The first time I read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, was in high school. I didn’t fully understand it but I knew it was profound. I came back to it again in college with a little more understanding after studying metaphors in poetry. I knew this book was for black girls like me who had struggled with being dark. Who had struggled with not being what society defined as beautiful.
I read Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, for the first time in high school as well. It was a book I constantly reread in college. Picking at it. Dissecting it. Googling others responses to it. If anything Toni Morrison’s writing has intrigued me for years.
When I learned of her death it felt like I’d lost a friend. Because I’m away her words her books had been my friends. They had taken root in my mind for years coming back to its forefront again and again. At first I wasn’t sure what to feel (reasons why this tribute is weeks after her death) I hadn’t revisited her words since having my daughter (I haven’t done much reading honestly in years which is a shame seeing how in high school books were my closest friends) in her passing I realized I’m in a new stage in my life – and I haven’t read a Toni Morrison book or reread one for new meaning and lessons. I felt like I’d betrayed her. I felt like I’d betrayed myself for not continuing to read her words when they’d done so much for me.
I made a silent vow to start rebuying her books (I’ve since lost both my high school copies from constant moving). To start rereading her words. To help keep her legacy alive.
Thank you Toni Morrison, the woman in me thanks you. The dark skinned woman in me thanks you. The mother in me thanks you. The writer in me thanks you. The reader in me thanks you. The student in me thanks you.
My hope is that my own words will touch as many as yours have one day.