If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Keep Your Mouth Shut

Dancers talk. . . . Plumbers talk. Accountants talk. Lawyers talk. Amina Salah          . . . Everybody talks. So Lesson 1 for Dance and Life                                  is that if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. Ok, ok. . . . I hear some of you who know me out there laughing it up right now because I’m known for speaking my mind, even if I am abrasive at times. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about gossip. . . . What’s that? . . . Silence? 

I’m talking about everything from, “Well, I won’t name names, but . . . ” to the diliberate campaign to slander someone and garner allies against them. ” . . . I just can’t believe she would treat me that way! And I was so loyal to her! . . . *sniff*” Yea. So loyal you can’t wait to shut her out of the next show. 

So I’m not saying you can’t speak your mind. I’m saying don’t talk ugly about people. I call it the Thumper Rule, for that cute little rabbit on Bambi who states it so well. I also call it that because if you break this rule, you will be thumped down. Hard. Because bad juju always comes home to rest.

Sure, there are the obvious ways it will thump you. Talanya trips and pours mint tea down your expensive, beaded costume because you compared her zilling to a stampeding horse, or Sahar forgets to invite you to the hafla because you said her new silver baladi dress made her look like a fish lure.* But there are other, deeper, more damaging ways it comes back around.

Talking ugly about people eats at your soul. Sure, it’s ok to notice things like bad zil work or a costume best not worn around trout, but when you start “spreading the joy,” so to speak, what you’re really doing is trying to set yourself above your victim. Every time you put someone down, you are trying to push yourself up. It’s an addictive form of comparing yourself to others that ultimately only feeds your own insecurities.

Test me on this. Go through your whole week without saying one negative word about anyone. Just try. See if you don’t feel better about yourself in the end.

I’m dedicating this first blog to Amina Salah, Sabaah (Daune Greene), and Suzanna del Vecchio. These are the women who taught me by example that a little bit of silence is good for my soul, not just for my career.       

When has your mouth gotten you in trouble? Who has taught you better?

All the best for a positive week.                      

Keep dancing,

Piper Bayard

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Piper Bayard is a belly dancer from waaay back and is now also writing novels about Life. She is currently penning a spy novel in which a belly dancer teams up with an American Bond  to save millions from a dirty bomb set to destroy the Aswan Dam. Check out her other blog, Embrace the Apocalypse! at piperbayard.wordpress.com.

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