A few years ago, my partner and I split up. She was my rope bottom, and the situation left me full of emptiness and grief. As I processed my grief, I was able to begin an introspective journey; one that would lead me to growth I didn’t know was possible, and help me understand my Heart of Kinbaku.
I was afraid to be alone, because I was afraid to stop tying. You see, I visualize progression in kinbaku like climbing a mountain. I was focused on summiting that mountain. But, I couldn’t see at the time, it was my ego pushing me to do so. When I understood this, I began to undergo what Jung would call “ego death”. The Japanese might call it Satori. This is not a singular event, but a process.
While I was on hiatus from engaging in kinbaku directly, I began to think, and consider, what it means to search for our own Heart of Kinbaku. I began absorbing kinbaku media, engaging with the history, and further crystalizing my appreciation of beauty and aesthetic. I had conversations with notable figures, historians and enthusiasts.
What we call “kinbaku” is more than just the application of rope to a body. It’s, well, everything surrounding kinbaku as well. The aesthetic, the intent, the fantasy, the sexuality. Taking the time to appreciate all of these things, I realized, is as important as the act of tying in and of itself.
I no longer wanted to “just tie”. I wanted to tie with someone I was intimate with. I wanted to tie with meaning. I wanted to use the rope to inflict upon my bottom those “seme” moments that are as picturesque as the setting sun. I wanted to extract the beauty revealed by such suffering
When I came back to rope, I was surprised at how different things felt. And, I suddenly understood something very important. It’s not necessary to summit the mountain before me. It’s not even really that important. Putting in the work, and the journey it takes you on, crystalized in my heart.
The path upward is beautiful, and it is important to slow down, to observe and enjoy the journey. To enjoy the company and appreciate the beauty, made so much brighter when walking alongside someone who appreciates the same. No longer focused on the top, I was free to make beautiful moments wherever I walked.
Progress in kinbaku does not happen without putting in the work. But alongside the work, one needs honesty of intention and clarity of communication, delivered not with words, but in the tension of each wrap. And recognizing those little moments, when your bottom is bound, you can become the camera to write the memories on your heart.