This is the story of my second attempt at a six point Vertical back (suicide) Suspension.
My adventure began on Saturday morning as I set out for the 8 hour drive to Pete's property. Armed with not much more than a mud map and an idea of what direction to drive in I found my way, only getting lost a few times.
Saturday evening was spent socialising and watching other people get drunk. I had decided my suspension preparation was not to involve alcohol as I wanted a clear mind in the morning and a hangover would have spoiled my day. I spent a lot of time staring into the fire thinking, contemplating what was to happen the following morning.
Sunday morning arrived and I was the first to rise. I was in good spirits and felt mentally prepared for my suspension. Then it started raining, throwing the possibility of an outdoor suspension into doubt. I was less than enthusiastic about having to go indoors as the country side is so beautiful and peaceful; it seemed the perfect setting for a perfect event. Someone must have been smiling on us that day because the weather started to clear. We were able to go ahead with the event outdoors.
As the time for my suspension drew closer I found myself nervous, very nervous. I was a little concerned that the nerves would see me having a negative experience. I did what I could to focus and calm myself down. I know I placed a lot of pressure on myself because I failed to lift off in my last attempt.
The process of having the hooks placed was somewhat more painful than the last time. I felt each one go through and I wondered if the pain I felt was a sign that the experience would not go well. I recall opening my eyes whilst on the table and seeing a video camera in my face, to be honest I found that intimidating and an invasion of my personal space. All I wanted to do was focus my mind, not look at a camera. I closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing and keeping myself as loose as I could, continually moving my fingers to keep the circulation going.
Once the hooks were in place I felt ready. I had managed to calm myself and I felt was as prepared as I was going to get. I made my way over to the tree and waited as I was tied to the rig.
The moment had arrived. I had succeeded in calming myself and felt cool and in control. I was breathing and my head was clear. I was ready.
I stepped back and forth for a while, gradually putting more weight on the hooks, giving over a bit more control with every step. I still had the fear that something would go wrong, the hooks might rip through, the rope might break, and the branch might fall. All these things were unlikely to actually happen and I knew that. I brought myself back with the help of the team; I assured myself that the rig was good, the hooks comfortable and the man in charge of pulling me up had my absolute trust. I was ready to go up.
After standing on my toes for what seemed like hours I felt I may as well take the leap since the hooks and rig were now basically supporting my full weight. I gave the word that I was ready lift off.
As I my feet left the ground I felt an enormous rush of emotion. I asked to come right back down and promptly burst into tears. Everything just flooded out. I had no control over my emotions at this point. With the kind words of the team and a few moments to regain my composure I felt I was able to continue, I lifted off once more. I have no idea how long I stayed up the second time and that's not important. The feeling of achieving my goal, of letting go of the ground was amazing. Giving over absolute trust and control strengthened me; it gave me more power, if just for a brief time.
As I made my way back to be unhooked I felt free, my head clear. Big things didn't seem so big any more; I felt I had a new perspective on my life. I had achieved something I never would have imagined possible. I'd overcome my fears and it had paid off.
I watched the rest of the suspensions, satisfied yet emotionally exhausted. There were some very inspiring moments. As a spectator it is quite a sight to see a person lift off and achieve their own personal goal. The day saw a 100% success rate with suspensions. It was fantastic to see everyone get off the ground.
I drove back home that evening. In hindsight this was a very stupid thing to do. I was physically and emotionally spent and very nearly fell asleep at the wheel.
I'd like to thank The Hanged Man Team once again for their professionalism and attention to detail. I felt absolutely safe with the team's abilities, something which I think is vital in this situation. I also appreciate the sensitivity shown by all members of the team.
submitted by: Lofty
on: 23 Jan. 2007