First suspension - 4 point Suicide
At a very young age I saw suspension for the first time. I was watching "Ripley's Believe it or Not" on TV with my parents, and I was fascinated by the "strange" looking men dangling from hooks in their flesh. My mother was absolutely horrified by it and had no interest in giving me an explanation as to why people chose to do it. I eventually forgot about it until years later.
When I was about 12 years old my parents bought a computer, and I had access to whatever I wanted on the Internet. My aunt had just become a tattoo artist, which sparked my interest once again. I looked up tattoos and piercings on search engines out of curiosity and ended up on BME. I couldn't believe what I had found - an entire community of people who were modifying their bodies in unique and beautiful ways. I had no idea so many normal people participated in modification (as all I had seen in the past were TV specials about "freaks" who go to extremes, such as Stalking Cat and Enigma, and they were often portrayed in a negative light.)
After browsing through hours of photos I stumbled upon suspensions again. I was surprised to find that lots of people take part in them. From all the reports I read it was a beautiful and meaningful experience, not just for shock-value. I decided then and there I was going to do one someday.
8 years later and my interest in suspension and body modification is still as strong as ever. After moving to Thunder Bay I quickly familiarized myself with the local piercing studio (Creation Body Piercing), and spent a lot of time and money there. Suspension isn't normally a service they offer, and the thought never crossed my mind that they may be capable of performing them. My friend Keith wanted to do one as part of a performance at one of the local art galleries, so he contacted Matt Bressmer of Creation to see if that was something he was interested in. Matt agreed, and I immediately asked if I could take part as well. Even though I wasn't sure I wanted my first one to be part of a performance I jumped at the opportunity, because I figured it wouldn't come along again for a very long time.
Since Keith had never done a suspension either, he decided to do a "test run" before the performance - a 4-point knee suspension for his first, and a suicide for the show. We determined I would do mine during the test run so I wouldn't have to do it in front of a crowd. Matt, his apprentice Alex, and our friend and piercer James took care of the preparations and we set a date.
The days flew by, and before I knew it I was waking up on the day of the suspension. To my surprise I had not once felt nervous or anxious about doing it. That day I made sure I ate 2 big healthy meals, and spent some time stretching and mentally preparing myself for it. I picked up some candy and juice, and headed to the art gallery space we were using. I sat patiently and chatted with the guys while they set everything up. We decided Keith would go first 'cause my nervousness had finally kicked in, and he was willing to let me watch while I got used to the idea.
They got Keith all marked up and did the piercings. He said they weren't nearly as painful as he expected them to be, which was a huge relief to me. I think I was more nervous about the piercings than the suspension itself. He took a few minutes to relax and compose himself, then they hooked him up to the rig. He went up fairly quickly, and stayed up for about 15 minutes. I am still in awe of how calm and relaxed he was, doing a knee suspension for his first one.
After he came down and they got him all cleaned up we took a break, and then got everything set up for my turn. I agreed to have Alex, the apprentice, do my piercings. I had been his guinea pig for many before that and I trusted him completely. James and Matt were also supervising the entire time.
The piercings felt quite different from anything else I've had done. The large gauge needles were new to me, and the piercings had to be done a little slower than what I was used to. The pain wasn't bad, and the sensation of the needles and hooks sliding slowly under my skin was quite interesting.
Once the hooks were in I sat for a few minutes until the aching subsided, and we started hooking up the rig. The slight pulling and tugging as they threaded the rope through felt kind of neat, and there was very little pain. They lifted it until there was slight pressure on the hooks and I stood up. My heart skipped a beat, and it finally sunk in entirely that I was really about to do it.
The rig came up slowly and the pressure on my back increased. I felt pins and needles in my back as my skin pulled further away from my body. I tried my best to breathe slowly and not freak out. James lent me a hand to hold on to, and before long I was standing on my tip toes. Because of the way the chain hoist worked the process of putting the rig up and down was a slow one, so I didn't want to be far from the ground when I decided to come down. Still holding James' hand, I gently lifted one foot off the ground and then the other. I was up for a few seconds, panicked, and came back down. We brought the rig down a little to release the tension on my back, and I took a few minutes to catch my breath.
Finally I was ready to try it again. I went back up, and slowly lifted one foot up, and then my feet were off the ground. I can't find words to describe what it felt like. The sensation of my skin pulling so tightly was uncomfortable to say the least. I hung there for about a minute (although it felt like much longer) and asked them to bring me down again. I considered trying it one more time, but I had had enough for the day. They lowered me down and cut the ropes, and I was immediately overcome with a wave of emotions. I laid down while the hooks were removed, which I barely noticed, and the air was massaged out of my back. I can't entirely explain how I felt. Slightly disappointed that I didn't stay up longer I suppose, but there was also an extreme sense of pride. I did it! I had put mind over matter and done something that most people would never consider doing. Even if I was only up for a minute, my feet were off the ground and my first suspension attempt was successful.
I was exhausted immediately afterward, but I was in such an uplifted mood it didn't matter. I already couldn't wait to do it again. I thanked the guys for everything, and we parted ways.
For days afterward my upper back was very tender, as if I had a giant bruise. It slowly faded though, and I am now left with eight little scars across my shoulders that give me a strong sense of pride about what I have done.
Small annoyances and pains in my life now seem so insignificant, and I feel like I can accomplish anything. I am definitely a stronger person because of my experience. It may not seem like much to most people, but it was absolutely a life-changing experience that I can't wait to repeat.
submitted by: xkelseyyy
on: 22 March 2011
in Suicide Suspensions