Friday, July 8, 2011

The Hair Angel: Interview with Hair Artist Angel Ruiz. PART II

Here is the second part of my interview with hair artist, Angel Ruiz. Hope you enjoy the read.

As always, thanks for stopping by.
Alina Oswald
Author of BACKBONE

Angel discovered his life’s passion—doing hair—at an early age. About the same time he also realized that he was gay. A couple years later, a 13-year-old Angel came out to his family. While his father and grandparents embraced his newly discovered identity, his mother cried because, to her, it meant that he would not have a church wedding. Nowadays, at 38, Angel smiles at the memory. He recalls a recent conversation with his mother; he recalls that she apologized for her initial reaction to his coming out and for hurting his feelings.

Unfortunately some individuals are not concerned with hurting others’ feelings, quite the contrary. Some individuals bully those they perceive as different. In that sense, who can forget the most recent wave of suicides? Yet, in a way, it seems that bullying has always been around, in one form or another; that, unfortunately, it’s some kind of timeless problem that we keep fighting. “When people have issues with themselves, they take out their issues on others,” Angel shares his thoughts on the subject.  Always the optimist, he continues to say that bullies, with their behavior, do not hurt his feelings, only their own… after all, he’s no stranger to being bullied himself.

“When I was a little boy, I was called a f____ in school,” the hair artist recalls. He adds, with tenderness in his voice, that his younger brother, Peter, used to fight the bullies, to defend him. Angel would tell his brother to let it go because it wasn’t worth it, to which Peter would reply “but it’s worth it to me.” 

“I never thought to kill myself,” Angel adds, his thoughts back to the most recent victims of bullying. He believes that bullies are angry people who take their anger on their victims. His message to potential victims: “People [who are doing the bullying] are angry and ignorant. Don’t have anger for them. [Instead,] believe in yourself.”

The hair artist believes that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And he’s lived to tell the story. One day, seemingly out of the blue, Angel became terribly sick. He couldn’t eat anything and what he could it, he could not hold down. It took several doctors over one year to find out what was wrong with him. During that time, the hair artist almost lost his business and his health. He never lost his optimism and his hope that things were going to get better.  

For more about Angel, check out my article in Out IN Jersey magazine.