Enid: Improving rope skills and enjoying progress over perfection.

My mistress and I have been practicing rope bondage since approximately 2007, when we were both 19. I can’t remember the first time, but I can remembering ordering Midori’s The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage to my student accommodation, and writing an inscription praising my mistress’s perfectionism and attention to detail.

It seems bizarre to me that I now follow Midori on Instagram and see pictures of her hanging out with her cats! I used to read and re-read that book, and the images of her and her work seemed so remote and fantastical. It feels like a real privilege to get little snippets of insight into one of my heroes!

When I look at other riggers and rope-bunnies, I sometimes feel self-conscious that our practice isn’t always representative of eleven years of work. There are people who are producing incredible work after three or four years, or less!

I don’t think there were as many resources around for new starters in my day (and yes, I know how old that makes me sound!) – especially for two young women in a semi-rural area, and who were on a tight budget! I was a part of some online forums, but I would have killed to have access to some of the YouTube accounts, blogs and Etsy shops that are around today!

(Having said that, I can’t ignore the punitive crack-down following FOSTA/SESTA, and what is following them.)

I’m ashamed to say that prior to the other night, we hadn’t practiced any shibari since August! I bought my mistress a beautiful set of soft, coloured ropes from MMHRope for her birthday but we actually hadn’t used them until the other night. Cadi worked away from home for eight weeks between September and November. We had two weeks on holiday with minimal luggage, and a lot of weekends taken up with family events.

We both felt a bit intimidated by starting up again after such a long break. Usually we will warm up beforehand, so I’m in that lovely dreamy state when she ties me. However, after such a long break we both felt like it was important for me to be fully present.

I really enjoyed our evening, and she created some gorgeous shapes with my body. Our bedroom was candlelit, and I chose a playlist of relaxing music to keep my mind occupied.

Mistress wanted to focus on hip-harnesses and crotch ropes and she combined a few ideas from different YouTubers she watches, including Shibari Kuma. I felt sexy and safe, and we enjoyed experimenting and playing for a few hours. We tried a few different things, going back and refining the patterns and ties we used.

Both my mistress and I can be both competitive and obsessional in our approach to tasks. It was really soothing to work in a way that championed progress, rather than perfection.

Usually I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, they seem to flare up all those unhelpful perfectionist tendencies in me. However, I have a few small goals that I would like to work towards in my bondage practice:

  • Work on my balance and core strength! I have had a very unlucky time with the lower half of my body; over the years I’ve had lots of accidents including breaking my femur and tearing my ankle tendon. I often experience pain, stiffness and weakness in my feet and legs. When this happens when we’re working on our shibari, I sometimes get lazy and lean on the walls, the door or the bed. I’d really like to use yoga to work on my balance and core strength so I am less likely to do this.
  • Work on my attention span! Tying can be a long process and I have what one of my bosses once called a “butterfly mind”, I need to increase my mindfulness practice so I am less likely to experience a wandering mind when we play for a long time.
  • Continue to learn from others, and make sure that I pay-back what I can! I’m sometimes guilty of forgetting to leave YouTube comments or Etsy reviews, and that’s something I’d like to get better at.

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