My husband and I attended a rope intensive.
The lesson to learn that weekend was connecting with your rope bottom. Oh sure, there were ties to learn, but ultimately it was: don’t worry about aesthetics or symmetry as much, make it about the experience with another person, about the rope being an extension of yourself.
Make the model look beautiful, the instructor said. Start with the arms bound together in the front and pose the person as you want them, as you would desire them the most. Create art.
Everyone got immediately to work, their arms were bound together and mine weren’t even close. “Touch one another as you tie,” was instructed, and he threw my legs over his legs, he and I facing each other. He untied the tie he just did, didn’t like the symmetry going down my arms; scooted a bit back, my legs barely on him. Untied and moved a bit further apart, and then again, until there was this wide chasm that we were no longer touching in.
“I just don’t like how the rope looks,” he said in way of apology when glancing around he noticed everyone was done or almost done. Bottoms were posed as their partners felt complimented them, oftentimes with other simplistic ties to hold them in that pose.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I murmured under my breath, choking back tears as I stared stubbornly about the the abundance of floor between us.
“I’ll try again,” he told me, the rope wrapping around but his hands not making contact with my skin. “What’s wrong?” he asked as he untied yet again.
“I don’t want to talk, because then I’ll cry,” I whispered, avoiding eye contact because then I knew that I would break. I wasn’t sure how much clearer I could have made that I didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to cry, especially in a room full of people.
“Please talk to me,” he pleaded, and then persisted. He was going to make me cry after all.
Tears streamed down my face, privately, I hoped, please have let it be privately, “it’s not about the tie, it’s about connection, and about me.”
He held me and promised to try again. I sucked up my emotions, braced myself to not hope…we’ve down this road before, and we separated from the embrace. Another tie, rope crisscrossing down my arms, pretty knots interwoven between them.
“Isn’t the rope pretty?” he declared, proud of himself, setting himself even further back to admire his handiwork, only looking intently at the rope.
I was so proud of myself – I didn’t cry again.
Aren’t I pretty? Aren’t I here? I thought in my head.