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Those feelings of flying

You know how we all have those days where "I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life" and then about a week later you forget about it? Well, I hate to be cliché, but this experience is about one of those days.
This journey started out early on February 21st. Waking at the crack of dawn under false pretenses of having to be back at school, I high tailed into Brooklyn to meet up with Claire and her friend. The drive long, tiresome, filled with interesting conversation, but was most of all very gray. Further and further we traveled into the recesses of Rhode Island, and made our way to an Applebees. Unfortunately for my two vegan companions, there was not much of a selection, but like everything in life, we come full circle in the end. It was interesting to be in an area where a public still looks awkwardly upon modded individuals, but it's always fun to see the furtive glances coming from the families that surrounded us. But I digress.
Sometime in the afternoon we finally reach our destination. The tower, which held our day's activities, was in quite the unique location. Surrounded by carpet distributors and some other odds and ends of stores. Odd considering what was going on just a few feet from these people, but they didn't need to know what was going on above them. When I first got into the event room, I saw my first person hanging in the flesh since Jan 19th, 2002 at the NYsusCon. It still gives me chills initially, whether it's because in some way I'm still not used to it or, more probably, the thrill of anticipation of my own suspension later in the day. Either way we proceeded to the sign up booth, which was being operated by the lovely Joy. I am signed up for the 5. Now it all becomes official. After clearing up some points with National Geographic on not wanting to be filmed, I hunker down to watch the suspensions going on.
I watch a few suicides, some awesome spinning activities, the most stupendous pull ever between Lauren and Trash, and a few other suspensions going on here or there. Finally, 5 o clock rolls around. I'm up.
I take off my shirt and they begin the preparation. Arms down, relax, mark, now lay down on the table. All I can hear is who wants what side, some other noises, but at this point most sounds are becoming a buzzing since all the blood is rushing to my head in anticipation. Finally, they ask me "On first breath, or second?" Wanting to get to the actual suspension, I ask for the first breath count. 1, 2, 3 and breath out! Thankfully, due to my incredibly stretchy skin, the needles are going through the physical equivalent of paper, so the hooks on my back don't hurt to much. One more time, two needles in, hooked and done! Four hooks are now protruding out of my upper back. I pick myself up off the table, look at the obnoxiously large sweat mark my body left behind (I basically leave behind a pool, happened with my chest tattoo and even during my first suspension) and follow the piercer out through the door. It's funny to watch the crowds, whose focus are on the suspe nsions going on around them, to catch a glimpse of you walking out the door as we excuse ourselves through the throng.
We make our way into the next room and there I stand with hooks in my back waiting to be rigged up. I can't say its pleasant to get rigged, the pulling of the hooks upward and the tension of the ropes makes it rather uncomfortable, but its all part of the process. Ropes in, and everyone steps away.
Now the only problem I'm faced with is actually getting into the air. First, the rig is pulled so the hooks are straight up and my shoulders are forced to rise up. Next, with the assistance of two of the people in the room (I wish I could remember everyone who helped me, but most of the faces in this experience go by in haze because of my focus, sorry) I start rocking back and forth, trying to get myself further and further off the floor. Hooks get tighter and tighter, the tension and pressure become almost unbearable. I ask if I could just be lifted up a little with someone's hands and then gradually let the hooks settle, but I hear that its not a good idea cause then I'd be to nervous to let go. At this point, I'm truly considering coming down because all I'm feeling is pain and some panic. Finally, I just give it one more run, a small jump and I'm airborne.
The sensation of being off the ground was/is amazing. All I can compare it to is flying. Your arms are free to move around, you are in control of your movements and after the hooks settle, there is no more pain but only the incredible feeling of flying. For a minute I just close my eyes and float there for a moment, take in every sensation that is going on around me. I can hear the silence of the people in the room watching, the weightlessness, the creaking of the ropes, the bright and dark spots of the professional lights. I start with swinging back and forth. Trying to reach higher and higher with a series of tucks and kicks. Phil tells me that I can go into a swing by kind of wriggling my body back and forth. This is fun for a while, till you get really dizzy and can't really stop, but totally fun nonetheless! The spins were pleasant though because through closed eyes I could see the bright lights of the huge ligh ts and the dark spots they created in between. It felt like I was going through a tunnel and all the lights were passing me.
After about a half hour or so, I asked to come down. Though it was fun, I just felt like my time was up and they lowered me to the floor. When your feet hit the ground, it feels like a giant weight is coming to sit on your shoulders. Another weird feeling to add to the whole experience. I was led away to the prep room where I was "bled" for air and body fluids. Quite a bit of air got in because the people helping me kept saying that there was no way they were going to get all the air out. They kept squeezing and it just kept coming out, each one making wonderful little gurgling sounds as it escaped from my shoulders. Just to fast forward for a moment, later that night, the crispies in my back made it rather difficult to sleep because the gauze was keeping all the air in, but once I got that off in the morning, I felt right as rain. Anyway, the last thing that completely sealed this moment as an amazing day, was that I was asked if I wanted one of the hooks to keep. Why of course! I replied. Now I have that same hook around my neck, worn with pride in what I accomplished. Some people wear crosses or stars around their neck to remember where they came from, I wear this to see where body modification will take me in the future.

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submitted by: 3rdEyeCataract
on: 28 March 2004
in Ritual

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Artist: Rites+of+Passage
Studio: Big+Tower
Location: Rhode+Island+SUScon

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