Young Madeleine at a Gawker party circa 2012. So much to learn, too young to know better.

Looking back at the circumstances, it’s a surprise that I was hired at Jezebel. When I first sat down with Editor-in-Chief Jessica Coen to talk about joining the staff as Editorial Assistant nearly seven years ago, little lined up: I had arrived to meet her at a café on Houston after working an eight-hour breakfast and lunch shift at a restaurant in the West Village; I didn’t have time to clean myself up and my Dansko clogs (very fashionable) were likely splattered in coffee and grease. She asked, if I were to get the job, could I start in December? I couldn’t. She told me the position required that I own a TV. I didn’t, I was too broke.

Still, because I like to think that she saw something in me, Jessica hired me and I’ve been at this website in various positions ever since. So maybe it’s disingenuous to say that my hiring was a surprise, when really—if I consider how working here has shaped my life—it feels a lot more like fate, if I let myself believe in that kind of thing.

It is through working at Jezebel and GMG that I have found my community and made my very best friends. Every day at work, I laugh until I cry or my stomach hurts because my coworkers are such funny, remarkable people (they’re also weird as can be). That would be enough for me, but they go beyond—they’re compassionate, and brilliant, and care deeply about their jobs. They inspire me to try harder and care more in everything I do.

After everything that’s happened in my time here (the successes, the failures, the many iterations of Kinja, the highly publicized trials that drove our company to bankruptcy, etc.), it’s surreal to say goodbye. I have poured my heart and soul into this site for years and I’ve now decided—scary as it may be—that I need to move on. I believe in Jezebel and the amazing people who work here, but it’s time for me to step away, focus on some new projects, and recharge.

I have so many people to thank for helping me get to a place where I’m comfortable and lucky enough in my career to take this risk: Jessica Coen, for taking a chance on me; Dodai Stewart and Tracie Egan Morrissey, two of my dearest friends; Lindy West, Katie J.M. Baker, Callie Beusman, Anna North, Jenna Sauers, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Jane Marie; Kate Dries, who will probably be my bridesmaid when I inevitably marry one of my cats or the Brooklyn Bridge (the Honorable Judge Kara Brown will conduct the ceremony); Emma Carmichael and Jia Tolentino, some of the best editors I’ve ever worked with; and the countless contributors who do so much work with so little credit, among them Aimée Lutkin, Mark Shrayber, Laura Beck, Whitney Kimball, Hannah Gold, Rachel Vorona Cote, Rebecca Fishbein, and Lauren Evans. And outside of Jezebel, there’s Dayna Evans, Kate Knibbs, Ashley Feinberg, Sam Woolley, Anna Merlan, Tara Jacoby, Sam Biddle, Puja Patel, Will Sansom, Heather Dietrick, the garbage boys and girls of Deadspin, and everyone else who I am forgetting and will feel deep shame over later.

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I know the wrap-it-up music has been playing for a couple minutes now, BUT to our current staff (Julianne, Joanna, Clover, Megan, BOTH Kellys, Prachi, Koa, Ecleen, Ellie, Bobby, Rich, Ashley, Katie, Harron, Tracy, Frida, Maria, Jennifer, Phoebe, Stassa, and the cursèd Hazel): I hope you will politely avert your eyes as I sob all day today. You are the best team I’ve ever been a part of and I will tell you individually how much I love you and how lucky I am to have you in my life. And, of course, to our readers: Thank you for your loyalty, the funny commentary, and always keeping us on our toes.

I am both nervous and excited to start this new chapter, which I hope will allow me to rediscover my love of writing by returning to fiction and exploring other new projects. I also relish the opportunity to take some time to process what the fuck it means to be alive in 2018 and figure out how I’m most useful. I also hope to never write a Hot Take ever again.

I will continue to co-host DirtCast, but if you want to keep up with me elsewhere, follow me on Twitter, check into my rarely updated website, and look for the book I’m authoring with Tara Jacoby in 2019. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.

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