IT’S TODAY: Happy Happy Birthday, Riese!

It’s Riese’s birthday!

Today’s the day Riese turns one year older than she was last year, which was 29. HEY stop doing math for a second and pay attention: Riese is many things, but mostly she’s this muppet girl who lives in Oakland and cuts her own hair and eats fruit and reads and reads and reads and thinks the thoughts and does everything — almost everything, practically everything, at least in a tertiary sense she does all the things — that makes this space what it is. I mean, if we had words for how much we love this Riese Bernard — this love — we would spray paint them all across the Golden Gate Bridge and every tree in Michigan and probably, let’s face it, her living room wall.

I think we all would.

We don’t have the words for that though. Or at least no words that don’t feel really half-assed and trite when you hold them next to the thing that we’re trying to say. But Riese does! Riese has all the words. That’s what she does.

So we got together with the whole Team and chose some (not all! there are too many) of our favorites and well, here it is. This is what we have. It’s just a little bit of what Riese has given us.

30 Quotes We Love

“i don’t know why, but that line has always stuck with me.”
-emily choo

“i always end up watching some stupid crime mystery show but like, boring, whatever, predictable, bored of those now. and then there’s all these other channels with their own brands of crap, like some crap reality show, some news story about how your milk is gonna kill your child and steal your identity, men throwing balls on a field, sleep number, history thing you already saw in 3rd gade, the fast and the furious, crappy sitcom rerun, stupid film nobody ever wanted to see, shows about building walls or casseroles, buy shit, stupid shit for dudes, i mean really compared to the rest of the shitstorm that is, apparently, the thing i’m paying for when my cable bill arrives, whatever, i will watch this bullshit show. because there’s gonna be a lesbian in it who cares about civil rights, which is like a goddamn fucking miracle of life.”
Comment on The Playboy Club: 4 Things Lesbians Need to Know About NBC’s New Show

“The wind picks up. We put rocks atop our construction paper and our crayons throw caution to the wind.”
from Autoportrait 3.0

“Dearest Natalie,
I stood next to someone wearing
your perfume
and it made me miss you.”
– insomnia poem #22

cartoon by intern hot laura

“I don’t want my unborn grandchildren to listen to the story of how Taylor Swift won a Grammy she hadn’t earned. I want them to set pianos on fire.”
Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

“You deserve/need a giant girl with a heart bigger than your whole body — I’m not just talking about you now but also you and you and you. You’d sleep cradled in the scoop of her enormous ribcage, which’d be larger than a significant tropical body of water like the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Huron. Swan Lake. What you need is a heart bigger than a jet plane. Higher and faster and bigger.”
From Autowin

cartoon by intern hot laura

“a bunch of random college students in ohio are celebrating this? i think everyone is just tired of being upset about the state of the world and wants to party, is what i think. about anything.”
Comment on Osama bin Laden is Dead

“HEY LYING DUDES! The internet is the ONE FUCKING PLACE where so many gay girls can feel safe being who they are — unlike real life, where they are often silenced.
Something you wouldn’t know ANYTHING ABOUT, you fucking middle-aged white guy. CHECK YOUR MUTHERFUCKING PRIVILEGE.”
From “Lez Get Real” Editor Paula Brooks is Actually a 58-Year-Old Man in Ohio


The inside of riese's brain as envisioned by taylor

“The nice thing about Uh Huh Her shows is that they only have 5 songs, so it’s real short, and then you can go.”
– from this video

“I feel like moving to California would be admitting to myself that somewhere, deep down inside, I actually might want to be happy. I’ve wanted many things in my life; happiness has never been one of them.”
From Autowin

“Sometimes sex is like touching someone’s skin with your fingertip and feeling that you’ve accidentally split their lungs right open and then saying “It’s okay, I can teach you how to breathe.” It’s saying, “trust me,” and then leading them underground with one finger latched into their finger and a darkness only you understand.

It’s saying “look me in the eyes and tell me how much you like me,” and then crawling inside of that feeling like it’s a swimming pool you can sleep in without drowning. You can just dream and kiss forever after all.”

via: It’s 4 AM on a Monday Morning and Your Girl is Lovely, Hubble. (Obligatory SATC movie post)

“i wrote a haiku

omg om
g omg omg
omg om”

[via email]

“I never learned how to swim, but loved to tempt drowning.”
From Autowin


Here I Am,

I’ll say,

This is Me,

you’ll open your mouth, begin to speak, I’ll say,


don’t ruin it.
From Autowin

intern hot laura turned #10 into this massive cut paper project, because she loved it so much

“I feel some kind of deep patriotic affection, possibly enabled by Monopoly or educational computer games, for the American Railroad System, and therefore feel terrible about having to register this negative review. Christ on a Cracker holy mother of all that is unholy and inhuman GET ME OFF OF THE DEATH TRAIN.”
From Transportation Review: Amtrak Coast Starlight to Los Angeles

“things,;/”:ln r=129667867667877681`1″ [email subject line]

“Link Hogthrob is a Bear. I know he’s a pig, but if you know what a “bear” is, AND I THINK YOU DO, you will know what I mean.”
From Top Ten Gayest Muppets

“Hot Topic called and said you know what Effy, you make that bracelet work. You work it. It would look better removed by a gynecologist from my cervix where you accidentally left it, but moving on.”
From Skins Recap 402: “Emily” (and let’s be real – “Naomi”)


“To comfort myself about my overall failures in life, I like to really get into character, trudging up to Starbucks in my giant sunglasses thinking to myself “G-d I wish Mary-Kate would stop being so mean to me” or “I can’t believe Kevin thinks HE deserves full custody of Jayden!” You know?”
From How to Not Dress For Success: Top Ten Fashions For Being Alone in Your Apartment

“hello my most favorites people in the whole wide world”
“i am going to punch one of you in the eyeballs today for serious”
– [email subject lines dated the same day]


“I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but sometimes when I trust someone else with gravity it’s like my heart looks at me and is like, “really?” and then before I can answer it goes, it flutters away like the happiest bird of all time. It goes before I answer, like it has wings I’d never noticed before, I’d just thought “what nice shoulder blades you have.”
From Autowin

“I miss the night-fires, I miss the abandon and the rampant self-destruction. I miss knowing everything wasn’t right but not caring because I was so alive, because it was so fun or so vivid or so full or because I hit the streets with all I had. I miss absolving myself of responsibility for myself. I miss the future we used to talk about with such generosity. I miss the stories we believed in and I want to write the ones we never told. I want so many things.”
From Autowin

“90% of life is showing up”- Woody Allen
Riese: “I feel like that’s the unfortunate reality of life, rather than the strategy.”

[via email]

“I needed to get older and fast so that I could go look at weird things and scary things, too.”
From Autowin

“[i like the idea that pauses can be pregnant. that giving birth is sometimes speech not life.]”
From Autowin


“I kept thinking “I need to write a really funny recap!” because you know, that’s what you’re here for, right? Laughter? But as I was writing it I was like, “whoa, this isn’t funny” and then I was like “but it’s supposed to be funny” and THEN I was like, “maybe I’ll microwave a thing and stick it in my mouth and that will somehow make me funnier” and THEN I was like, “FUCK!”

Then I thought ‘maybe I should be wearing a zip-up hoodie instead of an over-the-head hoodie’ and so I changed and then I thought ‘did I break my funny bone the other night when i was drunk/sober?’ and then I hung out in downward facing-dog waiting for a joke to emerge from my spiritual center and then I gave up and so now I’m like, “HERE IT IS”
From Glee Episode 218 Recap: Born This Way, Everyone is Gay

“I’ve never bought into the idea that Ms.Chaiken desires a straight male audience — maybe she’s aiming for the illiterate?”
From The L Word Franchise: All I Wanna Say is That They Don’t Really Care About Us (Anymore)

“At this point it’s impossible to ignore the direct correlation between conservative Christianity, Evangelicals, right-wing conservative politicians and an inability to keep it in one’s pants.”
From Evangelicals, Rapists, Tramps & Thieves: Why Anti-Gay Leaders Love to Sin, Are the Sinners

From Autowin

photo by layla love

Happy Birthday Riese! We have loved you for so so long.

What’s your favorite Riese quote? What words of love would you spray paint on your local bridge? Will anything ever be better than the cookie post?

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 918 articles for us.


  1. So I’m up in the Bay Area and every time I see a hot homoqueer I wonder DO THEY READ AS? Also, today (yesterday) I almost wore my AS shirt but thought: MUST SAVE FOR AN AMAZING HOMO OCCASION. And then I see that today was your birthday. DAMN IT. I will just have to wear this shirt continuously for the next 365 days.


    thank you for autostraddle & for your words & for this space & for everything. i wish you the happiest most creative days in the future–i can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

  3. Happy belated birthday, Riese! Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have created something amazing here.

    My favorite quote (among many): “But — if you dare to let go, if you dare to stop thinking about what box you fit into and just start being who you are and letting yourself want what you want, then I think you’ll wake up one day and find yourself sitting in the right box which might not be a box at all.”


    My favorite thing you’ve ever written was on formspring this past year; someone asked you why you left new york and it solidified everything for me and gave me courage and i saved in a word doc called ‘quotes’:

    “75% of the time I felt like I was fighting just to stay standing

    i realized life didn’t have to feel so fucking hard every minute
and i realized i was no longer feeling romantic about the idea
 of life being really fucking hard
i grew out of masochism, i think
also there were too many ghosts
and i was sick of winter”

  5. Happy Birthday (yesterday),
    Since discovering autostraddle, it has become something of an internet home for me. I haven’t succeeded in making any real world connections from it, but i still come her feeling like i’m visiting with people i know and love and people who care about me.
    Sometimes Riese posts make me laugh, and sometimes the way you put into words so eloquently the feelings that were swirling inside me is just so amazing, i will keep supporting autostraddle and everything you do as long as it and you are around.

  6. Happy Birthday Riese I know it’s late yeah I’m bad at remembering birthdays BUT right in front of my eyes there is a post provided for me with easy access commenting. No excuses but when I saw it I reread the Taylor Swift post. Again. Because your writing is that damn good.

  7. dear riese.

    thanks for being born.

    there aren’t words enough to describe the things you do for your readers.

    i have laughed and cried while reading you. and felt more than i knew i could feel.

    im waiting for the book. ill buy at least two copies for me and one for everyone else i know. you’re not just good for the gays. you’re good for the literate.

    thanks for you and hope your birthday was the happiest laughter & smile-filled day possible!

  8. Belated, but you’re still 30, so: HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY REISE! You are an enormous gift to the internet in general and queer gals (and those what love them) reading it, in particular. Thank you for choosing to throw yourself into this place. I hope this year is a fantastic one for you. Well deserved.

  9. Pingback: Star Trek Paperproject | Crafts 101 For You

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