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The Ultimate Cure

OK, so I promised to tell about my suspension as soon as I could put words to it, and you haven't seen anything yet. Well, the truth is, I haven't forgotten about it (and never will), but I still can't put words to it. I'll try now, though... Brett and I arrived at Shannon's house at about 1:45pm. There were about 10 people there, and I'd never met any of them in person. Gradually, I got to talking to a few, then more, and eventually made quite a few friends. The friendships are, hopefully, going to last as long as my cure. Phil introduced himself, then we went around the group (about 25 or so by now) and everyone introduced him/herself and what they were doing that day. Already the air was charged with anticipation, not to say at least a bit of anxiety, nervousness, and even fear. When we were done, the first of the day's curees went up. As more and more people went up, people got closer and closer to each other. The environment got more and more positive. Finally, it was Brett's turn to go up, and I was going to follow him. I lay down to get pierced, and they cleaned and marked me for a 10-point superman suspension. They did the piercings in pairs, with the left and right one done together. Brett was down by now, and holding my hands. I was getting really nervous, but not about the piercings. I was nervous about the suspension itself. I had no idea what was about to hit me. The first pair of piercings was over my shoulder blades. They hurt, but not too bad. I figured I could take another 8 like that. The next pair was mid-back. Those hurt more, but it was ok. I was really not looking forward to the ones on my legs. I expected those to hurt really bad. Some people are so afraid of those ones that they use hooks in their backs and straps on their legs. I wanted all hooks, though, so on we went. The third pair of piercings were right over my kidneys, and those HURT!!! My memories get a bit vague here, I'm afraid. I remember intense pain that didn't go away. I remember the needles going through, and the hooks following them. I remember breathing hard through tightly clenched teeth. I remember people asking me if I was ok, and at first I sorta said something like "yes, give me a minute". Then they kept asking me, and I couldn't respond. Then I was sorta going limp, and not able to talk. I could hear people, but it was kinda like they were talking in the background, not to me. I couldn't respond at all, then I didn't care that I couldn't respond. I think there was a gap in my memory here, because the next thing I remember, I had a big, partially dissolved block of glucose in my mouth, and a straw being held up to my mouth. I heard someone say, "It's ok. Just let it slowly dissolve." At the time, I thought she was saying it to me, but now I think she was saying it to Brett. I probably should have chewed it, but didn't really have the energy yet, anyway. The next day, I realized that I had probably passed out here. I asked Brett, but he said I hadn't, but that I was pretty much out of it for about 5 minutes. I'm not sure, but I do appreciate my brain turning off for a bit until the pain subsided. This pain was easily much worse than the pain from my implants, which was pretty serious pain, itself. Several people came over in the next few minutes asking if I was ok, asking if I wanted to go on, asking if I wanted to use straps for my legs, telling me there was no commitment, and definitely no shame if I wanted to use straps, or even quit at that point. I really wanted to go up, though, and I really wanted to do it with all hooks. I just kept responding that I just needed a minute. I don't know how many minutes I took, but I think I went through a lot of them before I was ready to go on. I later heard that I was swearing a lot when I was pierced, and on the way up. I honestly don't remember any of that, but I suspect it was the third set of piercings that started it. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do another 4 piercings or not, but I knew I could do at least one more pair. I asked which pair was best, in case I could only do one more pair, for my legs. When people went up on straps, the straps were on their thighs. When Brett went up with only one pair of hooks in his legs, though, they were through his calves. Someone told me (I don't remember who, I wasn't in my best frame of mind), that my calves were best, if I could only do one more pair, so that's where we went next. Brett had gone to get his hooks out, so I had a few other people come over and help me though them. Blair and Orbax, among others. The fourth pair of piercings went in. They hardly hurt at all! I needed a few minutes after these, though, since I was still pretty trashed from the third set, but then we went on for the next set. Those went pretty well, too, and hurt less than all but the calves. I now had all 10 hooks in! I was ready to go up, just as soon as I could stand up, which took a few more minutes. I moved over to the suspension rig and they roped me up. Brett had his hooks out, and both Brett and Blair were there to coach me through it. I would have never made it up if it weren't for them. They asked me if I wanted to go up all at once, or add tension a little at a time. I said I wanted to add tension a little at a time, so I could get used to it. I'm wondering if this was the right decision. It took 5 steps for me to get off the cot, fully into the air. Each step agonizing pain. At least one or two of the steps, I think, close to passing out. Close to going back into shock. Shaking badly. A couple times, crying, as much from what I was about to accomplish as the pain, I think. Finally, with my legs already off the cot a bit, and not feeling much weight left on it, up I went! More pain, but only for another minute or so. The pain gradually dropped off, over the next few minutes, until eventually, it was only a feeling of pressure, and a slight pinprick of pain. As I relaxed into it (my muscles were all pretty tight going up, I tend to tense up really bad), I began to really feel great. I asked for the bottle of Sprite, but couldn't reach into my pocket for the straw (I was prepared! I brought a straw, since I knew I wouldn't be able to drink straight from the bottle while suspended). Someone got it for me, and I put it in the bottle, but it was too short! I still couldn't drink. Well, being a semi-retired caver, I knew how to drink from a bottle in any position, including lying down, so I was able to empty it. Someone commented that it took a bottle of Sprite to get me to release my hold on my friends. Really, I was about ready to be free anyway, but I was feeling so much love I just didn't care. Once free, though, it was great! I was up for, I hear, about 25-30 minutes. During that time, I had this incredibly stupid smile on my face the whole time. It was great up there swinging, having people walk under me, just having fun. I could have stayed up all day. While I was up, Phil showed me some of the pictures he'd taken. Corey, one of the most incredible people I met that day, showed me the pictures he'd taken with my digital camera, too. The nice thing about digital, you get to see it immediately. He got some great shots! One, especially, I love. It's the main picture in my IAM page, and I have a blown up 8x10, matted, hanging in my office (where it keeps freaking people out when they see it, hehehe). When I saw that the next person was ready to go up, though, I came down. I had already taken longer than anyone else to pierce, and I think longer than anyone else to get up in the air, and I was up longer than anyone else so far, too, I think, so I said I was ready to come down. Phil came over to me before I came down and asked if I knew what was going to happen when I came down. I didn't, so he told me it was going to feel like I'd just had 200 pounds of sand dumped on my back. The feeling wasn't painful, and wasn't really even all that uncomfortable, just really weird, but it'd go away in a couple minutes. I landed on the cot with my face straight down into it, and didn't care. Gravity, which had been ignored for the last half-hour, suddenly realized its mistake, got really pissed at me, and imposed itself again. Suddenly, I knew exactly what 200 pounds of sand being dumped on my back felt like. I couldn't move. The cord tying me up was cut off, and in a few minutes, I was able to stand again. Shaky, but standing. I had done it! I can't really describe the feelings. The emotions were intense. A combination of happiness, joy, accomplishment, love...especially love, I think. I loved everyone there, and they all loved me. People were coming over to me and congratulating me, and I'd say thanks, smile, start to cry, and launch at them with really intense hugs. I hugged more people that day than I've hugged the rest of my life put together, I think. It was great. I was laughing, crying, smiling, and having one of the most positive, intense experiences of my life. I was truly cured. About a half-hour, maybe 45 minutes later, I was ready to get my hooks out. They didn't hurt bad coming out, but then trying to massage the air out hurt again. That didn't last long, though, then a few bits of gauze, some tape, and I was done. Still intensely positive, still not able to talk about it without at least a few tears, and still occasionally hugging people, whether they wanted it or not. I think I had what must have been the longest prep for a suspension of the day, and from what I hear, probably the loudest prep, too. Quite a few people who were watching told me that watching me go through it was intensely emotional for them, too, and I'm really glad I had the positive people there to share it with me. In my opinion, though, the most intense suspension of the day was Corey's suicide suspension. I pushed myself near my limits, but didn't go over them. Corey went further. He went through the piercings without even a twitch. He went up, and his feet just barely cleared the ground when he passed out. He was out about 5 minutes, and came back gradually. He wasn't up long, but that doesn't matter. He wasn't up very far, but that doesn't matter either. He made it up, so he proved to himself and the world that he's the master of himself. Actually, everyone who wanted to go up that day made it up. Everyone who wanted to pull did a pull. For a lot of us, it was a first. For most of us, it was one of the most intense experiences of our lives. For all of us, it's something we'll always remember. Eventually, it was time for us to leave. There were still a few suspensions left, but both Brett and I were pretty emotionally burned out for the day. We gathered our stuff, said our good-byes, promised to stay in touch with our new friends, and headed back to the truck. We got back to the motel, took showers, and Brett found he still had a bit of air in his back. I checked, and found a lot of air, actually. He called Phil, who told him it's not dangerous, but would probably hurt in the morning. Speaking of the next morning, I left a bit of blood on the pillowcase and sheets. Not a lot, just a few little spots. Weird thing is, every time I stay in this motel, I always leave a bit of blood, either from freshly irritated ears, or genital implants, or suspensions. Wonder if they ever realized it's the same guy who keeps doing this to them. The next day, I got up and started to drive home. Part way there, I realized that I wanted to go to Niagara Falls. It's a place I can go when I'm really stressed, and it always relaxes me, and it's only about a half hour or so out of my way, anyway. I wasn't at all stressed now, just the opposite, but I figured if it was good when I was really stressed, just think what it would do for me now. I was already past the roads to go there, but I found another one (no, I didn't have a map, but I have a great sense of direction), and made it down there quickly. For the first time ever, it did absolutely nothing for me. I was already entirely positive. There was no room for anything more. I didn't stay long, and soon headed home. On the way home, every time I thought about what I had done, I'd get this really intense smile on my face. I started crying a bit a few times, and, just once, while driving on 401 east of London, I spent about 15-20 minutes where I couldn't even form a single word. I couldn't say anything, and I couldn't even get a word, any word, to form in my head. I finally made it home, drained but intensely happy. Since then, I've been mostly very happy, and also, I think, a bit more empathic. I was a bit down on Sunday, but only for maybe 6 or 8 hours. Everything seems somehow more intense for me, and from what I hear, it'll stay that way forever. Most of the people at work who have seen the pictures think I'm crazy, but the respect me for being able to go through with it. My friends aren't really surprised that I did it, and just want to know how it felt. I really wish I could explain it, but no one's made the words yet. Maybe there are no words that can ever describe it. It needs to be experienced to be understood. So will I do it again? Definitely! I want to do a few things differently, though. First, I want to eat 2-3 hours before I go up. Due to a variety of circumstances, it had been about 10 hours or so since I'd last eaten. This, of course, led to at least a part of my pain, and also to nearly passing out a few times. Second, I want to change the order of the piercings. Upper back, middle back, calves, thighs, lower back. Third, I want to just plan for a half-hour or so between finishing the piercings and doing the suspension. Maybe do someone else's suspension in between? Fourth, I think I want to just go straight up, instead of increasing the tension in stages. I think there's more of a risk of passing out from the intense pain or intense endorphins, but the pain will be over a lot faster. Fifth, I want to be able to stay up a lot longer. Basically, I want to stay up until I hit physical or psychological limits. I don't know how long this will be, but I expect a couple hours, maybe. I want to try to get into the trance-like state many people have experienced while suspended, maybe try meditation while suspended? But even with the things I'd change next time, it was still an incredibly intense experience, and I wouldn't have changed a thing for this one. I've only mentioned a few of the people involved here. There are many, many more. Everyone there, really, helped to make it such a positive experience for me. Hopefully, I helped them have a more positive experience, too. I really look forward to seeing everyone again, hopefully soon. My next chance will be at the Labor Day BBQ for many of my new friends. At least on-line, for the rest.

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

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Artist: I+Was+Cured
Studio: Shannon%27s+back+yard
Location: Toronto

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