Yup, I said rope bondage.

So… I have eclectic interests. I’ve always had eclectic interests. It’s only recently, though, that I stopped trying hide them or apologize for them the way that I used to. My passions are a part of who I am, and learning to embrace who I am — all of me — has been an important part of my life’s journey. If you’re here, I’d imagine this probably doesn’t surprise you to learn.

And it may be equally unsurprising to hear that some of my interests are, to certain segments of the population, not socially acceptable. At all.

Shibari, the beautiful art of Japanese rope bondage, is one of those not-quite-socially-acceptable passions of mine.

Sidenote: In the aftermath of the whole 50 Shades phenomenon, kinky activities are definitely becoming a bit more mainstream, and maybe not quite as stigmatized or “not socially acceptable” as in the past. To be honest, I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the landscape of the kinky social scene has certain shifted in the last few years. There was even an article published in Shape magazine recently talking all about the wonders of Japanese rope bondage, if you can believe that.

Side-sidenote: Japanese rope bondage is sometimes also called kinbaku. I put that out there just in case you may have heard about it by its other name. In truth, people can argue for days and days and write whole essays about shibari versus kinbaku and which term means exactly what to whom and who is right or wrong about it all. Suffice it to say that there are nuances to each term that aren’t easily laid out in a sentence or two. Personally, I don’t care so much about the labels. I never have. I care about the experience.

And to me, the experience of rope bondage (Japanese or otherwise, really) is (or at least CAN be) sublime. And for me, it really has very little to do with being turned on by the experience of being tied up, in and of itself — which I believe is the layperson’s common assumption about bondage kink. And I’ll concede, to some people, that may be all there is to it. And yeah, okay, I’m not gonna lie, it is f*cking hot. But that’s not all it is. More than that, layered over the top of that, really — to me, it is a journey of learning all in itself, an experience rife with opportunities for serious self-exploration, self-knowledge, self-reliance, and personal growth.

And I was struck, recently, with a strong desire to try to put this journey of growth and learning — at least as I have seen and experienced it — to words, and so… drawing cheerful inspiration from the style of Fulghum’s essay of a very similar name, here is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek but also very honest rendition of that journey: My own parodic essay, oh-so-aptly entitled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Rope Bondage.” Ahem. Here goes.

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN ROPE BONDAGE

These are the things I learned in rope bondage:

  1. Breathe.
  2. Practice good self-care.
  3. Use your words.
  4. Know your own boundaries.
  5. Respect the boundaries of others.
  6. Listen to your body. Honor its needs.
  7. Feeling numb is not the goal.
  8. Be here now. Let go of the outcome.
  9. You don’t need to fly to feel free.
  10. There is beauty in stillness.
  11. Meditation comes in many forms.
  12. Everything has risks. Educate yourself on the risks inherent in the activities you choose to participate in. Be prepared to accept the consequences.
  13. Hurt does not always equal harm. Know the difference.
  14. Finding yourself facedown on the floor isn’t always a bad thing. But then again, sometimes it is.
  15. Every community has its predators. Do not trust blindly. Check references.
  16. Your energy, your trust, your space, your time, your attention, and your body — these are all sacred. Share them with intention.
  17. You have the right to say “no,” or “stop,” or “slow down.” At any time.
  18. Sometimes bad sh*t still happens, despite the best of preparation and the best of intentions. When it does, refer to #1, #2, and #3 above.
  19. You are valid.
  20. True connection is magical.

So there it is, all the things I learned from the process of being tied up (and also from learning to tie others)! Huzzah! 🙂

And yes, if you’ve never experienced or witnessed shibari or kinbaku before, some of the nuances of this particular piece of writing may go over your head, but many of the lessons learned and outlined herein are universal, I think. And you probably wouldn’t have gotten this far in reading this post if you weren’t at least a little curious to find out more about it all. In any case, if nothing else, maybe some of the ideas put forth here will inspire you to think a little more “outside of the box” when it comes to your life’s journey and the many different and varied ways that we can all learn and grow as human beings. And if so, then my work here is done. 🙂

Oh! And if you are interested in learning more about rope bondage from a more practical, hands-on perspective, I’d strongly encourage you to seek out a well-organized, well-known rope group in your area and learn in a public forum/venue at first, for safety reasons. It’s always a good idea to vet your information sources, and becoming a part of a community rope group is a good way to start doing that (and also to make sure you aren’t meeting some random person in their random, dark, serial-killer-esque basement). You can start by checking out FetLife, which is baaaaasically kind of like Facebook for kinky people, as FetLife tends to be one of the easier online forums to find active, in-person groups holding public get-togethers for learning and/or socializing.

Okay. Well. That’s the meat of my message. And now, without further ado, here are some random pics of me in rope bondage, having a truly awesome and beautiful-feeling time.

P.S. Hmm… also… upon deep and meaningful reflection, I must admit, it is entirely possible that I may have written this entire post just to give myself an excuse to post bondage pics on my otherwise mostly upstanding and semi-respectable website.

**sigh** Oh well. What’s done is done, amiright? LOL. 🙂 Be you, and be free. You do you, my friends, and I will do me.

Anyway. Here’s to each and every one of you reading this right now having a beautiful, heart-opening, mind-expanding, personal-growth-inducing experience of your very own sometime very soon, no matter what that may look like for you. In the meantime, remember to take really good care of yourself and to treat yourself with all the infinite love and care that you deserve.

love from trish

P.P.P.S. Oh yeah! Aaaaaand… I was also inspired to creatively engineer my essay title into a design for some T-shirts and tank tops and things, because this is totally the type of off-the-wall message that I would love to rock while lounging around the house and whatnot. If you think you would too — my Bonfire store link is in the main website menu above, or you can just click here to buy yourself something nifty! Okay then. Rock on, rope stars. And maybe I will make this little essay into a book one day.