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My First Suspension

I've been told I'm strong. I've been told that I've done something that the majority will never end up doing. I've been told I'm scary, for a girl, because of what I've done.

I'd rather people acknowledge my passion, congratulate me for finding it, and refrain from glorification of any sort -- that just ruins it for me, temporarily.

Body modification has been, and is, my only passion. A large part of my life is engulfed in the industry. I can geek on surgical tools, metals, and technique for hours on end, and still not be done. I'm constantly healing something new, while thinking of the next thing. I can hardly even stand to date anyone who doesn't know a bit about body mods.

Since I've had my job at the shop, I've gotten the opportunity to participate in and learn about forms of body modification that I admired from afar in the past, but never found enough reliable information about to form a concrete decision about wanting to try -- suspension being one of the major ones.

So, when a two day course on suspension was about to be held at the shop, I questioned everyone I possibly could about what was involved. I found out that suspension isn't a huge process, like I thought it'd be -- just large gauge piercing straight to modified shark hooks. Sure, I could deal with that. I was almost sure that I could deal with the mental aspect of a suspension. I decided to go up during that course.

I pushed my mind and body far beyond what I thought was possible that day. I still don't know what happened, exactly, or what I got from this experience. People keep asking, and I've tried to put things into words several times..


I came up with this:

Everything feels tight and sore. I'm already upset. My four piercings had to be done one by one, and one of the needles used had a painfully long bevel, which made it feel like I was being pierced with an ice-pick. I've already cried, and I've had my hooks in for no more than 2 minutes. I intimidated one of the piercers, because I ended up yelling a nice "FUCK!" while my first two hooks were being thrown. The piercer who instigated that outburst, unfortunately, was not the one who felt guilty, and was also the bearer of the deadly-bevel only seconds after. It hurt like mad, and hesitated at the 'out', which meant that I got to endure an extra-hard shove just to get the tip through my skin. She ended up with a nice dent on her index finger, from where the needle's blunt end dug into her as she dug into me. Yeah, I cried.. and they were the kind of tears that just poured out of my tear ducts without warning. There was a puddle on the floor, beneath the massage table, where my head was resting. I pictured that scene in Alice in Wonderland, where she floods the entire house with tears, and started laughing hysterically. I wiped my face off, sat up, and said, "I think I'm done crying for the next year or so. Wow."

Someone asked me, at that point, if I still wanted to go up. My answer was still a solid nod, especially since I had been put through 'the hooks from hell' already. I looked at them, and they were pierced horizontally, rather than vertically [as I had expected], and one of the piercers tells me that the skin on my left side is too tight to pierce any other way. This means it may hurt more. Okay. It means it will hurt more. I block my several attempts at psyching myself out. I use the 'You're already halfway through this.' pep talk as they set up my rigging. I stare at the ceiling, thinking 'What am I doing?'.. and they ask me if I'm ready. I weakly nod my head and squeak an "Mmhmm."

I start to feel the pull, and it feels like my dermal layers are being peeled away from my body. I try to breathe through it, but the more they pull, the more I feel like I'm not meant for this. I feel like my skin is going to tear and separate itself from my muscle, and it's not a feeling I'm willing to give much of a chance.

I feel a bit more pull.

I start to say "no." and shake my head, and they let up a little bit. I look down. My boots, which have two inch platform soles, are just barely toe-ing the floor. My shins burn like hell from trying to support my weight, and I can't focus on anything but that muscle. I know perfectly well that it will stop hurting if I lift my feet off the ground, but that seems like an unfair trade, in my mind.

I continue to say "no.", and I tell them my shins hurt like hell.. and that one of my piercing felt like it was going to tear. One of the facilitators steps in to talk me into letting my legs up, and assures me that I'm just hurting from the needle I was pierced with. I calm down after I'm reminded that I want to do this. As much as it's sucking right now, I do want to go up.

He grabs my hands and starts walking with me, forward, then backward. Our strides get bigger, and I notice that I've gone from heels-on-ground to toes-on-ground again. We walk faster, and as I'm finishing my last step backward, they pull me off the ground. I think I screamed when I felt the initial jolt.

The last thing I hear in reality is, "SHE'S UP!!"..

Then.. Every corner of my brain speaks in volumes that refuse to go un-noticed. My subconscious seems to be pushing its way forward, throwing scraps of memories out to let me know what all those "De ja vu"s and gut feelings and faint whisperings had been about. Every half-thought, un-finished sentence, and missing piece of is put together, and I see that none of that, really, was important enough, afterall. The situations I left behind at their dead ends give me way to break through and find closure. Everything that was shut down, turned off, and pushed aside out of sheer exhaustion is screaming at me to stop refusing to find resolution before my entire life ends up tainted by them. My vision becomes a blur and a flash and then nothing more than a bright creamy white. My muscles, tendons, and nerves all activate -- some scream and burn, while others just whisper and buzz. Every cell is demanding something that I can't quite decipher, but remain very aware of. Everything else seems meaningless and petty. The surrounding people and their reactions no longer matter -- their physical presence is the only thing noticeable, and they seem so miniscule now. It takes everything -- every piece I thought I never had -- to focus and pull through. All facades, nervous explanations, and mindless comments are thrown away.

All of this, within seconds, hits like a blow to the head.. and just then, my body painfully reminds me that it can't bring itself to fully endure as much as it's being pushed to, mentally and physically, yet. I ask to be let down.

I hit the ground and try to find my footing, but only find another wave of intense emotions -- relief to pain to panic to fear to confusion. I feel a wave of extreme heat, then ice cold.. and my line of vision gets smaller and smaller. I taste bile in my throat, feel like I'm floating, and can't even force myself to move. Just as I force a meek, hoarse, 'I'm going to pass out..' through my lips, I find myself being held up by someone, flopped over them like a rag doll. All I can do is repeat, over and over, 'I don't like this. Make it stop.', as I continue to cry tears that had, apparently, not stopped since the moment I touched the floor.

A good ten minutes later, I fully come-to.. and am able to walk, breathe, speak, and stop crying.

People don't seem so small anymore. People make eye-contact with me, looking concerned, sympathetic, nervous. I give them a humbled half-grin in return. Some people ask how I am, to which I respond, "Not so good, but better." The rest end up acting distracted by something as they pass me, but my peripheral vision shows them glancing at me when I'm turned away.

I spend the remainder of the day, on my own, avoiding people who might want to talk about it. I'm drained, uncomfortable, indifferent, and making my best attempt not to beat up on myself.

I try to think about what, exactly, I got out of this. Nothing comes. I'm too exhausted.

I'm not sure it's all processed quite yet.. but I do know one thing: I am going to go back up.. and my time will come.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Feb. 2007
in Ritual

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Artist: Many
Studio: The+Art+Of+Suspension%2C+PPIS
Location: San+Jose%2C+CA

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