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Worth a Second Try


I remember the first conversation I had about suspending. I was talking to my then-boyfriend and he brought it up. Once I, in an ignorant and limited way, clarified what he was talking about ("you mean, like, hanging from shark hooks?"), my reaction to his interest in maybe perhaps trying it someday was probably the single most negative reaction of my life. I said it was creepy and weird and gross and ended with threatening, emptily, to break up with him if he ever did.

Fast forward four years and several mind-opening experiences and let us visit a late October evening. I had just come down from my first suspension, a two-point suicide. It was not what I wanted it to be. I tried to go up faster than I was ready to and it hurt so much I screamed like I was being murdered, bawled like a child, and demanded to be down. I finally got up again thanks to a new friend, who picked up the slack for another then-boyfriend, but could only stay up a few minutes before I heard, "You look a little green, I'm going to put you down."
I wasn't able to try again because the person I regrettably brought needed to leave and I had driven. While I was proud of myself for getting off the ground, I was disappointed in my experience as a whole. I thought first suspension were supposed to be mind blowing. Why was mine still underwhelmingly intact?


The lovely people facilitating, Dana Dinius and Rome "Bear", were the only bright spots in that particular adventure.


I felt I had let myself down.

Well, when I found out the suspension crew that had recently formed within my modified clan was having a suspension event, I jumped at the chance to try again and feel fully successful. I had initially intended to do a two-point suicide again but after seeing a lotus position in action; the first hanging of the day, I couldn't resist. I was the last suspension of the night. When Dana started marking me, I freaked. I didn't think I could get hooks in my knees or calves. I didn’t think I was either strong or brave enough.

"You can handle it. You're so much better at this than when you started. You can do it."

"I can do it" became my slightly-panicked mantra as Dana finished my markings. As he and Marilyn Mena-Scott got ready to throw my first pair of hooks, Rome, JD Scott, and Carrie Swan held my hands and reassured me, again, that I could do this.


(Yes, I required three hand-holders.)

After my second pair of hooks, I doubted, once again, that I'd be able to manage getting off the ground but I let go of the things keeping me from trying. I lost my fear of embarrassment, my lack of belief in myself, my fear of failing. Instead, I felt how much love there was for me in that piercing station. I accepted the unconditional support of my family of friends. I realized that no matter how far up I got, or didn't get, neither they nor I would feel disappointed in me.

I was, of course, sobbing again and complaining about the poor-absorbency of hands. The pent-up anxiety of ended friendships, a shitty job, a bad relationship, and a lack of positive towards myself…all of those left me. All of those left my mind and my heart and hook found a temporary residence in my person and tears flowed unashamedly from my eyes.

I sat down on a cushion and Carrie and Dana rigged me while Rome sat in front of me. He talked to me calmly, he encouraged me, he held my hands. I had a bit of tunnel vision, I'll admit it, but I could hear the supportive murmurs of others, the laughs of the group when I made jokes, and finally...

"The only thing keeping you on the ground now is your brain," Dana said.

He was right.

I let go of my brain and asked to go up. Everyone cheered as pride in myself and an overwhelming amount of love for those around me engulfed my entire being. I could've sworn I was legitimately floating on a cloud of warm fuzzies. I’ve never felt so good.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Dana, Rome, Marilyn, JD, and Carrie, and all the other Hookers for believing in me even when I didn't and helping me get through every step. I'm so unbelievably thankful. There aren’t a lot of places where modified people are seen for who they are and are loved an accepted for that person. It’s a Godsend that this small group of us were able to find each other and find that acceptance within our chosen family.

I count my second suspension among the top 3 most wonderful events of my life. It turns out, sometimes you just need to give things a second try.




submitted by: JuliaIrys
on: 09 Oct. 2013
in Cultural Rituals

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