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Hooks- I passed the test.

So I did it. To be honest, I didn't think I would be able to. I really wanted to try it, have always been intrigued by it, and thought it'd be an amazing test. I always said I would do it.
Well, all day yesterday I had this sinking feeling in my gut, second-guessing everything. I was afraid of the hooks. I didn't really want to have ten of them shoved in me. I was just plain afraid. I wouldn't let myself back down though. I had committed to doing it. I had my friends make the preparations and the plans. They were counting on me. I felt like I'd be letting them down, and that they would be disappointed in me if I didn't go. I knew I'd be disappointed in myself if I didn't go through with it. I knew I had to push my fear of the hooks aside.
I made my way down to the shop, looking cool and collected, but really panicking inside. My heart was acting up- beating wildly and ir radically. I put my mind elsewhere, not thinking of what was about to happen to me, but rather just chatting with friend.
When we finally went to Joys, I felt the panic again as I watched them hang the ropes and get everything set up. There were three of us set to hang that night. When they asked who was going first, I said I was, probably without even going Jenni or Greg a chance to consider. I just knew if I didn't go first I would lose my nerve.
My heart began to beat ir radically again as I laid face down on the table. I was a wreck, although I was trying not to let on, or even acknowledge that as I smiled and make jokes to everyone. I kept looking to my best friend for reassurance. I think he knew, too, as every time I caught his eye he smiled and said, "You'll be fine." Brian, Joy and Greg prepared to throw the hooks. I kept laughing, acting as if I didn't have a care in the world. I pushed the fear down as far as I could, smiling as if this was the greatest thing I have ever done. I was still terrified. All day I thought I would cry when the hooks went in. Now I was about to find out.
Brian asked if I wanted the hooks thrown on one breathe or two. I said one. All I could think was, 'Get it over with!' I felt the needles stick at my skin. Brian said take a deep breath. I did.
"Let it out." In the hooks went. I didn't cry. I laughed. I wasn't so bad. Then came the next set. I still smiled. Then the next, until all 10 had been thrown. I still smiled, I still laughed. I had taken the hooks. Joy and Greg kept remarking about how soft my skin was- the hooks went through with relatively little effort. Maybe that was part of the reason it was so easy.
Brian laced the rope through the rig, and he and Joy tied on the hooks. I could feel the tension as my skin started to rise. It wasn't the best feeling in the world, but not the worst. Everyone kept asking if I was okay. I was. I was finding it harder to smile now, but I think that I still managed to keep one on my face. Someone else who was in the room may have to fill in that detail. George began to pull me up. The pain became more acute. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. I wanted to say put me down, but I bit my lip. No turning back now. I rose higher. Now only my arms were on the table. Every hook burned like it was on fire. I pushed my mind somewhere else. I was going to do this.
Joy asked if I wanted her to take the table away. I wasn't ready. I was still holding myself up with it a little. Greg gently said to let go. Brian also gave me some words of encouragement. Joy offered to let me hold her hand. I said no. I wanted to do it on my own. I took another deep breath and pulled my arms off of the table.
"There you go. You're up!" said Joy. Brian pulled the table away. Greg smiled at me. The burning became very intense. I wanted with everything to scream 'put me down, now!'. Again I bit my lip. No turning back now. I'm doing this. Everyone kept asking if I was okay. I had become very quite. I said I was fine. Greg asked if I wanted anything, like water. I said no. I was fighting with myself- my body. I was going to win. Brain came over and said,
"The burning will last for about 2 minutes. Then you'll want to be there for an hour." I smiled. 'Two minutes- I can do that." I did. Brian was right, in a few minutes the burning had stopped, and I was smiling again. Laughing didn't feel all that great though, but I couldn't help doing it anyway. Even after the burning had subsided, it still took me a while to adjust to the sensation. My lower back probably hurt the worst. It felt like I had a strange harness on that needed to be adjusted. It was strange, I almost wanted to ask everyone to fix it, but there was nothing to fix. 'Deal with it,' I had to keep telling myself. After a little while of hanging, and settling in, Joy came over and gave me a push. Swinging was strange at first, I could feel the skin stretching as I went from the upswing to the down. I didn't like it at first, but then I adjusted and it became fun.
At one point, Joy came over and began plucking the strings. I didn't realize what she was doing at first, all I felt was this really strange sensation on in my calf- like I was having a muscle spasm. It was such an odd sensation. I wasn't too crazy about it, to be honest. Peck claims some people really enjoy the sensation.
I hung for a little over an hour. Now that I look back, I probably could have, and maybe should have gone for longer. I guess my endorphins had begun to wain, and the hooks were beginning to become slightly uncomfortable. It was nothing that I couldn't have dealt with, but I also knew it was getting late and there were two more suspensions yet to do. I also was starting to feel a little dizzy from the rocking. Still, in retro-spect, I should have stayed up for longer.
I gave the word that I was ready to come down. As they lowered me, Greg said I would feel like I weighed 1,000 lbs. I wasn't sure what he meant, or really believed him. Sure enough, however, when I hit the table and my skin began to lay back down I experienced the strangest sensation of incredible weight, as if something was pushing me downwards. It was really odd.
Then came the 'bleeding out.' I had apparently gotten a lot of air under my skin. Brian pulled all of the hooks out from under my skin with ease. I expected it to hurt, but I felt almost nothing at all. Joy, Greg and Peck then began to physically push the air out from beneath my skin. This was certainly not the most pleasant experience. I had a lot of air built up that they were having a difficult time getting out. Finally Joy said to leave me be, as she thought they were bruising my back. A few hours later I noticed a lot of little air bubbles in my neck. It's still somewhat sore. Peck told me it will be sore for a few days and then they'll go away.
All in all it was an amazing experience. As soon as I was all bandaged up, I was jumping around, full of energy and excitement. A little after that I felt very tired. When I got home, I thought laying on back back would hurt, but it actually felt good. I slept flat on my back, as I found that to be the most comfortable position.
I'm very proud of myself for doing this. I challenged myself, and overcame. I did something I didn't think I would be able to do. I took on the hooks, and I won.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 Oct. 2005
in Ritual

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Artist: Rites+of+Passage
Studio: +
Location: Brooklyn%2C+NY

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