Monday, April 30, 2012

Why We Can't Stand Kim K.

I try real hard not to bash other women. It’s such a childish thing. Women who talk about other women behind their back, call each other names, etc. irk the hell out of me, which is why it’s one of the central topics in my novel Zaire’s Place. This post is not about bashing; this post is about stating observations on an intellectual level rather than from an ego trip like some women go on. And here’s the thing: I can’t stand Kim K.

First of all, she has made a living out of doing absolutely nothing at all but put on a show in front of the camera (her reality show, her sex-tape with Ray J.…the list goes on). She is raking in the dough because she knows how to create and stir up drama and doesn’t have any talent whatsoever.

A lot of people have said what I’m saying, yet someone is supporting the trash the Kardashians throw out because they’re making millions of dollars. Is it you? I guess I can give her credit, though. Behind all that lack of talent must be a brain because she’s doing something right in order to make all that money.

Second of all, she’s manipulative and I can’t stand a manipulative person, be it man or woman. Manipulative people try to be like snake charmers making everyone submit to their will using deception. In my book, that’s so not cool. If you have talent, if you have skill, there would be no need for manipulation.

Kim treats everything like a game...the men she deals with, her life…again, the list goes on. The whole Kanye thing sealed my dislike for Kim K. How many men in Hollywood has she gone through (black men at that)? And check it, I don’t even care about the black man thing. I’m progressive enough to accept that. What I can’t stand is her attitude that men/relationships are pawns that you can use to win a prize.

Actually, when you look at it, I think she may have had the same amount of “relationships” that normal women have, but it just seems like a lot because she’s on the world stage. I'll give her that. But the sex-tape thing is just raunchy and to know that you achieved your fame because you got a big butt annoys me because I pride myself on my intelligence and readiness to learn. A woman who achieves everything because of her looks is not favorable to me.

Some people would say I’m jealous because I’m not a “model” or a stunner like Kim K….that I’m just hating. Nope. I love beautiful women and I have no problem letting them know when they’re beautiful. (I actually can’t stand when other women hate on a chick because she’s pretty. It’s so petty. We gotta do better.)

Anyway, I’m rambling. Can you please let me know when Kim/Kanye break up? Until then, I’ll keep my head buried in the sand so I don’t have to see pictures of them getting out of cars with his pants down. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Art of the Curse Word

In Zaire’s Place, I curse…a lot. My character Aisha Carter has a potty mouth on her and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Sometimes, there’s nothing that aptly shows anger, frustration, or pain other than a curse word. When a person stubs their toe, the first thing out of most people’s mouths is a big fat “shit”. Does it stop the pain? Nope. But I’m willing to bet that you feel better after saying it.

The way a person strings together curse words can be indicative of their personality/their background. A person who curses regardless of who is around lets you know they are an open book who doesn’t care about censoring themselves to obtain the approval of others.

Personally, I tend to curse, but I’m careful who I do it around. While my character Aisha has an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude, I tend to be more cautious. But you know something? Out of all the women in Zaire’s Place, I actually like Aisha the most. First of all, she reminds me of my mother. Second of all, I admire her ability to ‘do her’ regardless of who happens to be around. Does she have a lot of bad traits? Absolutely. But who doesn’t? To me, Aisha is one of the most authentic characters in my novel.

I don’t think Zaire’s Place would have been as rich if Aisha didn’t splash profanity everywhere. There are a lot of women out here like her and Zaire’s Place reflects that. As I said before, the old saying that art reflects reality is true, and it should reflect real life. If it doesn’t, it should be labeled a fairy tale and only read by those who don’t want to face the real world.

Many people will shy away from Zaire’s Place because of the profanity. I’m okay with that. There’s an audience for everything. I would rather be true to my version of what my art should look instead of trying to appeal to the masses. No one can do me like me.

By the way, studies have shown that cursing relieves stress and can actually lower blood pressure. I can believe it. There’s a lot of power in those forbidden words. Do I recommend dropping f-bombs everywhere you go? Hell no. *wink wink* But every now and then, only a curse word will do.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Dose of Inspiration

This post is going to be a quickie. For some reason, Kirk Franklin’s song “I Smile” has stayed in my head forever and is on instant repeat. Sometimes, I leave the radio on at night on my mother’s favorite radio station, Magic 95.9. I know this is going to sound strange, but that’s when I feel she’s closest to me (Mom passed away last November).

Often, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night as soon Kirk’s song plays or when K’Jon’s “On the Ocean” plays (me and my mother used to sing that one all the time). So, I just wanted to share them with you. Remember to “smile” and look for your ship “on the ocean”.

"I Smile"
Kirk Franklin

"On the Ocean"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Are You Going to Have a Summer Fling?

Spring is here. Pretty soon people are going to be outside flaunting their taunt (or not so taunt) bodies and looking for some good lovin’. They’re going to be excited about that person who makes their heart chirp like the birds that cause a ruckus in the wee hours of the morning.

This is the time of year when people line up their summer fling (or flings) and go out to dinner, the park, etc. Yup, in the spring, people and their bodies come alive. But not on this end. Getting some spring lovin’ is the furthest thing on my mind. When you’re trying to straighten the pieces of your life out, ‘getting a piece’ is the last thing you think about.

I, for one, think relationships are a distraction. As women, we tend to get wrapped up into the man we deal with and drop everything else. I would like to hope that I’m not that kind of woman, but sadly I am. I have been known to not return a few calls when I was wrapped in the arms of a current beau before my daughter came along.

When you’re courting someone or in a relationship, your mind focuses on that person even when you’re not with them. As someone who is trying to achieve my mission of becoming an established author, I don’t have time for a fractured mind. Thoughts that are focused on something else mean less attention to my mission.

Not to mention the fact that I have a little girl. I can’t imagine trying to get intimate with another man now that I have her. She’s young and attached to me at the hip. I can’t imagine having someone watch her while I go out and spend time with a fling. And as a mother, I couldn’t imagine bringing a man around her. With all that’s going on out here in the world, you have to be careful who comes into your child’s circle.

Do I think about those warm summer days outside with a man lounging on a park bench? Do I think about getting on the dance floor and getting so close that I absorb his scent? Do I think about those warm nights where the sheets stick to you and your man as you engage in gymnastics? Nope. I don’t miss them at all.

I’m too busy wrapping my arms around my daughter, and to be honest with you, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a thing. There aren’t a whole lot of quality men out here anyway. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know, but I doubt it. I'm not going to knock anyone who wants to get their groove on, though. Go out there and knock yourself out, but remember to choose wisely.

In closing, let me leave you with an old favorite song of mine by Biz Markie. Enjoy.

Biz Markie
"Spring Again"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

3 Things We Can Learn from the Movie “Aliens”

I’m a science fiction geek. To me, the greatest sci-fi movie of all time is “Aliens”. Sigourney Weaver kicked ass in that movie and I’ll always admire her take-no-prisoners attitude. So, in honor of one of my favorite movies of all time, here are a few things we need to remember in order to navigate the challenges in our own life.

Heroes come in unlikely packages. Ripley wasn’t always a heroine. If anyone would have asked her, she wouldn’t have chosen that role—the role of a champion against alien beings trying to take over the universe one host at a time. She was thrust into that role. Same thing with life. Many times, we have dreams in us…dreams that will not die. (Mine is the dream of a writer, and even though it’s a hard road, I couldn’t imagine giving it up.) You were chosen for that path. You may not feel like it…you may want to give up, but, like Ripley, you have to keep on fighting. You have to be the hero in your own story. Accept that role and revel in it.

No matter how many aliens there are, you can defeat them. “Aliens” is the second movie in the “Alien” franchise. Ripley and her crew were up against hundreds of aliens and things looked pretty bleak. I remember the scene when they were stuck in that room with the red light and all the aliens descended upon them from the ceiling. That scene was one of the greatest scenes in that movie. Yes, they were outnumbered. Yes, people died along the way, but in the end Ripley survived. It’s the same thing with your dreams. You’re going to suffer setbacks. Your dream may seem like it’s going to die (and some aspects of it very well might…that’s the nature of any journey). There will be tons of dreamkillers who descend upon you like those aliens, but you have to keep on fighting so you can come out on top.

The enemy always lives on. Never let your guard down. That doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear, but you need to remember that there are always people who don’t have your best interest at heart. Like Ripley, you will have to fight the alien in the next sequel. They may come in another reincarnation, but they are still the same alien – the ones who claim to be your friends but don’t support you in anything you do, the ones who want to kill your dreams because they are miserable, etc. The alien is out there, but you need to always remember that you are the hero…that you are the victor. And you know what? Heroes always win in the end.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zimmerman Charged – Dawn of a New Day?

Ever since we made our involuntary trip from Africa, our black men have been murdered and lynched. On February 26, 2012, it happened again. At first, it seemed like it would go unnoticed like the many other incidents that preceded it, but then something happened to change that. People heard the screams of Trayvon Martin on that 911 tape and hearts shed tears for a young man who was murdered in cold blood. 

People began to rally around Trayvon and our voices became a force to be reckoned with on social media. Today, we received a slice of justice when we found out Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder. I never thought I would feel so much joy for a person I never met. Every time I looked into Trayvon’s big, black eyes, I saw the thousands of men whose lives were taken before Trayvon’s…the men who were lynched for no reason at all simply because they happened to be black and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Make no mistake about it, coming from the projects, I saw it all…men who were indeed on the wrong side of the law, so I weigh things carefully before I jump up to defend someone. But when a young boy gets killed and the only thing he has on him is a bag of Skittles and a drink, something is most definitely wrong with that picture.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Zimmerman was on a mission to assert his self-proclaimed power when he killed Trayvon. And, like a bully, he picked on someone who was no match for him. A child screamed for his life on that fateful day. That made me come to Trayvon’s defense. That made me think about all the black men who were shot down like animals because they happened to look “suspicious”. That made me think about the ugly racial divide that always pops up when there is an incident involving black and white.

Many white people were quick to claim Trayvon’s murder had nothing to do with race. When I heard those claims, all I could do was shake my head because it had everything to do with race. Had that young man been a white boy with a hoodie on, Zimmerman would have said “hello” as he passed him on the street and kissed his ass. It had everything to do with race.

I couldn’t let Trayvon’s story die. I rallied behind him. I championed for him, along with the rest of the world. When it seemed like his story would get lost in the media, I’m glad people kept the pressure on that wound, kept talking about it, kept tweeting about it. And “when spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion”.

We did it. There’s still a long road ahead of us, but today justice got a little sweeter. I feel good right now and I hope you do, too. Hopefully, a vigilante will think twice before they shoot one of our innocent brothers again. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

We Live What We See

The shattered glass surrounded her body as my sister and I screamed. At first, I thought she wasn’t going to get up. My stepfather looked shocked as he reached down to grab her…to pull her up from the glass. He looked sorry, like he didn’t mean for things to get out of hand. My mother sobbed, and he apologized over and over again as he tended to her wounds.

Scenes like this were normal around my house. My mother was a fighter. Unfortunately, my stepfather was, too. Their relationship was volatile. Every time my mother thought he was talking to another woman, she would fly off the handle and hit him. Eventually, he always hit back. I remember feeling horror as I screamed for them to stop so no one would get hurt.

Believe it or not, in the midst of the horrible incidents, there were what we used to consider semi-humorous times…times when my mother would tie my stepfather up so he couldn’t get away and told us to find something so she could do it with. None of that seemed abnormal to me. I thought everyone lived like this.

Sadly, too many children are experiencing things like this on a daily basis. Although my mother and stepfather fought like cats and dogs, I never thought of it as domestic violence. Until today. To me, domestic violence was what I went through when I got older…where it’s not a fight between two equals…where you get whaled on without having a chance to fight back. Until today, I didn’t realize that maybe I found myself in the situation that I was trying to avoid because of what I saw my mother and my stepfather go through.

Children live what they see. My mother never told me not to find a man who didn’t hit me. As I grew up, I was able to realize that something was wrong with the scenarios that played out around our house. But over the years, I never thought about it. I put it to the side—until I found myself at the end of a fist. Even when I was trying to decide whether or not I was going to stay with my then-boyfriend, I didn’t think about what I saw as a kid. But it must have been there. It had to be in my subconscious, playing with me, toying with my memories, but lying dormant. Until today.

Today, I was finally able to put the pieces together. Today, I was able to realize that I am a product of what I saw. Today, I am thankful that I did not repeat the cycle. Today, I’m thankful that someone told me to get out after that first hit.

If you have children, please think about what they are seeing. The things that they’re witnessing will stick with them long after you’re gone, so please make it good.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Domestic Violence Project - An Update

domestic violence
I started the Domestic Violence Project back in August 2011 when I began to collect six-word thoughts on domestic violence (to read about it, click here). It was…and still is…my hope to highlight this cause one word at a time.

Although I haven’t collected as many responses as I would have liked, we’re slowly getting there. Michelle Garrett of Divas With A Purpose helped by hosting a contest where she offered 6 Kindle copies of Zaire’s Place, for which I’m grateful.

So, without further ado, here are the responses for the Domestic Violence Project that have been collected thus far. To read my personal story dealing with abuse—“I Remember When”—click here.

If you would like to submit your six-word thought on domestic violence, e-mail or info@tcgalltin. Let’s put an end to DV one word at a time. 

The Domestic Violence Project
Your Thoughts in Six Words

It’s easy to fight the vulnerable. ~Monay Gunn

WRONG – regardless of the victim’s gender! ~ZoĆ« Davis

Emotional scars last longer than physical. ~Kenneth Weene

Relationships don’t give right to abuse. ~Trish Brown

The scars will always be there. ~TC Galltin

Hitting women is a damn shame. ~Jonnelle Galltin-Otero

Friends, don’t just ignore it – REACT! ~Michelle Garrett

Wake up: Love shouldn’t hurt. ~Maura Alia Badji

He hit me. My soul shattered. ~Dietta Lee

Love should never leave bruised bodies. ~@MrsRKFJ

Prosecute your abuser now not later! ~Ray Leibert Anita

Sorry bandages wounds, leaving heals them.
~Renita Eackels Whitlock

You are never alone – reach out. ~Jody Cowan

I would like to thank all the people who participated in the DVP so far. If you’re a victim of abuse, remember what Jody said, “You are never alone – reach out.”