Down the Rabbit Hole

Before we get into this whole thing…

Let me tell you a little bit about why I wear my corsets. Back in 2003, I was living in Honolulu. Durning one of my early morning walks across the Ala Moana Mall, I slipped on some wet marble, landed on my tailbone, and fractured/displaced three of the lower vertebrae in the lumbar region of my spine. I had never experienced pain quite like that before, and it was to last not only days, but weeks…then months. Then years.

My orthopedic surgeon wrote me a scrip for a medical back brace, with steel boning, stiff panels, and a pull-lacing apparatus I later learned is called “fan-lacing”.

My very first corset/brace – 2003.

I had to wear that damn thing 24/7, with time off for bathing. I was stuck in my tiny cinderblock apartment in the Makiki-Tantalus district for many weeks. Months, actually. With only the daily therapy-walk for as long as I could stand it with the brace and cane to help me drag my sorry carcass over to the flower store or corner Bubble Tea shop. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was bored out of my skull. I love to read, and write, but I was still going stir crazy. One afternoon, about a month into my recuperation, my then-boyfriend, the artist Scott Goto brought over his Canon digital camera, and said, “Here. Take pictures.”

“What of??” I asked, gesturing wildly around my toaster-sized apartment with the institutional looking cinderblock walls.

“Anything,” he replied. “Yourself. Why not document this process? It could be really interesting.”

“Huh…” I mumbled vaguely, turning the camera over in my hands.

At the 1901 Gallery in Chicago. Pretty sure that’s a drunk face, lol.

And that was the beginning of a years-long art project, cataloguing my journey of learning to be mobile again. I got really creative — and, because it’s ME we’re talking about, I quickly started doing nudes of myself with nothing but the corset-brace. I had stumbled on to something, for sure. My work was eventually shown in a couple galleries, and published in a couple small magazines that nobody has heard of.

Unlike a traditional corset, the brace laced up the sides

One thing I grew to love about my back brace was the feeling of being firmly held, supported, and safe. Without it, I couldn’t go far, and the pain became unmanageable. Perusing through my photos, I also began to see a kind of beauty, even sexiness, in the brace. It looked much like a Victorian era corset, I remember thinking. I staged photos of myself in costumes with the thing. Eventually it dawned on me; why not try an ACTUAL corset? I started doing research on whether anyone else had stumbled across my bright idea — and indeed they had. Many women and men, I came to find out, wore actual, proper corsets – with the steel bones, the laces, the whole nine yards, for back pain. Only these were…gorgeous. They were works of art, some of them.

I was hooked. Without knowing what the Hell I was doing, I measured my waist, and bought a corset a couple inches smaller than my natural waist from a cheap, off the rack corset vendor.

Not a recommended maker, but it worked out in a pinch

The thing fortunately was close enough to being the proper size for the rest of me, but every once in awhile it would pinch or get uncomfortable. So I tried branching out, and literally AEONS later, I learned all about how to properly size myself for a corset, and thus began The Collection of the Precious (as I like to call them). I’m not too dumb, generally speaking, so I quickly learned as much as I possibly could about how to shop for a well made, properly sized piece that would hopefully last a few years.

Now, I’m still wearing a corset for my back most hours of the day — only I’m doing it in style, sisters and brothers. And I do it not only for my back, but for the purpose of tight lacing and waist training. And let me tell you, it’s a wildly addicting habit. I love my corsets, I truly do. They help me to get around, to be able to walk a few blocks without having to stop because of pain; they make me feel secure and stable. They make me feel sexy.

This blog is all about that. And a whole lot more. I hope you’ll stick around and learn all about the little microverse and culture that is corseting. I’m still have lots to learn myself ; But here, I will share all my experiences with tight lacing, waist training, different types of corsets, corseting for pain and anxiety relief, properly sizing yourself, the corsetiers I buy them from, and more.

Welcome to Alice in Waistland.

I aspire to be your tightlacing teacher

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