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popping my suspension cherry ++

I don't remember the first image or footage of a suspension I ever saw, but I can remember the first one I saw live. In 2004 I went with my friend of the time Tash (was on iam but not anymore) to watch her do a suicide suspension. It was not her first time, so she was confident about it and seeing her without fear made me think maybe I could do that one day too. She went up twice, swung around like a monkey on a vine, talking and yelling and singing and stripping off clothing. I was awestruck by how much fun she was having, as I thought the pain would be overwhelming and it would be a quiet introspective experience. As time went by I became more involved with bme and other iamers, watched more live suspensions, both private and as part of performances, and became more resolved to do one myself.

After talking to friends and people on iam, I decided I'd do a 4-point suicide for my first suspension, and do a back pull or two first to get a bit of a feel for it. I did one in January this year and another in June, and they both went really well. Throwing the hooks bloody hurt, but after the initial pain and the feeling faint, I got into it and enjoyed it a lot. I made plans to do a suspension with Sammpa, but his plans changed and he hasn't made it to Australia yet. I made some more plans to do it using friends' rig, but then things became a bit awkward between us and I didn't feel comfortable asking to use it. I also really wanted to suspend outside, and couldn't find a location in my city where I thought it would work. I even made plans to build my own rig! But then the lovely miss Tina (iam:tinaxo) organised awesomecon++ and I made plans to fly over for it. When I found out that there would be suspensions, I put my hand up, and it was set!

In the weeks beforehand I talked to friends more in depth about suspending, what I could expect and what I could do to prepare myself. I knew most of the information; I just wanted to make sure I was prepared. I did what I usually do before getting a new mod – didn't drink or have any drugs for 24 hours beforehand (although I think I had one or two vodka and lemonades at lunch the day before), made sure I ate decent sized meals, and packed lots of sugar in my bag to eat if I felt dizzy. Brendan (iam:pox) drove myself, Dina (iam:beans) and Sandra (iam:sandron) up to Karl's farm on the Sunday morning, the second day of the event. It was mostly the same people from the day before, but there was a more purposeful vibe to this day. Karl (iam:jedandsethsdad) and the other piercers had set up a little tent with tables for the piercing equipment and the suspendees, and about 10m up the hill was the sort of garage/shed building that we were suspending from.

I was so happy that it was outdoors! The building has one wall, and the other three sides are open. It's at the top of a hill, looking out over a few houses and bush, and the other three sides are all untouched bushlands for as far as I could see. The weather was great, sunny but not too humid or hot; a great day for a bbq and suspensions. Wayde (iam:quaid) and Alyssa Jane (iam:Alyssa Jane) were the first to go up, seasoned suspenders testing out the new spinning beam rig. It was so rad! They threw each other around, jumping up and down and around, getting dizzy but having a heap of fun. I was hoping I'd be one of the first few to go up, as I was planning to get a brand done that night by Karl, and I wanted some time to recover from the suspension. Haydn (iam:chocobo) went up next, and then Brendan and Ben (iam:jamin) went up by their knees on the spinning beam. That was hilarious to watch, and made me want to try a knee suspension sometime. But not on a spinning beam – too difficult!

I'd cooked myself some sweet chilli tofu on a bbq and had two lots of that in between bread, to make sure my body would be able to handle it. I drank just water, and I did try to get a good night's sleep before. I mostly did! I talked to Karl at about 2pmish I think, and we decided I would go next.
There were some people who hadn't booked in to suspend that wanted to try if there was time, so we got all the people who had booked in done first. Megan (iam:vampirina) and I were among the first time suspendees there that day, and we spent the previous few days toughening each other's nerves and pumping ourselves up for it. I changed out of my jeans and put on my dress, which a friend had given to me. Karl said it was low enough at the back to wear, which I was really happy about, and I went down and got marked up.

Dina came and lay down under the table, and talked to me through the hole in the table where my face popped out. She told me stories about... I can't remember, but it worked at distracting me for the most of the time! I think Karl and Stewy (iam:stewy) threw the hooks but I'm not 100% sure because there was other people piercing as well such as Ewan (iam:ewan). It hurt like a bitch, but I was expecting that, and it was done so quickly and efficiently that I didn't have time to dwell on it too much. The adrenalin kicked in quickly, and after lying there for a minute or so longer, I sat up slowly and walked up the hill. I wiggled my hooks at a few people and did the chicken dance to make them wiggle more, and then found JackSmith, who was going to rig me up. I put my kazoo and mp3 player in the straps of my bikini top, since I didn't have pockets, but wanted them while I was up.

Jack started threading the ropes up, and I started consciously breathing. When they were tied, Megan held my hands and he started pulling me up slowly. I tried walking back and forth, and after about 30 seconds of getting to my tiptoes, I said "ok pull me up!" and he did. Huge head rush, pressure in my back, couldn't quite get my brain around all the sensations at once. I kicked my legs and swung a little, it was pretty overwhelming, but I was trying really hard to breathe and be ok. I think I lasted about a minute before I got really light-headed. I was entirely expecting it to happen, but I thought it would happen when I got pierced, not when I was pulled up. I often get dizzy and sometimes pass out after being pierced, and try to remember to warn people about it. Jack pulled me down and someone got me a chair. Swirly said he saw me and my eyes were rolling back in my head, my face was green and I was shaking. I don't remember it!

So I drank some coke and had a chupachup, and after a few minutes I felt a lot better. I told Jack I wanted to try again, and I stood up and we moved the chair away and started tightening the ropes again. This time I walked back and forth and went up in about 10 seconds, I think. It felt different to the first time, the pressure was still there but I wasn't so overwhelmed by everything. After a few minutes of getting Megan to push me back and forth, I felt really comfortable up there. I got out my kazoo and played the Muppet Show theme song for everyone, and sang to whatever was playing on my Zen mp3 player. It was really amazing and I was so proud of myself for accomplishing it! It felt really good to swing around, so I kicked my legs and tried to go back and forth without hitting the ropes or people around me.

Then I did the thing that made everyone take photos – I made phone calls! I'd told two friends back in Perth that I would call them when I suspended, but I think they'd forgotten that, as they were pretty surprised when I did! I called my good mate Tara (iam:tara_boulevard) who I wanted to suspend with for our first time together, but things didn't work out that way. Then I called my friend Jess (not on iam) and told her "guess where I am? a few feet off the ground, swinging around!". Spent 30-45 minutes in total swinging around, talking to people, listening to my music with my eyes shut and my feet in my hands, and having people come up and hug my legs, since they couldn't reach anything else.

Eventually my lower middle back started to ache from the pressure, and it was hurting more than it was fun, so I decided to come down. I left the hooks in for a few hours hoping that someone else close to my weight would get hooked and want to test out the spinning beam with me. But no luck! So that's for another time. Karl took out my hooks and squeezed out as much air as he could. I didn't bleed a single drop the entire time, which is apparently a little odd. For the next few days my back ached and I had fun touching the air bubbles and hearing them in my neck as I moved my head. After about 4 days they were completely gone, as well as the back aches. Now it's 7 days later and I'm just picking the scabs so that I scar!

It was an awesome++ experience and I'm so glad I had it. Everyone was so supportive and professional, the whole thing went really smoothly. Go Brisbane kids!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Nov. 2006
in Ritual

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Artist: Karl%2C+iam%3Ajedandsethsdad
Studio: Karl%27s+property%2C+bushlands
Location: Maroochydore%2C+Qld%2C+Australia

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