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I tend to keep my promises

I tend to keep my promises. In September of 2001, I had the pleasure of attending Sean Phillip's BBQ Social. It was the fateful day I met Bruce AKA Dr. Scorpio which would start me on the path to being spiritually healthy and happy.
I was attending the Social primarily to meet some really beautiful people from IAM and to support my friend Bill while he did his first Pull. I will admit to the same close-minded thoughts people who are ignorant of the Ritual Aspects of Body Modification would have. I could not fathom why he would want to do something like that. I thought of it as mutilation and something that was done on Ripley's for entertainment purposes.
It was something he was adamant about doing, and I will admit to be morbidly curious. So I sent Instant Messages to Sean and he answered all of my questions and seemed to be a very patient and competent professional. Finally the social arrived and I made the five hour trip with Bill, Lisa and Justin to Baltimore. I watched carefully as he was prepped, pierced and rigged. I became more and more comfortable with what was happening with him. He didn't appear to be in any horrible amounts of pain, he was in good spirits and very excited. That day I discovered that Pulling was nothing I had thought. It was one of the most beautiful and amazing things I had ever witnessed. I remember the excitement of everyone who watched and the content and happy expressions of the participant's faces, the intense energy in the atmosphere and most of all the extremes that the human body can withstand.

I remember standing there, taking pictures and watching. It was then I decided it I was beautiful. I wanted to do it. I can't remember who said what to whom, but I know that I agreed to do my First Pull with Bruce.

The chance to pull came before I expected it to. However, I had every intention of keeping my promise to pull when Bruce was ready. I got the message that he was ready and going to set the date, only a month after my first I actually did my First Pull. We set the date and I began to prep myself mentally for it. The week before our scheduled Pull, the chance fell in my lap to Suspend. I didn't think twice and I did. Afterwards, doubts plagued my mind about doing the Pull so soon after Suspending? Everyone I spoke with told me I would be fine, to take care of my wounds and to rest. However, the person who I trust and respected the most took me aside and told me, "If you get up there and the hooks are in and you decide it doesn't feel right, then don't do it. Only do it if you are ready. You will know" No matter how much those words should have comforted my fears, they made them worse. I did not want to let Bruce or any of my friends in Baltimore down. They certainly weren't pressuring me, but they were expecting me to come up. Bruce was also confident he could get an alternate in case I couldn't. But I am stubborn and the plans were made, a couple of friends had agreed to ride up with me in case I had complications and needed someone to drive back. I became more excited and I thought about the differences. Bruce had chosen to do a back pull and it was going to be during the day. My first Pull we were connected by our chests and it was at night. I couldn't help but wonder how different it was going to be. What kind of hooks would we use? What would it be like not to see my partner? Should I set the pace or should I let him?
They also backed out two days before I was supposed to go. I had made up my mind that I was going to do the Pull no matter what, nothing was going to stop me. If I had to make the trip alone, then so be it. I was stubborn and determined. Fortunately the night before I left, my friend Kenny came through and said he would ride up with me. So we made the trip minus the directions (I had left them on the table at home), and I had to call Bruce. Bruce's directions confused the hell out of me, and ironically got him lost. The also got me lost. However, someway... somehow I recognized the area of Glen Burnie we ended up in, and with a quick call to Sean, discovered I was only minutes from his house.
Sean wasn't home when we got there, so we went to Marley Station to waste time. There we saw April and Sean leaving the Mall. That's when the excitement and nervousness kicked in. Any fear that I had was gone. I was definitely feeling a craving and I knew I was ready.
Arriving at Sean's house, I was warmly welcomed by Cynthia, Amanda, April and Bruce. Jason also was there, and Sean had him busy prepping the procedure room and taking the garbage out. We relaxed awhile and finally he called Bruce in to get pierced. I went in to watch, because I wanted to take pictures and this time I paid closer attention to how he set hooks.
Bruce took a few minutes to get used to the hooks and then it was my turn. Jason assisted and I have to mention that this kid definitely has what it takes to be a piercer or even a doctor. He has a great bedside manner and he is very gentle and reassuring. Sean had me get comfortable on the table, massaged my back to get a good pinch and we were ready. I will give Sean many props. My back was still a bit raw from the Suspension, but somehow he totally avoided touching my wounds. The pain was surprisingly minimal and he had the hooks set very quickly. Then we had to decide where to pull. On the way up, we ran into snow and the weather was quite miserable. However, Bruce and I thought we were tough and could handle a little cold. So outside we go, Bruce shirtless and me in a vinyl tanktop. Sean hooked the ropes and Amanda took my shaking hands. She gently guided me away from Bruce and we shivered and laughed as the ropes got tight.
I would like to quickly point out, that this was nothing like my first Pull. Yes I had hooks in me, but that's where the similarities ended. The first time was definitely intense with spirituality. This time it was intense with laughter! The pain was minimal, but I think it had to do with the fact that we were half numb from the cold. I really couldn't tell you how far apart we were, but truthfully I know Bruce was holding back from trying to hurt me. Sean continued to make the mood light and a few times flicked the cords to send delightful shivers down our backs. Which in turn made me laugh more. It's the creepiest most amazing feeling to feel your muscles spasm around the hooks when you laugh or tense. I would almost call it erotic. Finally someone got the bright idea to move to the side of the house, to block the wind and to make the cold a little bit more bearable. Instead it began to snow. I am sure I was turning pale from lack of warmth and I kept hoping the endorphins would kick in and heat us up a bit. Finally we gave up and headed inside for warmth. Though it felt like we were out there forever, I suspect it was only five or ten minutes. Inside there was warmth and the search for another space to Pull without loosing a limb to frost bite. We quickly ruled out the living room and the kitchen. The procedure room would work only if minimal people were in there. Amanda got that familiar animalistic almost sexual look on her face, and both Bruce and I decided that we wanted to pull against her. Sean then set the hooks in Amanda, and Bruce called dibs. They hooked up together and I would swear that those two look like they were involved in some kind of weird hook sex act.
Finally I was warmed up and I got my chance to pull with Amanda. This woman is so incredibly hardcore and beautiful, that I felt very lucky to have the chance to pull with her. She had hooks in her chest, while mine were in my back. I secretly wished I had chosen the chest pull because I wanted to see the looks on her face and to see the skin stretch away from our chests. Instead we got in opposite corners of the room and started pulling apart. Amanda was serving as an anchor and kept me from falling face first into the corner.
Not a minute into the Pull, I knew something was wrong. However I continued to be stubborn, I didn't want a short meaningless Pull. I said nothing when I felt lightheaded. I remember Amanda asking me if I was all right and I said I was. Then a few moments later Sean asked and I didn't say anything. Kenny said something about me not looking too good. Sean asked again if I was all right and it took me a few seconds to respond. I don't recall actually stopping, but by then I was feeling very nauseous and I was trembling.
They didn't waste any time getting me unhooked and on the table. Amanda held my hands as Sean removed the hooks and she gave me sugar tablets. I lay there for a few moments before I could sit back up. Amanda promised that we would pull again the next time we saw each other, which definitely made me feel better.
I went into the living room to rest and gather my wits. As it was getting dark, I decided to go and head back home. I still didn't feel all that great, but we stopped along the way and had a good solid meal. Then the realization that I had pulled not once but twice with two great people kicked in and I was totally wired and made the trip home clear-headed and safe. Driving ten hours to spend such a short time pulling was well worth it. I would gladly, do it again in a heartbeat.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 April 2002
in Ritual

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Artist: Sean+Phillips
Studio: In+the+Cold
Location: Glenn+Burnie

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