I took a few photos of my back a few days ago to capture some striking rope marks from a self-suspension I’d done Monday night. Once I uploaded the pictures to my computer and got a good look at them, I did a double-take. Was this really my back? I was stunned to see any muscle definition at all – so stunned that it took a few moments to even see the rope marks.
My surprise may sound odd given that I do try to keep active and exercise, but I’ve historically never been more than just a casual athlete, and I never went through any consistent exercise regimen with weights or aerobics. Certainly, I’ve never had much muscle definition to speak of, so while this isn’t at the same level as what I’ve seen at the climbing gym, I view it as a personal victory and tangible evidence of my months of climbing and yoga.
The other victory is that, while I’ve come a long way in accepting my appearance and dealing with my personal insecurities, it’s only been fairly recently that I’ve been able to move from mere acceptance towards loving my body. Looking at this photo and actually being attracted to what I see – that feels like a huge leap in the right direction.
A fellow student sent me this video after attending the bondage workshop I brought to campus a year ago. I was thrilled to get that initial e-mail, and it sparked sporadic correspondence the rest of the school year, much of it centered around bondage.
I still remember how amazed I felt, seeing the room fill for the bondage workshop; running out of rope to hand out to everyone; hearing the gasps and giggles as students watched me struggling in the rope; going around the room checking on everyone’s single-column ties. I remember how many people came up to me afterwards, so excited about learning more bondage. I remember the delight and shock at seeing so many familiar faces there – friends I never thought would be interested in bondage (I’m sure they, in turn, were surprised to see my role as demo-bottom for the class!).
That night proved significant to me on several levels. I wanted in part to provide a completely accessible, non-threatening space for everyone to experience rope bondage and bdsm in general, and I think we succeeded in doing just that. I could not have been happier at how the class turned out, especially given how much planning and convincing of the various sponsors it involved. And, once I saw just how many students showed up, it finally hit home that my proclivities and kinky interests were not isolated – that I wasn’t as alone as I’d once thought. I wasn’t alone. The shame and guilt I’d carried for the past four or five years finally began to dissipate.
I think the most educational part of that planning process (also the most frustrating) was talking through all the worries various administrators and organization leaders had over bringing a topic like bondage to the campus. I remember fielding questions on all the possible implications: didn’t it have roots in public shaming? Doesn’t it eroticize and objectify women? Would there be an opportunity for discourse to address students’ feelings and questions? We have concerns about the racial overtones of teaching Japanese-style bondage. I have to admit to having a pretty small part of all of these conversations, thanks to a couple rockstar students who acted as the main points of contact, organizers, and advocates for the class.
In the end, we managed to provide a full-house workshop where students of every gender, ethnicity, interest level, and orientation were tying each other up. And of note especially was having one of the student organizers ask me to put him in bondage for a fraternity event a few days after the workshop, and seeing, at that same event, other students using bondage as part of their performances. How utterly cool is that?
Watching this music video still makes me smile, both at the hotness and the memories it evokes of those last few months on campus.
I wonder if there have been more workshops of a similar nature since then…
Three days until I finally get to experience this epic rope-geek’s paradise that I keep hearing stories about. Though really, the countdown began sometime three weeks back. But I can’t believe it’s almost time! I’ve taken note of the classes I’m considering going to, including “Hojojutsu for Pirates” and “Abductions and Takedowns,” I’ve got my volunteer shift schedule and will be working at Merchandising, and I’ve got a mental packing list of everything I want to bring. I just hope it all fits into the laptop bag and one carryon I plan to bring with me!
But beyond classes and play parties, what I’m most looking forward to is the chance to reconnect with a whole bunch of people that I’ve met throughout the past year or so: from the then-budding rope group in Boston to the wonderful rope lovers I met at Folsom Fringe hailing from Australia, Oregon, and of course – Seattle. Everyone will have stories to share and new rope tricks to show off, I’m sure. So much has happened this past year. I know I’ve grown tremendously – into my own identity, and into my kinks. I know I’ll be bringing my boots, which are fast becoming part of my identity.
Who knows – maybe I’ll get to kick someone around with my boots, and explore that arena of play.