Can Someone Put My Music On???
I resisted the urge to imagine, expect, and organize till Monday, July 14. Once it was there, I felt kind of excused, or maybe justified, to start making preparations. I started with the soundtrack for my soon-to-be first suspension because even though music plays a purely functional role in my life, I still enjoy listening to it while doing things.
I did not know how long I would be able to stay up but my 'soundtrack' list had seven tracks on it. All carefully chosen, with key words distinct and powerful. I am verbal, into languages, so it just had to be this way. Started with this great song by Laibach and ended with a track by an obscure US band whose songs I enjoy listening to. The experience was supposed to be mine only! No external influences sneaking on me from all these BME experiences I had read! No people's wishes, images and opinions! Mine only!
I was not after a spiritual experience and I did not expect to see God. I notice more and more how my feelings and attitude towards my own body modifications shift and fluctuate between being wannabe profound and surprisingly shallow. I am ok with that this is me still and I want to embrace it.
I went to Norway with not much excitement felt inside. There were so many other things around to focus on clouds during my flight, conversations with friends, food they were making for us, new place and 'The Stand' by S. King I got to start reading and it engulfed me almost completely. Watching the very first person suspending on Wings of Desire '08 also did not do the trick I kept telling myself that I should go one step at a time and my own suspension was just too far away to get excited.
On Saturday Slawek made pancakes and one of mine had this cocoa hook in the middle of it Slawek's way to wish me good luck perhaps or just messing around.
Jacek suspended first and I admired the way he handled hooks being thrown in no sigh or groan from him. Taking it like a man. I was still pushing the thought of my soon-to-be turn to the back of my mind and kept focusing on one step at a time. When Jacek was done and got some rest, I was approached by the guy whose name I do not really remember who said my turn was going to be soon.
He took me to the suspension 'chamber' to show me my rig options and, since I was supposed to do back/chest combo, I followed his advice and chose the rig he found best. My time was coming and I still was not overly excited.
But finally the time had come. I made sure to fetch my 'soundtrack' and make sure they would play it for me. I took my t-shirt off and sat down on the piercing bed. There were people standing around and watching piercing procedures and there was also Jacek with my camera in his hand, ready to snap shots.
I was marked and ready to be pierced. I did not want to wince or show my fear of pain because that is not the way I think of myself.
Absurdity of the whole situation kind of hit me then people standing around and watching (maybe not me in particular but the whole thing in general), Jacek like a paparazzi right in front of me and probably some other vague mental associations... I did not wince or cry in pain; I just laughed and then grinned because it was so absurd and weird. And maybe it was/is my way of dealing with hard situations to laugh in the face of it just to let some steam off.
Mine was a pair of piercers, the guy with no name in my memory and a girl clad in pink. He pierced my back quickly and skillfully; she seemed to be slower but was done soon nevertheless. Piercing my chest was even easier and there I was, with hooks in my flesh, thin streams of blood trickling down my chest, and trying to remember that all I wanted it to be was 'mod ond hleahtor' (courage (to face it) and laughter (to deal it with)). Beowulfian, old, my own!
They walked me to the suspension chamber, me hoping to hear the first sounds of this grim Laibach song starting with 'this is the last day...' (which for me meant 'carpe diem' of all things!). I was rigged up, realizing how not nervous I was and yet feeling how my lower lip and one of my legs started to twitch you can trick your mind but you cannot trick your body?
When the ropes were in place and my 'ropeman' ready, I said I hated waiting and wanted to go up quickly. No walking me back and forth slowly, no 'mercy' and no understanding for my fear and apprehension. Let's do it quick or let's not do it at all!
I felt the ropes going tense and up and it was then when this REAL fear flashed through my mind. I thought about backing out, about not being able to handle this. I felt how I was trying to stand on my tiptoes while my body was being pulled up higher. I tried to prepare for being really suspended from hooks and my flesh only and I tried to face the sheering, tearing me apart pain I was sure to happen in a matter of seconds.
But I also got mad at myself; annoyed with my weakness and cowardness. The others could talk about not being harsh on myself, about understanding, about this being my first time but this just was not the way I wanted to handle this. So I bent my knees and took my feet off of the ground. The horrible pain I expected to come next never happened!
No one clapped their hands when I got airborne and I was grateful for that! I never clapped my hands/ expressed my applaud for others' suspensions, either. Not because I find myself too 'cool' or 'good' for that but because clapping hands in such an intense and personal moment seems cheap and wacky to me. And I did not want to do to others something I did not want to happen to myself. So there was no clapping and it could not have been better.
At a loss at first! No pain gnawing on my brain, just a slight pressure on the skin and the front ropes brushing against my face and starting to annoy me. I swung back and forth tentatively and got annoyed with the front ropes even more. 'Act quick or do not act at all', so I asked to cut them off. I thought I would get back to the ground and then be lifted again but that was not the way my 'ropeman' was going to deal with it. He warned me before he cut off the ropes with me still in the air and I was really taken aback by his approach. I tensed expecting the sudden flash of tearing, white pain and again, there was not any. I felt fine and there were only two hooks in my back now.
I asked to be swung to gain some mobility and see what this whole suspension deal was really about. I laughed again and it suddenly felt extremely great to be in the air, free of pain and about to embark on a great and totally new experience.
There was still no my music being played and I asked for it again. There were some cheesy to my ears sounds to hear and I decided not to care. It did not matter anymore. There was no grim Laibach when I left the ground and there was no Mortiis when I started 'floating above', so I could skip the whole rest as well.
I started swinging and 'flying' more confidently and enjoying the experience more. Both Jacek and Bastian (iam: MrNoModifications) pushed me back and forth now and then when I was about to lose it again. I remembered the moves you need to do to swing properly and get better at it after some practice. I was swinging so hard that I could touch with my foot pillars standing around my suspension place and it helped me go and swing, too.
Then, all of a sudden, I heard soft-ish opening sounds of 'the Parasite God' by Mortiis, one of 'my' chosen songs and I grinned widely. It was so absurd and surreal to hear it now, way after I shed the fear and way after I gained enough confidence and inner strength to just enjoy the experience. But it was true that 'I was floating' and that I felt great then and there. Then I heard the 'Test' and, in the flashing instant of the random thought, I suddenly thought how I was just in the middle of taking my 'test' and how cool it felt to know that I did not fail it, that I found enough strength in me to actually go for it, conquer the creeping at me fear before the unknown and painful and that I was actually passing the 'test' with flying colors!
And then I heard 'Pain of Love' which I chose only because of the rhythmical repetition of the word 'pain' and because it helped me before, during runs in the middle of my local nowhere. Back then, I thought that hearing the word being repeated over and over again would distract me from the white pain of hooks tearing my flesh apart but here I was, swinging high in the air and feeling no pain at all. It was a nice pressure felt in my back, it was slight and pleasant pressure in my chest and it was a great, powerful feeling of being a wannabe gymnast conquering the air and using my muscles to overcome gravity.
My soundtrack must have been exchanged for something else because there was no more of 'my' music to hear. Fine with me. I was still high in the air and I was so surprised that this suspension was proving to be not even as half physically demanding as I expected. I get to be way more worn off after running than I was after this suspension. It also did not give me an enormous endorphine rush I thought it would and I still think running is way 'better' in this regard, too but this should not diminish the fact that my first suspension was absolutely great on its own!
I drank some soda twice, while still being in the air and I did a few tricks suggested by the 'ropeman' but I also started getting a little bored with just swinging back and forth. No matter how cool it was, it was also the same range of motions over and over again. To entertain me a little the 'ropeman' suggested lifting someone off of the ground and I did it first with Jacek and then with the 'ropeman' himself. It was ok but my lower back felt like wishing to kill me for that, so I just got back to swinging and enjoying the suspension a few minutes more and then decided to end it. Physically I could have hung for hours, I think, but on the mental level I wanted something new and entertaining again. The novelty of it wore off a little.
Some people said that once on the ground again, they felt the power and weight of gravity again and how unpleasant it was. Not me, though. I was not dizzy, I did not feel heavy or anything of this kind. It was just another step and I was so focused on how great all of this felt that I did not waste my time, energy and thoughts on anything else.
I was taken to the aftercare area to remove the hooks and clean the 'wounds'. Massaging my back and getting rid of air bubbles was as unpleasant as the initial 'feeling' and pinching of my back but it was nothing to make a fuss about. And then I was sitting on the bed again, grinning madly and feeling so damn happy and pleased with myself because I got everything I wanted out of this experience and hell, even more!
Jacek told me that my suspension lasted 40min or so. I do not know that because for me time always flows differently a day feels like a week and past events seem to be eons ago. Time was irrelevant then because all I wanted was to find courage and then laugh out loud. No glimpses of divinity; just all the fun there was in store for me!
I did not bleed much and, even though I started feeling sore and stiff during the night, I was not in much of 'afterpain'. It felt natural, satisfying and pleasant like the times I work out too much and then wince in pain of sore and overworked muscles only to realize I did something good and cool to my body.
The layout of this experience is not as elaborated and careful as usually and the writing is rough but that is the way I want them to be. My suspension was raw, basic, simple and that is the way I want to remember it. It was perfect for me the way it was; it was about 'mod ond hleahtor' and I think I handled it well.
Huge thanks to Bena who said I should come and was there for me; huge thanks to Håvve and Christiane for being caring and kind and having everything under control; huge thanks to the crew that made my suspension the way it was and huge thanks to MrNoModifications who used way too much space on his camera to capture my moment in the air!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Aug. 2008