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Flying from hooks

I am faced with the eternal dilemma: how do you describe something indescribable? How do you write about a perfect moment without sullying it?

But I will try...and start from the beginning...

Ten years ago, I saw a picture of a hook suspension for the first time and thought, "I will do that one day."

(long story short...)

That day arrived with Eddie Graham's (JHB piercer, and in my opinion the best you could ever hope to find) talk on suspension at the Pub Moot (a gathering of fets-oriented people that takes place once a month in my area). I decided that, if he acquiesced, I would do it. He did. I began to get nervous...but very excited.

Eddie makes it a policy to get to know every person that he intends to suspend, and will not suspend someone who is not ready for the experience. So I began to visit his studio and chatted to him. He was great. He showed me pictures of previous suspensions, and we decided that I would do a superman for my first time. He was a little worried about one thing: he had only suspended one woman before (in over forty suspensions), and she had not enjoyed the experience. I convinced him that I was ready for this and that I wanted it, and that I was doing it for the right reasons...at least, reasons that I believed to be right, and that is the most important thing.

So, why was I doing it? That's a difficult one to answer in words. I guess you could say that I felt the need to push my boundries, to try something utterly different, and utterly about myself. In the months before the suspension I had been feeling a little lost – not sure where I was going, and not spending enough time and energy on myself. As a teacher, I felt that I was giving a lot to others, and draining myself of identity in the process. I realized that this needed to change. I am a person that enjoys symbolism, and so I wanted to find a symbol that would make this change visible on me. Not a tattoo or a normal piercing – this was something that needed something that would change my world. It did.

We began to plan the event, and I was pushing it to be in spring as the winter was really cold and I thought I might just end up a piece of frozen girl on hooks – a bit of a mundane consideration. It was not to be. One day when I was hanging out at Eddie's studio, the phone rang. It was the person who organizes the moots. He wanted to have it soon. He could get a venue. Next weekend. Next weekend? What? Are you mad? That soon? Eddie just smiled. He thought I was ready. So I said ok (in a slightly strangled voice).

The event was planned for 14 August...a little sooner than I had expected. So the Lethe went on a detox (!), trying to get herself ready for the big night. Of course, my flatmate was wonderful and I don't think I have ever eaten that well in my life as I did for that week. And I got spoiled! Just what I needed – a week that was about me, and I could concentrate on my issues. It was wonderful, and very liberating.

By the time Saturday arrived I was a bundle of nerves and excitement fighting for dominance and being kept down by a steady supply of nicotine. First to arrive at Merlin's, we waited. And the place started filling up, and filling up, and spilling over. People I knew kept trying to buy me drinks, which I turned down to their horror. Others asked if they knew the guy who was going up. I giggled. Girls are much more hard-core! Before I could begin to get nervous again,, Eddie and crew arrived, weighed down with metal.

And so we began. My back was marked and before I could have second thoughts, Eddie began putting the hooks in. Wow. That hurt. A lot. Anyone who tells you it doesn't is lying. But again, Eddie was amazing – he kept making sure that I was ok, and reassuring me. In no time he had all 12 in place: 6 in the back, 6 in the legs. And then the ropes were attached and the mildly terrifying sound of chains rattling filled my ears. Sikhumbuzo pulled me up.

And the world disappeared.

It was unlike anything I have ever experienced before: I was weightless, flying, in my own beautiful cocoon. I had wings and was metamorphosing. Gravity pulled from the wrong direction. Voices floated to me over an unimaginable void. When I closed my eyes I flew, swung far to the horizon and back...but was still when I opened them. I found a place of calm and pure, unsullied joy.

One of the strangest bits was talking shit to my friends while flying above the world. One of the best moments was when they shortened the ropes on my back to lift my torso, and I felt as if I was sprouting wings. Later, my friend told me I looked like I had just had the biggest orgasm of my life. No. It was so much better than that. And it was so special having beautiful friends there to share the experience with me.

Finally the time came to come down. I felt like a beached whale, like a sailor on shore-leave...but still flooded with the most wonderful feeling of calm and achievement. I had done it, and loved every moment.

Nothing has ever come close to feeling like my suspension did, and I don't think that I would ever be able to satisfactorily describe the feelings, or the changes and clarity that it brought to me. But now I understand. I can't wait to do it all again...for longer next time.

I would just like to the Pub Moots people for making this possible, to Liam and Dom for telling me I'm beautiful, and those other wonderful people who made the event so memorable. And of course, to Eddie Graham, without whom this experience would not have been possible. He is truly a master, and an artist.

Three months later, the scars are still there – tiny pin-pricks to remind me of my experience. I hope they never fade.

Reading over this, I realize that as hard as I have tried, it doesn't even come close to the experience itself.

Here's to flying,



submitted by: Anonymous
on: 17 Nov. 2004
in Ritual

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Artist: Eddie+Graham
Studio: Eddie+Graham%2F+Wicked
Location: Cyrildene%2C+Johannesburg%2C+South+Africa

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