Nonfiction / Emily Townsend
:: Hypocrisy Bridge Rebuilt ::
From the writer
:: Account ::
The red text in the first half of this essay sparked the whole thing. My boyfriend inadvertently offended me with pornstars’ pictures, which set off my existential crisis about being unable to accept a hypersexualized society/being frustrated at my asexuality. What really freaked me out was that once we started doing sexual stuff, I lost the sexuality I had always labeled myself as. Writing helps me confront the issues I’m confused about. Going through three layers—the text, my previous publications about asexuality, the present realization of a past self—of one subject further disorders the process of sorting through this heavy personal issue. I borrowed the form of John D’Agata’s The Lifespan of a Fact for the columns, and used the previous publications as a means of communication between the text and the self I was before I met my boyfriend. I was a scared, lonely college student, yearning for a relationship, yet I never wanted to be touched. So when I got a boyfriend, I knew I’d have to deal with physical intimacy eventually. Going back to how I reacted to touch when I was nineteen versus now, 23 and accepting touch, was a weird bridge of liminality—how did I ever become comfortable with what I once could never handle? Change is inevitable; however, change is rarely received in the same manner every time. I despise change, but this transformation was surprisingly accepted.
Emily Townsend is a graduate student in English at Stephen F. Austin State University. Her works have appeared in cream city review, Superstition Review, Thoughtful Dog, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Santa Clara Review, Eastern Iowa Review, Pacifica Literary Review, and others. A nominee for a Pushcart Prize and 2019 AWP Intro Journals Award, she is currently working on a second collection of essays in Nacogdoches, Texas.