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When SusCons Happen to Good People

When SusCons Happen to Good People

OR, Suspensions from the Eye of the Beholder

We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong  
Searchin' our hearts for so long...  
-- Pat Benatar, Love is a Battlefield, © 1983

SusCon 2004 was a momentous event for two reasons. The more obvious is that people came from all over to suspend.

Ah, the suspensions. If you find suspension interesting, exciting, or fascinating (and you're over 18 years old), an event like SusCon is a great place for you to learn more. As far as fun learning environments go, I'd say that a suspension convention is more fun than a college spring break. Even the crews learn from each other; while suspension is an ancient form of expression, it, like art, is constantly evolving and growing, and the artisans continue to learn from one another. The rigs are set up with scientific precision. The care going into cleanliness and sterility rivals many doctors' offices (putting the physicians to shame). Hooks are "thrown", everything's calibrated, and the suspension or pull begins. There are many experiences on BME about suspension from the point of view of the person attached to the hooks. I, with a history of bad backs (and a fear of needles!), have not yet gone up. However, I've attended four suspensions (two SusCons, a BMEFest, and an event in Manhattan that included TSD) and I never get tired of watching the faces of those suspending or pulling. The pain, the joy, the ecstasy, and the tranquility at the end make me wonder why suspension isn't a socially acceptable form of therapy in Western "civilizations." The first time I saw TSD, the guys were on a spinning rig. The hooks may have left me a bit queasy, but the rapture on their faces made me think of frolicking puppies, chasing their tails. What could be more amazing than that kind of bliss?

The other, not quite so obvious, reason that SusCon is so important is that this is one of the premier social events of the season.

A convention, by definition, is "A formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates, as of a political party, fraternal society, profession, or industry..." Events like SusCon allow community members to not only share thoughts and ideas about suspension (from all aspects - those of riggers, piercers, First Aid, and of course those suspending!) but, for a nominal fee, see friends from all over.

I'm a quasi-professional. I've worked Ivy League and I've managed a gas station. I've been to business meetings and seminars. I went to high school, college, and business school. OH, I'm familiar with cliques! Groups within groups, and there's always someone turning his back on someone, or talking about her personal business... It's not fun to watch. At SusCon, sure there was a bit of gossip, and sure, not everyone was best friends with everyone else, but for the most part, it was a WELCOMING environment. Groups and couples would split and separate and begin new groups and couples. To the best of my observation, no one was alone if he or she wanted to be part of a group. No one was ostracized. If people were pointing and whispering, I didn't hear it. (Well... except for the time that I nudged one of my friends because a scene from one of her favorite books was on the arm of the man across from us...) Not once did I hear, "Did it hurt?"

This event was not a popularity contest. The man who, one would have expected, would have been the most popular man there, made a point to talk to everyone. The crews made everyone feel welcome. I was thanked many times for coming, when I felt blessed to have been invited.

My fiance went with much trepidation. He grumbled in the car, he grumbled when we got there, he grumbled when we went out to dinner. It wasn't until about 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, when we went for a walk in the hotel and talked to other attendees, that he had an epiphany. He likes heavy metal and wears a leather jacket; he had long hair when we met. He knows what it's like to be followed when walking through a store. In high school, he would have been an outcast like so many of us were, had he not been on the football team. He is absolutely un-modded. He tried, he told me, to find something wrong with just one of us, and he couldn't. Our community made him feel more welcome than he's ever felt in his life.

SusCon took place in Rhode Island:

According to the SusCon attendee list, people came from:

as well as from Canada.

Many of us had never met each other. Many of us had formed online bonds through the years, but had never met "in real life." Many of us had met each other at similar gatherings over the years. This was a chance to make new friends and renew old friendships. Many of us got a chance to talk in person to major contributors to our community - people with whom we wouldn't normally get a chance to speak, due to geographical distance. These events continue to grow, and to get better and better, because of the people involved. I know that I'm submitting this as an Experience... but it is lacking because I simply don't have the words to describe how wonderful this weekend made me feel.

Colossal thanks:

Rites of Passage

Special thanks (alphabetically):

BMEzine
iwascured
obscurephoto.com
RHBear, who introduced me to the world of body modification
TSD
world66, used to create the maps

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 March 2004
in Ritual

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Artist: Rites+of+Passage
Studio: +
Location: SusCon+2004%2C+Rhode+Island%2C+USA

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