I Don't Believe in Resolutions, But Happy 2019 Anyway!
I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about New Year’s resolutions, and how I don’t believe in them. Like, I’ll make a vision board or whatever, but 99.999% of the time, I’ve already been working towards those goals in some way. I see my vision boards as basically just “manifesting” the completion of those goals and giving myself a general theme to focus on for the year. With that being said, over the course of 2018, I’ve randomly become one of those people who I would have previously rolled my eyes at: I believe in the power of the words we speak 110% now.
A little bit of background on me is that I come from a hella churchy background. You know, the wake up at 5am to travel 2 hours for sunday school, then regular service, then eat dinner with the pastor, then evening service or some type of “after five” church program involving a lot of singing, no air conditioning, and the 3rd offering of the day kind of background. The upbringing that gave me my voice and musical stylings also created a fair bit of cynicism in me. I saw so many folks complaining about getting their lights shut off or getting evicted after giving their bill money in the offering “in faith”, and it just seemed really illogical to me. [Even now that I’m a little older, it still seems illogical to me. Just pay your bills, and give offerings when you can actually afford it. God knows your heart lol.] Mix that up with experiencing the horror of The Great Recession firsthand, and taDOW, you’ve got a Grade A Cynic! That cynicism extended to everything, and I became the kind of person who needed logical, reasoned out approaches for EV👏🏾ER👏🏾Y👏🏾THING👏🏾, with no room for “speaking things into existence” or “faith” or “manifesting” or anything emotion-y like that. I believed that action alone was responsible for the results in life, not realizing that the words we speak literally affect our outcomes in life. As you think, so you are, amirite?
[Which is hilarious, because I’m an artist, and we’re stereotypically supposed to be these vessels of pure emotion. Not to mention, the music industry itself is all about risk-taking and creating reality out of your dreams. Sooo, IDK what my problem was either sis.]
ANYWAY, this year (really the past 2 years), has been a test to the limits of my cynicism. After my Grandma passed from breast cancer, I fell into a deep depression that I didn’t even know I was in until I got out of it. I think I was also experiencing a little bit of post-Art-School-Fatigue after graduating from college as well. If you’re an art-school kid, you know that “nothing I learned applies and OMG this girl just got signed off of a Dr. Phil segment so why did I even go to school and now I’m in debt for $100k take me now Jesus” feeling? Yeah, that one. I had just been chugging along on my assured creative path, and then all of a sudden nothing was going like it should. I had to figure out how to release music in the real world, and I also had to figure out how to manage grief healthily.
I had some missteps along the way. I rushed my last EP release, which led to some really great songs not getting their shine. I didn’t have a real sense of direction for a while, which led to some confusing branding (sorry y’all). And I started speaking really negatively about myself and my music because I wasn’t getting the reception I wanted. I had hit a creative brick wall. So, I forced myself to step back and get myself together for a little bit. I explored life (kind of) outside of the arts for about a year, but when you’re meant to do more than just exist and you know it deep down, you start making little changes to shift yourself to where you actually need to be without even realizing it.
HOW I GOT BACK ON TRACK
I started speaking positively about myself and engaged in checking a ho when people tried me. This is probably the thing that changed my life the most this year. Talk about yourself and defend yourself like you do the people you love the most, and your own perception of your value and what you can accomplish will increase drastically.
I surrounded myself with people who had the same drive/mindset as me, learned how to separate business relationships from friendships, and figured out the power of leaving BS on read. One of the best things I did this year was to gain an accountability partner, where we could share our respective goals, bounce ideas off on each other, and keep each other motivated on how we were going to accomplish them. If the people in your life aren’t making you better, there’s no need to have them around.
I muted folks whenever I started getting jealous of their success so I could focus on my own ish PERIODT. Matter of fact, I flat-out ignored most of social media. I would post, but I wouldn’t really scroll down any of my timelines (which is why my Twitter started being so dry until the end of the year). You have to focus on yourself and what you want for your life when you’re making positive changes. Comparison really is the thief of joy and it slows down your own personal progress.
I made the music I wanted to without thinking about “rules”, trends, and other folks. Hanging out in the real world gave me a ton of experiences to write about and the productions behind it were more organic because I was making music for actual moments now.
I sacrificed for my art. I cut back on the flashy stuff and dug into the meat of what I wanted to say–and how I wanted to say it.
I invested in my art. I could have bought Yeezys, but I bought studio time instead. [Shout out to Patchwerk!] Next time I’ll get both lol.
I freaking moved across the country by myself to Atlanta. That part. *Schoolboy Q voice*
Every single day I did something related to my goal, whether it was working on a song, discussing live arrangements with my musical director, physically sitting in on the mixes for my songs and giving feedback, doing a photo shoot, creating my logo, sending emails until my fingers hurt, going to events in shoes I knew I couldn’t walk in (LORDT 😖), or literally any of the 5340980 other music-related things I did in 2018.
WHAT WE DOING IN 2019 SIS?
We’re going to beast mode 2019! My 2018 was all about laying a solid foundation and tightening things up so that 2019 can be a beautiful expression of art from beginning to end. I can’t wait to release new music, shoot new videos, do more shows, write more of these blogs, and maybe even get into YouTube vlogging? 👀✨ Until then, vibe out to my Ari Bops Spotify playlist, subscribe to the Ari Wave newsletter, and comment below some things you learned in 2018!