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January 4, 2016 | Nonfiction

How We Are Religious

Emily Carney

How We Are Religious photo

Sheila Heti’s words penned: BLOW-JOB ARTIST. I have always wanted to be everything to everyone.

I reach out and clutch at my boyfriend, stirring a pot of pasta. I drag him to me, my hands appearing to me as important claws. I unbutton tough denim, hug my mouth around, I feel both woman and baby, 16-year-old Britney Spears.

I felt happily consumed.

I stood over him, place my face close to his, ‘what is wrong.’—it wasn’t the blood, something I was lacking. I stare at a Sasha Grey poster. Nothing like me.

I gathered my breasts to leave swirling tribal tattoos, the length of my body—my coat, scarf, keys—my boyfriend’s exposure. He asked if I was leaving. I shut myself in my car. A Lana del Rey video played on my phone.

I wanted to be a Good Advertisement. I felt both sensual and disgusting, I thought of what a man, in his sixties, had said to me the other day: ‘Baby, you’re all I would fuck.’ I knew that it couldn’t be true.

image: Emily Carney


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