that I was sweating it for no apparent reason...and then seriously speaking I said to myself, "This is MY career of choice! Why on earth would I let ANYONE make it miserable for me?" That's where the calls went out that I would no longer be accepting them back in my chair.

Questions such as:
*"Do you know how much money you're losing?"
*"Do you know what you're doing?"
*"You're gonna shoot yourself in the foot and what for?"
*"Is this really what is necessary?"

were asked by those around me and the peeping tom's that were listening with their sonic ears for drama. This was by far the very 1st time I actually took charge of what I wanted the outcome of my career to be. I even cut off the "friends" that were weighing me down. As hard as that was to realize and act upon it, I needed to do it. What good would I be if I'm always in a bad mood or grouchy? I have fought for so long to make sure my name, Busy Little Queen, stood for nothing but positivity and security with oneself, why would I jeopardize myself just for monetary purposes and/or for the sake of hanging out with them? It didn't make sense to me.

Since then, I look forward to making a positive difference in someone's life. I live to make sure I can make someone smile and remind them how much they should love themselves. The salon visit in my chair is beyond making someone look good, it's about making sure the overall GOAL has been met and a great feeling was able to be reached.

If I do feel it is necessary to part ways with someone, it's always better just coming out with it instead of thinking too hard about it and wasting precious time in life. I want to make sure that once you leave those salon doors, you're ready to conquer the world with love and positivity. Same goes for those in my inner circle, if it's not going well, if you're miserable, it's time to split and make someone else's life miserable, don't come to me with a "Nasty" soul.

LIFE is what you WANT it to be, and for me, I want to make a difference with my gift,
after all, 
this IS what I WANT, and my message to ALL of YOU, 
YOU are the only one that matters! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Inspiration--->She LIVES!

For the longest time, those of you who grew up with me know very well, that my ALL time favorite recording artist is and will ALWAYS be:

This amazing person in just 23 years of life left a legacy that absolutely took the world by storm! Adored by not only her fans, but by her family and loved ones, she will always hold a special place in our hearts! She was more than "Selena y Los Dinos", she was more than a "Crossover Hit", she was more than "La Reina del Tex-Mex", she is MY Inspiration, and She LIVES!

Those of us that do remember, Selena y Los Dinos became a hit and were known in our homes when they were on shows like, "Sabado Gigante", "The Johnny Canales Show",  and "Siempre en Domingo". These shows were viewed nationally and when you were on "Sabado Gigante" and being interviewed by Don Francisco (the shows host), you made it! In my household, my Mom and I were the ones glued to lead singer who wore a bra onstage! She made it look amazingly fresh and she rocked it with such positivity! WOW! When in 1994, the album, "Amor Prohibido" came out, they were known everywhere! Selena had also come out in one our favorite novelas at the time, "Dos Mujeres Y Un Camino", I remember being so excited seeing her in the novela, and she had also released a single with a popular Spanish boy band at the time, The Barrio Boyz. Oh, and she had also come out on  the talk show Cristina (our Spanish Oprah)!

When I learned of her passing on March 31, 1995, I was in the car with my Dad and my older brother en route to Los Angeles, and we couldn't believe what we were hearing. I kept asking, "Selena Selena?" My brother had even accused me of not knowing who she was because I kept asking that question so much. Of course I knew who she was, I was in disbelief like the rest of the world. Selena had a sold out show booked the next day at the Great Western Forum in L.A., that unfortunately, she was no longer able to attend. On that day, my life changed forever...

Since then, I was always interested in seeing past interviews, her concerts, any Selena Special there was whether it was at 6:30 am or 11 pm. I still have them recorded on VHS tapes, so much that my Mom would call me obsessed! Truthfully, I wasn't obsessed, I was taken back by how this peaceful yet beautiful person was no longer with us and simply how her family and widowed husband would move on. She had so much life, why her?

When the film "Selena" came out in 1997, I saw it 4 times at the movie theaters, I couldn't get enough of it! Jennifer Lopez did an amazing job portraying Selena from her stage moves to her laugh. Finally, Hollywood took notice of Selena and the world from that moment on would be able to know why I loved this woman so much, all you had to do was watch the movie to get a glimpse into her world, the rest was there documented for everyone to appreciate this woman for simply who she was and the fact that she did exist! When I graduated high school in 2001 my Mom had promised me a trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, where ALL the Selena memorabilia was located. Due to our financial difficulties at the time, I wasn't able to go. I was so sad, but eventually, I knew somehow I would make it over there.

When I had completed my 1st year as a hairstylist in 2004, I saved up enough money to go to Corpus Christi, Texas and see ALL of Selena. I took my little brother Christian and my Mom with me to enjoy some company. The day after we had arrived, we went to her SELENA ETC. Boutique that was still open and actually met her sister Suzette their in the flesh. I was in shock that I couldn't even look at her! I was a mess! My mom kept telling me to go up to her to finally admit my undying admiration for her and Selena, and guess what I said, "HELL NO! She's busy, I'm not gonna bug her!" So she said, "Well I'm gonna do it then", and she sure did! I was mortified that I hid behind shirt racks in the Boutique. After being there for 2 hrs., Suzette had spoken to me, joked around with me, gave me an autograph for which I had asked for one, and she couldn't believe that we had come from "Teme-hu-ja" (as she put it) just to visit all that was Selena. You best believe I spent $300 on Selena shirts and accessories! As we were getting ready to leave, it started pouring rain and thundering outside and my Mom had lost the card to the taxi cab driver who had driven us there. Suzette over heard us bickering over the lost card and offered to give us a ride to have lunch and then pick us up in an hour so we could all go to the museum/recording studio where Selena Heaven (for me of course) was located. I was in disbelief! My Mom jumped at the chance and said "Yes!", and, yet again, I was mortified! Anyway, we went and it was amazing! We got to see Selena's outfits, her car that she owned, her popular stage microphone with stained red lipstick, her countless awards, her clothing designs etc. I was eternally grateful to Suzette for even doing that for us, she didn't have to whatsoever, but for some reason, to this day, I believe Selena had something to do with us meeting that day.

Now in 2011, the only reason I have a career in the Entertainment Industry is because of Suzette! Let's just say she REALLY hooked it up! I've worked alongside with her and it was a treat to had done so. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagine doing such a thing, let alone have Selena's sister know who I am and say my name, "Erik", and I still get chills! Suzette, if you're reading this, THANK YOU!

As much as we, the fans miss Selena, I can't imagine how her family everyday that goes by miss her so. The beautiful thing is that they get to see how much she's still being loved and so many visitors come from all over the world just to see her memorabilia. I've been able to showcase my love for Selena in many ways throughout the years, one in particular was a shoot I designed inspired by her in January 2010 and the show I worked on at the time caught wind of it and filmed my shoot for a "Selena Tribute Special" which aired on KWHY 22 in March of 2010. At my salon station, since I started working as a stylist 10 years ago, I've had a portrait of Selena on there for people to see that she's forever present! 

Selena, our hearts may never heal from your absent presence, although, you left us with immense love and a quote none of us will never forget, "The IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE!" I am a TRUE testimony to your words! Thank YOU and I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU!