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Stretching myself to new levels.

This is the story of my first suspension, a four-point suicide suspension. I'm really pleased at finally being able to write this experience, and I have many people to thank for it, but I'll get to that in time. For now, I'll start at the beginning, and what led me to having the experience.

I'm from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and I've lived there my entire life. A month ago, however, my uncle invited me to come stay with him for a little while in Calgary, Alberta. I jumped at the opportunity, because I had no real plans for the summer: no job, no band, and I wasn't seeing anyone at the time. In short, I had nothing holding me back. After agreeing to come to Calgary, the first thing I did was I hopped on my computer to seek out some people in Calgary on IAM.BME. I met this one really cool girl, Liz. She was a vegan also, and I was happy to find that out, because I was worried it would be hard to find vegan friends out here.

We kept in touch, and at one point she told me that she was going to be letting Vegan Jonny and Badur (two more vegans) stay at her place during the Calgary leg of their IAM:Cured Tour 2003. This intrigued me a lot, mainly because it would be interesting to meet more IAM members, but also because she was intending on having a "BME party" to celebrate the event.

Yesterday, the day of the party, Liz gave me the directions to her house and I hopped on a bus to get there. On the way, I pondered over what would be happening at this party. I hadn't had a very good time in Calgary since I arrived, so I figured this would probably be a high point to the trip. I was right, but I had no clue how right just yet.

When I got off the bus, Liz met me at the stop, and we started walking to her house. It was at this point that she asked me if I would be interested in doing a suspension or some pulling at her house. I told her I'd love to, because I had always wanted to do one, I just never really had the opportunity to.

We arrived back at her house, I was introduced to everyone there: the two guys on tour, as well as fellow BME members .BettyBondage., A//POLITICAL, and Deus Ex Machina. After a couple of hours, we decided to start setting up the rig in Liz's garage. Jonny and Badur had everything in their bags: a pulley system, the actual suspension rig, fresh rope, sterile suspension hooks in Defend pouches, gloves, face masks, and cleaning solution. They hooked the rig up to a crossbeam in Liz's garage, and I went to get some fruit juice from the kitchen.

By the time I got back, they were already hooking up the other guy doing a suspension, Sean. He was doing a four-point suicide suspension as well. After about half an hour, he was back down, and unhooked, and they had prepared everything to get started on me. They handed me a release form to read and sign, in which I would state which type of suspension I was doing, list any allergies, illnesses, and how much alcohol I had consumed in the past 24 hours. I wrote in that it would be a four-point suicide suspension, that I have no allergies or illnesses, and that I hadn't had anything to drink recently. I'm not a drinker at all, so it really wasn't an issue.

Now it was time to begin the procedure.

I'll admit I was a little nervous. I had never been pierced more than once in one sitting, and now I was about to get four 10g needles put into my back, each followed by an 8g suspension hook. Then of course, there would be the actual suspension, but I figured I'd worry about one thing at a time.

I sat down in a chair, and Jonny briefed me through the procedure. First he would pinch my back at various heights, to see where it hurt the least, after that he would mark the four entry and exit points for the hooks, and finally he would pierce my back and insert each hook, giving me two deep breaths for each piercing. I told him that I understood, and he pinched my back at three different heights I said that the middle felt the most comfortable. He then took out a marker and marked the centre of my back, and then two lines on either side of the centre, each about 3 inches apart, as reference points for where he would pierce.

After that he said it was time for the piercings, as soon as I was ready. I told him I was ready, figuring there was no point in delaying the procedure. He prepared the hooks, essentially screwing each hook into the base of each needle, to make the piercing and insertion of the hooks into one fluid motion. Then he grabbed the first area, squeezed it together lightly with his hands and told me to breathe when ready. I took in a breath, and he said "First inhale". I exhaled, and he said "First exhale", took in my second breath, he announced it, and then I started my second exhale. He said, "Second exhale and... pierce".

It went through very fast and smoothly, only pinching me slightly. That was good. As he prepared to insert the second hook, Liz asked if she could take a picture. Jonny was fine with it, asking only that she take it after he pierced through. Liz was using my digital camera, taking pictures for me. I am very thankful for her help.

At this point, Jonny pinched the second area, and again said to breathe when I was ready. We went through the process again, and on the second exhale, he pierced through. This time it hurt a lot more. I think it had more to do with the part of my back he was piercing rather than the fact that it was the first time I had two successive piercings. We talked about that a bit, Jonny seemed to agree with my hypothesis.

As he prepared to insert the third hook, Liz crouched in front of me to take a face shot. When the third needle went through, always during the second deep exhale, she snapped a picture. I looked really focused, but obviously in pain in the picture. Jonny had the fourth hook ready, I took my breaths, and it was in. It was much less painful than the second and third, probably a combination of it being on the outer edge of my back, and the endorphins running through my system. Whatever it was, I was elated. I was already beginning to feel the rush I had read about that comes from suspension rituals.

I walked around for a couple of minutes, just to get used to the feeling of the hooks in my back, and when I felt ready, I walked across the room to the suspension rig. Jonny attached the ropes to my hooks, and started talking me through the process. Badur would hold the rope that was attached to the pulley holding the rig, and I would stand with Jonny. Jonny told he to hold his hands and walk back and forth slowly, rising on to my toes at the front and back of my arc. Each time I would get to the back end of my swing, Badur would pull a little harder. He asked me how many times I wanted to swing before he gave me enough pull to get off the ground. I said four or five. Jonny said okay, and to start whenever I was ready.

I took a few more deep breaths, and started bending my knees a bit, to stretch the skin a little before starting. After a minute or so of stretching, I started walking backwards, then forwards a couple of times. It was a really soothing rocking motion, very relaxing. I continued my focused breathing, knowing that breathing is the key to staying clear-headed, especially in a situation like this.

By the fourth or fifth swing, I was standing on the tips of my toes, as Badur was still pulling the rope tighter each time. So I took the final step and lifted my legs. The next few moments were quite intense. I felt a rush of pain to my back, but not exactly a bad pain, just something I had never felt before. It was unlike anything. Sort of a cross between burning and skin-tearing, but not even close. I didn't realize it at first, but I was squeezing Jonny's arms really hard at this point. My muscles in my arms were very tensed, and at the time, I really thought I was supporting weight with my arms. Jonny told me to keep breathing (I had lost track of doing that), and when I did, I realized that I really wasn't doing anything by holding his arms. I let go of him, and relaxed my arm muscles. In doing that, I also relaxed my back muscles a bit, which helped a lot.

After a little while, what felt like a minute at the most, I asked to be let down. I was enjoying it, but my spine was getting really sore, they let me down enough to get the front of my foot against the floor. Jonny rubbed my back between the hooks, along my spine, it felt really good, but sore at the same time. We all talked a lot, and Badur said that the worst part was almost over. Once the top layers of skin separate from the underlying muscles, I'd be fine. So I tried bending my knees more to continue the separation process, and then Badur started talking to me, having a conversation while he added tension to the rope.

I got to the point where I just had to lift my feet, and stayed there for a couple of minutes on the tips of my toes, which were not really supporting me at all, except psychologically. But by this point, I was just too mentally exhausted to continue, so I asked to be let down again. Once I had my feet firmly on the ground, they asked me if I was sure I wanted to stop. I told them that while I was enjoying it immensely, I hadn't eaten very much all day, not realizing I would be performing a suicide suspension that night. It was making it hard to focus, and I didn't have the right nutrients in my system to handle it. They agreed that it was probably better that I stop, if that's what my body was telling me.

As I was talking with a couple of the people in the room, Jonny cut the rope holding me to the rig. He told me that I could move, but I didn't quite hear him, I was still a little dazed. So he said it again, and I laughed, realizing I had heard him the first time but didn't notice. I walked around the room a bit, and then sat down for Jonny to remove the hooks. We did the same breathing technique, but with only one breath for each removal. He really surprised me by removing the second and third hooks at the same time. It was for the best, because they hurt the most coming out. As Jonny wiped my back, I could feel the warm blood trickling down. Liz took another picture. Jonny made sure to completely clean the area, and then he massaged the wounds in an effort to get as much of the trapped air out, as leaving it in makes for a very painful recovery process. Once I was cleaned and as air-free as possible, he told me I could get up.

I thanked Jonny and Badur for giving me the opportunity to experience this, and for helping me through every step. They said it was nothing, and that they were glad to have been a part of my first suspension.

We all went back into the house, and Sean, the first guy to suspend, told me that I had been off the ground for at least 5 minutes, and that I was attached to the rig for at least 15 in total. I found that hard to believe, but I've read that time really flies by when you're performing a suspension, so maybe he's right. We all hung out and partied for a few more hours, and then the last of the other guests left. Jonny and Badur slept in the basement, Liz in her bedroom, and I was slept a couch. Because it was small, it worked best for me to sleep on my back with my legs hooked over the edge. It didn't hurt my back too much, so I stayed that way throughout the night.

When I woke up this morning, I felt fine. My back was a little stiff, but I think that had more to do with sleeping on a small couch than anything else. I went into the bathroom and took off my shirt to take a look. I now have eight scars on my back, each one is a circle about 3mm (8g) across.

Jonny and Badur were taking off to catch their bus to the next stop on their North American tour, so we all said our final words to each other for this meeting. I thanked them again for giving me the experience, and they told me that they'd be in Montreal in the near future, and that we should hook up when they get there. I agreed, we all hugged and said goodbye.

I'm absolutely thrilled with the way this went. It was the most divine experience, and I look forward to my next suspension, which will be much longer in duration, I'm sure. This experience was really a life changing event for me, opening my mind to a whole new door of sensations, and stretching myself to new levels, both literally and figuratively.

If you have any questions about the experience, feel free to either visit my IAM page, or email me.


submitted by: equal1
on: 30 June 2003
in Ritual

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Artist: IAM%3AVegan+Jonny+and+IAM%3ABadur
Studio: IAM%3ACured+Tour+2003
Location: Calgary%2C+Alberta%2C+in+IAM%3ALiz%27s+garage.

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