EP 29

EP 29

HeatHawk shares their journey from discovering kink in Tucson to embracing vulnerability and pushing boundaries through rope bondage.

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Guest Bio

Heathawk is a rope bottom from the DC Maryland Virginia area and has been practicing bottoming in rope for over 11 years. Known for their intricate ties, Heathawk has also performed at events such as Nuit de Chords and the Folsom Street Fair.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heathawk13


[00:00:07] Wicked Wren Hello people, and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren. Shibari Study is an online learning resource offering video tutorials for beginners through advanced practitioners. Whether you're brand new to the world of shibari and needing to learn the basics, or a seasoned rigger or rope bottom seeking inspiration to push your practice to new places, there's something for you at ShibariStudy.com. Today I have on HeatHawk. HeatHawk goes by he/they pronoun. He's a rope bottom in the D.C. area. He's one of the most bendy humans I've ever seen in my entire life, and self-proclaimed love the 'acrobatic dumb (…)' in rope.

[00:00:52] HeatHawk That is absolutely correct. I love it all.

[00:00:56] Wicked Wren Another little fun tidbit about you is that you love Gunpla. I've never done them. I don't really even know a lot about them.

[00:01:06] HeatHawk It's an interesting... It's an interesting hobby. It's a lot of fun. And I find it to be incredibly addictive. There is something about putting together little plastic pieces of little Mecha models and just rolling with – I don't know, there's, there's something... something intriguing about it. I find the fact that there's, you know, weird robotic figures that you could actually like play with and pose after the fact. So they're not just static objects. I find it to be great.

[00:01:45] Wicked Wren What is the most recent one that you've done?

[00:01:46] HeatHawk It's called a something Jesta... It's... Oh, God. Going into it would require getting into the lore.

[00:01:56] Wicked Wren Okay, this is really deep. You know what, we'll save everybody. It's deep. I'm sure all the Gunpla heads out there really rejoiced at the beginning of this episode. So you're in D.C. How did you find rope? How did you get into the kink scene?

[00:02:12] HeatHawk So how I got into the kink scene, and how I got into rope, are kind of two different things.

[00:02:18] Wicked Wren Which was first?

[00:02:19] HeatHawk How I got into the kink scene. I started out in Tucson, Arizona. That was the hometown where I grew up and back in my early twenties, I started working at this shop that catered to goth clothing, (…) apparel, and (…) bondage equipment. It's like Hot Topic, if Hot Topic was way more adult. That was the best way to describe it. Those who might be out in the Tucson, Phoenix area may be like, Oh my God, I know that store!

[00:03:06] Wicked Wren That's so cool.

[00:03:08] HeatHawk Yeah, I started there. I didn't know a lick about (…) or (…) stuff, and I basically kind of educated myself through the experience of customers. All the books that we got in there that's how I like, I figured out that there was a whole world, a community of greater entity of just like, Oh, (…), There's...  Wow. This is fascinating. And that evolved into, later on down the road, when I moved out here to D.C., the partner that I was seeing at the time, she was looking into getting more into... the (…) community and to learn more about (…) stuff. And we were kind of playing around with various things, methods, types of stuff. And she's like, Hey, I know this person who's been doing rope or rope bondage. You'd be interested in checking that out? And being the, you know, curious person that I am, I was like, Oh, yeah, that sounds kind of cool. I'll check it out. So we go over to this person's house and he's, you know, introduced me, literally showing the ropes. And... I know, I know... Literally showing me the ropes.

[00:04:43] Wicked Wren Everybody mark your bingo card.

[00:04:45] HeatHawk Yep. Bing. And, you know, he's trying to teach me knots and ties and like, you know, the ever, ever popular single-column tie that everybody could learn. Like tries to learn on the first day. And I'm suffering through it. I'm confused. I don't know where to go if it's this way or that. I'm incredibly dyslexic and just trying to get through it. And later on in the evening, both my partner and him asked, Would you be interested in like getting tied? Would you want to try that? Like yeah, let's see how that works. So he does like a very quick basic hog-tie on me and I'm there for like a good 10 minutes in this hog-tie. And that was the spark, that was the moment where I'm like, Oh, no, oh, no, this is it. This is where I need to be. This, this right here that. That's the sauce.

[00:05:53] Wicked Wren What did the spark feel like?

[00:05:58] HeatHawk You know, when you taste a food, a beverage, like something that, that you just had for the very first time, not knowing what it is and like, your entire like mouth tingles. It sends like that impulse to your brain of like, Oh, this is delicious. Oh, this is an experience that I've, I did not know I needed. I have to have more of this. It was like that. It was just this incredible snap impulse of like, Give me more, please.

[00:06:34] Wicked Wren Yeah. Your little dopamine receptors go crazy.

[00:06:37] HeatHawk Yes, exactly.

[00:06:39] Wicked Wren Was this the first time you had bottomed for something or been in a submissive role for something?

[00:06:46] HeatHawk Yes. Yes, it was. Generally in the very beginning when I was working at the shop, when I was kind of doing this, this sampler platter of (…) things, I was generally on the top end or the dominant end. You know, I was playing with canes in the beginning. I was doing like the knife topping stuff like sort of DS-ey things. And for the most part, fine. It was like, Yeah, I'm cool with this until I had rope put on me. And that was, that was, that bit that just made sense. That was like the portion that just truly hit the target as the best way they could describe it.

[00:07:47] Wicked Wren Do you think that there was something around being immobilized that you liked about it or.

[00:07:54] HeatHawk Oh, yes. The immobilization, the compression, that moment of weird... Not weird. I think it was just that that being able to give into that level of vulnerability was definitely the part that got me in. Seldom did I ever experience that beforehand. That level of like, I am in this like vulnerable position and at any point in time, anything can happen. I have given up myself to this, to this person. Seldom has that happened in a consensual space in which like just made it happen.

[00:08:42] Wicked Wren I want to get into something. And you are a masc-presenting bottom. You are a rare breed in the rope bondage world. Do you think there is any correlation between the fact that in the world masc-presenting people don't often have the opportunity to be in a bottom-style role? They don't have a place to show vulnerability where fems do have that.

[00:09:12] HeatHawk On like a feminine scale... that, yes. With masculinity, the ability to be vulnerable, to show vulnerability, especially in our society, it's seen as, I don't want to say taboo, but it's seen kind of uncomfortable or very, very hard to fathom in a sense. So... On that end to even experience that and then to not only experience it, but then to be proud about it, is... it is rare. And to me, I think it's great. I think it's one of those, those few moments that allow me to shine as a person and allow me to... to be like, I'm here. I'm showing you this level of vulnerability. And that's kind of cool.

[00:10:19] Wicked Wren And it goes without saying that we are using various stereotypical terms of masculinity and femininity. These are very, very stereotypical terms, and there's no weakness in masculine people or masc-presenting people showing weakness or anything. But that's largely what we're fed in society. So I do think it's important to acknowledge that. But the conversation of there's power in submission comes up a lot, and I think with what you just said is like the epitome of that.

[00:10:54] HeatHawk Absolutely. And to me, something else about the concept of showing that power in submissiveness. On at least in my fundamental level in a deep core kind of area, the physicality of that strength, something to be bound and then to be stretched out, to be pulled, to be compressed and to take that amount of (…) and then come out of it relatively unscathed speaks volumes as well. I think that's one of the other things that has drawn to me or drawn me to this, to this whole community is the fact that I can put myself in this vulnerable position and look tough as nails doing it.

[00:11:51] Wicked Wren Yes, you're celebrated for it.

[00:11:55] HeatHawk Oh, dear. Sorry. Sometimes I hear that like, I get like a little embarrassed, a little shy about it. I appreciate that.

[00:12:04] Wicked Wren It's true. It's true. When you started exploring rope bottoming, was that difficult being a masc-presenting person?

[00:12:13] HeatHawk Yes, it's... it is. It was difficult. It's less difficult now. In the beginning, it was. And it was a lot of putting myself out there and trying to deal with this level of uncomfortability within like, Hey... The uncomfortability and the vulnerability alone of asking people if they're interested in tying and the really the hard part, when I started, it was mostly men and masc-folks who were tops. And having that notion of, Are you going to be cool with tying me? Or are you going to be okay with this, this thing? Are you going to have specific weird feelings about it? Am I going to have specific weird feelings about it? I'm mostly here because I love this and I want to enjoy more of this. What are you going to have the same kind of, kind of feeling? That was... that was hard. That was really, really difficult to get through. And I think after, you know, after some time of people getting used to it, seeing it, especially when there became more of a queer identity and queer ropes rope circles exploring that, it definitely became a lot easier. But in the beginning, there were... there were moments and times where people were like a little like standoffish about it.

[00:13:58] Wicked Wren That makes sense. In the beginning, were you mainly getting tied by masc-people?

[00:14:03] HeatHawk A few of my first rope tops that I played with were masc. And then as time progressed, I met with a lot more women and fem-presenting tops, and that kind of really shifted the plane. If I could give a shout out – Lizard who is one of my, one of the first fem rope tops that I worked with and tied with and who is still a dear friend of mine, I don't think without her, like tie me and then going into like public spaces into that. I don't think I would have really had much of the impact that I would have now.

[00:14:49] Wicked Wren Yeah, yeah. Lizard is mentioned on this podcast often.

[00:14:55] HeatHawk It's amazing. Oh my God, I miss her and I'm so glad I got a chance to see her last month.

[00:15:00] Wicked Wren Yeah. I'm curious since a lot of people getting tied are then cis women. A lot of the patterns and harnesses and things like that are made around those body types. Have you experienced someone like tried to tie like a certain TK on you for a long time and you've been like, Yeah, this sucks.

[00:15:23] HeatHawk Oh, boy. I've had a lot of those feelings and I've had a lot of those experiences where in the very beginning I started, you know, the TKs that were put on me were very much to enhance in such a way breast tissue. And I do not have that. And it's, it looks really, really funny when you have somebody like tying this harness and then I have my chest like plopping out as if I had breasts. And I always felt so weird about that. Like, I always felt like it was like, I understand the pattern. I understand that you're doing this because this is what you know. But also, like you, you know that this looks silly, right? You and I have... right? Right??

[00:16:25] Wicked Wren Yeah. Like you're aware.

[00:16:27] HeatHawk Like, we're aware of this, right? I've had that several times, the beginning. I on occasion run into that still in, you know, at this point in time, I've, I've learned to accept it and I've learned to like kind of push it through. I'm like, Yeah, well, you know, this is, this is one of those things. But there, there have been amazing tops who have gone out of their way to to work on non-chest accentuating ties. I remember Skylark. They developed a really good like flat chest binder years ago, I think. They taught it back it on Eric's and... Oh, that was beautiful. I loved it. And I truly, truly wish that more folks would look into that. And it's coming. It's getting there.

[00:17:32] Wicked Wren Yeah. It really is. Well, learning stuff outside of that one TK you know or whatever. Not being so TK-focused like learning new stuff is going to make the things that you do most often better. Like, that is like what we need, you know, to like grow as humans. We need like new input.

[00:17:57] HeatHawk Absolutely. And I couldn't couldn't agree more with that.

[00:18:01] Wicked Wren Yeah. I haven't thought about the breast tissue thing and the TK. That makes a lot of sense. I mean, right when you said it, I was like, Oh, duh. Like, I was thinking about other small things like, you know, I don't know, like shoulder structures or something, but not –  or like the kanukis or something, but not the breast tissue specifically.

[00:18:21] HeatHawk I mean, that's, that's kind of the forefront in any TKs, if you ask me. Because that's the most forward-facing thing. That is what's being enhanced. It's there. Yeah.

[00:18:34] Wicked Wren Yeah. So earlier you were talking about acrobatic dumb (…) in rope. Tell me about that. What do you like in rope? Like, what do you value in it?

[00:18:45] HeatHawk What do I value in it? So one of the big things that I really, really like is being pushed. Being challenged. I love to be put into some of the most ridiculous positions and ties and having... having this like, flexible spine be shown off in, in the most ridiculous manners. Oh, God. What was that? One of my one of my favorites. I performed at NDC a few years back and I was performing with Tifereth. And there was this tie that she ended up doing where she ended up taking my foot and basically tying it to the front of my face from the back end. So imagine kind of like a hog-tie position. So face down and then having... I guess, the scorpion tailed to the front of my face.

[00:19:48] Wicked Wren God... I said in your intro that you're one of the most bendy humans ever seen. And I don't equate being a good rope bottom to being flexible or bendy. It has nothing to do with being a good rope bottom. But I think it's notable for you because you truly are. You're like a contortionist, almost. The things that you can do with your body. Have you always been like that?

[00:20:13] HeatHawk Yes, I have. I've always been hypermobile, very flexible. In my youth, I did a lot of gymnastics and martial arts, so I had a lot of a lot of practice in doing that. So I was always doing like weird splits at the time, getting into backbends. My hips and legs used to be way more flexible when I was younger. But a lot of that has – I've been working a lot more on my upper body and my back when I started getting into aerial acrobatics. I did silks for, for a brief period of time. And that really helped out with getting that kind of strength and flexibility up in the upper part of my body. So I've been yeah, so I've been like always with that since day one.

[00:21:11] Wicked Wren When you get tied, you never look like you're in pain either.

[00:21:16] HeatHawk I put on a very good face.

[00:21:17] Wicked Wren Yeah, you're great. I'm always like, How are you doing this? And I'm sitting there like, OoOoOoOoh.

[00:21:25] HeatHawk I do have a high pain tolerance and I am... I'm a (…), what can I say? I really like it. I really enjoy it. And it's also just really fun for me. I don't know how to, to describe it other than the sheer fact of like, this is the happiest thing on earth for me. And I don't know. I can't... I'm not going to be putting on a sour face if I'm really enjoying something.

[00:22:01] Wicked Wren Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. You talked about being pushed and enjoying pain and things like that. What does that mean to you? What is being pushed mean? Like, in what way do you like to be pushed?

[00:22:16] HeatHawk If you're familiar with like the, the Yoroi style ties. So, Yoroi Nicolas, he's got a really cool style of doing like very minimal rope. Generally, it's like one rope kind of harness, one on for the up-lines. The way in which those need to be tied, it has to be incredibly precise, and incredibly tight. The tension has to be on point in order for you to be suspended without it just slipping off. And if anybody out there who's listening is like, Yep, I know exactly what you're talking about. That style of of rope to me, I find to be... excruciating and enjoyable at the same time. There is something about having to bear through it, having to... having to at least get through this, this one particular tie and have it become successful. I think it is a... I don't know. I think there is like, this sort of zen beauty behind it.

[00:23:39] Wicked Wren It's cool that you said acrobatic and a very minimal style of tying because those usually don't go together. Generally acrobatic stuff are like really highly engineered harnesses for maximum amount of comfort and flexibility. But you're describing the opposite, which is like kind of a (…) way of looking at it, you know? Like you could just make a booty basket and, you know, make this a lot easier for yourself.

[00:24:09] HeatHawk True. And I think that's that's the sort of style that I like. That's a sort of style that I really lean into. I think there are... What's the best way to describe this? I think there is – They're both kind of the same or they both have their own things. Like, I've been in those, I've been in those very wild acrobatic, very engineered ties. And they are – while they can be comfortable, and while they can be like very much twisty and flipping around and doing the whole entire thing, I think the minimal Yoroi style work can share a little bit of that just by what's going on with the body itself. You're still being suspended. You're still holding your – your core is still being engaged. You're still like in the mindset of holding on to a specific position and trying to... trying to deal with it. It's the same as also being in a specific type of torsion or being inverted and going through like these different types of, I guess loops.

[00:25:47] Wicked Wren You talked about putting on a good face when you're getting tied. Not really showing a lot of emotion. Is there anything that does push you past that, that kind of makes you, I don't want to use the word break, but makes you kind of say like, you know...

[00:26:04] HeatHawk Waist rope. Waist rope. Waist rope to me sucks. I know there are people who love waist rope, and get into it, and will will throw themselves for it. I am not a waist rope person. Ugh, the feeling of having this like small line cut across my, my belly and feeling like I am getting cut in half is not my idea of a good time.

[00:26:38] Wicked Wren Is waist rope a hard limit?

[00:26:42] HeatHawk It's a soft limit. I've, I've... every time in my negotiations, people ask me this like, All right, so what's your thing? It's like, you know, waist rope is not my favorite, but, but if it is integral and critical to the tie, I will go through it.

[00:27:01] Wicked Wren Because my mind goes to... I have things that I don't love but are by no means reds, you know, are by no means hard limits. But I think it's fun to do. I think it's fun to give to the top as an option to be really mean, I suppose. That's fun to me.

[00:27:25] HeatHawk And you're not wrong. You're not wrong. There are those moments where there are things that you know, there are things that I don't always like. And I will still go through it because, like, you know, you got to have that. You got to have it. You got to have that. That, that one thing that's like, you know, I do want to get pushed. I do want to just suffer just a little bit. But there's this moment where back in my mind I'm like, Why the hell am I doing this?

[00:27:59] Wicked Wren Oh, it's so funny.

[00:28:00] HeatHawk What? What? Why, why, why am I doing this?

[00:28:04] Wicked Wren That comes on like every episode. I think of it every time, right before I tie, I'm like going to the bathroom or something like (…) and then I'm gonna get tied. I think to myself, I'm like, Why? Why? What am I doing? I'm about to get hurt so bad. Why? I think my question, what I was trying to ask was – and I didn't ask very well is what is your dynamic between the top? Like, I like a little bit of snarky back and forth. I like the, You did it to yourself. You know, like, that's fun to me. I can't – what do you like in a scene?

[00:28:40] HeatHawk Oh, God. It varies. It varies with each top. I will say some of those scenes that I do thoroughly enjoy is when there is a little bit of that sarcastic, snarky banter where there is this whole concept of like, You did this to yourself. You chose this. You asked. Remember. You were the one who asked to do this. And you're like, You're right. I did. I totally did. Let's keep doing it.

[00:29:21] Wicked Wren I think I guess I just keep on going.

[00:29:23] HeatHawk I just can't, can't say no.

[00:29:24] Wicked Wren Do you like performing? Does that add an element?

[00:29:28] HeatHawk Yes. I almost cut you off. Sorry.

[00:29:32] Wicked Wren No, you're fine.

[00:29:33] HeatHawk I love it. I love to perform. I feel like I feed off of it. It's... Oh, my God. One of the best things on earth for me is, is to be in front of a crowd and showing off what I can do.

[00:29:51] Wicked Wren Yeah, I feel that because I've seen you at Folsom, and we were watching y'all, and I was just like, How is this happening? It's crazy.

[00:30:04] HeatHawk Oh, my Lord. That was probably one of the biggest crowds I've ever performed in front of.

[00:30:10] Wicked Wren Really cool energy.

[00:30:11] HeatHawk And I... Oh, wow. I just, I just fed off of it. I was eating it up and I was feeling myself 110% the entire time.

[00:30:27] Wicked Wren That's awesome. It's weird I got really scared. I was really, really nervous about the heat and the sun and being like sunburnt and being sick or something because of the heat. And I was, I was nervous that I was going to have to tap. Like, quote unquote, like early or something. Like, I don't know, I was really nervous. And it worked. It went great. Like I was – it was awesome. But...

[00:30:53] HeatHawk Oh, I can understand that. It was outside. It was warm. You know, if you weren't hydrating properly, you know, that causes, that can cause a few, a few bits of anxiety in that sense. And I mean, that's also like one of the most... biggest events in like kingdom, in a sense. Like, it is... it is huge and that's a lot of pressure to think about of like, Oh man, I'm going to be in front of like all these people on the stage. Holy crap, am I going to do good? And you know, there's these moments where you sort of second guess yourself, but you also think, No, I'm going to rock this. I'm going to rock it. I'm going to crush it.

[00:31:50] Wicked Wren I think it's so hard because there's no preparation that a bottom can do because doing good is all a mental game. It's how much can I take mentally? And I can't change that like going in, you know, whereas like if you're topping, Okay, maybe these are some items that I could do. Let's pre-tie this. Whatever. Like you can like prep and kind of get a game plan. Whereas as a bottom you're just like...

[00:32:16] HeatHawk I'm just showing up. I'm here.

[00:32:18] Wicked Wren Yeah.

[00:32:19] HeatHawk Like, boy. I drank, you know, a gallon of water and I warmed up. Here's what we got.

[00:32:26] Wicked Wren I'm always like, Did I drink water too late? Am I going to throw this water up? Do I not have enough water? So here's my question. Having a crowd there is important to you, or not important, but adds. How do you feel about the camera in a session?

[00:32:43] HeatHawk I like having the camera in a session. While it's not as... While the session isn't as populated, so to speak, when you're just with the camera. I loved the idea of having the camera there. I think having photos taken and having something documented in a tie, in a scene, I think it's part of it, or at least I feel that is part of it, especially in our contemporary time, where we post this stuff on our Twitter and Instagram feeds, onto FL or anything like that where this basically proves that... We exist, that we do this. That we are, that we are...

[00:33:40] Wicked Wren Yeah, like we're like taking up space.

[00:33:44] HeatHawk Yes, yes, yes. We're, we're taking up space and we're representing what this is.

[00:33:48] Wicked Wren I think that representation is important in like, what you're doing is important. I think that it has a ripple effect. I think that seeing someone masc-presenting, being tied up in a traditionally submissive role is important.

[00:34:04] HeatHawk Correct. 100% correct. I think that is, that is key and and important because, again, how many people like myself, you know, have gone through Instagram and be like, you know, Okay, she looks great. She looks great. She look great. She looks great. All right. That's cool. That's cool. That's cool. Oh, wait, him. What's, what's this guy up to? Oh, that's weird. That's different. I've not seen that. And that, there, inspires a lot of of excitement and that allows somebody to feel like, Well, if he can do it, maybe I can.

[00:34:45] Wicked Wren Yeah. There's space for someone else to do it. Yeah. I think it really is challenging norms. That is to me why social media is important for (…).

[00:34:56] HeatHawk Absolutely. Absolutely. And with social media in its own rights... Oh, I have a fascinating love-hate with it. I really, really love to show myself out there and to present and be like, Hey, here's this cool thing that I did. Here's this awesome collaboration that I did with this top. I think that is, is wonderful. At the same time, you're dealing with people who feel that they are entitled to tell you, Oh, your legs are going to fall off because how purple that is, or you –

[00:35:38] Wicked Wren They do like to say that.

[00:35:40] HeatHawk The purple police are real. Oh, man. But, you know, you'll get people like that, you'll get the haters. You'll get people who feel that... You know, who just feel disgusted by it. You'll feel – you'll see people who want to shame you for it, or you'll have other people who are kind of gross saying very inappropriate comments and very much like you saying something incredibly just vile and you're like... But you missed the point.

[00:36:16] Wicked Wren How can people find you?

[00:36:19] HeatHawk They could find me on Instagram. HeatHawk13.

[00:36:23] Wicked Wren Cool.

[00:36:24] HeatHawk And FL as well under the same handle. My Instagram is private. Just give that a heads up so you'll need to send a friend request. But those are my two main social medias.

[00:36:43] Wicked Wren Amazing. Well, thank you so much for being on. It was awesome.

[00:36:46] HeatHawk Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

[00:36:48] Wicked Wren You're welcome.


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