Maybe my favorite pilot of all time is the double feature of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (lovingly referred to as DS9 online). In the episode, Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) is abducted by alien entities called The Prophets who don’t understand what he is. While explaining corporeal and linear existence (human’s ideas of space and time), he is repeatedly drawn back to the unbearable memory of the death of his wife and forced to relive the moment he must leave her body behind. …


I was looking through my Instagram posts, an endless feed of different versions of myself floating by, when I realized that the lost person I was in those photos no longer exists.

I remember the free-falling feeling of the infinite scroll in the before times when I didn’t know myself at all. I remember the dread of seeing an old photo and finding envy creeping into my veins like ice water. I remember how utterly endless the void felt at the end of the tunnel. My posts in a way were a method of confirming my existence in the solitude…


I have died a few times in my short life.

Once I died laying in the grass in Winter Park, Florida. I don’t remember the dress I was wearing to this friend’s wedding, but I remember the feeling of cheap chiffon fluttering around my legs and gripping to the sweat on my calves as I walked barefoot through the deserted streets of the pristine suburb. I kept dreading and hoping a stranger would see my distress and see the sandals in my hands and ask who they could call. …


Last week a scandal formed around a YouTuber I personally find really insightful and even inspiring in my journey to see the world more clearly. Lindsay Ellis tweeted a comment comparing Raya to The Last Airbender (it should be noted that both works are the product of overwhelmingly white studios) and was called out by some South Asian creators as being overly reductive in the comparison. Twitter lit up over the interaction and thousands of angry white people got involved. She responded by deleting her Twitter and posting a 100 minute video (yes, you read that right) explaining her “cancellation.”


In the frozen parking lot of an H-E-B, my husband and I wait in a line that snakes through the pharmacy drive-thru. My shins are cold from the air my wide leg jeans let in above my fuzzy socks. A mom and her three kids stand huddled six feet in front of us, a tangle of held hands and nervous energy. Behind us, a husband and wife grumble to each other about the line. “They probably won’t have anything.” I ignore them. The week has been more than stressful; I can forgive their pessimism.

The manager comes out to greet…


The Southern Baptist Church has long nourished an environment of strict surveillance dressed as accountability for its women, and basic impunity for its white male leadership.

Though I have read more than a handful of her bible studies, a decade down the road Beth Moore is distilled in my mind as “the bible study and Daniel fast woman.” The Daniel diet is one of hundreds of Christian takes on spiritual fasting wherein you eat only plant-based meals and skip meats and sweets and carbs. In a religion absolutely satiated with weird dieting ideals disguised as holiness I’m not sure why her connection to the Daniel fast in particular is one that’s so vivid to me. My best guess is that I did the Daniel bible study…


For those who have missed it this week (I envy you) – Lizzo has joined the ranks of celebrities posting on social media about miracle weight loss smoothies and cleanses. If you are part of the anti-diet or health at every size communities like I am, seeing someone so beloved for their body positivity posts and lyrics so publicly boasting about shrinking their body is likely an emotional blow. Lizzo’s existence as a Black fat woman has been an aspirational boost to so many who’ve been told love can only be given to people who look a certain way. …


Stored within me from years of spiritual philosophy studies is the idea that nature exists as a method of teaching us about our own humanity. Rain hits dry ground to teach us of thirst. Wind knocks a tumbleweed down the road to teach us to be rooted. A butterfly emerges from her cocoon to teach us we can be transformed. In this avenue of thought, metamorphosis in particular is a power within us only truly accessible through metaphor with natural phenomenon. …


As a young adult struggling with depression and insomnia, in the middle of my restless nights I clung to a misremembered bible verse I hoped could inspire my anxious mind to finally shut down for the day: Hope is renewed every morning. (The original comes from Lamentations 3:23 – and is more of a commentary on the finite nature of Old Testament mercy). Truthfully, I did wake up every morning feeling emotionally much more capable than I had as the day drew to a close. I was functioning on limited serotonin levels in those years before a diagnosis of and…


My phone’s screensaver is a stranger named Rahul who won the 2017 season of the Great British Bake Off. A nuclear physics researcher, unbearably nervous and self deprecating, he is a folk hero in my home. An Indian immigrant to Britain, Rahul didn’t start baking until he was 29 years old as a way to stave off the loneliness of being away from family. Between apologies for baking what the judges repeatedly called perfect creations, Rahul cooked through his nerves to win a competitive season on one of my favorite shows – so yes, I do in fact get a…

Madie Riley

Disabled first gen Cuban American. Neurodivergent, queer and v hilarious. Writer and creator in Austin, TX.

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