Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Hot Tea and Ice 16

Appreciate, Don’t Hate

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins  

     Greetings Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I trust you are well.

     The temperatures are dropping, clothing is getting thicker, and we are getting into that holiday frame of mind. Even if you do not subscribe to a particular faith, the remainder of 2017 should offer you at least one day to spend time with loved ones, do some shopping–or smile at someone who has to work while you enjoy a day off.

     One major break in the monotony of daily life that approaches is the fourth Thursday of November. For one day, we are supposed to give thanks for all the good things we have in our lives. That is in between gorging on carbs, plotting a way to drop sums of money at retail stores, and watching television in between power naps.

     Thanksgiving means different things to different peoplehaving one day to be thankful is okay, but I would say expressing appreciation should be a year-round event.

     And what is the difference between being thankful and the appreciation of thankfulness?  Being thankful is the actual expression of gratitude, while the latter is the tendency to recognize the worth of someone or something.

     Sometimes, we are so caught up in the swirl of our affairs that we neglect to recognize those who avail themselves to make our paths clearer. We tend to see past people’s good deeds and do not let others know that we see their good works– and appreciate them for doing things they do not have to do.

     A popular train of thought that has chugged through many of our lives has been the adage “in life, no one owes you anything.”  Yet, so often, so many of us benefit from things we are given.  But unfortunately, we do not take time enough to show appreciation.

     I will be the first to admit that I do not often show my appreciation for those around me for making my life easier. For the most part, when I wake up in the morning, my partner sets the coffee maker for me so all I have to do is press “on,” and “voila!”  When I exit from the shower, my morning addiction greets me. Because of our differing work schedule, she arrives home before I do, and dinner often greets me when I get there. Those gestures make my day flow so much better; however, I on occasion neglect to let her know much it means to me that she does those things.

     While she never has to worry about the dishwasher being unloaded and clothes making it from the laundry basket to her closet, it still would be a nice gesture for me to recognize what she does to make my morning and evening better.

     Imagine how much better life could be if we simply let people know that we appreciate them for being kind and helpful. We teach children to say “thank you;” but how often do we incorporate that into our own grown-folk conversations?

     I refuse to accept that we cannot appreciate other people’s goodwill; or for that matter, we do not understand that when someone does something nice that they aren’t necessarily doing it for the applause– but because it is just the nice thing to do.  Sometimes, it’s the simple “I see what you are doing and I appreciate it” that makes such a difference.

     If you want to go full-out with floral arrangements, sweet treats, or power ballads to let people know you are appreciated, then that’s cool. However, sometimes the simplest gesture gets the message across just as well.

     All of us should be more proactive about letting people know we appreciate them in minor and major ways that fit the situation. It may be a simple wave of appreciation when the driver on the expressway lets you in his/her lane, or the smile and head nod when someone with a cart full of groceries lets you and your three items go ahead of them.  

     It could be as grand as a day when all your partner has to do is get up– because you have taken care of everything.  And, friends aren’t exempt from showing appreciation. Show that bestie who always “has your back” or a spare twenty dollars until payday.  In turn, you can appreciate the gesture by treating your bestie to lunch or cocktails.

      The simple act of appreciation doesn’t cost anything, but it can actually add value. Try it sometimes, and feel how good it makes you feel. True, it doesn’t compare to that slice of pie your aunt only makes this time of year; but it’s still a good thing, nevertheless.

     Until next time:  Adios, au revoir and I “holler!”

LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya  earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is an active member of the, The Black Lesbian Literary Collective,a non-profit organization organized in N.C.  The Collective’s mission is to create a nurturing and sustainable environment for Black lesbian and queer women of color writers. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, latoyahankins.com ; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com;
Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins;
and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.


Happy Thanksgiving

To Reveal Or Not Reveal At Turkey Day!

     We continue to make great strides in Gay/SGL (Same Gender Loving) acceptance.  There’s our increasing visibility in the entertainment realm.  More notables have come out–including film director/producer Lee Daniels, broadcaster Don Lemon, and sports figures Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon.  (And, it seems that the vast majority of Queen Latifah’s body has already “fallen outta the closet!”  Just kidding, but seriously!  LOL.)  As well, we have the surge in marriage equality.

     But even with all of THAT, feeling fully and totally “comfortable in your own skin” as a Gay/SGL man (which translates into being your authentic self) can still present challenges—which can be particularly amplified, daunting and frustrating during the holidays.  Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I’ve decided to explore whether or not you should come out on “Turkey Day.”  

     “Thanksgiving may seem like an opportune moment to come out since you will have a captive audience,” states Ramon Johnson, African-American gay life expert.  “However, you can also find yourself trapped in the situation despite the outcome.”

     Johnson continues, “Your coming our scenario can play out in either one of three ways:  your parents could freak out, they could love you dearly or be indifferent.  We often have in our heads how our parents will react.  They may have made homophobic comments in the past, sneered at a gay couple, or made innuendos about their openness to everyone.  Even if you think you’re sure of how they will respond, you could be quite surprised.”

     The gay life expert speaks about his coming out experience.  “I was sure by me coming out that my relationship with my mom was over.  Instead, she shrugs the news off with a ‘I already knew that’!  It was far less dramatic than I anticipated.” 

     So, should you make your “Grand Announcement”, say, at the dinner table as you’re woofing down that juicy, DEE-LI-CIOUS turkey with dressing…and the rest of “dem other vittles?”  Johnson weighs in.

     “A parent’s feelings about homosexuality and their feelings about their child being gay could be quite different.  You can’t be certain how they will respond.  Also, there will be other family members around.”  He adds, “Coming out doesn’t have to be a group announcement.  It should be an intimate conversation and a moment with the people in your life.”

    The gay life expert emphasizes the following: “Have the conversation not in the busyness of the holiday, but when you will have time to talk about your feelings and what your sexual identity really means.  A big family dinner may not be the best time to have that conversation.”

     (Gourmet) food for thought, eh?  Well, give your decision a helluva lot of thoughtful and deliberate consideration before making…and then announcing it.  And, don’t’ forget to “Git  Yo’ Gobble-Gobble On!”