Over the last seven months I’ve come to know your body well enough to pick it out of a line up. I know the gooseflesh of your waxed skin and the way your spine ripples down the small of your back. I know each centimetre of your perfection, yet I’ve never seen your face. It’s not your confidence that leaks through the black and white of your photographs that strikes me. It’s your serenity—the calmness of your posture.
I tend to apologise for my body. I only show my face, but I ask forgiveness for that as well. I’ve spent my life regretting every centimetre of my imperfection, and your pictures make me reach for something new.
You are always proud of your skin.
I wanted to know what was so compelling about your pictures so I went through all of them. Is it the way you relax into your restraints? The way submission seems to escape from your photographs? No. It comes from the other side of the lens. You are treated as precious, and that’s clear. You’re clamped, hooked, suspended, and used as an ornament, but you represent all that’s beautiful about power exchange: Intimacy. You are treated like an object, but never objectified, only treasured. I feel as though I know your relationship back to front and inside out, yet I’ve never seen your face. You always turn away from the camera.
I only show my face because I’ve spent my life apologising for my body. We’re opposites in that sense, but when I was clamped, hung, suspended and hooked, I wore my skin with pride. That’s what D/s does. It makes me feel precious, and I forget to regret my imperfection.
When I see your pictures, I believe in something that doesn’t exist: a fairy tale. The relationship I’ve created in my mind between you and him is only a fantasy. You might only curl into a ball on your photographer’s lap until the camera is set aside.
You say you’re not a muse.
If a muse is a guiding spirit, a source of inspiration, then that’s what you are. You’ve inspired me to stop apologising for my body. If the gooseflesh of your waxed skin and the way your spine ripples down the small of your back are beautiful, then they are beautiful on my body as well.
I’ve never seen your face and we’ve not said more than a few words to one another, and yet you’ve changed my relationship with myself. You told me you were surprised that I wanted to write about you because you didn’t see yourself as that special. Maybe you’re just like me. Maybe you apologise for your face. Maybe you apologise for your body. Maybe you even apologise for your humanity. We are women, and isn’t that just what we do?
If you regret your perfection, maybe my own apologies for my body are equally illogical. If you’re ignorant of your value then maybe my ignorance is just as pointless. I have never seen your face, and we have known each other for only a few days, yet you have taught me how to stop apologising for the space I take up in the world.