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Realization of Self

I went to the concert of a local Tempe, Az band in the spring of 2002, whereupon I witnessed a suspension performance during the last song. It was a guy hanging upside down, with hooks inserted above the knees, and the rig he was connected to allowed for the lead singer to spin him around and around. The song had to have been at least 12 minutes long, but the gentleman appeared to dig it immensely, and the effect of the music, the live performance, and the suspension rooted me in place. I hadn't seen anything more intimate and entertaining or beautiful in a long time.

I knew instantly that it was for me. Other than music, I had no other means of self-exploration or insight that made any sense handed to me during my lifecourse....no religions screamed to me truthfully. I knew that my self-inflictions were considered 'wrong' and damaging...but I never knew why. Those were not focused. Those were wasted moments.  I had been hedonistic at times during my life, in the hope of Something happening, but never did anything jump out at me and welcome me with open arms than this realization. This moment. Clarity.

Being acquainted with the band, I was invited to an afterparty,  where I met the person who performed the suspension. I explained my immediate urge to do such a thing. He asked me about my pain tolerance, and I explained that I have had piercings in my nipples and other places. and admitted to some self-inflicted scars. I have always been interested in piercings and tattoos, with many plans to pursue multiple of each. I had never even really heard of body modification at this point.  He explained to me the effects of suspensions, what it held for him personally, and informed me of who was responsible for setting these gigs up. This is where I heard of Steve Haworth, and for the first time.

A few weeks later, after much questioning on the whereabouts (unsuccessfully) of said Steve Haworth, on July 15th 2002, I found myself dragged to an afterparty at a downtown Phoenix underground hangout. The scheduled entertainment was to begin with fire-breathing and a flesh-hook tug of war. Hearing that the very difficult-to-get-ahold of Steve would be in the house, so to speak, I set about with the full intention of running into him. I can be very aggressive when I want to do something.

After finding him and introducing myself, and realizing he is probably a very busy man with a lot on his agenda that did not include dealing with a non-experienced want-to-be body mod-der. He immediately took control of the conversation, and he had more patience and politeness in one look than most people can achieve with their best and most careful behavior. He said that he actually had brought extra hooks for just such an opportunity, and as soon as we could find me a partner, I could participate in a tug of war.

There were 150-200 people in the crowd to witness as I and another first-time tugger went in opposite directions, pulling slowly but firmly, feeling each other out and testing each other's weaknesses and strengths.  It was amazing. We must have tugged for almost twenty minutes, whereupon we stopped, seemingly exhausted. The rush was amazing. I felt like a pilot in the ship of my body, controlling it from inside, but not necessarily at one with the fleshy shell. I felt removed. Numb. Complete. I didn't want to stop, so Steve held the ropes, and with the help of my previous tug partner holding my hands, I pulled Steve along the stage. He asked the crowd for someone who could hold his ground, and a person who had to have been easily 200lbs volunteered. Again, with the assistance of somebody holding my hands, I continued to drag THAT person along as well. I was impressed with myself, and had never known how much resolve I had in me. I am so happy I have that experience on video  tape.

Just last week, almost one year later, I contacted Steve because I am making plans to move to Seattle. I refreshed his memory on who I was, and asked about doing an actual suspension. He said he could pull something together that very weekend, and he did.  It was an even more beautiful and solidifying experience, and I am going to make the Suspension Arts a large part of my lifestyle from now on, even going so far as to hopefully join up with a Suspension-oriented entertainment crew in the NorthWest. I have- (with my one and only suspension experience)- inspired two acquaintences of mine to experience this elite form of self-exploration. I believe there may be many individuals out there who crave this exploration of self and are lacking at the proper vehicle, and all they need is to be exposed to it; to understand and learn about it.

It took me a year, but I finally realized: I AM.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 April 2003
in Ritual

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Artist: Steve+Haworth
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Location: Phoenix%2C+Az

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