We pictured me in rope

portia says relax My former top and I did a photo shoot. It was one of three bad experiences that contributed to the break up I detailed two posts ago. He wanted photos of a bottom in agony but he didn’t tell me that going into the shoot. He put me into an awkward pose, combining a gunslinger tie for the arms and a futo momo. He blindfolded me as we’d agreed to protect my identity, and gave me a rope gag when I said I was craving one. So far so good. He then occasionally thumped and shot me while I grew increasingly upset, but not because I was scene-time suffering. We were suspended some place between everyday interaction and scening, and that was not a place in which I felt safe. I should have stopped it. The larger problem turned out to be the photos themselves. I looked like limbs attached to a belly fattened to feed a cannibal army. The rodent-like contours of my face were not hidden by the blindfold or rope gag. The single-source stark light made everything worse. The good bits were shadowed: my breasts looked like collapsed lungs. The bad bits were lit like a prison yard during an escape attempt. I panicked at the thought of these photos going online. When I called to ask my rigger not to post them, he was disappointed, and I apologized for letting him down. I couldn’t have anticipated the way I would react. Then I asked him to try to Photoshop one of the pics, and he instantly refused: his style is to capture real people having real experiences and Photoshop is fakery. The visible distortions of my face and body were the point for him. The sight of a suffering bottom is “hot” to him; I am “hot” to him; hence the photos are beautiful. I never find rope photos hot. They can be exquisite, but the suffering bottom has to be glorious enough to transcend abjection. I transcended nothing. tightfittest He wanted to try again, do another shoot. I knew I couldn’t agree if it was going to be as raw as the first one. He thought that if I was clothed he could maintain his stark aesthetic. I decided to be diplomatic. I texted him to say that I wanted to discuss aesthetics and the pros and cons of Photoshop. Instead of saying “I can’t and won’t do it that way,” I tried to build a collaborative mode through conversation. But he focused on one poorly chosen word in my initial text, and decided I was impugning his expertise and talent. Towards the end of the longish breakup conservation, in which he expressed how angry he remained at my insult to his work, I retreated to the position of the disempowered woman. This in a last-ditch attempt to quell that anger. In tears, I explained to him that I have always had an acute awareness of how far I fall below the beauty line, and that I have always felt ashamed of my appearance. Moreover, I have never felt sexy, much less hot. It was only when I “confessed” to suffering from something like body dysmorphic disorder and anhedonia that he cooled off. And why wouldn’t he? That explanation was the only one that didn’t derogate his expertise and challenge his artistic principles. It restored his power and authority. Yes, I hate the way I look, but I love the way a woman looks in rope, and I believe that I could be beautiful with the right rigging, pose, light, camera angles, and help from Photoshop—to de-Rudolph my nose, for instance. (I tried editing one pic with some success at healing blemishes and killing unflattering highlights, but I could not get the shadows to yield, and my slimmed-down arms looked like something out of, well, out of one of my dodgy SL screenshots.)
pirate shipbari Having to resort to the posture of wounded woman in order to shore up his ego was particularly galling because I too have expertise, and it would have complemented his. He did not even think about ascertaining beforehand my interest in photography. Had we discussed aesthetics, I would have brought to that conversation my knowledge of the history of photography, which I have studied extensively. Photographers have always manipulated their images. Techniques like “dodge” and “burn” are not software inventions foisted upon a public that cares nothing for the essence of the medium and seeks only to make their girlfriends, kids and pets look pixel pretty. I am also a connoisseur of rope-photo genres. Had we discussed scenarios, I would have shown him examples of my favourite trope: the bunny lies curled on the floor, spent by the rigours and ecstacy of play, surrounded by rope, possibly still tethered by an ankle or wrist, and beautified by rope marks that seem—thanks to the magic of Photoshop—to be engraved into her skin, never to fade. My top’s inability to imagine that I have my own knowledge and creativity is consistent with his reluctance fully to negotiate our scenes, which ensured that we did mostly what he wanted to do. It’s one thing to agree to give up one’s power during a scene. It’s another to have to give up not only one’s power but also one’s ideas and initiative in other aspects of a relationship. I was a rope bondage beginner. I’d like to think I made a rookie mistake, and that I will be more assertive next time. But I can only do that successfully if my rigger meets me half way. Meantime, I’m looking for a photographer whose aesthetic works for both of us.

Postscript June 22: You know what? I already wrote about this. I had no memory of doing that when I wrote this post, which is more detailed and complex than the first one. I may have forgotten about the previous post because my way of trying to come to terms with the breakup has been to write and rewrite and rewrite what happened. I have a half dozen abandoned accounts. Each one is written almost completely differently. I start again from scratch each time. Sometimes the account is aimed at him, sometimes at you, reader. The versions I write for him are either more generous or more mean than the ones I write for you. If I am writing because I want him back, I can write it affectionately or angrily. Apparently, I see either mode as a potentially successful form of exhortation. I stop writing (and then start another version a few days later) when I have written enough to conclude that, yes, the breakup was inevitable. Or it’s bedtime.

Credits
!dM RoseShibari – **ICE** (past gacha, check Marketplace) (I love those pasties: they cover nothing)
*Dura-Boys&Girls*40(Black)
Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara V3.5
antielle, Bites and Bruises
Silent Sparrow, Swallow Tale Tattoo
-Glam Affair – Sia India – 04 NB
.random.Matter. – Misery Brows
Izzie’s – Nose Bleed 3 (in the Body Art 2 hunt, which is on now)
{S0NG} :: Chibi~ Abyss Eye
location pic one and two: Lava’s Resort
pose pic two: flowey
location pic three: Temperance (public area)
pose: Marukin

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