February has always been an important month. Well, it’s not necessarily in the traditionally-romantic sense. To quip my husband, “every day is a special day” so there’s no need to wait for a day or month to express caring thoughts or affections. The more important reasons are the connotations and denotations relevant to one of my baby projects – the multi-award-winning online gift shop Store with a Heart (storewithaheart.com).

It may be a bit embarrassing to state this, but there’s one other significant celebration that I’ve come to know only recently.

February is also Black History Month.

I won’t pretend that I fully know all the angles and details of conversations for or against what’s customary. Perhaps this post may have been influenced my heart matters in more ways than one – especially as it was my husband who prodded me earlier today to post this after all.

Yet, I believe it’s time to post one of my haphazardly-written yet well-meant commentary on the cerebral write-up of a modern-day, iconic Black sociologist-writer – Tressie Macmillan Cotton.

No. This isn’t about her latest post about Bill Crosby. It’s about an earlier tome, which was the first I’ve chanced upon that’s from her.

This is about her article entitled “The holidays are a good time to ground yourself in ritual” and dated 24 December 2021. I’ve been trying to search for its link to her subscriber-only newsletter on the New York Times, but couldn’t find it yet for some reason. I sent her an email in an attempt to reach out. I guess writers and journalists with hundreds of thousands (and counting) followers will have less time to respond.

Nonetheless, here are my further thoughts and I quote:

“Dear Tressie,

I’ve recently subscribed to your newsletter, responding to the NYT invitation yesterday to do so. I would have done so earlier, had I found your article immediately after it was published.

bell hooks stood and stands for the ironies of humanity then and now. Voice suppression or unbridled audacity? Breaking out of the norm or paving the way for new ones? Defying stereotypes or justifying a created trend? Up to what lengths should liberal ideas go? Do we end up conserving a revolutionalized mindset as a consequence? Where do we start, what should we sustain, and how do we determine if we’ve already said or done enough? How long until the infant thought we push to the surface becomes dominant enough that free thinkers will seek to disprove it?

The pandemic curtailed myriads of joys and benefits multitudes among us have grown used to. We hear and feel stories of aches, disappointments, losses, and all those that break the heart and boggle the psyche. Yet for some if not most, such had already been a way of life even beforehand – they knew nothing better and may even undergo worse. Would rituals and comfort zones make a difference? Probably yes. Probably not. But, what could definitely will anyway? 

We break ourselves free from fortified cliches. We do try, because – ironically again – we are expected to. Yet, grabbing the day as it comes is inevitable. The rationale could be in those books we’ve relegated, or revisited. It may be in that beloved that wasn’t in our lives for so long, or someone we should have given more time for in the past. Perhaps it’s in the passing of another written word legend – Anne Rice – that we find answers from. Yet it could be in living stalwarts like JK Rowling or Stephen King with greatness as a commonality but recently found in opposite ends of a significant discussion equation – either unintentionally or made by others to be. It could be in those words of living wordsmiths nearby. Like award-winning, multi-genre 89-year-old author Priscilla Shuler of South Carolina whose thoughts and works were crafted in her late 70s, which the majority of the world or even her neighbors are yet to discover. It could be in anything, everything, anyone, everyone, or in between. Perhaps it’s in what the season is all about.

Carpe diem.

May there be the best news for you and yours this new year and beyond.

Kind regards,

Esperanza Pretila

Founder of Store with a Heart© (Global Excellence Awards Best Sustainable Online Gift Store 2022 – Australia and South Australia Prestige Awards 2020/21 Gift Store of the Year)”

Great news!

Just as I was about to finish typing this post, I finally found Tressie’s article at The Times.

All that ends well is well. All is well if it ends well. Well, it all ends well here for now.


I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where I work and live. I pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. I celebrate the stories, culture, and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

By Esperanza Pretila

I am a certified HR professional, founder of award-winning micro businesses, lady cavalier, book reviewer, blogger, sports dummy, music fan, former phone photographer, beloved daughter, proud mum of 3 wonder boys, loyal wifey to an awesome hubby, life traveler, and believer.

One thought on “Black History Month Thoughts: Diversity and A Take on Tressie MacMillan Cotton’s Mind”
  1. I was aware this was Black History Month, and I celebrate that The Chrysalis Brew project acknowledges this and works towards a diverse and respectful space for all.