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My First Pull

When we first heard about Hell City, we went to their web site and discovered that Steve Haworth and Life Suspended would be doing pulls, and wanted experienced volunteers to participate. Since CrimsonMane has suspended before, she decided to try and participate. Since I had only done rigging and piercing, I didn't know if I qualified to participate, and besides, the thought of it scared the hell out of me.

When we arrived at the con, we contacted security, who put CM in touch with Steve. He sent Eric down to talk with us. He took down CM's info, and then asked me if I wanted to participate. It was one of those moments where life shrinks to a singularity. The thought of doing my first pull in front of over 1000 people was daunting, but I knew that I would probably regret it forever if I chose not to do it. I said yes, that I would like to. CM and I would be pulling against each other.

When we went upstairs to see Steve and get ready, we found that the piercing would be done in an adjacent room, and that we were early. We ended up chatting with Steve, Beki, and Eric while we waited. CM helped Eric prep a batch of pull ropes, and we passed the CM show book around. When everything was ready, we all went next door.

The room was already full of the other participants and piercers. There were over 20 people in a typical 2 double bed hotel room. It was very hot, and the anticipation was palpable. I was the 6th or 7th person to be prepped. John, who marked me, told me that I have very thick skin, and that he and Steve would pierce me.

The markings were made on my upper back with gentian violet on a toothpick, and the area was cleaned with Technicare. I sat in a folding chair, facing the back of it, and leaning on a pillow. I was pretty nervous, but CM's assurances based on all of her suspension piercings were very helpful, as was her presence during all of this. The 8 gauge hooks were socketed into the backs of piercing needles, and were lubed with surgilube.

Steve and John got into position to pierce, while Eric helped pinch up my skin. On my exhale, they pierced simultaneously. I could tell that they were having trouble getting the needles through my skin. It was painful, moreso than a frenum piercing, but not as much as a nipple. My hooks were in place.

Eric snapped the clips of my rope through the eyelets of the hooks, and handed me the other end. I was advised by several other participants to give my rope a few test pulls. This is where I began to have a problem. I became light headed and started sweating profusely. I was given a cold wash rag for my neck, and given orange juice to drink. I sat down for a while, and pondered whether or not I thought that I would pass out if I did the pull. I was offerred to place one of CM's hooks, but I didn't trust the steadiness of my hand to do it. Instead, I held her hand as she was pierced, as she had held mine when I was. I started feeling a little better, and after I was given a glucose tablet, all of my dizziness went away. We all put our shirts back on, and headed down to the stage.

We assembled backstage, and took our shirts off, and hooked our ropes to each other. We were announced, and we all poured onstage at once, and began pulling. The crowd was going wild, I was told that of the 2000+ con attendees, over 800 were watching the performance. Loud techno music was playing, and 8 pairs of us were pulling. It was intense. Steve and a few others stood by with gauze to staunch any extreme bleeding, as well as making sure everyone was doing ok. CM and I pulled on each other with steady pressure, but a number of people were jumping and jerking. I have no idea how long we pulled. Several pairs of us were finished before the group pull, and we simply faded to the back of the stage and watched the others. The group pull in turn eventually faded down to just one pair.

As we trooped en masse back up to the prep room to have our hooks removed, the rush I was feeling is very hard to describe: Adrenaline, endorphins, and a strong sense of pride in my ability to face my fear. Eric removed my hooks, after lubing the ends and cleaning the dried blood away. My left side had bled more, and was definately the more uncomfortable of the two. Eric pushed the trapped air out of the channels left by the hooks. I told him that I had brought a bottle of Provon with me, and would be using it to clean the wounds.

I made a donation to Life Suspended, and kept my hooks. They are hanging from the ceiling in my rec room. Every time I see them, I remember the rush.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 17 Sept. 2002
in Ritual

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Artist: Steve+Haworth
Studio: Hell+City+Tattoo+Festival
Location: Columbus%2C+OH

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