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Solidification of Self

Almost exactly one year after I had done a flesh tug at a reputable underground venue in Phoenix, Arizona by Steve Haworth (see story "Realization of Self" by user Solipsist666 [Vanishing Man]), I was making plans to move back to my hometown of Seattle. I had wanted to do an actual suspension since before that landmark day, and that event bolstered my desire tenfold. Knowing that I may not be able to see Steve again for a few months, I called him up and explained who I was, and my desire to suspend before my departure. He seemed to remember me, which is impressive considering the sheer number

of people he speaks with throughout the year. He told me that he had been talking with a couple others who wanted to suspend that very weekend, and he could arrange for me to be a part of that - no problem.

I only wanted to bring a couple of close personal friends to this occasion, as this was to be a confirmation to me - in my own mind, body, and spirit - of what I was becoming. I knew it would solidify me in my new lifestyle and religious choice, and only a few of my acquaintances were aware of how important it would be to me. Having little money, we purchased some disposable cameras, not owning that a digital camera would be present to capture it all.

Brooke, Audrey and I arrived on time at the location at 8:30pm. Steve had the four-hook rig set up; not the 'Superman', 10 or 12-hook setup that I was expecting. When asked if this was alright, I eagerly responded that I had no problems with it. I was not going to allow something like that alter my experience for the worse, only for the better.

More pain, but more freedom.

We met a couple other reverends of the Church of Body Modification, Rev. Luis most notably. He was very friendly, and we conversed about my relocation to Seattle and some people I could contact upon my move so as to keep in touch with the Modified community. Many people were there, including Levi, a long-time acquaintance of mine. For the past year, had been some bad blood between us concerning events better left withheld here, but since we both were to go up that night for our first time, we put everything aside, and actually befriended one another. Levi had been awaiting this night for much longer than I, and I was not going to ruin it for anyone. We found we had a lot in common and many ideas were shared concerning the suspension arts. Our acquaintanceship had turned into friendship almost overnight.

About an hour later, after socializing with some people and watching another go up for their first time, Steve asked if I was ready. I practically ran into the house to get my hooks in. I couldn't wait. When asked what music to listen to, I immediately responded that I wanted Dead Can Dance. I had known this already, being one of my favorite musical influences, and a excellent mood-setter.

Laying on the table, with Steve guiding me to relax and breathe; the feeling of the hooks going into my flesh was a rush: two 6g needles at a time, four piercings in all; it is an intense feeling. I felt like a ton of bricks was lifted from my soul. After the hooks were in, I writhed my back a little to test the tension I felt between my shoulders. It was like a sunburn, but no more painful than that. I was smiling the whole time.

Then when Dead Can Dance started kicking in, and I knew my moment had come. I asked if I could remove my shoes, as I wanted to be barefoot for the occasion. I hurried outside, you would think that something I normally would view as sacred and ritualistic would call for some somber march or something, but I was so excited I could not help myself. This is what I had wanted every day for a whole year. I had dreams about this very moment on numerous occasions.

Stretching into the hooks, bending my knees to get adjusted, they eased upwards on the crank; I told them after a few seconds to go ahead and crank it up. Getting that last toe off of the Mother's earthen flesh was the hardest thing...that is when you know your true weight value. I ascended fairly quickly for a first-timer, and I noticed that for the first time in my life, I had no clue what to do with my legs...you don't really need them up there. It felt free, and painful, and soothing all at once. It wasn't long before I began to swing, and asked to be spun around...I danced and tried to get as much out of the experience as possible; Steve pushed me around in large sweeping circles... I put out my arms like I was flying and circled with great momentum, and then he taught me how to make myself spin quickly. I felt beautiful. Free. Dead Can Dance, friends, bonfire, and the moonlit sky...

Steve asked me how I felt, if I was doing alright, and made sure the experience was saturated with his expertise and calmness; I felt completely whole, and said as much. Steve made things go very smoothly. He looked at me and told me that it was very rare for anyone to do the things I was doing during their first suspension. I got the impression he was honestly impressed.

I was up for almost a half hour, I think...but it felt shorter than that...

It was the exquisite dizziness from spinning, not pain, that became almost too unbearable. I had spent a lot of energy in moving around and I felt that it was time to come down, lest I get woozy and ruin the experience for myself.

Nobody had a video camera, and the digital camera of Steve's lost battery power when I was up, so no digital pictures would be available. This didn't disappoint me, as the experience will forever be imprinted in the stone of my memories. The disposable camera pictures would do, to mark the occasion to others should I want to share it with those who were not present.

The most amazing part of the evening in my mind is that while watching my suspension, my friend Brooke decided she wanted to go up. We asked Steve if this was a problem, and he readily agreed to put her up as well. Knowing that I helped inspire someone to do this thing is one of the best feelings. She did an amazing job, seeing as she had never before considered going up, and I believe that the event has changed her in some very powerful and personal ways.

Levi did very well his first time; he impressed myself and others by lifting a girl while on his hooks, adding what was likely a good 110 lbs. to the weight on the hooks. Very impressive, indeed.

A few people were there to get suspended their first time, and some who had done it numerous times, like Cory, who has suspended more times than just about anyone I know. He did a tug of war with another person, then suspended from the same two hooks already in his back.

The night could not have gone better in my opinion. It definitely was all I had hoped it would be. Since that night, I have decided that this lifestyle and religion have chosen me. I am forever grateful to Steve Haworth and his friends and crew for sharing these experiences with me and opening my eyes and the eyes of my beloved friends to a new way of self-exploration.

I would like to suspend on a regular basis, perhaps encouraging or inspiring others who are afraid of these arts or unaware of the value of Realization through Flesh to experience something new and possibly very rewarding. These Fleshy shells of ours are both a hindrance and an empowering key in helping us understand that we are something other than just that, other than the mere physical.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 06 June 2003
in Ritual

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Artist: Steve+Haworth
Studio: Not+Applicable
Location: Phoenix%2C+Arizona

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