Outsiders rule!

Two weeks ago I visited my parents on the countryside where I grew up. My mom celebrated her 82nd birthday, and several of my aunts and uncles were there too. I was confronted again with the strong feeling of not-belonging that I had when I was young. It’s a small, tight-knit community where you have to adapt. Outsiders are not welcome.
We all want to belong, we all want to be accepted in a group of peers. Humans are herd-animals, we depend on each other, certainly on the countryside. So no wonder that we seek the acceptance of a group. Being part of a group makes us so strong. As part of a group, we can diversify and delegate our work, we can specialize in certain things, like music.
Group pressure though can be pretty strong and rigid, excluding everyone who is different or who does not want to adapt. That’s how I felt in my teens. That’s also how many artists and people working in the music business felt in their teens, and sometimes still feel.
For human groups to prosper, we not only need to work together in a group, we also need queer-thinkers, people who dare to stand out, who think different, who pursue new ideas, who do not adapt. Most of the bards, healers and tribe-leaders in the past were outsiders.
Next to my main work as a booking agent, I have spent some time in promoting the mental health of artists, in personal coaching, training, (guest) lectures and writing. Very inspiring was the book “When remarkable women lead” by J. Barsh a.o. It taught me that the victimized role of the outsider is just one side of a medal, the celebrated role of the leader is the other one. And that it’s in your power to flip the medal. A touch of grace was added to the role of being an outsider, my back was straightened.
In the relationship between artists and audience or fans, artists ARE leaders. As a leader, you are responsible for your own well-being and for the well-being of others. Often the feeling of being an outsider is linked to the feeling of being a victim. When seeing yourself as a leader, you can shrug off the victimhood and stand grand. It’s better to see yourself as the leader that you are, than indulge yourself in victimhood. Once you get this, you create your own group of peers, a group of like-minded peers that accept you for who you are.
Outsiders rule!

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