TW: mention of child molestation
You're ugly and no one is going to love you but me.
Those words were branded onto Toni's heart, those words seemed
to appear anytime Toni Had a decision to make. And now, before her was her
future and the biggest decision of her life.
Today was the day of reckoning, today Toni was going to leave
her mark on the world.
Just three months ago, Toni was discovered so to speak. She was
showing some of her drawings and sketches at a community art fair, when she was
propositioned about hosting her own art showing at the local Museum. Toni agreed
at once as the asker was the Local Museum Curator, He was gushing about the
potential Toni's art possessed and was adamant that she present herself
formally to the art community.
Toni was taken aback by the voracity of the Curators praise. She
didn't think of herself as an artist, instead she saw her creations merely as
doodles or amateur renderings. Oh, they were good, but Toni didn't think they
were exhibition worthy.
The Curator promised Toni That he would make all of the
arrangements and that she only need to select 30 to 40 pieces of work to show
and possibly sell, it was overwhelming in the moment, Toni was so bombarded by
the praise being heaped upon her and her work that she agreed without thinking
about what would have to come next.
Toni was a shy introvert, a girl who survived her horribly
violent and abusive childhood by withdrawing into herself and creating worlds
where she fit in, worlds where she was the hero who was brave and confident,
worlds where she belonged, where she was cared for, where she mattered, where
she was safe. Toni created galaxies of worlds through her drawings, beautiful
meadows filled with sunflowers, Dales and Glens inhabited by faeries and
sprites, fantastical places in which she could retreat and disappear, where she
could dwell in her heart space to try and heal from her daily doldrums.
the Curator did not exaggerate when he told Toni that he would
take care of all the details of the exhibit. The rooms where Toni's collection was
to be shown were immaculate, the walls were covered in large lithographs of
VanGough, Picasso and Warhol, a perfect complement to Toni's art style. There
were platters of crudités and dozens of bottles of Champagne. The Curator even
hired Professional wait staff to serve the appetizers in white tuxedos with
tails. Toni was overwhelmed, she had selected 44 pieces of her best work to
show, it was an eclectic mix of serene nature renderings, quirky caricatures,
poignant shockingly dark and violent scenes as well as a host of political
cartoon drawings to sell.
Toni felt as if her world had spun into hyper drive, all these
wonderful things were happening, doors were opening, dreams were being
realized, manifested right there before her very eyes. Every wish and hope that
Toni had imagined. Fame, fortune recognition, acceptance, it was all there
waiting to be taken ready to be accepted. All she had to do was reach out and
Toni stood in the restroom of the Museum staring at her
refection in the backlit mirror. She was trembling from excitement and
apprehension. Why did this always have to happen? anytime anything good comes I
blow it! Tears are streaming down Toni's cheeks, her mascara is pooling in black
ponds at the corners of her eyes, doubt is creeping up inside of her like a
broken water main, filling every inch making it impossible to breathe. Toni
feels like her heart is going to burst! oh no oh no oh no please no Toni pants,
she knows she is experiencing a panic attack. Toni consciously tries to control
her breathing, but she becomes lightheaded and sinks to the floor, her hands
locked in a death grip on the edge of the vanity, her head cradled on her
forearms, tears flowing unceasingly from her eyes leap to their demise from the
tips of her nose and chin,
God! Seven years of Therapy and look at me! No Better than the
day I left home! Here I am on the most important day of my life letting my
anxiety keep me from my destiny! Toni Pulled herself to her feet trying
desperately to calm her breathing, I will not let him win!
Toni declares to the empty room. I will not let him control my
life for one more second!
Standing to her full height, Toni looks herself in the mirror
and says " I am Worthy of good things, I am not a victim anymore, I take
back my life, I reclaim my sanity, my strength, my voice, my power! I am worthy
of happiness I am worthy of success; I am talented I am creative, and I am
Beautiful! I forgive myself; I forgive him. I love me and I am grateful for all
this will be the last time I let your hurt filled words stop me
from realizing my dreams. I am not that Twelve-year-old girl you molested and
destroyed with your twisted words. I am Beautiful and I don't need your love
Because I love myself!"
Staring into her own eyes in that restroom mirror Toni realizes
she had stopped crying. Quickly Toni washes the ruined makeup away and
reapplies a fresh look, checking her hair and smoothing her lipstick She
reaches for the door. I am ready, she says. I choose me!
Staring into her own eyes in that restroom mirror Toni realizes she had stopped crying. Quickly Toni washes the ruined makeup away and reapplies a fresh look, checking her hair and smoothing her lipstick She reaches for the door. I am ready, she says I choose me.
Toni Opens the restroom door and is greeted by raucous applause
and the sound of clinking glass,
The Curator announces, Ladies and Gentlemen Please welcome our
Artist of the evening, I give you Toni Yates! The Curator extended his elbow to
Toni and escorted her to the center of the room.
Toni stood at the lectern staring in amazement at the crowd of
people there to see her, to see what she had created, to see the person behind
Thank you all for coming. Toni states, this collection is called
Adversity it is the story of my life depicted in art, and today with your help
I have just defeated it.