I’m Toni and I use she/her/hers pronouns. :) If you’re reading this, you probably already knew that, but my hope in the coming months is that you’ll get to know me better; because I think that even when we think we know someone, we don’t always really know them.
I’ve always struggled with voicing my thoughts and my struggles aloud, and writing every once in a while helps to bring down that wall. Most of the time, I voice my thoughts on Facebook; recently, at times, on Instagram. It’s so much easier to talk to you all when social anxiety doesn’t interfere by seeing you in person — or even over video chat. However, friends and Facebook friends have inspired me to create a more formal medium (haha!), as my thoughts range many topics, and because even if they don’t seem important in the virtual spaces that I currently have, it doesn’t mean that they’re not important; in other words, publishing my writing is a way of validating myself, my words, my creativity, my interests, and my love of sharing with those who want to love me back. This post is honestly long overdue, but life always manages to get in the way — especially in the last month and a half, as I’ve been battling a skin issue that has managed to put all of my mental illnesses in full-drive! (We love to see it.) But I’m taking the time to put all of that aside for one moment — a moment I truly deserve.
So let me continue introducing myself. I am a Black queer feminist — a Black queer feminist who also happens to be Black, queer, and a woman. I am an academic in spirit, although not in practice; it’s hard to be “disabled” and exist in academia, and I’ve learned that firsthand from my time at williams college. I have issues that would be considered disabilities or “disabling,” although I wouldn’t personally call myself disabled (just a personal preference!), and most of them are invisible. Constant eating disorder, migraine, and chronic pain-sufferer (but working to fight it); chronically-depressed, whether I realize it or not; someone who sometimes has stomach aches for days at a time; someone who lacks 20/20 vision -____-; and endless-worrier who is usually insecure (food and otherwise). Even though living with disabilities is difficult, I am trying my hardest to take care of them and myself. I’m plus-sized and have big boobs — two qualities that the apparel-world does not accommodate well enough — , so sometimes I hate my body and sometimes I’m just too tired to hate; although, other people have no problem making their opinions about my body known to me. I live for music and I love dance; they bring me moments of divine joy, fun, and reflection when life does not. I am also a big sister, a survivor of many abuses, a loving and loyal friend, someone who mostly prefers her chosen family than her actual family, reproductive justice advocate, and someone who is just trying her absolute hardest to stay alive so that she can eventually thrive. I constantly feel like I am wandering the world trying to find my place and safe-space. There are probably plenty more things that make me the person that I am, and I either 1. cannot remember them 2. do not feel them in this moment or 3. am too shy on some level to tell you.
It’s important that you know these things, for you can’t know me if I am not honest. All of these identities give me reasons to write and factor into the topics that I’ll tackle, which could include, but are not limited to: reflections about being a post-grad during COVID, my time at williams, writings and reflections on pop culture (TV shows and movies, current events, music, etc.), and creative writings that I feel comfortable taking out of the vault that is my journal.
How can you — my readers — support me best during this time, you might ask? #1 — which I think is the most important — please don’t rush me as I try to write. Writing at this time is difficult for many reasons, so I have to try to be gentle with myself while navigating the new terrain of a blog (!!!). #2 Hit that follow button! So that when I do write, you will not miss it. #3 Support my work. Reading this blog is one way, buying from my business Slip n’ Stitch by Toni when we are open for orders is another; and then there’s a third option: sign up for my Patreon, which will support my creative efforts when I do not have income from my business, and my survival as a Black queer woman. There are two tiers, both of which include discounts for Slip n’ Stitch; and the highest tier will give you access to private stories that are published here on Medium.
Thank you for reading! :)
Until we meet again friends,