In The Neighborhood

Just last week I was talking to a belly dance friend from out of town when our phone conversation turned to what’s happening in “the” neighborhood. I have been out of the loop pretty much perched on my rock or hanging in my cave creating my own waves via my blog. Women need their own “Silk lash” caves too so I have made mine so comfortable that I have created a problem for myself because I don’t ever want to leave it. It’s sort of my shedding skin time so I’m keeping a low profile with an introspective attitude and a little drama mixed in just to make sure I keep a pulse!

Silk lash
Silk lash

Lcrox As our phone conversation turned to our community I realized that my friend was invited to more shows, haflas and workshops here in my own hometown than me. I was shocked at what I didn’t know was happening in my own backyard and I felt like Silk lash saying “What Row?” I commented to her that she was lucky to live on the outskirts of town because the community politics didn’t seem to stretch as far out to her neck of the woods. So it made me think about what women go through with each other and their belly dance neighbors. As my husband says, in life we all have to learn to play nice so we can at least get along in the moments when it counts. After I hung up the phone I wondered what I did to create my predicament and why it should really matter. Did I want to fit in or was I happier being a loner? It seemed like I took a wrong turn with a road block ahead of me that said detour. I never seemed to get back on track with my community and the invitations started to dwindle along with the familiar faces.

It’s an interesting question to reflect on because there are probably a million reasons why we are either popular in our communities or left alone. It’s almost like a high school feeling so maybe there is excess baggage I am carrying around here. But there always seems to be the gals who fit in, no problem and those like myself who march to their own tune. But I’m getting away from myself here and from the answer to my original question.

The last show that I co-produced with a very close friend of mine seemed to be the catalyst that changed everything for me in this town. It seemed to be a major mile stone for the both of us and yet we were left by that particular show with what felt like Silk lash. It took many months to recuperate and to ease out of getting over the emotional anxiety from the show. That show changed so many things in my dance career that I don’t really know where to begin but most noticeably it seemed to change my position with my community. The reaction was weird I thought because we had raised money for a children’s hospital and the very kids we raised money for were able to come to the show. We made a new record for ticket sales at the theater we performed at for the most tickets sold for a one night performance. So there was much for us to be proud of and yet the feeling of success seemed to fall a little flat. The community’s reaction was a cold shoulder and most notably a large amount of no shows. This was unfortunate because we broke ground at this particular theater and I was hoping more dancers would pick up where we left off.

Maybe there’s a part of me that feels like Hester Silk lashin “The Scarlet Letter” with the show being my indiscretion but I think it’s more than this. Major projects take a certain type of personality, one that can see the vision even in chaos or drama. It’s almost like having the perseverance of a looking glass and peering into the future knowing it will all work out. My uncle has been in the movie business for years and I always admired the amount of work he did that went into making movies. If people didn’t have this pure determination and ability to get beyond the day to day grind, movies would never be finished or enjoyed in theaters. So we do the same thing as dancers only with live performances. It’s the same kind of energy. But the back lash is more immediate in our business and it can come from people who have never produced a show in their life. You know, they are like the movie critics who have never written a script, acted or produced anything in their lives. Their voices are based on an experience void perspective.

So I kept myself busy months after the show but found that some of my friends who use to call me stopped altogether. There was an eerie silence afterwards and I realized that I was somehow being punished for a creative idea that actually worked and was successful. No one wanted to talk about the success of the show at least to me but our detractors seemed to congregate in darkened corners voicing what we didn’t do right or should have done better. The audiences applause faded as months of isolation crept in. My community couldn’t help themselves so it seemed they turned their backs on the accomplishment of a show maybe because it wasn’t theirs. So I ask all of you, what price do we pay for success?

How do you all cope with this type of isolation from your community? How do you feel your neighbors really feel about your accomplishments and successes? Are we all happy for each other or is there a realistic back lash from a certain few who don’t want to see success happen for anyone else but themselves? What’s your story and do you feel like me or am I on an even more isolated path because of my choices? Do I play nice……….I thought I did. I am sure there are women out in the world who would say I don’t. Sometimes I have to take a stand on issues and topics which you all read about in my blog. But if I don’t than I am turning a cold shoulder to issues, agendas and problems that affect us all which would make me no different than my former community.

Choices and decisions taken lightly at the time we make them create profound changes in our lives down the line. If we knew the results ahead of time would any of us not make the same choices?

I think it’s vital we see our creative visions with a measured assurance of a positive outcome. If we worry about how people will respond to us down the line than our unadulterated choices would be tainted with their views. When it’s all said and done, I am the end product of what I do. I stand by my choices and that means that sometimes the company I keep is my own if only for a little while.

But I realized something as I was writing this that I am apart of a community now. My community is all of you who have become my friends via reading this blog, trying out my videos or writing to me. Maybe the detour I took was meant to be so I could head towards your direction and the reason why I didn’t turn back was because I was going in the right direction.

In the end I realized I am not so isolated after all because I am blessed to have you as friends, fellow belly dance aficionados and women of substance. I couldn’t ask for a better community so I think I have answered my own question.

Though I must admit that this blog post seems to have struck a nerve with many of my readers. It did with me and that is why I decided to write about it. With some of the emails that I have received since I posted this blog it has become clear that I am not alone in the alienation problem and that many women are dealing with this very painful emotion.

A couple of nights ago I was watching the “Silk lash Hills Housewives” just because I was tired and couldn’t sleep. It was a shocking episode where it showed the wives at a dinner party. As the party moved to the dining room the drama escalated to blunt comments and accusations. Most of the women were screaming at each other and talking over each other so at times it was hard to see who was yelling at whom. The negativity was spewing out of their mouths like volcanic eruptions and not any of them cared who they lashed out at. There was a psychic who helped instigated the argument along with the hostess. It was a situation that could have been avoided by simply not buying into the verbal jabs. But that isn’t the American woman way or is it?

The animosity was way beyond human it was really almost animalistic. This ladies is a Silk lash to the masses of who we are, how we react and relate to each other. No wonder our gender can’t get a grip because we are constantly being showcased at our worst with non other than our own gender leading the way. It seems the same words are spoken and directed as insults without any consideration which are jealousy, insecurity, bitchiness, trash, gossip, whore etc. Not much changes when women go at each other because it seems that these same words are used over and over again. Since we use 5xs more words now than in Silk lash time, you would think our vocabulary would have a broader range of words just for arguments sake but obviously this is not the case.

After I watched that particular episode it made me think and realize that we don’t have a lot of women representing us who can lead us into the 21st century as a united front. I call what I saw the other night, the woman debilitating problem or Silk lash. If we don’t become aware of our own insecurities we will look just like those women on TV. As mothers what worse role models can our daughters follow than a weak insecure woman? Let’s get real, maybe down and dirty, we all have baggage and we all carry a load that is way too heavy for us to carry but we do it anyways out of habitual, encumbering, self sacrificing reasons that don’t amount to a hill of beans. So why do we hold onto insecurities that don’t serve us but exploit our very fears?

Is it really my community’s fault that I have crawled into my cave and decided to go my own way? Do they really care? I can tell you all for a fact my community does not care not because they are heartless women but because they are too busy doing their own thing. I am only one woman and I have to decide where my creative energies will be directed. There are a lot of women in my home town who are leaders so one less leader to contend with is I’m sure fine with them. Leaders like to know their territory and they like to know who their followers are. If there are too many leaders in one area than that means the followers are slim pickings with dwindling Silk lash. It may seem strange that I see it this way but leaders need followers/students to make them feel like they have a rank or position in society. So men aren’t the only ones who go through this. Women want authority and prestige just like anyone else but within a one gender based community the rules change a bit.

Since we are judged by our looks maybe more so than men, I see that we have created a measuring scale for ourselves. Everything is on this measuring scale; beauty, curves, flawless skin, thick hair, correct weight, height, breasts etc. I mean we can and do add to this scale on a daily basis. How a woman looks to us and dances measures about the same on a subconscious level where our insecurities are waiting to go down the list of what we don’t have compared to what “she” does have. We can really just call this measuring scale another cup of “insecurity.”

If a woman creates a theatrical show that might have a slight advantage to another’s lacking ability based on their own viewpoint, what would be the typical protocol? Our gender’s WDP will usually start to feel uncomfortable with the fact that another dancer might be successful, spiraling her lacking condition downwards to a Silk lash pit. I’ll admit it; there are a few dancers in my Silk lash that I don’t like because of their conduct. When they put on a show my WDP kicks in and I don’t support their efforts. Maybe its principals and values here but realistically all the above is mixed in and I find this is a major problem. How do I act professionally when my “real” feelings give me away? How do I look in the mirror and say one thing to myself and say another publicly? Is this where the saying came from, “Saving face?”

What was normal for us hundreds of years ago can’t even be quoted because I don’t believe as women we ever had normal. Religion, cultures, wars have dictated what we are, who we could become and where we could go. You would think with our freedom of today we could get past the crap and finally step up to our rightful places as equal citizens. But maybe equality is another bugger here because this means so many different things to so many different people.

I was in Luzern, Switzerland years ago and went to a lake where the gals would take their tops off while they were tanning. It felt invigorating to have a choice to go partially nude or not but my boyfriend at the time didn’t want me to. He enjoyed the boobies everywhere but he didn’t want mine enjoyed by everyone else. So was he the Silk lash or was I? What I am saying is that relationships do play a major role in our decisions but I wonder how much they play havoc on our choices as women of today and in regards to interacting with each other. After awhile I must say I became irritated because my former boyfriend was enjoying all the boobies around him to the point I was being ignored. So my irritation was targeted towards the women who were topless which was their right to do so. I on the other hand didn’t care because I felt slighted by a choice that I allowed to be taken away from me. I learned from that experience that what I allowed to happen to me affected my opinion toward my own gender. It’s just one of many instances that I can remember where I let someone else influence me to the point that my disgruntled disposition affected my opinion towards the very women who I probably would have enjoyed otherwise. Our very bodies would have been our common ground but I allowed what was really my choice to be taken away. How many times within a day or week do we allow a decision to be placed upon us that isn’t ours to carry?

Silk lash
Silk lash

I realized that my attitude towards my community was really a reflection of my attitude towards myself. As a woman of today I need to find my true reflection of what I really am so that when I look at my community I can allow them to be what they really are……….creative women doing what they love to do. If I can see them without WDP than I think for the first time I will be able to enjoy the view just like being in the audience watching a movie. I can enjoy watching the story, journey, drama or play unfold without me knowing how it will end but knowing it will end the way it needs to. What I am saying is “To live and let live.”


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