Music: Emberhoney 'October's Flame'

As an individual and an Artist, I obviously value personal sovereignty and authenticity of expression very highly. More highly even than social approval and the rewards that often accompany being accepted by the in-crowd. This quote from Nietzsche is an eloquent reflection of my own experience, having generally found myself regarded as an eccentric outsider in nearly every meaningful context of life.

I realised very early on that my perspectives and values were often radically different from my peers, partly because my background was far outside the range of 'normal' social conditioning and partly because I just seemed to be wired differently. Even within my family of origin I was considered strange... cut from a different cloth which contrasted starkly even with my twin sister. I was naturally focussed on the plane of intellect, art and poetry, and had a pensive, observant nature instead of an outgoing, practical or materialist bent like the rest of my family. And of course, this outsider status only intensified when I went into foster care.

Excruciating as it was to be an outcast on so many levels, I am actually grateful that this identity of 'the outsider' was in place before the wider social context tried to crush me into conformity through school and various oppressive employment situations. It has made it much easier for me to recognise and stand up to these insidious forces that slowly grind the edge of one's uniqueness in the name of social cohesion or worse... mindless deference to authority.

Not that I am an anarchist... I deeply appreciate the role of leadership and organised collaboration in our lives. It's just that I insist on the right to hold and communicate my viewpoint and act according to my own judgement and core values when they are in jeopardy of being compromised to an intolerable degree. This is a point on which philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has much to say and I am all ears. I genuinely believe our mental and spiritual well-being depends on owning our individuality at least as much as finding a sense of belonging. Perhaps we all have different balance of these two needs and for some, belonging is higher on the scale of values. Nonetheless, it seems clear that some degree of owning our individuality and uniqueness of perspective is important for living an authentic life. I'd love to hear your own thoughts and experiences on this subject... message me in the comments! ✨🖤😉🖤💫