A good place to begin this account is probably when I checked a comment forum on my IAM page (about a month before the event) and saw that Warner (Another IAM-er had asked if I would be attending the Richmond Suspension Social. The first thought to flash across my mind was, " Suspension I have wanted to do that for so long Is he serious?" Of course this was followed by the normal thought process of " Who exactly is this guy, Why didn't I hear about this sooner, How will I get there, What If I can't get off work....." Needless worrying of course.
So, I contacted Onega (yet another IAM-er) and arranged to hitch a ride with her. I made the arrangements to take the time off work to go, and promptly cast the upcoming even from my mind......Until about a week from the event. People begin to discuss with me what to expect and to offer advice. I will never forget reading "If you think you are ready then you are not".
That shook my confidence. A lot. I began to worry. I began to doubt I could handle the physical aspect of it. I have never been scared of anything involving my self-inflicted choices concerning my body, up until that point .I tried to cast it from my mind once more, and was successful, until the day of the trip arrived.
When I woke up that morning, I reminded myself of all of the many reasons I wanted to do it. Such as the impact such rituals have had on people of my culture. I needed to know that just because I may not be full blooded native, doesn't mean that I am not as strong as someone who is. I needed to show myself that I am the master of my own body, and that my Rheumatoid Heart Disease is not. I had so many conscious reasons for my desperate desire, no, my need to do this.
The long car trip was very calming. I had a much needed chance to center myself. I became more excited and less concerned with every passing mile, until I was ecstatic.
When we finally arrived, I was ready to meet everybody. Onega and I walked into the clubhouse and looked around. I very quickly felt out of place (looking back at that, it seems strange, but then I didn't know just how accepting these people were) Onega knew so many of the people there, she just morphed right into a social butterfly, while I hung back and observed for a while.
Cere walked up to Onega at one point and handed her a video camera. Apparently, she had made arrangements to tape several suspensions with him prior to the event. I ended up stealing the camera and filming several of the suspensions instead, so that I would have a chance to assimilate into the environment. I am so glad that I did, as it gave me a chance to see people have suspension experiences on both ends of the spectrum.
I had the chance to see first time suspenders take to it like breathing air, they made it look just as natural. I also had the chance to see people, who managed to take the hooks, but not actually be able to handle flight. There were even those who did not make it through the hooks. I think it helped to give me a very well balanced view of how unique to the individual suspension really is.
I finally decided I was ready. I paid the required fees and sat around and took pictures and watched a few more people fly, before finally Lone_Tone (IAM-er, Leader of Holy City Suspension Team) asked me if I was ready....
I walked over to the area he and his team had setup to through the hooks in. He showed me how clean everything was, removing items from their individual autoclaved packages as he used them. He wiped my back clean and marked me with Gentian Violet, and then told me that he used a count system and on the count of two he'd be putting the hook in.
This made me apprehensive as I am used to being told, breath in, and being pierced on breath out. I didn't want to mess up his routine as he was the expert, so I told him ok.
He pushed the first hook through and it was so easy. I relaxed. Apparently, I counted my chickens to soon.
The second hook, hurt like hell. I started to feel fuzzy, and light headed. I dropped my chin on to the back of the chair I was straddling, and told him he had to wait, I felt as though I would pass out. He responded by feeding me Glucose tablets (what an awful taste) and the coke I requested.
I decided I was going to need more time. So I told him to throw someone else's hooks, and suspend them. So he set up three others to go, and then did his One Point.
I decided I felt like I could finish when he came down. So we went back to the chair and he told me he was going to put the third hook through very swiftly.
The third hook, didn't hurt as much as the second hook, but by far the third hook sucked the worst out of all of the hooks. I am not sure if this statement makes as much sense to someone who has never experienced this or not, but take what you will from it.
It was with this third hook, that I realized there was so much more underlying subconscious emotional stuff attached to me doing this suspension. I realized that I had a HUGE problem with letting go of control. For me, letting go of control was a requirement for me to be able to relax enough to go through with the suspension. I don't think I would have been able to, had it not been for Mighty_Mouse, Warner, Cere and of course Lone_tone's patience.
Cere sat in the chair in front of me. He told me Just let it all go. All the fear, all the stress- just let it all out.
That was perhaps some of the best advice I had ever heard. So I looked at Cere and Lone_Tone threw the last hook.
I waited a little while and then it was time. Originally, I had planned to get Cere to lift my weight off the ground and have them tighten my ropes to leave me hanging, but Cere was busy trying to rescue another problem suspension. (this unfortunately, didn't actually happen, but she will soar next time). So, I tried walking in to it for a while, testing for pressure, and seeing how much my body could take, how fast.
When Cere realized that the other girl was going up, he came over and reimplemented the original plan. He lifted me by my legs, and they tightened my ropes.
In that moment, I realized I was experiencing all that I had dreamed of, I was experiencing human flight.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 03 Dec. 2005