a Very Big Week

My loves,

We are about to head into a Very Big Week here at Icon For Hire incorporated. Our album, the one that you helped us make, is coming out 12 short days and to be honest, I’m a little nervous about all the Stuff we need to do. There’s a lot that has to happen to make sure everything goes smoothly. This is our first album release as an independent band, and we want to be completely perfect, and yet of course we will forget something or screw something up and disappoint somebody and it’s just a lot to keep track of. As an artist, I tent to want to just focus on all the fun art making, but part of the job description is doing the grown up non-glamorous stuff too. Even if it can be overwhelming, it is an honor to have an album to release at all, and I am ever mindful of this as we head into launch week.

 

I arrived home from tour this afternoon to see 6 huge boxes piled waist high on my doorstep. They are filled with a few thousand cardboard mailers that we will be assembling, so your CDs arrive in one piece, and not broken or cracked. Later this week, we will be hand numbering, signing, and shipping out all your CDs. We will print your shipping labels and stuff the cardboard mailers. We will hold each CD in our hands and be thankful that we got to make a 3rd album, and that there are real people like you who are waiting for it. Yes- this is such a precious week. Because it almost didn’t happen. We could have been taken out by T&N, and right now we could be dutifully working at Starbucks, along with so many of our Nashville musician friends. 

 

But instead, we’ll be doing magazine interviews and Facebook live marathons and an online acoustic show with our badass fan club. We will be celebrating the victory of You Can’t Kill Us. It can sometimes be a bit nerve racking doing everything so DIY (do-it-yourself), but then I remember we are in no way doing it by ourselves…. We’re D-I-W-O-A-F-W-A-H-O-B (Doing It With Our Amazing Fans Who Always Have Our Back).

Thanks for everything.

We made this album with you, and for you.

Love,

ariel

 

PS-If you haven’t pre-ordered your album yet, you’ll want to do it now if you’d like it shipped out this week;) iconforhire.net/store

that's all i got.

Ugh. My heart is heavy hearing the news of the latest attack. France, this time, and sadly in a few months it will be old news. Sigh.

I’m not being poetic when I say my heart is heavy. It feels like a rock, hanging by a rope, dropped six inches lower than the spot it’s supposed to sit.

All the thoughts:

Whats the world coming to?

Is it just gonna keep getting worse?

Should we stay inside our homes forever so we don’t have to die?

What’s the right response? Should I have a moment of silence and pray for the victim’s families? Am I supposed to feel all the feelings they must be going through right now? Does that just add more pain and sadness into the collective pile of human emotions?

I dunno. 

I don’t come to sum it up with a fancy Pinterest quote to make it all better. 

I think the same thing everytime another one of these tragedies take place: darkness grows, and light grows. I think that’s what happens. The unspeakable hate, all the evil that causes humans to want to hurt other humans, it’s clearly growing.

I don’t know how to stop it. I try to think of a fancy strategy to perhaps email the government that will take down the bad guys, but I haven’t come up with anything convincing.

Here’s all I got: I have to instead add to the light. Tip the scales, grow the light. Keep being brave and smiling at strangers and loving and creating and shining. That’s literally the only thing I can think to do to help. 

Darkness grows, and we add to the light. More horror stories happen. We keep being bright. It’s not okay, not at all. Still, we stay at it. Shining away. I have hope that this somehow fights the darkness, and contributes to the universal equilibrium. 

That’s all I got.

Good night.

Love, me

 

 

The Emo Kid in me is Alive and Well

The Emo Kid in me is Alive and Well

I did an online video thing with our fans where I chatted with them about living a full life and took their questions and overall it was just so very wonderful I closed the session feeling buzzing and lit up, like I do while running off stage after an exhausting, rewarding live show. 

Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by someone close to me, who was concerned about something I’d said during the video chat thing. I had mentioned that I used to bawl my eyes out on the floor all the time, you know, just mourning being alive and all, and he’d reached out to ask me about it. He was worried about me, he wished he could have been there for me. 

I thanked him for his concern, explained that he didn’t need to feel bad, and that was that. 

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Because, really now, is this actually news for any of us? This whole “I bawl my eyes out about life on a regular basis” thing-this is not an anomaly, correct?

Read More

I'm probably not supposed to say this, but-

I'm probably not supposed to say this, but-

So, I'm supposed to be writing you a fancy update with all our exciting new Kickstarter developments, but I just can't even go there without taking a moment to freak out over the week we've all just had.

You guys, it's been one week, and we are like a thousand bucks away from hitting fifty grand.

I'm speechless. I'm propped up in bed writing this, staring up at the ceiling every other minute, trying to process this, what this means for us.

Read More

Listen to me: Your beat up, worn down, ugly self is good enough.

Listen to me:  Your beat up, worn down, ugly self is good enough.

Listen to me:

Your beat up, worn down, ugly self is good enough. It’s not enough because you exist, everybody does that (so boring), but it is enough, you are enough, because you hold in you the capacity for full catastrophe living. You have the perfect storm inside of you for living at your fullest self, and we want that from you. Please, don’t hold back. 

Read More

Talking Ourselves Out of Our Dreams

If you want to do something big and amazing with your life, you completely can and should do that. I’ve talked to thousands of fans over the last few years that unashamedly wanted the job I have. At every meet and greet, at least half of the people that talk to me want to know “How did you make it?” 

If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everybody kinda wants to be a rockstar.

I love that! I love seeing their passion, their fierce desire to be up on that stage, influencing the crowd. I love that fans see their heroes in music videos tearing it up and think I want to do that.

I mean, for real, if you’re reading this, you probably at one time in your life wanted to be a rockstar, right?!

("Well, you know," says the defeatist, "We can’t all be the rockstars. Someone has to be in the audience. Someone has to listen to all that music that the rest of us so desperately want to make.")

I think this ingrained desire to be a successful musician isn’t exactly what it looks like. I’m pretty sure it has way more to do with the idea behind being a rockstar more than the actual practicals of the job description. 

I think everybody wants to be loved, and admired. Everyone wants to make important work and have people resonate with it. Everyone wants the freedom to be the boldest version of themselves and have people adore them for it and maybe even pay them for it. We all just want to be fascinating. 

But, clearly, not everyone wants to do the work that it takes to actually get there. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way, because, really, who would? Not everyone wants to load amps and drum cases into a freezing back alley bar at three in the afternoon and play for 2 kids plus the hungover soundguy-and understandably so. Not everyone wants to deal with the gut-wrenching humiliation and rejection involved in climbing your way up. People generally don’t get excited over the idea of sleeping in a van and living on taco bell for years on end. It’s just not glamorous after the first week. 

So people change their mind. They decide to become accountants and truck drivers and secretaries, where they can get health insurance and afford a mortgage, while also maybe playing some guitar with their friends on the side.

That’s totally ok. It is ok to have wanted to be one thing with every shred of your soul, and then later end up wanting a different thing, and living a different life than you had imagined as teenager. It’s ok to stop doing something that’s too hard or makes no money or just isn’t fun anymore. Most of my musician friends have stopped trying to be professional musicians, and have gone on to lead simpler, happier lives. Most of the time, trying to make it is too hard to be worth it.

And really, that’s not even qualified as giving up. That counts as “changing your mind”. I’m all about making a mature, smart decision and changing your mind. Our drummer Adam did that. He was thirty years old, sick of the grind and the poverty, and wanted to be a grown up for once, and have a shot at a normal marriage. He’d lived a decade as a crazy person, and now he was ready to move on. That’s cool. Shawn and I weren’t ready to do that. We still wanted to play our odds and live insane lives in exchange for sharing our music with people. It was still worth it to us, but it wasn’t for Adam. Adam is intense and passionate enough as a person though, that I’m confident he will find something else to pour his soul into that will make him fulfilled and happy. 

The director of our latest music video, Jamie Holt, went to one of the fanciest film schools in the world. On the first day of classes her professor made an inspiring speech, which went something like, “Listen guys. If you can see yourself doing anything other than this, I want you to walk out of this classroom immediately and go do that. This industry is awful, you will not make it. You will struggle the whole time and be broke. If you can think of any other profession as even slightly possible for you, please save yourself the trouble and go do that."

The day we met our manager Tim, he opened the conversation with, “This business is designed to ruin your life.” 

That’s scary stuff. 

For some people, though, it doesn’t really matter. All the speeches in the world can’t talk them out of their dream. Some people are so obsessed with their passion that they do not care how much it all sucks. They can stomach the pain, they welcome the sacrifices, because they are kind of batshit crazy. I think most people that end up making it in really tough industries are like that. Insane. 

If you want to be a rockstar like that, then I have complete and total confidence that you will most certainly be one. You will be one of the “lucky” ones that just keeps on going, even when all common sense says it’s probably time to move on. The people who don’t give up are the ones who make it. The people who realize that their passion is ruining their lives and is costing them everything are the ones who don’t make it.

 

It’s just all about joy for me. Being a musician makes me happy, more happy than a consistent schedule and stable income would. When it stops doing that, I will need to stop too, or at least make adjustments until I’m happy again.

So for you: Don’t give up on your dream. Honor that part of you that wants to be GREAT, that wants to be heard. Whether or not you want to be an actual rockstar is not the point here; the point it that is costs a lot to do something great, and sometimes we just don’t really want it that bad to justify the cost. 

But. If you’re reading this and it feels like your heart is on fire, then you probably are one of the crazy ones. Good for you. Go get it babe.

Here's what I want you to know.

Hello loves! You’ve been on my mind *extra* lately, so I thought it’d be nice to write you a little note. I think of you all the freaking time, and carry you in my heart. You’re the reason behind it all.

Here’s what I want you to know:  You matter. So much.

So, so, so much. Do you believe me?

If you’re feeling stuck and just generally shitty right now, I want to remind you that it does not have to be like this forever. You do not have to be like this forever.

I know how to live in extreme misery. Actually, for a while it was pretty much all I knew how to do. I was good at it; I was good at hating my life and myself and just generally being miserable. 

But that’s a sucky way to live, isn’t it? My moment of change came because I got tired of feeling like that. I grew so bored with my own miserable little way of living. I realized that feeling awful all the time is pretty….awful. And I decided I hated it enough to try to do something about it. 

Our society kinda sucks at diagnosing and dealing with depression, and one of the messages I heard from the experts in high school was that if I felt badly, it wasn’t all my fault, and was likely a messed up combination of hormones and weird chemical imbalances. While I was grateful to hear that I wasn’t making all my pain up, that did mess with my head a little. Like, if it’s not my fault that I feel this way, then I have nothing to do with it. And then, I’m pretty much helpless. Just stuck waiting it out, hoping and crying and sighing.

But my experience has been that I COULD do something about it. I tried it, you know, just to see. I tried whatever I could come up with to make me feel better. And it worked. My experience was that trying harder to feel better actually meant feeling better.

--->Here are some practical changes I made:

  • I stopped listening to a lot of deep, emotional music, especially when I was already sad. There were some songs that were huge triggers for me, and they only fed the state of despair I was already in. So I stopped turning to those songs to comfort me, because all they did was affirm that, "yep, life is shitty and we’re all stuck here living it until we kill ourselves.” Not the message I needed to be hearing.
  • I rethought my friendships. My friends and I spent most of our time together discussing how much we hated our selves and our lives. When I decided I wanted to get better, I realized hyper-focusing on my pain with my friends wasn’t helping. I didn’t straight cut them out of my life, but I was careful to not talk about feeling miserable as much.
  • I became open to trying stuff I’d previously thought was stupid. Things like “smiling”. Or “having fun”. Or “doing something I like, just because”. I actively looked for little things that made me happy. Candles made me happy, so I started burning them more. Reading fiction books made hours pass and I got lost in someone else’s world, so I let myself do that. I began looking for things I liked, and it turned out I like lots of things. It helped me feel like I was worth taking care of, and maybe I deserved to be happy sometimes.

These were just the beginning. I’ve since totally prioritized my happiness, and now that’s a huge part of my life, rather than an afterthought.

What I’m saying is, there are little things you can do and steps you can take to feel better right now, even if you’re not sure how. You don’t have to wait to feel better and then start making good life changes, you can decide you want better right this moment and play around with what that looks like.

Like I said, you matter. So your happiness matters. Your emotional health matters. Invest some time and money and love into yourself and see what happens.

I love you.

Ariel

PS: Here are some videos on the same subject that you might like.

Depression Sucks. Try This

Go Get Your Dream Life

PPS: I JUST BEGAN OFFERING ONE-ON-ONE CUSTOMIZED GUIDANCE ON HOW TO GET UNSTUCK AND START LIVING THE LIFE YOU KNOW HAS YOUR NAME ON IT. THIS IS FOR THOSE OF YOU DIGGING THE REL SHOW, BUT WANT TO UP THE INTENSITY AND START LIVING YOUR DREAM LIFE, LIKE NOW. CLICK HERE.

Danielle LaPorte: Being Yourself, Living Free

Danielle is joining me on the show today, and trust me- this episode is an episode that *you don’t want to miss*. I’ve been eating up Danielle's easy approach to goal-setting, and liberating views on going after my desires for years now. She’s completely changed the way I think about…pretty much everything.

So I may or may not have danced around my living room for a few minutes when I heard she was doing the show with me. (I’ll never tell.) The point is, I got the chance to ask her questions that I’d been dying to ask. Things like-what was high school like for you? Do you actually feel good all the time, for real? What about those of us who don’t know how to feel good?

I asked, and she delivered.

And I recorded it for you, so you too can learn about what to do when you’re feeling uninspired, or how to be yourself even when it’s really hard to do.

I’m gonna stop writing now, so you can go watch this:

 

I love you! You deserve to feel free and brilliant and awesome.

Let me repeat that:

You deserve to feel free and brilliant and awesome.

Ariel

No-Sew T-Shirt Tutorial

Hello! how’s your week been so far? I hope you're feeling amazing:)

This week on The REL Show, I’m walking you through a super easy t-shirt tutorial. It’s no-sew, and fool-proof-you couldn’t screw this up if you tried! And it’s just in time for summer festival season too-we’re adding slits and a weave pattern to create some much needed ventilation.

 

Click on the vid to see how easy this is- then grab one of your t-shirts and give it a try! Please tweet me pics (@barbieariel) so I can see what you come up with!

Speaking of summer festivals, we are just THREE weeks out from Warped Tour! This year, we’re doing a couple brand new things to connect with our audience, in a really big way.

For starters, we’re inviting you to watch our show- from the stage. Sound like fun? It’s called our Sidestage VIP Experience, and it also includes a private, more intimate meet & greet, an exclusive poster, and a sweet VIP laminate. We just  launched this week, and we’re already selling out-so hurry up if you want to be a part of this: iconforhire.bigcartel.com

 

Just three weeks away from tour!! My favorite part is meeting you. Please, please come say hello after our set! We meet everyone, “VIP” or not;)

 

Much love!

Ariel