It's tough to introduce someone to a wake; but that's precisely what this article is acting as.
Today our Editorial Director Meredith Borders stepped down to pursue the various other great avenues life has to offer her. To say her contributions to BMD have been huge is an understatement. This site, and its writers, belong to her. We are both her friends and loyal workplace companions, through thick and thin. Any time we needed anything, she was only an email, phone call, or Slack communique away. Tomorrow, that's not going to be the case, and we're all going to be feeling a massive void where she used to be.
Nevertheless, this is not a time for mourning, but one for rejoicing, as Meredith has a bright future ahead of her, no matter if she decides to knit cat sweaters for the rest of her life, or try to become the CEO of a major brew pub conglomerate (City Acre Worldwide has quite the ring to it). So, we decided to get together and all write our own unique tributes to the woman who led us into battle every single day for the last six years, hoping that these words can somehow do justice to a human being this spectacular...
Evan Saathoff (Senior Editor)
It’s difficult to write about Meredith Borders without accidentally writing about myself instead, that’s how important she’s been to me since I met her in '12. This job I love: Meredith’s doing. Living in Houston, a city I adore: Meredith. All the friends I have here: that’s Meredith’s crew. Knowing to do a shot of Campari when I’ve eaten too much: Meredith. When my marriage began to fall apart, she was the first person I called. She’s my best friend.
As I’m sure the rest of this article will reflect, I’m far from alone. No one hangs with Meredith without having their life positively affected in some way. I feel most people are generally good in nature and wish the best for their friends, but the key distinction of Meredith’s benevolence is that it’s active.
We’ll all have to work twice as hard to keep up with the pace Meredith set here. She’s not really someone who can be replaced. I’m beyond grateful to have her as a friend and feel I don’t totally comprehend yet how much I will miss her as a co-worker. Above all, I’m excited to see what she does next. I know it’s going to be amazing.
Scott Wampler (News Editor)
This is a tough assignment, because I honestly don't even know where to start. Without hyperbole, Meredith Borders is one of the greatest human beings I've ever encountered, and the impact she's had on my life - in ways both personal and professional - is honestly immeasurable. I owe so much to her.
Meredith and I met years ago and quickly bonded over our love for Stephen King's The Dark Tower. That shared interest is what brought me to this site, and in the years that followed, Meredith and I have enjoyed a real roller coaster of a time together. We've experienced all the highs and lows that come with running a frequently controversial website. We've stood side by side, sipping whiskey while enjoying the view from a beautiful high-rise patio in San Diego. We've logged countless hours singing karaoke together, venting to each other, celebrating each other's victories and helping one another through the losses. We've watched movies together (plowing our way through more bottles of champagne than were absolutely necessary), cried together, driven great distances to be in each other's company for important moments.
I look back at the past half dozen years, and I realize that Meredith Borders has been one of my biggest supporters, not only as a writer and an employee, but as a friend. She has talked me down off more than one ledge, and I'll never forget that. We're all profoundly sad to see her go, but this thing ain't over. I'll know and love Meredith for the rest of my life, and have no doubt that she'll be there for me in the years ahead just as she's been there for me in years past. I am very, very grateful to have a Meredith Borders in my life. I don't deserve her.
Phil Nobile Jr. (Editor-At-Large)
I'd been writing for Badass Digest for about a year before Meredith was hired to be the managing editor. She brought order, logic and reason to BAD, years before it became BMD. But she also brought a conscience, heart, and a new perspective to a well-intentioned but dude-heavy website. She spent her time at the site making sure new voices were heard, and over the years I've watched her mentor a wave of writers whose reach and impact has yet to be measured.
And she busted her ass on a level that still stuns me today. Meredith often worked twice as hard for half the credit, and her attitude and resolve inspired and motivated the rest of us to do anything we could to help her. I suspect that loyalty she engendered in us is now a lifetime warranty.
I'm writing this as I accompany Meredith around Austin on her next-to-last day as my BMD boss, and even in planning our festivities she's still being Meredith - scrambling to see that everyone is taken care of, to make sure everyone is heard, and to do everything she can to make her little sphere of the world a little better than how she found it. She'll be that person wherever she goes and whatever she does, so there's no point in us being selfish about losing her. These are dark times; the rest of the world needs all the Meredith it can get.
Andrew Todd (Gaming Editor)
I first met Meredith, like many people, at Fantastic Fest. I’d just come off the Nerd Rap, and my chosen topic - Babe: Pig in the City - would end up reflecting our relationship over the years to come: badass, intelligent, and cute as fuck.
Something I don't think Meredith knows is the role she's played in my still-in-progress journey to becoming a happy person. As my editor, she treated me like a professional, and in turn I started treating myself like one. Equally as importantly, her exuberant friendship taught me to take joy in the sillier things I loved. Fantastic Fest was the nexus of all these things: furious work sessions leavened by celebratory burger outings (celebrating the burgs themselves, duh), quiet personal chats, and squealing appreciation for - and patting of - whatever animals happened to be around. For helping to reconcile my outer grown-ass man and inner teenage girl, I can’t thank Mere enough.
Kia ora, merci beaucoup, and thanks for being my boss; I'll see you soon as a City Acre customer, and a friend. <3
Brian Collins (Senior Contributor)
I met Meredith the way any person should meet anyone: while doing Fantastic Fest karaoke at the Highball. I had chosen "Total Eclipse of the Heart", but it was vetoed by Tim League, who hates the song on account of it being "long and annoyingly repetitive", demanding I choose another. Because I am an asshole, I merely chose another Jim Steinman song, one that was twice as long and annoying: "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". With a bit of a "touche", Tim allowed it, and when I took the stage I realized that I had never actually done that song before, and that I would need a female vocalist.
I asked the crowd if anyone would be willing to help out, and Meredith came to my rescue, despite the fact that we had never met (I am LA based - this particular FF was my first time in Texas and thus my first time meeting many of my Alamo/BAD cohorts in the flesh). Only the kindest (and bravest) of souls would endure ten full minutes of my drunken off-key Meat Loaf impression just to sing a few lines at the end, so the fact that she did it for a stranger speaks volumes about her character and spirit. And she did it with gusto, instantly becoming one of my favorite people. I have been proud to have her as my editor and occasional team-up partner (she made Twin Peaks S2 far more bearable, I assure you), and I shall miss her dearly around these parts.
Amelia Emberwing (Senior Contributor)
A little over a year ago, Meredith put out a tweet asking that any women who were looking to write professionally reach out to her. I read that tweet the day after America proved that it would rather have a tyrant as president than a woman so, like many others, I was pretty scared and angry. Despite all of the times you’ve read me gushing about the importance of heroes and how pop culture can save lives on this website, I’m a pretty cynical person. Reaching out to some rando on the internet about my writing career was extremely out of the norm, but we all do weird shit when we’re scared. Emailing her that day ended up being one of the smartest things I’ve ever done both personally and professionally, and not just because I’ve never met someone more focused on empowering other women.
The thing about Meredith is that she finds someone bitter and wears them down so fast that they don’t have time to figure out what’s happened. I was very lucky to get her as a boss, but I’m even luckier to call her my friend. She won’t be reaching out to me for editorials anymore, but I know we’ll be walking in the pouring rain while on a mission for burgers, giggling in spite of everything again very soon.
Thanks for turning this website full of huge personalities into a family, Mere. You’ll always be a part of that, and I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Siddhant Adlakha (Senior Contributor)
I started writing for BMD in early 2015, back when it was still Badass Digest, and I think Meredith was technically my boss? I can't be certain, because it never felt that way. She's been a friend from the start, someone you could go to with any kind of personal or professional concern, and she's been a guiding influence in my life on both fronts.
She's a problem-solver and a curator of voices whose own voice has a special place in my heart, searching for gold where others might not think to look. Whether it's superheroes, teen dramas or where the two collide, she's my go-to person to excitedly and sincerely fawn over the meaningful ridiculousness most folks would call "guilty pleasure." For her it's just pleasure, and it's part of her unapologetic charm. I got her into Pretty Little Liars and she got me into Riverdale, so there's really nothing else to be said.
Actually, there is one thing.
She taught me how to be a better person. Not just in terms of my own outlook on life, but in navigating my mistakes and the mistakes of others. We're all trying to do our best, and a little kindness goes a long way. Good thing Meredith has kindness in spades. So, if you're ever in Houston, swing by City Acre Brewing for a hot meal and a smile, and a friend worth having for life. (There, I plugged your business, Mere. You owe me 1,000 Riverdale gifs stat)
Jacob Knight (Senior Contributor)
"Man, fuck this place." That was my initial thought when Meredith first pulled me aside and told me she was leaving. No offense to the rest of my BMD cohorts (who all know I'm ride or die to a fault when it comes to this site and its people), but Meredith Borders is Birth.Movies.Death. That's what so many outsiders haven't been able to comprehend through the years. While someone else may have founded Badass Digest/BMD, it would've fallen apart had it not been for her persistence, perseverance, and ability to love/empathize with even the most imperfect people. She was not only our boss, but the very glue that kept us together. When we fought amongst ourselves, Meredith was there to mediate. When our personal lives were crumbling, a text or surprise gift from Mere would show up at just the right moment. When we kicked ass, she poured us a beer. When we fucked up, she looked at us from over her glasses. We were hers, and she was ours, and not even wild stallions could've dragged us away.
But now, she's gone, and I honestly have trouble envisioning what this place is going to look like without her. But then I realized - as she's been in Austin partying with us hooligans the last few days - that "goodbye" will never mean "forever", and that the future should not be terrifying. I know that whenever I have a problem, she'll still be a phone call away. If I ever wanna hang with her, it's only a three-hour drive (two-and-a-half if I floor it). We'll still text about Frenchie Bulldogs, beer and burgers, and she'll still bug me to watch Riverdale or (gasp) Gilmore Girls.
Because true friends are forever. So, for now, I keep boss lady in my memory as that B&W photo above: a fierce but gentle badass who's never been anything less than a positive influence on everyone she's ever encountered. At the same time, the picture below will be forever burned into my brain: these tiny hands wrapped around a giant mug full of beer, her face obscured but no doubt smiling through amber liquid. Meredith Borders, we didn't deserve you (and still don't). But you gave us everything you had (and more), so know that BMD will always be yours, at least in spirit. The mark you left can never be erased. I love you, man.