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:: veritas vincent ::

truth conquers... or so they say This is my experience. These are MY words. This is MY emotion. This is what I saw, what I retained. This is WHAT I KNOW. After having discussed with Alva for several weeks about my reasoning for wanting to suspend, on July 17th, I made the commitment to do it. I left his shop with the calm strength that comes from conviction. I went home, I shaved my head, I made a commitment to stop drinking, to begin purifying, to begin working on the foundation inside of me. I removed all of my body jewelry. I had a thought somewhere of going into this as a newborn babe, vulnerable, seeking some sort of renewal. A renewal of ME, a renewal of my faith, in myself and with God. For me, suspensions are the most spiritual of all paths you can take, something that inherently changes who you are. Makes you stronger. Makes you more sure on your path. Based on our conversations at his shop, I was given the impression that Melanie's suspensions went very well, were very successful. Based on our conversations, I was also given the impression that Alva himself had suspended. I have seen the pictures of his hooks. But perhaps we are given brief glimpses of information, and our natural inclination to fill in the gaps took over. Does it matter if someone gets their toes off the ground? I think it DOES. For me, it certainly does. For my PATH, it certainly does. I set the date for my suspension for August 5th, 2001. A closed ceremony. A night ceremony. I invited two friends from out of town, people whom I chose to share this experience with. I am sort of leery about hooking up, and exposing so much emotion in front of people I don't necessarily trust, or know. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, they were not able to attend. I will readily admit that put a damper on my mood. My second mistake was of course, to call my mother. Added stress, and put my head somewhere else, someplace it did NOT need to be. Finally I went down to the shop. I arrived at around 7:30pm, the suspension was set for 9 pm. I wanted to give myself enough time to relax, get a feeling for the environment, and what was about to happen. Give myself time to center. Chris Rosenburg, Sir Louis, and Alva were there. We didn't talk that much, I think everyone really wanted to give me my own space and all that. From the time I got there, to the time when I was about to have my hooks set, everything was mainly quiet, people talking in hushed tones. I was personally waiting for everyone to appear. I had invited three other friends from Jacksonville, people whom I thought perhaps would benefit from the experience, just to see a bit further into my world. Alva had me lie down and gave me a nice back massage, to help loosen up tense nervous muscles, and to help loosen up my skin a bit. This really did help me alot, it certainly calmed me down tremendously, as I was beginning to get the serious oh god what have I done jitters. After the relaxation session, it seemed to me that Alva wanted to know what we were waiting for. That was the impression he gave me, by his body movements, and the tone of conversation he had with someone in regards to having to wait for her to finish up. I started to feel as if, he was wondering what was taking me so long. I just wasn't quite ready yet. And I was uncomfortable with the thought of someone showing up in the middle of the suspension... that's just not kosher with me at all. I guess I wanted all my ducks in a row. But finally, everyone arrived, the hour chimed 9pm, and away I went. Off to the piercing suite to get my placement and hooks set. Time for marking, and the tension was ripe in the air. Chris had my right side, Alva my left. Now here is where it gets a bit hairy. I was uncomfortable with the idea of the offset hook placement. I had TOLD Alva I wanted to go with a more traditional placement. He had nodded in his response. That indicates, information received, information processed, information acceptable. But when the day came, the only hooks available were four 8g and two 6g. What do you do? Go back with the offset placement. The theory and the reasoning behind it seemed perfectly logical, and should have gone off without a hitch. I am assuming, should have. Obviously it did NOT. Okay, so placement was done, now it was time for the needles. We did all 8's first, then went for the 6's. They were placed lower than the line of 8's, and closer to my spine. If I had a picture, I would post it. Alas, I do not. The film did not turn out. Which, in my mind, is just as well. I don't need a physical memory of that night. It is burnt into my brain. The needles went fine, of course the 6's being a bitch, but who's complaining.... The hooks went in without a hitch, slight sting, but not a big deal. OH GOD do those things feel ODD though, when you stand up and feel the tightness.... whew Attachment to the rigging went without a hitch, the tension I began to feel from my back was a new one to me... and the more tension Alva gave me on the rigging, the more excruciating the pain became. It got the point where I was on my very tiptoes, and I couldn't contain it, it hurt so horribly. I expected some pain, sure. After all, you are hanging from hooks in your back, your skin stretches, it's a bit uncomfortable.... but I have seen countless others move past it... I myself would like to think I'm a trooper, never having too much to bitch about in regards to piercing, and other associated stuff... but THIS? dear GOD.............................................. We attempted twice. I begged to be let down, both times. The pain was so much that my arms rose involuntarily to my chest... I could not get them to relax, I could not let go. I could not move past it. It hurt TOO MUCH. Coming down, killed me, spiritually. It was to me, a huge failure. I had thought that I was strong enough, finally. Strong enough, willing enough, "there".... This to me, ruined my world for the next few days. I've never cried so bitterly, in all my life. This suspension shook me to my very soul. I came down bitterly disappointed, feeling as if I was entirely wrong, in my beliefs, in everything. I had thought that I had faith. I had thought I was strong enough. I had thought I was "past" so much bullshit that came rushing right back to me. After a few days, I started to see more clearly. I felt that I had been shown what I needed to see. That I needed to work more clearly on my strength and my foundation, that I needed to be perhaps more focused on my faith. That I needed to be more appreciative and thankful for those who put their time and energy into that suspension. I felt that I had been taking it all for granted, because what had happened didn't go according to plan. I continued to stop by Alva's shop, every day or so to have him look at my back, make sure it was healing nicely, etc etc.... The last time I was there, I spoke with Chris r0senburg1 about the suspension. He expressed some major concerns for the whole experience, namely the hook placement for those 6's. His concern was due to the fact that he was there, on his knees, before me, watching my eyes and feeling the pain I was going through. He knew it hurt horribly. He knows I'm a trooper. He asked me to trust him, that he was there.... but through it all, I couldn't do shit except cry and fight those hooks. I went to talk with Rod rodcrews because of the flack and craziness running through the community about this suspension. I wanted him to know what had happened, through my eyes, rather than through hearsay. I wanted to DEFEND the allegations against Alva, and as such, against me, for the suspension and how it was performed. But after hearing all that Rod had to say, especially about his OWN hooking by Alva, I am left with DOUBTS. The scary thing is, when he asked me to describe what I felt when I had those hooks in me, before I could open my mouth he began to tell me exactly what it felt like. So he knew what I was talking about. He KNEW. He also described to me per Gray's anatomy the possible problems with the placement of those 6's... too close to the spine, possibly tapping into the traps.... etc etc.... This to me raises a huge concern, as did reading Melanie's email in regards to the entire procedure. Melanie was there as well. But never did I ever ever hear a word in protest about her own suspensions. I never heard that she had to argue with Alva to be let down. Never did I hear anything other than glowing positivity about the experience. What is most disturbing to me, perhaps, is the fact that now, when I walk by Alva's shop, and his apprentice Philip is outside, and I attempt to say hello, to be friendly, I feel as if I am given the cold shoulder. Is this the attitude of a person who wants to understand what happened? is this the attitude of someone who wants to find out the truth? No... this is the attitude of someone who now views me as "the enemy". What did I DO??? Other than seek the truth??? I can honestly say that this experience HAS taught me alot. And it has not, as some were concerned, soured me against the idea and experience of suspending as a WHOLE. What this experience has taught me, is perhaps still the same knowledge that I came down off that rigging with: I still have ALOT of work to do. On me.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 04 Sept. 2001
in Ritual

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