On the day The Toast’s readers found out it was closing, many of us took to Twitter to process and pay tribute. One of our number, Hayley, started a thread with this tweet: “a fun thing I would like to hear from y’all is all the things you wouldn’t have done without The Toast.” And while Toastie-ness is, of course, a rich tapesty, I couldn’t help but notice things that came up again and again: “I left an abusive relationship.” “I tell men to shut up more often.” “I’m more comfortable being queer.” “I’d never have published my writing.” “I’ve made so many friends.” (For the record, the last three are all true for me.)
Below, I’ve gathered longer responses from a few readers on what The Toast meant to them. Think of it as signing The Toast’s senior yearbook. We love you! Have a neat summer!
Before The Toast, I knew that our misogynist society was lying to me when it said “women aren’t funny.” After The Toast, I knew that our misogynist society was lying to me when it said that I wasn’t funny. —CosetTheTable
Where I grew up (Hudsonville, Michigan), the population was close to 98% white, and I estimate the percentage of Christian vs. any other religion was about 90%. I had very little exposure to anyone whose background looked different from mine. The combination of moving to New York and reading The Toast offered a kind of immersive knowledge of what people of other races, religions, and cultures experienced, and how I could respond and relate to my new friends in a more informed way. Features like the Convert Series and individual essays on race and class have taken me from unfortunately ignorant to gratefully perceptive. —Christy Admiraal
The Toast was my first hometown after finishing college, a place on the Internet to go and be among my people, something I thought I would lose outside of school. I saw writing there from people like me, who were just starting out new stages, new identities, new burgeoning revelations, and I was inspired to “take to the sea” and put my goals first. Since becoming part of The Toast community, I’ve been making small strides with my mental health, become more secure in my queerness, and traveled thousands of miles looking for a story to call my own. Thanks for hosting my tribe, and thanks for all the jokes. —Flan
I love that, especially now in month 6433456 of this dang election, The Toast was a place to have complicated, undecided opinions on things. Everything from “I voted for Sanders, but with reservations…” to “I hated that movie, but it did X well…” Which feels rare on the internet. I love how little Toasties (in articles and comments) felt the need to label ourselves. —Emily
Through The Toast I’ve met the people who have helped me gain confidence to be simultaneously selfish and kind, to stand up for myself when I need to and to examine my own prejudices as well… The Toast has blessed me with the freedom to be a complete nerd, to embrace my passions, and to take risks. All of this sounds vague and magical, but it’s all completely true.
Specifically, The Toast has helped me explore my own Asian American, bi-racial identity. Through posts like Jaya’s “Some Unorganized Mixed Race Thoughts” and Nicole’s “ʻYou left your culture at the doorʼ: Relationships, Misogyny, and Asian American Inside Baseball,” I have come to own my identity as multitudinous, as Both, as And. I do not have to be two halves of anything, I can be a whole that is me and that doesn’t automatically fit into the normal checked boxes. I can both fight to see people like me on TV and know that I won’t see anyone exactly like me on TV, because honestly, that show would be pretty boring.
I will miss the Toast with all my heart, and I know that the relationships I’ve formed through it will be with me for the rest of my life. And I’m 85% committed to getting a commemorative tattoo. —Liz Niemer
As I hit middle age, I was feeling less and less visible, and less and less valuable, in our society. Every message telling me my experience and wisdom were worthless, and the only way to maintain any value was to hold onto youth as tightly as possible. The Toast reminded me of my intrinsic worth as a person and a woman, and helped me celebrate the things other people were telling me to avoid and fear. We were a group of (mostly) women, honoring each other, and that is a powerful thing. I’m going to miss it dearly. —Bittersweet
The Toast reminded me that there are other people out there who are curious and interested in odd things, and made me feel not so despairing over the state of the world. And it made me realize that there are people out there who won’t automatically discount my past relationships, or question my ability to determine whether a man is HOTT, simply because I am happily married to a lady. No necessity to label myself. I’d gotten so used to automatic rationalization/explanation/defensiveness that to find a space where that was unnecessary was a tiny golden treasure. —semperlegens
The Toast found me—I don’t think I found it after all—during a year of change and transition and introspection for me. It is so fiercely itself, with such a distinctive spirit. It celebrated power and strength, but also your delicate heart and soul. It celebrated all your rough, undefined edges, all the odd spots inside.
Mallory has been a model of writerly voice; watching her at work, it’s been extraordinary how much her style speaks to me, while I still speak my own. I will be influenced by her, bolstered that a voice like hers can speak so loudly and clearly. Nicole Cliffe demonstrates such extraordinary gentleness and honest joy and love, along with her keen mind and sense. Nicole Chung shares vulnerability with such trust; she’s also been a wonderful example to me as someone also of Asian descent, navigating the intricacies of race and identity. And: Dad Magazine (Jaya and Matt!). And all the wonderful writers who contributed, including the achingly lovely advice column that entwined poetry into its words. I have a lot of archives to go through, which is both painful and reassuring.
Most of all, the Toast brought together so many extraordinary, loving, kind, keenly intelligent, deeply funny people. Hearing the rhythms of their lives have brought me such comfort, to know that at all times, there is joy and contentment, though there is sadness and adversity and grief too… “Community” always seemed such a generic, sterile term to me, but this is genuine community. We’re all concerned and pulling for each other.
The Toast has made my life better in many ways, strengthening, emboldening, and nourishing my spirit and soul. I would have been able to live my life without having ever known it, but I am so glad I did. Thank you. —Gloria
Anna Andersen has realized 100% of her teensy income results from writing, so she can safely refer to herself as a freelance writer. Wed to a rural mail carrier who regularly helps turtles across the street, she reads books, cuddles cats, and pens Destiel fanfiction in her Kansas hometown.