Unpartnered. Injured. Strung out and a bit depressed. A few pounds heavier and several yoga sessions missed. The last month of getting my latest book out had left me drained, mentally and physically…just in time for Bondage Expo Dallas! I landed in Texas feeling like the worst rope bottom ever and was wondering how I was going to get through three days of bottoming for people in classes, let alone playing. Who on earth would want to play with anyone in my condition anyway, when there were so many lovely bodies in top condition everywhere you turned?
The one thing I was excited about was being able to show an early proof copy of the book to a lot of the people who were in it. But even that was nerve-racking. What if everyone hated it? I was so close to it that objectivity was impossible. Maybe it totally sucked.
It was also a comfort to be staying at the home of a wonderful couple along with other ropesters from the con. It was a homey home too, the kind where you feel the love the moment you walk in.
With those two plusses against a stack of negatives, I landed in Texas wondering if maybe I should have stayed home in my nice, safe bed reading about BED on FetLife and Facebook.
No, I shouldn't have. Because here's what happened.
1. Being unpartnered gave me the freedom to play with whomever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I had scenes in the free range rope room, in the playspace, in bedrooms. I even had mini scenes in the hallways! Aside from one pre-arranged scene and a bit of flirting, I didn't even have to work to make them happen, which was a pleasant surprise, the complete opposite of usual. I just put myself out there—something I probably wouldn't have done with a partner in tow.
2. Being injured gave the tops something to work with. I told each person, “I have tendonitis in both my forearms, my lower back is fucked, one of my toes is sprained, I've hardly done any rope bottoming in months and am totally deconditioned…oh, and you can't wreck me, because I have to be OK for classes.” I would have understood if they suddenly remembered somewhere else important they had to be! Instead, some delightfully creative tying happened. Like:
Top: So this is the injured toe? [holding rope over it with pseudo-threatening evil gleam in eye]
Me: Yah I think it's sprained. Please don't… [he ties all *the rest* of the toes on that foot and squeezes, eliciting a moan instead of a finished sentence]
There might even be a class topic in there somewhere, like “Using Limits to Make Scenes Hotter.” So that experience wasn't just deliriously hot and one for the memory books, it was inspiring too.
3. I felt the amazing support and kindness of our community. Something unexpected happened, a well-intentioned action that I wouldn't have chosen to receive in the strung-out, depressed and vulnerable condition I was in. But it was handled so beautifully by more than one person that I actually felt buoyed by the experience instead of being dragged down by it. It actually made me feel closer to the person it happened with…which led to a long-time fantasy being fulfilled! It reminded me yet again why I love and value our community so very much.
4. I remembered that coming as you are—with those extra pounds and cellulite and wrinkles, with a body that can't do all the things you wish it could—is one of the most important things in rope bottoming, and that the superficial things we sometimes give so much weight to really don't matter. You'd think this would be easy for me to remember since, you know, I write about it all the time, right? But society's false ideals are so prevalent and ingrained that it's still hard. Each amazing scene that weekend underscored the value of being honest and present. Real.
5. People were so excited about the book! I flew home on that wave of excitement and joy and support, and it carried me more easily through to the end of the frustrating publishing process. One of the models even had tears in her eyes saying about how much the book meant to her. I wonder if she knows how much those tears meant to me.
So this “worst rope bottom ever” ended up having some of the best times ever at BED. My deepest gratitude to everyone who quieted the voices of doubt and helped me remember what's truly important.