Politically Correct

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Belly Dancer Leyla Najma in the Southwest

Sometimes in our daily lives, we don’t always want to be politically correct or play nice. We can become alittle exorcisty and being politically correct is the farthest thing from our minds,  at least for that particular moment. We can excuse ourselves by saying, I’m in a full blown PMS state of mind or it’s the weather and a good one that I like to use is, I woke up feeling an impending event is going to happen. I prefer this last one, because people can’t really say your bonkers, well…at least not to your face. The question here, is what do entertainers do when they get the blues? Have you ever walked into a dressing room full of women and felt that familiar vibe of anxiety and grumpiness mixed together, (aka) gloomy apprehension. Add in attitudes and preconceived ideas of strained relationships and voilah, you have the evil twin ready to make her academy award winning performance.

Being politically correct can be hard sometimes. I’ve had friends who walked into work and with no words spoken, just a look, so I could tell it was going to be one of those nights. The on switch looked bent, to an almost unrecognizable shape because when a dancer feels “off”, the on switch can get beat up. It’s even harder to have a conversation with  someone, who has no desire to be civil.  I know this one well because years ago, I had a dance friend who for various reasons, one night was a real stinker. If I said it was a great night, she would say it was a horrible night. If I said the crowd was friendly, she would say they were unfriendly…you get the picture, she pretty much opposed anything I said. If I talked to her, she would interrupt me and start off on another topic. I gave her that friend look that said, knock it off, but she just shrugged her shoulders and walked over to another table. The following day, she called me to apologize and I accepted the apology but I told her, I was not a door mat. She was upset because her former boyfriend was at the club with another woman. I understood her irritation, but I would have rather she just dumped a pitcher of beer on his head and be done with it. And yes, I did recommend she do this, for the following weekend but like  all crazy couples, they got back together, broke up, got back together…

Words have power and I have found when women have an issue tucked away, they tend to get loose lips or the wagging tongues. Add in alcohol and the wagging tongue has daggers at the end of it. Let’s be real, being politically correct  goes out the window at this point. Sometimes the words can be insults that are wrapped around cushy and questionable dialogue. For instance, the insult is said and then our minds stop in their tracks wondering, did she just say what I thought she said? Or you know you heard the words, but you realize you either have to address the insult or let it slide. Letting it slide, is always the hardest part for me, because if I get my knickers in a twist, I want to engage in expletives. Like with all people, if we let someone off the hook after an insult, we feel like they knocked us off our cloud, and all these amazing, smart rhetorical comments come to us, days, weeks and months later, compliments of our brain. Thinking about conversations can be comparative to a  broken record that plays itself over and over again just to indulge our ego. My broken record memories come compliments of wallowing a bit in past experiences that still sting a bit or maybe poke me every now and again. Students poke the worst sometimes, and I wonder why this is so but I’m sure there are stories told about teachers doing the same, as well. One memory is a short one. I was at a students house teaching dance classes years ago, enjoying the companionship of my students. I mentioned that a dancer was coming to study privately with me from out of state, and one of my students said, “ I wonder why she’s coming to study with you?” I looked at her for a minute and said, “Maybe because she thinks I’m worth it.” She looked at me and said, “I don’t get it” and she walked away. I let it slide but from that day forward, I knew it was going to be down hill from there. Months later, circumstances lead us to parting ways. Was I politically correct, I don’t know, but I do know I wanted to punch her, right then and there but her husband being a cop stopped me. Pretty much, words represent who we are and if we don’t change our dialogue, we can stand to lose friendships and good memories.

Every production that I was apart of, made me realize that there is always a good time for being politically correct and a time for the evil twin to appear. The problem is the timing for either. My evil twin would appear behind closed doors when nobody was around. How could I prove I even had one…okay, there might be a few people who witnessed this alter ego but her timing was always off. Creative efforts when connected to dancers, bring about scenarios worthy of Hollywood yet a nightmare to experience in the moment. There were twisted tails of drummers gone wild, composers gone mad, (literally) character actors who disappeared without a trace, solo dancers who flew the coop with ruffled feathers and the show stopper ending, that almost wasn’t. The list goes on as every producer knows but nobody told me how long the list was. Being politically correct can cause insanity leading a person to become their own rendition of , One flew over the Cuckoos nest.

I brought up this topic of being politically correct because I wonder if it exacerbates the issues we face in our communities. What about issues that are swept under the rug? Bad behavior, bad attitudes, underhanded activities and back stabbing aren’t just in the movies. I guess what I’m asking all of you is, what is your opinion about being politically correct? Is it the nirvana way to a better way of living in our society? Who then deals with the issues down the line or do they change by our actions? Lots of questions, but I’m sure you all have lots of answers!

One morning I woke up grumpy, growled out of bed and snarled at Daniel and Savanah. I was exorcisty beyond normal (hard to believe) this particular day so I got my coat on, and went outside to start the car. To my utter surprise,  I stepped on black ice, flew up in the air and landed with a quick and swift thud on my back. I waved at God and said, “Okay God, I’ll be nicer today, just no more surprises…okay?!” Needless to say God taught me a good lesson that day; he’s always watching, so play nice! I don’t know if this has anything to do with being politically correct but I do know that I was a lot nicer from that moment forward. I even laughed as I walked back inside from starting the car. It’s all in how you look at things.

Video News

I have the Friday class to finish and then the practicing at home videos will be complete and then…dant ta  da…I am doing a choreography video for troupes. So that means all you gals out there who have troupes, tell me what you want in a video and I’ll put it in. Maybe it will be two videos…who knows but I want you to know they are for YOU so feel free to pass on your desires, opinions and ideas. Email me at [email protected]

Also, exciting news for BDV members, I interviewed Mezdulene, publisher of Jareeda magazine yesterday and I will have the audio interview up in a short amount of time. For those of you who are not subscribers, all new, first time subscribers get a necklace and earrings (while supplies last) with their subscription. Go to www.jareeda.com

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About Leyla Najma

Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing “Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots”

Comments

6 Responses to “Politically Correct”
  1. KhalidaSerqet says:

    I had to go look up “politically correct”, because I had not seen it used the way you have used it in this article. According to Merriam Webster: POLITICALLY CORRECT: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.

    Seems to me, your article was more about social nicieties rather than politically correct….but I could be wrong!

    Sometimes I do think the “social nicieties” keep bullies, blowhards, cretins, twits, and other rude and obnoxious people from being called out in public for their words and actions when such calling out is TOTALLY warranted.

    To our chagrin, horror, and detriment, we are sometimes TOO NICE to those who do not deserve such consideration.

    I think the first time, pull them aside and tell them they were wrong and that the 2nd time, you may not be as nice!

    Like always, you give us something to really think about!

    • Leyla Najma says:

      Hello Khalida,

      What a wonderful surprise. I have missed your input and I’m always thrilled when you write in!

      I used the word politically correct in the way that is translated in which “the” many choose to placate topics and situations for the betterment of the whole…to the chagrin of various communities. It can be defined in many different ways, one which makes it the etiquette of our times. Niceties mix really well with the taboos of offending others, so knowing the meaning, I just choose to work it into my way of thinking…which is sometimes matrixy.

      I have pulled people aside numerous times in co-producing plays and by the end of the shows, I found that these people would rather glorify their own performance then follow the dictates that makes the flow of creativity work. It’s a matter of personal choice and needs placed above all but I use politically correct in this manner because in many of my interviews of dancers, magazine publishers, artists, it’s always used within the same context as you stated, just twisted to fit the complex society to explain the drama that ensues for each.

      Maybe this is part of my brain that makes me walk to a different drummer but I do try to put my thoughts out there to make people think, perhaps in this instance in a different direction.

      Hugs and Blessings to you always,

      Leyla

      • KhalidaSerqet says:

        Hi Leyla,

        I definitely see where you are coming from and I will have to keep in mind the changing definition of “politically correct”.

        That’s the one thing you can say about English, it never stands still!

        I often feel like my brain works different from everyone else’s as well….when you hear statistics or somone say “most” people….they rarely mean me! When people ask me for my opinion, if they don’t know me, I have to tell them that I don’t think/believe/react the way most people do.

        I think we would have some very awesome conversations in person. . . the world should watch out!

        Thanks for keeping me thinking and my brain cells young…looking forward to the next article!

        Hugs to you,
        Khalida Serqet

        • Leyla Najma says:

          One thought came to my mind…will you be my next interview? I would love to spend an hour talking with you and finding out all about how you see life, belly dance and anything else you want to talk about. Let me know…think about it and I’ll email you in a few days! I’m crossing my fingers!!

          Hugs,

          Leyla

  2. Hi Leyla,
    I found your site because of a review on your book, The Divine Unrest (which I’m having a hard time finding the book on Amazon, btw) and I started reading some things on your site. I am now a new subscriber 🙂
    This is the first article of yours that I’ve read and I find it to be very interesting. I have encountered several dancers who have behaved as you’ve described. My opinion is that THEY are behaving politically inccorect. They are not trying to be a part of the show, the team, the sisterhood of the dance. Whenever I encounter someone who is being politically inccorect, I continue to behave with political correctness. Their bad behavior does not change who I am. I do not feel that they “won” or “showed me” when they are rude and un-pc to me and I did not retaliate with my own rudeness (believe me, I can be pretty rude and nasty if I don’t watch myself). I just let her/his rudeness roll off my shoulders and away from me. I maintain my reputation and my membership in the sisterhood of the dance because that is what is important to me, not putting someone else in their place. Additionally, being PC on my end means being understanding when a sister has a bad day and giving her my compassion and understanding instead of a peice of my mind.
    I have an example story 🙂
    When I first started Bellydancing I was taking classes from a cabaret style instructor and I found ATS bellydance on the Internet. I preferred the whole concept of ATS over cabaret style so I checked on the Internet for ATS classes in the area, couldn’t find any, so I asked my instructor if she knew of any ATS instructors. She told me that the only tribal instructor she knew of was, let’s call her S. so I took a class from S and she taught a basic bellydance class, not an ATS class, so, I asked her during a break if she taught ATS. She said that this was the tribal class, I said that I was interested in FCBD format, ATS, did she teach that. She became very annoyed with me, saying that she had taken classes from Carolena Nericco and she knew what tribal was. That bellydance is all the same and the only thing that makes it tribal is the costum. I knew that was not true but I remained polite, I thought that I wasn’t asking the right question and she didn’t understand what I was asking, after all, I was new to bellydance and she had been dancing for 20 years. At one point I thought she was going to hit me she got so upset, so I dropped the subject, finished the class and did not take any more classes from her.
    Fast forward 6 years, a dancer I knew who had been trained in ATS finally started a troupe and classes after I badgered her for years to do so. She sponsored Carolena to come and teach a 2 day workshop. Guess what? S signed up for the workshop and acted like she was my BFF. After years of her being cool but polite to me for 6 years, after I became a member of an ATS troupe and she saw us perform at a hafla then attended the ATS workshop and after 6 years of me being friendly and warm whenever I saw her, she now treats me like she is my BFF. I don’t understand it, but, I’ll take it. S is a big name in town and I have encountered her many times over the years and will run into her many times in the future and it will be much nicer if she isn’t frosty towards me. So, the moral of the story is; be PC even when others are not and everything will work out for the best in the end.
    If I had taken her to the mat on the what is tribal and what is ATS issue, I and or my dance troupe may not have been invited to participate in some events and some of our mutual friends may not have become my friends. If I had been rude to S my bellydance carreer would have been adversely affected because I would have been seen as that rude beginner who disrespected S instead of the reputation that I have fostered as everyone’s biggest supporter by paying attention to each performers performance and finding something supportive to say to them after they took their bow.
    Well that’s my 2 cents. I am now going to read some more articles on your site.
    Katherine

    • Leyla Najma says:

      Hello Katherine,

      First of all…wow! Thank you for your two cents as you say and for sharing quite a story with all of us. So from I can see, you have taken the saying, “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” to heart and as your mantra. I think it’s wonderful and you are a great example of working within your community for a common goal. I think the fact that you stuck to your guns and kept up your dancing, might also have made a difference in S view of you. It’s amazing to see someone stay the course with their dreams so perhaps you became someone she admired. I really like your way of thinking and I think all of us could definitely learn a thing or two from you.

      I have always liked ATS but my preference is Cabaret. I must say, I took a class in tribal, had a ball and made a lot of mistakes. I always turned the wrong way or forgot how the line-up went. Anyways, I laughed,had a good time and felt like I was apart of something special. All the gals in my group had great personalities.

      And regarding my book, we are running behind…and I will personally let you know when it’s ready. Thank you for looking for it and thank you so much for writing in, sharing your insights into belly dance and how to be a team player besides a good belly dance neighbor. We are so lucky to have you in belly dance and I look forward to more comments from you so please keep them coming!!

      Blessings and Hugs,

      Leyla