*bondage and freedom: letter to a servant

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” ~Vince Lombardi

 

You asked me what I was thinking the other night while you were bound.  I didn’t have an immediate reply, because it’s not an easy off the cuff answer.  The topic of bondage invites me to wax philosophical.  I’ve been thinking about it, and I would like to share this with you.

For me it begins as I am preparing for our session.  I know you want to be bound.  You specifically asked for restrictive, containment bondage that allowed you little to no freedom of movement.  I prepared a variety of items:  immobilizing leather wraps, cuffs, and straps, rope to anchor you in place, leather hood, and steel chains for their weight.  I take my time in applying these, watching the layers and locks add up.  At that point I am thinking about your safety first and foremost, but also what will make you feel physically contained.  I cinch the straps, buckle the buckles, knot the ropes.  This is the most fun part for me personally, but also where a lot of the groundwork for the whole session is laid.  I want to get it right so I don’t have to cause distraction by adding this or that, or correcting mistakes.  I am deliberate about my work.

Once you’re safely bound, I clasp my hand over the leather hood to obstruct the breathing holes, this being our customary signal that you may begin.  It’s satisfying to watch you struggle.  That’s my role at that point: to witness your struggle, your helplessness.  To be present.  To be vigilant.  To stand at the ready in case you decide you need to use your safe word.

During these moments, I envy you.  Bound by leather and anchored by rope and confined by steel and strap, you are inviolable.  You are completely safe, struggling against something of no consequence.  There is an end in sight.  This too will pass, though you are invited to imagine otherwise.   You are not in any jeopardy.   You are free to labor against the chains and straps and leather and rope.  You are at liberty to feel whatever you need to feel…and this is a good time to let yourself react, because I’m not there to judge you; I’m there to keep you safe.  None of this matters.

It isn’t always safe to give voice to protest; the real world deals out real consequences for dissent.  We don’t immediately perceive the effect our silence has on our own mental health, relationships, or work.  Subjugation must be endured in silence unless we are in a position that allows us to shrug at the potential aftermath.  In so many ways, so many symbolic whips held over us, so many chains binding us.

My whips and chains are real and symbolic at once.  Certainly I could devise a “punishment” for your outward rebellion but that sanction would be little more than a distracting token, and would deprive you of the value of independent compliance.  I discern and respect your need to struggle, even in vain, against these bonds you voluntarily chose.

I watch as you acquiesce to your newly prescribed perimeters.  In spite of the initial resistance, you give up easily.  Your muscles relax.  Your breathing slows.  Your jaw loosens, your brow unfurrows, these being replaced with an expression of serenity.   You are at ease and I daresay comforted by your perimeters.  Acceptance within your bounds gives you paradoxical freedom.  Your body is contained and immobilized; your mind is someplace else.  Your flesh is under my command but your mind, your limitless consciousness, is aloft like a kite.  I am holding the string.  Our harmonic efforts are the wind keeping you aloft.

My chains mean nothing unless you are fighting against them.   Surrender equals freedom.

Acceptance is not always passive.  Sometimes it’s an active state of reminding ourselves to be still in whatever state we are bound.  It often requires a great deal of will power, struggling against our nature to accept that which enslave us.  For some, it requires greater strength to accept chains than it would to break free.  Literal physical bondage is a good tool for learning how to let go.  Think of all that could imply, because it’s pretty awesome.

 

*shared by mutual agreement